ISSUE 103, MAY 2004

A blast from the past for your enjoyment.

Remember when being a government documents librarian meant dealing with paper documents only? Old timers can travel back 25 years to the second issue of Red Tape to find the following gem:


When you're hunting for statistics

or scrounging for some facts
On comparative linguistics
or strokes and heart attacks
And you've checked through every index,
scoured Books in Print
Polled Key Words in Context
and can't find nuthin' in it

There is still a source worth tapping,

a helpful instrument:
A little voice keeps rapping,
"Could it be in Documents?"

Handbooks, guides and regulations

direc'tries, maps and graphs
Rules, proceedings, publications
reports and monographs.
Gems of human knowledge
fashioned out of facts
By the government collected
as surely as a tax.
Copied by the thousands
and issued free or cheap
As public information,
the civic pulse to keep
No hype to help promote them,
housed in lifeless stacks,
Given little notice,
only numbers on their backs.

As the sage who keeps his silence,

as the wise man hides his light,
Documents unopened
are treasures hid by night.

Which questions most need answers?

How much value for the price?
What tune best fits the dancers?
Whose product, most conciese?

There is still a source worth tapping,

a helpful instrument
A little voice keeps rapping,
"Could it be in Documents?"

James Johnstone, New Mexico State Library, Santa Fe, NM 1979
and reprinted in Red Tape, no. 2, March/April 1979.

Nowadays, the Red Tape Editor is having a hard time keeping up with all the government information at both the state and federal level that's coming out electronically, and quite often only electronically. At any rate, enjoy the following issue which contains all the new items he has discovered in the past two months.

If you want to make sure that some of your news items appear in the next issue, send him an e-mail with that news item included.

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  • Ownership Statement
    Jon Harrison : Page Editor
    Social Sciences Collections Coordinator
    Michigan State University Libraries
    100 Library
    E. Lansing, MI 48824-1048
    Voice mail: (517) 432-6123, ext. 123
    Fax: (517) 432-8050
    Last revised 05/25/04