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GPO and OSU have likely hit on hands

Update 8/14/2007:

I was mistaken about the recruiting schedule. According to GPO, GPO and OSU are currently recruiting/adding new contributors from the federal depository library community. The goal is to have as many categories populated as possible for the public launch.

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Yesterday I viewed an OPAL Presentation on the beta version of the Oklahoma State University hosted tool Browse Topics. Browse Topics is a volunteer driven list of subject guides to federal information. It represents an area of genuine, broadbased collaboration between the Government Printing Office and Federal Depository Libraries.

The beta version was demoed by John Dowgiallo, Web Content Specialist at GPO. He said the new BT would go live in mid-October and I can’t wait. You shouldn’t either.

The new version will make it easier to discover and disseminate new federal information sources found by librarians. You’ll be able to sign up for new additions by RSS feed; easily e-mail entries to others through a "recommend feature", easy broken link reporting and direct e-mail to guide authors.

The new Browse Topics is likely be more current because it will be much easier for volunteer contributers to contribute. Currently one has to update an entire page on one’s own computer and mail that off to OSU who posts the new version. In the new system contributers can add/change/delete sites on their guides one at a time while online making corrections both easy and quick.

Want to help build this resource? Once the system goes live, GPO and OSU will be recruiting from federal depository library staffs to populate the new system. If you work in an FDL and are passionate about a particular subject, I urge you to apply. It is another way to work together and to show the value of librarian added information.

If you’re not in a depository you could still help by waiting until the new Browse Topics goes live in mid-October and than mapping Browse Topics categories to appropriate pages on Wikipedia. That will inject some more authoritative content into Wikipedia and drive usage of Browse Topics. Not convinced? Tying appropriate entries into Wikipedia worked for UNT!

It seems clear that both the Government Printing Office and Oklahoma State University have put a huge effort into creating a user friendly/contributor friendly collaborative tool and FGI salutes them for their efforts.