NEWS FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY
MARCH 1998

Table of Contents

  1. ALA Midwinter Meeting Highlights, January 1998, by Susan Tulis
  2. PLA IRS Advisory Committee Report
  3. NARA Launches New Records Site
  4. Congressional Research Service's Products on the Internet?
  5. Census 2000 Developments
  6. National Trade Data Bank Redesign Underway
  7. Feds Make Web Child's Play


(1) GODORT Highlights from N'Awlins:
ALA Midwinter Meeting January 1998

The Federal Documents Task Force (FDTF) update session was held on Saturday January 10, 1998. Fran Buckley, the new Superintendent of Documents, began the morning by saying that working within the federal government is more complex and presents a lot more challenges compared to what we see as libraries out in the field. In his first two weeks on the job, he had the opportunity to sign interagency agreements with the Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Technical Information Service (NTIS). GPO is also working with NTIS in a joint marketing pilot project where each agency has supplied to the other, a list of 20 information products that are not available in the other's sales program. The concept is that GPO and NTIS will take orders for those materials and then pass those orders on to the other agency for fulfillment.

Fran Buckley informed the group that he wants to ensure that Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP), GPO Access, and the Sales Service are coordinated:

  • to provide effective public access to information in tangible and electronic mediums,
  • to provide for permanent public access to the information, and
  • to enable individuals to purchase popular materials for personal use at low cost.

    Buckley expects to work closely with the depository community, with which he has strong ties, to ensure that the FDLP will be strong and viable into the next century.

    A guiding principle in GPO's planning for an electronic future is the assumption that partners, libraries, agencies, non-profits, and consortia will share the task of building, storing, disseminating and preserving the collection of FDLP electronic resources, building upon the depository library system model. In this vein, several partnerships have been forged in recent years that will help to ensure permanent online accessibility for electronic Government information products. These partnerships fall into three categories: content, service, and GPO Access gateways.

    Based on a letter sent to depository library directors, the Public Printer made it clear that for the foreseeable future, a significant amount of print products would continue to be distributed to depositories. When a federal publishing agency produces a title in paper and it is available to GPO in paper, they will acquire copies for library distribution even if an alternative electronic version is available. It is GPO's belief that the electronic transition should proceed based on the actions of the publishing agency, cost-effectiveness, and the usability of the information.

    The Integrated Processing System (IPS) that will replace over 20 mainframe systems in the Sales Program should begin implementation in late March 1998, not November 1997 as previously announced. IPS should greatly improve customer service and document delivery with the initial focus being on the ordering process and GPO bookstores.

    The "Assessment of Electronic Government Information Products" (also known as the NCLIS study) is proceeding. NCLIS is in the process of signing an agreement with a contractor to undertake research and data collection from Federal agencies in all three Branches as well as solicit opinions from selected knowledgeable experts. The contractor will also be required to complete an analysis of the data and opinions and produce a final report. GPO hopes to have a copy of the draft report available at the October 1998 Depository Library Council (DLC) meeting.

    GPO has expanded the collection management concept to encompass not only those products residing on GPO Access, but also those electronic products residing with partner institutions and the tangible products that are housed in depository libraries. Buckley would like to expand the concept further to consider those titles that are selected for the sales program, but the permanent access to this material being provided through the FDLP. He would also like to look at broadening the sales collection beyond the traditional borders, but recognizes that the program must continue to be self-sustaining.

    Buckley concluded by saying that this was just the start of his dialogue with us on how we can work together to improve systems for public access to government information.

    Eric Peterson, Joint Committee on Printing, and Kennie Gill, Senate Committee on Rules & Administration, gave an update on Title 44 Revision. Peterson began by saying he had good news and better news. The good news is that discussions continue with the library community and others and they continue to refine the revision proposal. The better news is that as these discussions go forward the model changes and the result of these efforts will be something that everyone can embrace and feel good about. Peterson noted that the most surprising aspect about how things are evolving is that the models that are emerging are coming from entities that at the outset of this dilemma 3-4 years ago were the antagonists.

