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Free Government Information (FGI) is a place for initiating dialogue and building consensus among the various players (libraries, government agencies, non-profit organizations, researchers, journalists, etc.) who have a stake in the preservation of and perpetual free access to government information. FGI promotes free government information through collaboration, education, advocacy and research.

More about NTIS Repository Service

Recently, we noted that NTIS is going to offer a Repository Service to Federal Agencies. Here is a followup story:

  • A Joint Venture to Create Federal Science Agency Repositories, by Miriam A. Drake, InfoToday (October 20, 2011).

    This program will help agencies manage their content, make it more accessible to the public while preserving it for NARA and future generations. The agencies also benefit because they do not have to begin at square one to build a repository and metadata. Doing more with less may be possible because costs will be shared.

Drake reports that the first client of this venture is the National Technical Reports Library (NTRL), which contains 2 million titles and that NTIS wants to deal with thematic as well as agency collections. Another project is the the Deep Water Horizon Archive with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which is thematic program that crosses agency lines and include PDFs, images, and video.

NTIS To A Offer Repository Service to Federal Agencies

The National Technical Information Service (NTIS) has announced the development an Institutional Repository (IR) Service for federal agencies.

Excerpts from press release (link to original [.doc]):

NTIS NEWS RELEASE – October 5, 2011

National Technical Information Service, Information International Associates

The National Technical Information Service (NTIS) of the U.S. Department of Commerce and Information International Associates, Inc. (IIa), a small, woman-owned company in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, have recently formed a Joint Venture (JV) to develop an Institutional Repository (IR) Service for federal agencies. Institutional Repositories are collections of agency scientific and technical information documents and other content that represent the work and mission of the agency, provided as a searchable, digital collection. The IR will be hosted by NTIS and promoted and supported by expert content managers and a technical team from IIa and NTIS. As part of this new NTIS line of business, the IR will provide a framework through which federal agency content can be made available, providing users with increased ease of access and agencies with cost savings.

The Director of NTIS, Bruce Borzino, states: “There is a huge demand coming from national laboratory and federal research communities to dramatically update the way scientists publish, share, and archive information. Through selected partnerships such as this one with IIa, NTIS can attain its e-science development goal of creating new levels of transparency for scientific, technical, and engineering content.”

The president and founder of IIa, Bonnie Carroll, points out that “the Institutional Repository Service will provide content management and information dissemination, making it easier for agency personnel and the public to find and receive better access to information resources. The IR will support a wide variety of content types including images, audio, video, and traditional text.”

Individual IRs will be developed for agencies based on a core set of services with optional services, including those based on Web 2.0 technologies. This IR Service will be a valuable asset for smaller agencies, agency components, projects and programs that need to provide information collection and dissemination but do not have sufficient IT and content management support, for agencies who are interested in support for retooling their current repositories, and for agencies seeking to take advantage of new technologies such as mash-ups, blogs, and wikis which they can reuse and repurpose from other resources through the IR. Agencies will be able to respond to growing Administration Open Government requirements for transparency and citizen involvement. One major benefit will be that cost savings will occur as the technology and development of the system is shared – not redeveloped in multiple settings.

Among the core services to be provided will be content inventories, selection, and harvesting; the ability to map agency information to a core metadata scheme based on the standards to be used by and on the needs of the agency; customized interface design; increased search capabilities; and disaster recovery, archiving and preservation. Optional services may include extension of the core metadata scheme to meet the specific needs of the agency audience, customized controlled vocabularies and taxonomies, metadata creation and controlled vocabulary indexing, quality assurance capabilities, and value-added subject matter expertise. Links can be developed between different types of content and documents to make searching easier and add to the value of searches.

Thanks and a big hat-tip to Bill McGahey of NTIS.

Subject Repositories Forum

SPARC launches new e-forum for subject repository development and success, Association of Research Libraries. Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (March 30, 2011).

Washington, DC – SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) has announced it will host a new discussion forum dedicated to the unique needs of the subject-based digital repository community. As repositories continue to grow as an engine for driving Open Access worldwide, new challenges and opportunities emerge and the demand for more focused conversations grows.

