JUNE 2000

Table of Contents

  1. From the Editor
  2. Spring Depository Library Council Highlights, April 10-12, 2000
  3. Spring Depository Library Council, Part Two
  4. Uncle Sam's Multimedia Theater
  5. FirstGov Coming Soon
  6. Will New Laws/Proposed Laws Mean the Demise of Academic Libraries?
  7. GODORT Cataloging Committee Offer GPO PURL Alert Service
  8. NCLIS To Assess Federal Government's Public Information Dissemination Policies and Practices
  9. Documents Courses Via the Internet
  10. Humor from Cindi Wolff

From the Editor

Unless you've been hiding under a rock, developments over the past several months will leave you both excited and shocked at the same time.

In a speech in North Carolina on June 6, Al Gore pledged that by 2003, "virtually every federal government service" would be available online to computer users. He said his vision of "e-government" would include using the Internet to apply for a Social Security number, pay a student loan, or check a record of a nursing home. Government, he said, should be "just a couple of clicks away for every citizen everywhere in the nation."

We've heard that all before, you might say. But before the end of the month, another annoucement revealed that FirstGov was in the works and may become available within 90 days. According to press releases, FirstGov would bring together in one web site, every federal web page in existence. And thanks to the money and technology being thrown into this effort, online searches should take less than one second. Pretty heady stuff indeed.

At the same time, however, federal documents librarians have been nervously following the latest developments concerning upcoming GPO appropriations. The first news out was that GPO's budget would be slashed by 25% and the FDLP portion 61%, effectively eliminating all paper copy from the program. Thanks to an intense lobbying effort and reports of a record surplus, subsequent messages seem to indicate that partial funding may be restored. [For more detailed information, see the Godort Home Page maintained by the University of California Berkeley at]

However, the handwriting on the wall should be pretty clear. We are marching toward a world where government information is going to be delivered electronically with very little paper products to speak of.

Any thoughts on how your depository library is going to cope?

Jon Harrison Red Tape Editor

Back to table of contents

Snow in April?
Spring Depository Library Council Highlights, April 10-12, 2000
Report by Susan Tulis

Reports Table of Contents:
Mike DiMario, Public Printer
Francis J. Buckley, Jr., Superintendent of Documents
Gil Baldwin, Dir. Library Programs Service
TC Evans, EIDS
Recent Changes to GPO Access
Upcoming Changes to GPO Access
Federal Records Act
Tad Downing, Chief, Cataloging Branch
Laurie Hall, Supervisory Program Analyst
New Council Appointees

Yes, it’s true, we did experience snow in April in Newport, RI.  We also had winds, rain, sun and overcast skies.  But the weather didn’t deter from the beauty of the location, nor the fine work of the Depository Library Council.  This report attempts to summarize the various update reports given by GPO staff and the work of Council itself.  Unfortunately, I didn’t make it to any of the other informational sessions!  Hopefully someone else will report on those programs.

Barbara Weaver, State Librarian of RI (and a former Council member), began the Spring 2000 Depository Library Council meeting with a warm welcome and compliments to all who are involved in the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP).

Mike DiMario, Public Printer, talked about funding issues related to GPO and the FDLP.  There has been a gradual reduction in funds for the FDLP due to flat funding.  GPO’s FY 2001 budget request for the S&E(which includes the FDLP) was $34.5 million - a 15% increase over last year and includes 5 additional positions.  DiMario anticipates budget cuts due to the current climate in Washington - at least in the House.  Neither house has acted on their budget request as of yet.

Last year GPO experienced a shortfall of $5 million against a $765 million overall budget.  While this shortfall is a small percentage of the budget, the Sales Program has experienced a greater loss - due to more publications being put on GPO Access.  Prices have been raised in the Sales Program, but it isn’t enough to cover the loss.

If the decision is made to close NTIS, GPO would be happy to continue that program in GPO provided they were given sufficient resources to make that transition.  DiMario firmly believes those publications belong in the FDLP.

Francis J. Buckley, Jr., Superintendent of Documents, began with the recognition of the importance of the partnership between libraries and the government in the provision of access to government information to the public.   This was followed by a success story, Ben's Guide to U.S. Government for Kids, released in December 1999.  This resource for students, parents, and teachers provides a fun and educational introduction to how the U.S. Government works based on information resources available through GPO Access.

In its first month, the site received just over 100,000 retrievals.  By February 2000, this number jumped to approximately 350,000.

Since its release, Ben’s Guide has received excellent feedback and many forms of recognition, including the ALA’s 2000 Notable Children's Web Sites Award, USA Today’s Hot Site of the Week, and Pacific Bell’s Blue Web ‘n.

Virtual Ben receives e-mail from individuals (especially children) all over the world asking such questions as “Can Ben come to my birthday party?” to “Does a person running for president have to have lived in the U.S. for 14 consecutive years?”