    Peterson told the group that the current revision proposal contains about 95% of what the Inter-Association Working Group has recently suggested. There are some minor things that will need additional discussion. He ended by expressing appreciation for the librarians' work in this effort and that he thinks a solution is in hand and that this matter will be resolved before this Congress adjourns this year.

    Gill began by saying that the federal government documents issue is sort of a microcosm of the problems we see librarians and the public in general facing as we take technology and try to harness it to help ourselves. She then expressed thanks from Senator Ford because he knows that documents librarians are the front line folks in the trenches, who every day help Americans access this labyrinth of government information that is now not only coming in various formats, but sometimes is hidden in ways that you didn't even know the government had produced it. Documents librarians are the ones that ensure that the American public has access to that information.

    A year ago, Senator Ford outlined the 3 keys issues he thought facing Title 44 revision. The first is the constitutional--the so called Chadha--problem. JCP's administrative oversight of GPO is simply no longer constitutional post-Chadha. Gill stated that we have to find a way that eliminates legislative oversight of what is already an executive agency - since the Public Printer is a confirmed Presidential appointee, he is an executive officer of the United States. So when the executive branch attempts to hide behind Chadha and say "oh we don't have to cooperate with Title 44, we don't have to disseminate to depositories," they are talking out of both sides of their mouths. So we have to eliminate that part of JCP that is no longer constitutional and causing problems.

    Two other problems have to be solved as well. The first is to put enforcement into Title 44. Regardless of the Chadha problem, federal agencies have to understand that the people have a right to anything they produce and that they have a right to it without cost. The depository library system is the greatest safety net this country has in terms of ensuring public access to information but enforcement is needed to be sure it works.

    Secondly, and equally as important, is broadening the parameters of Title 44. But for the fact that a 100 years ago, ink on paper was the only means of producing information, Title 44 would have been written so that it covered all forms of publishing, whether electronic, ink on paper, or something that hasn't been developed yet.

    Gill assured the audience that Senator Ford is committed to the FDLP and access to information. Before he leaves Congress at the end of this year he wants this program working. Challenges still exist though. How do we ensure the public gets the information? How do we ensure that as formats change we keep it in a permanent accessible manner? How do we afford to provide access when we have libraries that vary across the spectrum in what they can deliver to the customer? We don't yet have a good handle on what the capability is in the library community. But we have to solve that problem. When Senator Ford wrote GPO Access the purpose was to back door an expansion of Title 44 into the electronic field. We need to confront the issue head on and solve it, otherwise libraries are going to be run over top of. Government agencies are now seeing information as a commodity. Unless we resolve this, depository libraries will no longer be gateways, but just other consumers of government information.

    Senator Ford sees the real crux of the problem to be what to do with GPO. The executive branch wants to be free of GPO as the sole executive printer; they want more competition for printing. The Communications Workers of America, with the support of the AFL, have intervened with the White House and asked that the White House back off some of the proposals OMB has been making with regard to eliminating GPO as sole executive printer. At this point, the White House and OMB have not sat down with the unions. Senator Ford's position is we will solve this problem but not until the White House and GPO reach an agreement on how we are going to structure the executive printer. GPO does not have to be eliminated as the executive printer to solve the constitutional problem (Chadha). OMB would like to eliminate GPO as the executive printer and if OMB wants it presumably they have the president's signature. If we are going to get what we want (enforcement and expansion) then at some point we have to deal with the White House price. But the White House has to solve its own proposal problems with the unions and with GPO before they can even set their price. That hasn't been done yet. Senator Ford is waiting for the White House and OMB to meet with the unions and GPO and to resolve how they are going to structure the executive printer. As far as Senator Ford is concerned, there is no reason to change it, because you don't have to change it.

    The one thing that is going to have to be done is getting rid of JCP's administrative oversight function. Senator Ford is prepared to say that JCP will be eliminated in this process. JCP has been successful in the past because it does have strong administrative oversight. It had the ability to make GPO and the executive branch do things. Once those authorities are gone, JCP no longer has a hammer. Where do you go for a new hammer? The first, and most logical, is GPO itself. If JCP goes away, most likely many of those responsibilities are going to be downloaded to the Public Printer or some similar agency. Secondly, the Senate Rules and House Oversight Committees currently have legislative jurisdiction over Title 44. At some point, those two committees will replace JCP as sole oversight committee and that committee will have the hammer to do what needs to be done.