The SPARC Subject Repositories Forum (“SPARC-SR”) will enable subject repository managers, both inside and outside libraries, to share procedures and best practices, discuss possible joint projects, and support each other in providing access to an important realm of scholarly literature.

For details on how to join, visit .

Farewell, Evergreen Repository

Any student worth their salt at the Evergreen State College knows that it is a government documents repository. This is not just because of the orientation campus tour or the repository student employment postings, but because the head of the gov docs collection is an active, vocal advocate. If you happened to approach the reference desk while Carlos Diaz was on duty, it was likely he had a government publication to recommend to you, whatever the topic of your question may be. As I’ve begun to delve into the world of government information, I quickly discovered he is just as active with the larger gov docs community as he is at Evergreen. Carlos was a guest blogger here in November, 2007 ( When my professor told me they were no longer a repository my first thought was, “What will happen to Carlos?!”

Carlos got into library work almost by accident. While completing his American History dregree at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Carlos took a work study job in the library. Upon completion of his degree, he was recruited for a position as a library assistant. It was while working the reference desk there that he began to learn about the government documents, as LSU is a repository. From there, he went on to the University of Mississippi’s government documents collection and finally Evergreen, where he took the position of head of collection.

Throughout his time at Evergreen, Carlos Diaz and his staff have created many “Hot Topic” pages to meet the needs of patrons. When he noticed students bringing their children to the library while they tried to study, he created a Coloring Books webpage as so many federal agencies offer great resources for kids. To fulfill the needs of the English as a Second Language Program, he created the Symbols of the United States page. As there is a large spirit of activism on the Evergreen campus and in Olympia in general, Carlos gets many questions on how to address government officials, for these inquiries he created a page dedicated to the Forms of Address and Salutations to Federal and State Officials. Carlos himself digitized the 1909 Checklist, he wrote me that it was a labor of love and a worthwhile effort. My personal favorites would have to be Geoducks! and Hot Dam! Dams of the Pacific Northwest.

So, why is Evergreen giving up repository status, with such a dedicated captain at the helm? Ultimately, it was up to the librarians. The decision was made, like so many in our field are, as a cost cutting measure. And really, isn’t everything online anyway? Carlos, a huge Star Trek fan, is the first to agree that eventually all government information will be digital, “There are some advantages and disadvantages to that. Of course, one of the advantages is the accessibility of government information, but the drawback is finding this information. A lot of it is buried deep down and only someone with knowledge of government structure might be able to find it.” For now, we are in what he calls the adolescence of the information superhighway. As for the physical collection at Evergreen, some materials will remain in the Daniel J. Evans Library. Much of the extensive map collection will be retained, as well as those items requested by faculty. Carlos is now dedicated to the challenge of deaccessioning the collection. Though he no longer works the reference desk, Carlos says, “I will continue to help people with their government information needs now more than ever.”

Many thanks to Carlos Diaz, an inspiration to me from early in my library career. Thanks also to my investigative reporters on the scene, Holly Maxim and Ian Ruotsala.

– Sara Medlicott

Creating an Institutional Repository for State Government Digital Publications

An interesting case study:

  • Meikiu Lo and Leah M. Thomas. Creating an Institutional Repository for State Government Digital Publications. The Code4Lib Journal (22 Mar. 2010).

    In 2008, the Library of Virginia (LVA) selected the digital asset management system DigiTool to host a centralized collection of digital state government publications. The Virginia state digital repository targets three primary user groups: state agencies, depository libraries and the general public. DigiTool’s ability to create depositor profiles for individual agencies to submit their publications, its integration with the Aleph ILS, and product support by ExLibris were primary factors in its selection. As a smaller institution, however, LVA lacked the internal resources to take full advantage of DigiTool’s full set of features. The process of cataloging a heterogenous collection of state documents also proved to be a challenge within DigiTool. This article takes a retrospective look at what worked, what did not, and what could have been done to improve the experience.