Next, Buckley gave an update on the activity of the Permanent Public Access Working Group which recently held its third meeting.  In the coming months, members of the PPA Working Group will be formulating goals. Some draft goals include:

Staff from the Library Programs Service and the Office of Electronic Information Dissemination Services (EIDS) in conjunction with GPO Production staff are working on a public website on GPO Access that will include information about the group and its members, its goals, and links to resources relevant to the topic.

This update was followed by a report on the research project GPO has been participating in (along with several other agencies), on government websites.  The project is headed by Dr. Charles McClure and is designed to explore appropriate performance measures for Federal agency websites.  Among the topics GPO sees as important for Federal websites are depository library access, Permanent Public Access, how agency pages are located and retrieved on commonly used search engines, no fees or copyright like restrictions, customer satisfaction ratings, user support, and training.  Dr. McClure plans to develop a recommended set of criteria for agencies to use in evaluating website performance. These will be tested on participating agency sites and the results included in the project’s final report, scheduled for release in September of this year.

Buckley also talked about the impact of the digital revolution on the FDLP.  Increasingly more government information is in electronic format only.  Resource constraints and legislative direction dictate that GPO move to electronic versions and discontinue the simultaneous distribution of titles in two or even three formats.

This digital revolution presents the challenges of the constantly evolving technology to access and use government information.  GPO feels that it is time to raise the bar for both service provided and equipment used in depositories.  As a result, Council was presented with a number of proposals for consideration. Depository Services Staff Proposal 3 would revise the “Depository Library Service Guidelines for Government Information in Electronic Formats” to establish a service requirement for tangible electronic products. Another proposal has to do with the Recommended Specifications for Public Access to Workstations in Federal Depository Libraries for 2000. These recommended specifications are intended to assist depository librarians in making informed purchases which will best achieve the goal of providing public access to Federal government information in a variety of electronic formats.

Lastly, Buckley discussed the Sales Program which has seen both a decline in sales volume and in the number of salable titles available.  GPO working on short- and long-term strategies to deal with this situation, including price increases, cost-cutting measures, new methods of increasing public awareness of the products for sale, and an analysis of where a predominantly print sales operation will fit into the increasingly electronic future of Government publishing. GPO is also re-examining the role of its bookstores, as well as its reimbursable services activities in the Washington area and at the Distribution Center in Pueblo, Colorado. GPO has just completed a study of the Pueblo operation's future workload potential at the request of the House Appropriations Committee, since the overall declining workload in print publications distribution is a factor there too.

Buckley ended by saying he looked forward to working with members of the Council over the next 3 days as they plot our future course in this ICE Age - Internet Changes Everything.

Gil Baldwin, Director, Library Programs Service, gave a topical overview of LPS activities with a preview of related programs and discussions for the rest of the meeting.  In terms of the transition to a more electronic FDLP, Baldwin stated that absent a legislative change when the transition is over the FDLP will look pretty much as it does in 2000, only more so.  More information will be provided solely electronically; more users will download more content; there will be more emphasis on cataloging and locator services; there will be more electronic acquisition and archiving; there will be more partnerships for a greater variety of purposes; and there will also be expectations for more services, not just from GPO, but also more services from libraries to users.

Naturally, GPO’s ability to move forward on these issues is dependent upon the availability of resources.  The continued pattern of level funding is a real concern and  constrained funding may prevent GPO from undertaking everything that they would like to do, and might possibly require the curtailment of some traditional products or services.

 Buckley already mentioned the 2000 Recommended Specifications for Public Access Workstations.  Also presented to Council was Proposal #2 - “Increase the Minimum Technical Requirements for Public Access Workstations in Federal Depository Libraries at Regular Intervals.”  The “Recommended Technical Specifications” for new public access workstations coexisted in a confusing way with the technical requirements used for inspections.  LPS is working to clear up the confusion, and result in better service to the public.  They propose to establish a rolling schedule of announcing new specifications, giving depositories about 15 months of lead time, and then begin to use them as the requirements for inspections.

These technical upgrades are linked to a service proposal as well.  Proposal #3 is to “Revise the “Depository Library Public Service Guidelines for Government Information in Electronic Formats” to establish a service requirement for tangible electronic products.  What this would mean is that all depository libraries must make tangible electronic products and services (CD-ROMs, DVDs, floppy diskettes) which they select available to the general public in a timely manner.  While circulation of CDs and DVDs is encouraged this alone does not relieve the depository of its duty to assist patrons in accessing the information.  The depository must demonstrate a "good faith" effort in providing in-house assistance to patrons wishing to use CDs and DVDs.

These proposals are essential steps to move the program forward.  But it is also essential for depository libraries to improve and expand their own capabilities to deliver electronic content to end users.

Online electronic U.S. Government information is the most prevalent dissemination medium in the FDLP, amounting to about 52% of new titles added this year.  At the same time, the distribution of tangible products continues to decline compared to FY 1999.  Paper is holding steady at about 20% of the program titles, while microfiche has declined to 27%.  Tangible electronics, now almost all CD-ROM, have almost dropped off the charts, down to about 1/10 of 1%.