    Gill's final word was "don't give up on us." Librarians will continue to be involved in this revision process, just need to be patient as some of these political issues wind out. She agrees with Peterson that this is the year to do it and we can't afford to fail.

    Hedy Rossmeissl, National Mapping Division of the U.S. Geological Survey, began by talking about data accessibility issues from the USGS. Much of the USGS information is available through their Global Land Information System at http://edcwww.cr.usgs.gov/webglis and they are constantly expanding what's available.

    USGS has almost finished the digital raster graphics project of the United States. While the program began with CD-ROMs being supplied to the FDLP, it has run into some problems. Some of the disks are not readable and USGS does not have the money to supply replacements. Therefore, USGS is working with GPO to find a way for the data to be accessible over the Internet.

    Rossmeissl admitted that USGS is not doing as good a job as had been done historically in terms of revising maps. Revision has not been a top priority. They will be scanning in the topographic paper maps and making an effort to revise those maps that they know are popular.

    In terms of the digital orthophotos, half of the United States has been done or is in progress. USGS thinks that the entire country will be completed within the next five years. Initially this data was distributed via CD-ROMs, but it has proven too costly so the data is now on the web. Some states are still coming on CD-ROM because the states have put money into producing them.

    USGS has signed a cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) with the Microsoft Corporation for access to their digital orthophoto data. Microsoft established this project as a way to serve massive amounts of data over the Internet, prove the capabilities of doing that, test the software, etc. Any one with access to the Internet has access to USGS's digital ortho data. Microsoft is guaranteeing to keep this site up for 18 months - it is not known what will happen when the 18 month period ends.

    Lars Johanson, Bureau of Census, covered three areas - new products the Bureau will be releasing the next few months, the 1997 Economic Census, Census 2000 and the DADS system of data delivery.

    NEW PRODUCTS:

  • Landview III CD-ROMs to be released in mid-January. This 11 disk series will allow creation of customized street maps and thematic maps; and include some updated map features, additional data items from the 1990 Census, and data about EPA regulated sites. Search results from queries of the Cds can be exported to separate files in Dbase, Lotus, Excel or any fixed like text format. Also, each record in a user file can be matched by main latitude and longitude coordinates to the census tract and block group level.
  • new Census Tract Street Index expected out early 1998 with new windows version software and updated street addresses.
  • first data set from the American Community Survey due out in mid-March on CD-ROM and will include a software package called Beyond 2000 which allows for viewing, charting and mapping of data. The ACS is a new survey which collects information similar to that found in the decennial census, except that this data allow users to see updated data every year for small areas of geography. It is a sample of households and annual averages are developed. The survey was first conducted at 4 sites in 1995 and the data sets from 1995 are currently available at the Census web site along with a fuller explanation of the ACS. More sites will be added in years to come as the ACS is expanded.
  • 1994-95 County Business Patterns CD-ROM and Business Patterns CD-ROM for zip codes due out in Spring 1998.
  • Statistical Abstract CD-ROM due in February from the manufacturer. New features include links for every federal government table in the abstract to the respective agency web site. (The 1996 CD only had links to the Census web site.) The Internet version of the Statistical Abstract, with adobe acrobat files, is now available on GPO Access.
  • Print version of new State and Metropolitan Area Data Book due out in Spring 1998, with a companion CD-ROM containing more data released shortly thereafter.
  • USA Counties CD-ROM due out in late Spring.

    1997 ECONOMIC CENSUS:

    Data will be published primarily on the basis of the new North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). This new 6 digit coding system reflects the many changes that have occurred in our country as we have from a manufacturing to a service economy. A limited amount of data from the 1997 Economic Census will be published according to the old SIC system. In the year 2000, a detailed bridge table showing the relationship between SIC and NAICS categories will be issued as well as state level statistics based on the SIC. That will come after publication of the geographic area data according to the NAICS.