LPS is phasing out the physical distribution of certain FDLP microfiche titles and migrating to the online version, when an official, reliable electronic version is available.  As part of this migration process, LPS is identifying groups of titles that agencies issue in both print and online versions.  When LPS determines that the content of the online version is substantially equivalent or superior to the print version, LPS selects the online version for the FDLP.

LPS will discontinue distributing GAO publications in microfiche as of September 30, 2000.  LPS will also discontinue distribution of the Congressional Bills on microfiche effective with the last of the 106th Congress Bills.  Bills are permanently accessible on GPO Access beginning with the 103rd Congress.

The archive component of the FDLP/EC is now in operation.  Issues of two publications in the FDLP/EC recently became unavailable from their agency source and users are being redirected, via the PURL, to archived copies on GPO servers.  Electronic publications acquired for the FDLP/EC in online form only (with no tangible equivalent in the FDLP) are being captured, documented, and stored.  GPO staff are still learning to effectively manage a multiplicity of file types, formats, and web design issues, but are actively transferring earlier experimental captures to the archive server, and are adding newly acquired publications regularly.

GPO is still pursuing the vision of a distributed electronic archive, as described in the 1998 plan for Managing the FDLP Electronic Collection.  Electronic content may be stored on GPO servers, at the originating agency, at partner sites, or at other external sites, or at combinations of these.  To this end, GPO continues to meet and work with OCLC to develop the requirements, technical infrastructure, and the business model for digital archiving from OCLC.

In light of problems with batching, misdirected shipments, delayed receipts and resulting processing problems for depository libraries, LPS elected not to exercise its contract option year with Potomac Business Center (PBC).  Previous mail contracts have covered all GPO mailers and were not specific to the needs of the Federal Depository Library Program.  Unfortunately, this resulted in more generic contractual language with insufficient safeguards for quality service to libraries.  However, because of the many inconsistencies in the performance of this past contract, LPS is now able to segregate its pick up and delivery requirements and has completed a much-strengthened Statement of Work to begin the procurement process for an upcoming mailing contract.  GPO’s Procurement Office announced the requirement for pick up and delivery services in the Commerce Business Daily on March 2, 2000.  In addition, LPS began date stamping all outgoing boxes in early March, and is also upgrading its TanData system to increase the ability to track depository materials from the time shipments leave GPO to the time shipments arrive at depository libraries.  All changes should be in place by mid-June, 2000.

The FDLP Administration Web pages on GPO Access are extensive and sometimes it’s not so easy to find the article, product, or service that you want.  As a result, GPO has come up with a prototype design for a new set of pages, called the FDLP Desktop. Please check it out [] and forward your comments to Laurie Beyer Hall <> by Friday, May 5.

TC Evans, EIDS, gave an update on the ever-changing state of GPO Access. The most recent online survey of GPO Access users (19% of which identified themselves as representing depositories) garnered the following:

In terms of system performance, GPO continues to try to provide the fastest possible response times.  Data indicates that the BigIP server controller array has definitely provided a superior balancing of the user load and effectively distributed the workload throughout GPO’s resources. Some delays have been encountered in upgrading the bandwidth and this continues to pose problems during the busiest hours of the day.  GPO is working closely with their ISP to maximize performance through the existing circuitry. The bandwidth upgrade is expected to be completed in the next few weeks.

February was the busiest month ever on GPO Access, with almost 23.3 million downloads recorded.  Based on GPO’s monitoring of the bandwidth utilization reports, it is reasonable to assume that GPO Access retrievals would have been even higher if more bandwidth had been available.  Keep in mind that there is some unknown amount of additional usage that is unmeasurable.

GPO Access now contains more than 106,000 electronic titles, points to over 68,000 others, and there are almost 1,500 databases available.

 The GPO Access User Support Team handled almost 7,000 inquiries in February, the most since last April. Of these approximately 4,500 were telephone calls and over 2,400 were e-mails.

The redesigned Online Bookstore <> is receiving more traffic which translates into increasing electronic sales. New data indicates that more users are starting to submit their orders electronically, rather than printing them out and sending them in.

GPO has an ongoing project to evaluate how its resources are presented through major search engines and to work towards improving this performance.  In the latest evaluation, the most effective search engines at returning GPO Access resources in their results were:

The Open Directory Project at 58%
Google-Uncle Sam at 54%
IWon at 51%
Snap at 51%
HotBot at 49%
Northern Lights (fee-based) USGovsearch at 43%
Google at 40% at 37%
GoTo at 37%
Webcrawler at 33%
The other engines evaluated, presented alphabetically were About, AlltheWeb, AltaVista,, DirectHit, Excite, Governmentguide (AOL), LookSmart, Lycos, Magellan, MSN Search, Northern Light (free), Yahoo, and Yep.

Some recent changes to GPO Access include:

Some upcoming changes to GPO Access are:

Council’s Electronic Transition Committee, chaired by Maggie Farrell,  reviewed GPO’s progress on the transition to a more electronic FDLP and presented its report at the Spring 2000 meeting.  The ET Committee analyzed GPO reports: Completing the Transition to a More Electronic FDLP, Council Discussion Draft, 4/12/99 and Progress Report on the Transition to a More Electronic FDLP, 1996-1999.  The Committee looked at the following issues:

Are the assumptions stated valid?  Are there additional assumptions which should be considered?  What actions should GPO take to strengthen the FDLP in light of these assumptions?  Are the current activities of GPO appropriate?  Has GPO effectively met the milestones in the Progress Report?  Are the reasons for activities deferred valid?  What are the next steps of the transition and how should GPO be positioning itself for a more electronic FDLP?

Two strong themes emerged from the ET report: 1) finding aids - more emphasis is needed to locate and use finding aids on GPO website and GPO Access, as well as explaining the relationship between finding aids.  These finding aids need to be tools that anyone can use, not just people with a knowledge of FDLP.  Farrell suggested that maybe the new FDLP Desktop will address some of these concerns.

The second theme dealt with training.  While we have seen training increase, it should be expanded beyond the FDLP or train the trainer so depository librarians can go out and train others in their area who might not be depository librarians.

Overall the report stresses that there is encouragement that FDLP can reach beyond depository libraries.

Greg Lawrence, Chair of the Preservation Committee, presented to Council “Risk Management of Digital Information: A Risk Assessment Workbook for Federal Depository Libraries - Discussion Draft”.  Lawrence recommended at the last Council meeting that depository librarians should take steps to refresh digital information.  He sees this workbook as a useful way to prepare for internal organizational discussion of this issue.  He also feels the workbook will work for online information as well.

George Barnum, Electronic Collection Manager, and Robin Haun-Mohamed, Depository Administration Branch, were asked to give status of nonprint tangible electronic materials with regard to GPO’s deposit requirements with NARA.  They in fact, described what procedures GPO has in place for all tangible items in FDLP and how the transfer works.

The Federal Records Act requires that all government agencies take a variety of steps to ensure that the essential evidence of the functions of government are appropriately preserved.  Remember records are more than just publications.   A revised Record Schedule for GPO Records was issued in 1996.  Under that schedule, all publications cataloged in MoCat are to be retained permanently and transferred to NARA for retention.  (In this sense, the “residue” of the cataloging process, including the various marginalia and notes added as part of the cataloging process,  are the evidence of GPO carrying out its statutory cataloging and indexing function as specified in 44 USC 1701.)  Although these are federal agency publications - the evidence they provide is not of the operation of the agency that created them, but rather of the cataloging and Indexing function of GPO.

What constitutes a Federal Record can vary from agency to agency and NARA and the agencies decide which Federal Records will be accessioned and archived.  Not all records are kept forever.  LPS works with GPO’s Support Services offices to ensure that its records are sent to the Federal Records Center in Suitland, MD as scheduled.  A records center is a storage area for records no longer needed for everyday use.  These records may be either temporary records (those waiting for their destruction date) or permanent (those waiting to be transferred to NARA).  Depository materials are maintained as a collection (kept in SuDocs number order)  and kept for 8 years before being sent to the Federal Records Center every 4 years.  For publications converted from paper to microfiche, 3 categories of microfiche are produced.  The first generation silver halide master copies are sent to NARA every 4 years.  The second generation silver reproducible microfiche are used for reprints and blowbacks and sent to LC every 2 years.  The diazo copies, sent to depository libraries, are the copies catalogers use for producing the catalog record and are therefore sent to the Federal Records Center on the same schedule as the rest of the cataloged material.

The records schedule GPO is operating under doesn’t address much in terms of electronic records.  In 1997, the GPO records management officials initiated a request to NARA for additional scheduling of tangible electronic products from the FDLP.  In order for any electronic records to be transferred to NARA they have to be independent of any software - most commonly ascii format.  More CD-ROMS do not meet this requirement.  During the review process, GPO officials withdrew the request for additional scheduling, since most likely the products would be deemed ineligible for transfer.  Until the time that NARA can handle these materials, GPO has retained these items.

The good news is that NARA is working with San Diego Supercomputing Center to address this format independence issue.  Plans are underway for an electronic archival system that would receive electronic records without regard to medium, store the information independent of software used to create or retrieve it, and deliver the information based on a sophisticated electronic interpretation of what the particular records needs to be presented to a user.  This system will be developed over the next five years.  What NARA is describing could have enormous impact on the FDLP collection.  Keep in mind though that there will be a portion of material that NARA may not retain that GPO and the depository community feels needs permanent retention.