    In general there will be fewer printed reports from the Economic Census. Census results will become available on the Internet, allowing for faster data release than ever before. Users will also have the ability to print on demand both from the Internet and CD-ROMs. There will be one new report--"Core Business Statistics"--to provide in one report the standard data items from all Economic Censuses.

    CENSUS 2000 - DADS:

    DADS is the internet based system for delivering the Census 2000 and eventually other Census Bureau data through the Internet. Prototype 2 of DADS will begin beta testing in late January and several depository librarians have volunteered to help test the system. Eventually DADS will allow one to specify geography and then view all the Census Bureau information available for that area. Given the anticipated capability of DADS there will be fewer standard products for the 2000 Census, and fewer printed reports and CD-ROMs. It is not known at this point what those products will be, but the proposal should be posted on the Census web site in late January. There will be ample time to comment on this proposal.

    Gil Baldwin, Chief of the Library Division, Library Programs Service (LPS), began by talking about the transition to electronic information dissemination and how in the coming years this transition will be done consistent with the needs of users and the intended usage. He then highlighted LPS transition activities. For more detail, see the LPS 1997 annual report at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/dpos/97lpsar.html or the January 15, 1998 Administrative Notes.

    This is the third year of the LPS' Electronic Transition Staff (ETS). ETS gets high marks so GPO is looking for two more "transition experts." Contact them if you are interested.

    GPO is putting a great deal of emphasis on permanent public access. One of the key developments of FY 1997 is the "collection management" concept for GPO Access, which establishes that GPO will manage the various electronic Government information products made permanently accessible via GPO Access as a library-like collection. They are building the FDLP Electronic Collection using GPO resources, and coordinating permanent access through a distributed networked system of GPO and partner institution resources. Government electronic information products in the FDLP Electronic Collection will be managed using many familiar library collection management policies and techniques, such as selection, acquisition, bibliographic control, access, organization, maintenance, deselection, and preservation for access.

    Baldwin expects to soon have a draft Collection Management Plan out for public review and comment. It will include the following main points:

  • We believe the Collection Management Plan will enable GPO to accomplish the permanent access mission by providing a policy framework through which the collection of resources is developed and maintained, and defines the parameters and requirements for the electronic products and services that constitute the Collection.

  • The underlying goals of the plan are: 1) the Plan should facilitate partnerships between the Government and the FDLP libraries; 2) planning and effective use of GPO's appropriated funds require that Collection activities focus on depository access and depository users as a definable and know entity; and 3) cost of permanent access to electronic Government information products should be borne by the Government and not by the end user.

  • The Collection Plan will guide GPO in executing its permanent access responsibility for Government information products such as the Federal Register and Congressional Record.

  • This Plan defines the parameters and requirements for the electronic products and services that constitute the Collection.

  • By sharing the burden of storage and maintenance, GPO safeguards the continuing availability and accessibility of electronic Government information products included in the Collection.

  • Although this Plan may eventually be extended to provide for the preservation of and permanent access to information dissemination via the FDLP in CD-ROM and other tangible electronic mediums, the near-term scope of the Plan is focussed upon Government information disseminated via the Internet.

  • The primary user community for the Collection are those end users gaining access to the Collection through the facilities and resources of the FDLP.

  • Products in the Collection will be selected and acquired under policies and procedures that encourage and facilitate the sharing of resources.
  • Outreach to Federal agencies concerning the issue of permanent access and the role of the Collection, including partnerships, will be integrated into a larger GPO effort now underway to increase agencies' awareness of the scope and value of GPO information replication and dissemination services.

  • GPO is responsible for providing various locator services for a broad range of Government information products. Since data, text, and description are inextricably linked in the electronic world, the Collection will employ appropriate technology and practices to assure a level of control and access that meets or exceeds traditional expectations.

  • A primary goal is to assure that access to and retrieval of Government information products is available to a broad spectrum of users who possess a wide range of technical capabilities. Users must also be able to access and retrieve Government information products through public access workstations available at Federal depository libraries.