Tad Downing, Chief, Cataloging Branch, reported that is now a member of BIBliography Cooperative (BIBCO) of the nation Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC).  So they are now members of all four PCC components.  In addition, OCLC recently granted GPO National Level Enhanced Status which authorizes GPO catalogers to modify all OCLC records, including those produced by the national libraries.  In January 2000, GPO joined OCLC’s CORC (Cooperative Online Resource Catalog) project.  This project is to develop metadata gathering software and make use of it in cataloging operations.  OCLC has asked GPO to provide them with guidance on how this software will be developed.

Downing also reported on the status of a number of publications- when we will see them:  Periodicals Supplement Yr 2000 - late April, Congressional Serial Set Catalog - end of April, and Dec 1999 & Jan 2000 CD-ROM issue of MoCat - late April.  All of these delays have made GPO wonder if there isn’t a better way to access this information.

Note:  MoCat CD-ROM 2000 issues will be a new cumulation so you should retain Jan 1998-Dec 1999 issues of CD-ROM.

Laurie Hall, Supervisory Program Analyst, LPS, briefed Council on its report “GPO’s Cataloging and Locator Services:Actions in Progress and Proposals for Change.”  In Oct 1999 Council recommended “that GPO conduct a comprehensive review of online locator and finding aid tools to evaluate the need, redundancy, and organization of current tools. The report should also address possible development of new tools.  The review process will require Council and Depository library input as well as an analysis of available statistics.”

GPO looked at 6 specific tools: CGP (MoCat online), Browse Electronic Titles, Browse Topics, GILS Application, Federal Agency Internet Sites, and Pathway Indexer service.   GPO felt there is utility in everything created, but acknowledged there is some redundancy.  Therefore, their objectives were to eliminate redundancy, make services easier to use, have more comprehensive coverage of electronic resources, and make sure those electronic resources in the collection were authentic.

GPO proposes to:

1. Find a partner for the Browse Topics application.  GPO will continue its oversight and policy direction role.

2.  Simplify the browsable GILS applications by consolidating the Browse GILS Records by Agency and Browse GILS Pointer Records into a single browsable tool.  The Browse Pathway GILS Records will be eliminated.  Pathway GILS Records are created by LPS staff based primarily on information from the U.S. Government Manual, and are not recognized as official and authoritative by the agencies.  GPO will continue to partner with publishing agencies to facilitate those agencies’ fulfilling their mandated GILS responsibilities.

3. Find a Pathway indexer partner.

4.  Refocus Browse Electronic Titles (BET) by posting weekly lists of online resources added to the FDLP/EC.  The service will be renamed New Electronic Titles (NET).  NET entries will appear in a true title arrangement, instead of the BET’s current arrangement by agency.  After four weeks, the oldest NET list will be moved to an NET archive.  LPS will prioritize cataloging all products listed on NET so they will appear in the searchable CGP as soon as possible.  These steps should improve the focus of the BET while encouraging users to search the CGP as the prime resource for identifying, locating, and accessing both tangible and online products.

5.  Phase out the MoCat CD-ROM edition following completion of the 2000 issues.  The CD-ROM edition’s design is not optimal, it is slow and expensive to publish, and it replicates content presented in the CGP on GPO Access.  A possible alternative is to reduce the frequency of the Monthly Catalog CD-ROM edition to an annual cumulation.

6.  Reconfigure the print Monthly Catalog to a browsable current awareness list of products arranged in classification number sequence.  This will speed up the announcement of new FDLP products by allowing LPS to produce the print edition via desktop publishing.  This will shorten production cycles, reduce costs, and will still meet the monthly “pamphlet” format requirements of 44 U.S.C. 1711.

New Council Appointees Are:

Charlene C. Cain, LSU Law Library, Baton Rouge, LA;
Cathy Nelson Hartman, University of North Texas, Denton, TX;
Dena Hutto, Reed College, Portland, OR;
Greta E. Marlatt, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA; and
John A. Stevenson, University of Delaware, Newark, DE

 Fall Depository Library Conference & Council Meeting

October 22-25, 2000 at the Holiday Inn Rosslyn Westpark Hotel, 1900 N. Fort Meyer Drive, Arlington, VA.  Rooms are available at $126.00 (includes tax) per night.  Call 1-800-368-3408 or 703-807-2000 and mention Code:DLC.

Submitted by Susan E. Tulis

Editor's Note:
Susan also submitted Draft Recommendations from Council, however, in this electronic age, Duncan Aldrich, Chair DLC has announced that the "Final Version of Council Recommendations" has been posted and can be viewed on the Council's web page.  The final recommendations plus various GPO official reports also appear in Administrative Notes, May 1, 2000, Vol.21, No.7.

Back to table of contents

(2) Spring Depository Library Council, Part Two
Impressions by Laura Dickson

I attended the Spring Federal Depository Library Council Meeting in Newport, Rhode Island, on April 9-12.

At this meeting it was announced that Government Accounting Office publications and Congressional Bills will be discontinued in microfiche. Both have migrated to electronic versions. It was also announced that the Supreme Court Web site would be going live after much planning.

The Government Printing Office Staff also announced their intention to end formal support of the Gateways Initiative (a program intended to expand free access to GPO Access, the Government Printing Office web resource) as of September 30, 2000. Although, current Gateways can continue to operate if they so choose. Given that we are a Gateway Institution (when the Gateway is working), I am considering the value of the Gateway to our patrons and will decide whether to continue this form of access to government information. {The Library of Michigan has also participated in this program.]

I also attended many sessions, the topics included Data Information Centers, Government Economic Statistics, Census 2000, and a brainstorming session concerning the metedata contained in many Government Printing Office web pages.

This was only my second FDLC meeting, so I spent a great amount of time getting to know other Document Librarians. In conversing with Tim Byrne of the University of Colorado, I learned that there is an Internship position on the GODORT (Government Documents Round Table) Legislation Committee. Given my background as a Legislative Librarian in Washington D.C., Tim thought I would be a good candidate and he has recommended me for the position. I am very interested in this and if it doesn't work out this year, I will pursue this internship in the future.

Submitted by Laura W. Dickson, U.S. Documents Librarian, Michigan State University, 100 Main Library, East Lansing, MI 48824; Phone: (517) 432-8045; E-Mail:

Back to table of contents

(5) Uncle Sam's Multimedia Theater

Welcome to Uncle Sam's Multimedia Theater courtesy of FedBuzz.Com! Check out the wide range of video, audio and animated materials produced or presented with the help of your tax dollars. Here is some important advice for your viewing pleasure:

DOWNLOAD TIMES -- Make sure your computer has video, audio capability. If you're using a 28.8 modem, you may be in for a long wait. For the most part, RealPlayer will give you quicker download time, although the viewing screen may be smaller. MSPlayer offers larger viewing areas but often takes longer. Quicktime is similar to RealPlayer.

DON'T BLAME US -- Washington DC is not Hollywood, CA, so don't expect Titanic-level photography and drama in every file. But some are quite good. Keep coming back to us for new menus as they are added.

Note: FedBuzz.Com promises to identify more as the weeks go by.

Cartoons Your Grandma Watched
Hey kids, want to see the "cartoons" your grandparents watched? Come to this site to see Gertie the dinosaur, the mother of all animated movie dinos. This site offers postage stamp sized footage from the 1921 Rialto Productions dinosaur classic. The "Gertie on Tour" is just one of a host of old and rare animations that entertained the nation before remote controls and Nintendo. Part of Origins of American Animation (Library of Congress American Memory Project).

Exercise: A Guide from the National Institute on Aging
The National Institute for Aging's online guide to exercise is like having a personal trainer, albeit a two-dimensional one. A whole list of animated exercises are provided, along with advice on eliminating the barriers and how much exercise is enough. This is a self-paced program.

NEA National Heritage Fellowship Winner Sound Clips
If you're tired of the homogenized music on your radio, hear Grammy-winning gospel singer Shirley Caesar, Haitian drummer Frisner Augustin or Irish folk singer Mick Moloney. All 13 National Heritage Fellowship winners have biographical profiles as well as sound clips on file at this National Endowment for the Arts site. They'll stir your soul. Click on any name for splendid consequences, along with a recorded interview.

Pentagon and Hall of Heroes Virtual Tour
Want to see the Hall of Heroes at the Pentagon, where the 3410 recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor are celebrated. Take this virtual tour of the world's largest office building with three times the floor space of the Empire State Building. The Pentagon was designed in three days and completed in 16 months. Representatives from every branch of the service lead you through the workplace of 23,000 Americans. All in 24 minutes.

Back to table of contents

(6) FirstGov Coming Soon

In his first-ever Saturday webcast addressed to the Nation on June 24, 2000, President Clinton unveiled a series of new initiatives to give the American people the "Information Age" government they deserve. These steps will cut red tape, make government more responsive to the needs of citizens, and expand opportunities for participation in our democracy. These initiatives build on the Administration's efforts, led by Vice President Gore, that have already greatly expanded citizen access to online government information and services. By the end of the year: CITIZENS WILL BE ABLE TO SEARCH ALL ONLINE RESOURCES OFFERED BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT FROM A SINGLE WEB SITE:

A team lead by Internet entrepreneur Eric Brewer will create a single web site called "" that will allow citizens to search all online government documents. This free site, which will be developed at no cost to the taxpayers, will have the ability to search half a billion documents in less than one-quarter of a second, and will be able to handle at least 100 million searches a day. This will make it much easier for citizens to find government information and services, which are currently located on at least 20,000 different web sites. The site will be available this fall, and will not collect any personal information from citizens.


This year, the federal government will award roughly $300 billion in grants and buy $200 billion in goods and services. Currently, there is no place where vendors can access all of the information they need to bid on government contracts. Moreover, there are 30,000 different organizations across the United States that receive at least $300,000 in federal grants, and must deal with systems for grant applications that vary from agency to agency. By the end of the year, the Administration will make it possible for people to go online to bid on, or apply for, the vast majority of these procurements and grant opportunities. Moving this business online will save time and money, and will bring more Americans into the process by them the opportunity to compete for these funds.