  • Government information products that may be included as part of the Collection and maintained for permanent access at GPO or through FDLP partners in a variety of media and formats. Whenever feasible and cost-effective, GPO will provide a text-only interface for Government information products made available through its on-site servers. This will allow GPO to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and will also ensure access to users with limited technological and communication capability.

  • The partnerships concept is one of the cornerstones of the Collection Plan. We envision partner institutions as agents that will share the tasks of building, storing, disseminating, and preserving the Collection.

    GPO's efforts to coordinate the development of the Collection are intended to complement the strategic goal of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to provide the public with ready access to the essential evidence of our Government. GPO's coordination of the FDLP Electronic Collection is not intended to impinge upon NARA's mission with regard to the permanent preservation of Federal records. There are several fundamental differences in what is collected and maintained by NARA and GPO:

    1. the GPO Collection is not comprised of the record copies of electronic products. Rather the Collection consists of copies maintained by GPO or its partners for the convenience of reference. Inclusion of an agency electronic information product in the Collection is in no way intended to be a substitute for the agency's disposition of that product to NARA in accordance with a records schedule.
    2. the content of the Collection is significantly narrower in scope than the full range of Federal records, which is properly the purview of NARA. Content of the Collection is limited to digital publications which fall within the scope of the FDLP.
    3. NARA intends to maintain electronic records in the format which represents the manner in which they were originally issued. GPO, however, will take steps to migrate the content or refresh the operating software as necessary to ensure that the content is readily accessible to a broad spectrum of users.
    One manifestation of the collection concept is a digital collection on GPO Access known as the "Core Documents of U.S. Democracy: An Electronic Collection." This Web-based collection went live last June.

    GPO is developing a searchable WAIS database for Supreme Court opinions that are part of the Project Hermes initiative. Project Hermes encompasses the time period from 1992 to present. Until now, this information has only been available through a browseable index on the Federal Bulletin Board (FBB), in either Word Perfect 5.1 or ASCII text format. Beginning in the 1997/98 term, these files will be available on the FBB in Adobe Acrobat Portable Document Format (PDF) and tagged ASCII format.

    We are also working on a WAIS application, so users will be able to perform full-text searches and retrievals of this information, including multiple field searching. GPO expects to be able to provide some specific features for this application, including a field for conducting a full-text search; and the ability to search by case name; citation number; year; justice's name; and docket number.

    As a future add-on application, we would like to provide users with the ability to search by court name. Search results will be displayed with an ASCII, PDF or Summary option. It is anticipated that this database will be available to users in this spring.

    Sandy Schwalb, Electronic Transition Staff, gave an update on the various partnerships and projects GPO has undertaken to ensure a more electronically-based FDLP.

  • After months of negotiations, GPO, the National Library of Education (NLE) and OCLC will be working together to make public domain reports from the Education Resources Information Clearinghouse (ERIC) available online through the FDLP. The FDLP/ERIC Digital Library Pilot Project is initially scheduled to run through 1998 and will provide the participants with valuable information on managing a large, high demand collection in electronic format. Reports from January 1997 forward will be converted to TIFF image format and stored at OCLC, with access available through OCLC 's First Search. Up to 250 new reports are expected to be added each month. This project should help GPO to gain insights on user behavior, different interfaces, and possibly on the impact on sales of products when there is a no-fee electronic dissemination channel.

  • Wichita State University is partnering with LPS to make the Documents Data Miner (DDM) a collection management tool, available for use by depositories. The DDM search engine features a field searchable current List of Classes and Discontinued List, complete depository profiles and union lists an electronic rolodex for all depository libraries and support for creation of in-house relational databases.

  • ETS is currently working with the University of Illinois-Chicago on a draft memo of understanding on a partnership arrangement to make the electronic Government information products from the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) legacy collection permanently accessible under the auspices of the FDLP. Although the OTA files have been available from various sites, GPO and UIC will now assure permanent accessibility under this agreement.

  • Preliminary conversations have begun with STAT-USA about permanent accessibility issues for some of the data in their product and GPO has a potential university partner waiting in the wings.