The Administration will work with the Council for Excellence in Government, a non-profit, nonpartisan organization, to launch a new "e-government" competition. The Council will seek applications from students, businesspeople, researchers, and government employees for new applications, new technology, and new ways that government can serve and connect with citizens electronically. A top prize of $50,000 will be awarded for the most innovative proposal to advance e-government that is user-friendly, accessible, cost-effective, secure, and protects the privacy of citizens' personal information. The Council has assembled a team of corporate sponsors for the competition from its Technology Leadership Consortium. For more information about the competition please contact Council for Excellence in Government President and CEO Patricia McGinnis at 202-728-0418, or visit their website at

Source: White House Press Release, June 24, 2000.

Back to table of contents

(7) Will New Laws/Proposed Laws Mean the Demise of Academic Libraries?

A trio of laws and potential laws - the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), the Uniform Computer and Information Transactions Act (UCITA) and the Collections of Information Antipiracy Act (CIAA) now pending on Capitol Hill - give publishers of digital information more power over their copyrights than traditional publishers have enjoyed under existing copyright law.

Will libraries be able to lend digital material to patrons? Will libraries, or their patrons, have to pay for every use of a digital book or article? Will archiving and preservation - the lifeblood of the research library - be possible in the Digital Age? Will libraries be able to grant students from distant campuses, or students working in another country, access to their digital collections?

Source: "Digital Information" part of "Libraries: Checking Out the Digital Age" by Doug Brown, Inter@ctive Week Online, June 26, 2000. Full article is available (at least temporarily) at,4164,2593193-2,00.html. Thanks to Chuck Malone, Government Information Librarian, Western Illinois University Library, 1 University Circle, Macomb, IL 61455; telephone: (309) 298-2719; e-mail:
for sharing this information via GOVDOC-L, June 27, 2000.

Back to table of contents

(8) GODORT Cataloging Committee Offer GPO PURL Alert Service

Until now, libraries using GPO cataloging records, but not receiving updated or corrected versions of previously distributed GPO records through subscription, have not had an easy way to add GPO PURLs to their catalogs. To meet this need, the GODORT Cataloging Committee offers the GPO PURL Alert. This service will assist libraries wishing to add PURLs to GPO records already in their catalogs. Beginning in January 2000, the GPO PURL Alert provides monthly lists of GPO Cataloging records which have had PURL information added to the 856 field. Using GPO PURL Alert lists in electronic format allows libraries to cut and paste the PURLs into their local catalogs.

GPO Cataloging Practice: Current procedure at GPO when assigning a PURL is to move the original URL to the 530 or 538 field and put only the PURL and any necessary text in the 856 field. The URL is placed in the 530 field if the record is for both paper and electronic versions. The 538 field is used if the record is for an electronic only title. Electronic only titles receive Superintendent of Documents Classification numbers that contain an accession number (i.e. C61.2:97019096).

Source of Records/Reports: GPO PURL Alert reports are generated from vendor-supplied data, and may not replicate the exact monthly output from GPO as posted in the UPCMOCAT file. Generally, however, a GPO PURL Alert report for any month will contain data from the preceding month; thus, the January 2000 report primarily offers changes to records made in December 1999. The information in GPO PURL Alert is extracted from the updated GPO records by searching the University of Colorado at Boulder Libraries' catalog, Chinook, for the records with "PURL" in the 856 field and "PURL" or "http" in the 530/538 fields.

Array of Data: Each entry in this list contains the Superintendent of Documents classification number, the OCLC number, the GPO depository item number, the title, the text from the 530/538 field which usually ends with "current access is available via PURL" and the information contained in the 856 field. The records are sorted in depository item number order.

Additional Resources: Libraries who want to identify URLs and PURLs added to records by GPO prior to January 2000 should use either GPO's Browse Electronic Titles or the GPO MARC Internet Resources at the Basic Depository Library Documents web site. GPO PURL Alert lists are current supplements to these files. The archive of monthly GPO PURL Alert lists can be found at

Source: Tim Byrne, University of Colorado, e-mail:; GOVDOC-L, June 29, 2000.

Back to table of contents

(9) NCLIS Launches Comprehensive Assessment of the Federal Government's Public Information Dissemination Policies and Practices

The U.S. National Commission on Libraries and Information Science (NCLIS) has announced the launching of a major study to identify reforms necessary in the federal government's public information dissemination machinery. The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, chaired by Senator John McCain, requested the study. Other Senate and House committees have expressed an interest in the matter.

The comprehensive study grows directly out of earlier work done by NCLIS regarding the National Technical Information Service (NTIS). In August 1999 the Department of Commerce announced plans to close NTIS and transfer its collections, functions, services and assets to the Library of Congress. Following the announcement, both the Science Subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee, as well as the Technology Subcommittee of the House Committee on Science, held hearings on the subject.

Subsequently, NCLIS held three public meetings involving over 100 individuals, representing a wide variety of interested groups. On March 16, 2000, the Commission submitted its "Preliminary Assessment" report to the President and Congress. That report was completed quickly because of the effects of uncertainty on the staffing and operation of NTIS. The NCLIS report recommended that NTIS be temporarily retained in the Department of Commerce at a minimal satisfactory level of service until the core issues could be studied more thoroughly by the Commission and an optimal permanent solution be developed.

In the course of these efforts, it became apparent that the "NTIS matter" should not be addressed as an isolated event, that is, simply as a "routine" government reorganization in the scientific and technical information (STI) arena. Issues raised by the proposed actions with respect to NTIS are part of a framework of reforms needed in public information dissemination overall.

The "Preliminary Assessment" report's recognition of the need to streamline and simplify the government's overall public information dissemination policies and practices was consistent with findings in an earlier Commission study, "Assessment of Electronic Government Information Products," completed a year ago at the request of the Government Printing Office. The accelerating agency migration of governmental information products and services from paper-based formats to web-based and other electronic formats is principally driving this critical need for basic reforms. Additionally, there is the need to assess the economic equation resulting from the shift in the benefits and the burdens among the providers, intermediaries and users. The roles and responsibilities of the public and private sector need to be refined also.

In its June 12, 2000 letter to the Commission asking for the continuing NTIS study, the Senate's Commerce Committee stressed the need to broaden the scope and focus of the second phase beyond STI, and requested that the study should "provide recommendations on the future of NTIS" that "would be consistent with any overall federal government information dissemination recommendations that you would also provide."

NCLIS expects to involve various key stakeholder groups including Federal STI agencies, government R&D contractors, libraries, and other relevant public and private sector organizations.

The Commission will deliver a final report to the President and Congress on December 15, 2000. The new President and Congress can make the necessary statutory, policy, programmatic, organizational, budgetary decisions using the study's findings.

Information about the comprehensive assessment requested by the Senate committee can be viewed on the NCLIS website at and links to information relating to the initial NTIS study at The U.S. National Commission on Libraries and Information Science is a permanent, independent agency of the Federal government charged by Public Law 91-345 to appraise the adequacies and deficiencies of current library and information resources and services and to advise the President and Congress on national and international policies and plans.

Source: NCLIS Press Release, June 26, 2000.

Back to table of contents

(3) Documents Courses Via the Internet

The University at Buffalo is offering three Internet workshops on documents basics this summer:
  • Documents Jump Start (August 19 - 28 or September 9 - 18) Cost: $95;
  • Laws (June 18 - 26 or July 23 - 31 or August 19 - 28) Cost: $55; and
  • Regulations (June 18 - 26 or July 23 - 31 or August 19 - 28) Cost: $55 .

    Self-paced course modules will be posted on the World Wide Web and accessed via a password sent to registrants. Questions will be fielded by the instructor, Judith Robinson, on a Web Bulletin Board during the week each course is active. For more information and registration see the Web page at

    For more information contact, Judith Robinson, School of Information & Library Studies, University at Buffalo, 534 Baldy Hall, Buffalo, NY 14260-1020; Telephone: (716) 645-3327; Fax: (716) 645-3775; E-mail:; URL:

    Judith Robinson teaches Federal Government Information at the University at Buffalo and is the author of Tapping the Government Grapevine and coauthor of Subject Guide to U. S. Government Reference Sources.

    Back to table of contents

    (4) Humor from Cindi Wolff

    Pythagorean theorem: 24 words.
    The Lord's prayer: 66 words.
    Archimedes' Principle: 67 words.
    The 10 Commandments: 179 words.
    The Gettysburg address: 286 words.
    The Declaration of Independence: 1,300 words.
    The US Government regulations on the sale of cabbage: 26,911 words.

    Source: Cindi Wolff, LSU Libraries, Government Information Coordinator, E-mail:, URL:; GOVDOC-L, May 15, 2000.

    Back to table of contents

  • Back to RED TAPE Home Page
  • Back to Jon Harrison's Home Page
  • Back to MSU Libraries Home Page
  • Assistance Requested
    • Thanks for visiting the RED TAPE Home Page. Each issue is continuously updated and expanded during a three month cycle, so check back soon for the latest changes.

    • If you have any comments, notice any glaring inaccuracies, or would like to forward any relevant information concerning this Home Page, please send e-mail to: Jon Harrison

    Standard Disclaimers
    • MSU is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Institution.

    Ownership Statement
    Jon Harrison : Page Editor
    Social Science Reference Librarian
    Main Library Reference
    Michigan State University Libraries
    100 Library
    E. Lansing, MI 48824-1048
    Voice mail: (517) 432-6123, ext. 123
    Fax: (517) 432-8050
    Last revised 05/30/00

    This page has been visited times since June 1, 1996.