  • Work on web-based projects continues, such as askLPS, the item selection update process, and an LPS Virtual Web tour. The Pathway Browse Topics service is being enhanced and expanded with the assistance of many depository librarians. At the current time, 33 topic areas that have been developed and kept up-to-date by 29 volunteers.

    The U.S. Information Agency (USIA) is working with the Corporation for National Research Initiatives (CNRI) to provide access and authentication to online foreign affairs documents governmentwide; currently referred to as the Foreign Affairs Documentation Center (FADC). ETS staff have been attending planning meetings and providing input and expertise while looking at ways in which this centralized registry could benefit the FDLP.

    In December 1997, an historic Interagency Agreement (IA) was signed between the NTIS and LPS to establish a pilot project through which NTIS will furnish U.S. government information products in electronic image format to the FDLP. In order to assure free public access to these products, GPO and NTIS have agreed that products delivered under this agreement will be subject to the rules surrounding the use and accessibility of material in the depository program.

    This pilot project should provide both GPO and NTIS with practical experience in the delivery of documents in electronic image format to depository libraries. Under the agreement, FDLP libraries and users will identify and request documents in image format using NTIS' OrderNow Online and NTIS' 10-year title file. The range of documents included in the project is expanding now that NTIS has begun to scan incoming documents or as documents in electronic image format are received by NTIS from the originating agencies. The additional products available through the project will be documents from a variety of agencies numbered in the "PB" series.

    NTIS has been working with Linda Kennedy and the University of California - Davis on the initial phase of this pilot project. Now that an agreement has been officially struck, NTIS would like to work with one additional, high-end library for the short term. Duncan Aldrich of the University of Nevada-Reno has graciously agreed to be the next test site for NTIS. The long-term pilot is envisioned to eventually include up to 20 libraries, ranging from higher-end academic/research institutions to small libraries that have an interest in this material, but might not have high-tech equipment. This will help NTIS determine what technical specifications libraries should have in order to access these electronic image files.

    Lastly, GPO has signed an IA with the Department of Energy (DOE) that will provide GPO, depository libraries and the public with access to DOE reports in electronic image format. Under this IA, FDLP libraries and users will enter the DOE electronic dissemination system, called, "Information Bridge," through GPO Access. This gateway will provide a public view to the DOE reports. A roll-out of the depository library version of "Information Bridge" is expected to occur during the April depository meeting to be held in Washington, DC.

    TC Evans, Office of Electronic Information Dissemination Services, gave an update on the current and future state of GPO Access. The Biennial Report to Congress on the Status of GPO Access, as required by legislation, was recently completed and sent to Congress. [Note: it is currently available on GPO Access in various file formats.]

    Over the 22-month period from January 1996 through October 1997, searches on GPO Access have increased by almost 1,200 percent, and document retrievals have grown by more than 300 percent. In October 1997, more than 8 million documents were downloaded from GPO Access. Planning efforts are well underway to continue increasing system capacity to provide proper response times to users as this growth continues.

    The Code of Federal Regulations has now become the most popular database, followed by the Federal Register, and then Commerce Business Daily.

    Results of the GPO Access survey of Federal depository libraries reflected positively on the progress that GPO is making and provided insight into areas that deserve increased attention. Approximately 87 percent of the respondents indicated that GPO Access provided users with the information that they were looking for. Over 98 percent indicated satisfaction with the timeliness of the information they were seeking from GPO Access. Ratings for GPO Access user support were also encouraging. Decidedly favorable results were obtained in the areas of the product knowledge of the GPO Access User Support Team, the timeliness and accuracy of their responses to user inquiries, and their ability to resolve complaints. A similar survey in now underway for all users.

    Recent additions to GPO Access include:

  • the 1997 Statistical Abstract. Each section is available as a separate PDF file.
  • an online edition of the current Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents. Prior years are being added to the database as well.
  • browseable indexes for a number of important databases with additional indexes to be provided in the future.
  • two new agency web pages - the National Bankruptcy Review Commission and the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

    Work is under way to add more content to GPO Access and to refine access to the materials already provided. Some key examples of current efforts are:

  • An increasing number of congressional committees are requesting that their hearings be posted on GPO Access. A study is underway to determine the best user interface to provide a central means of accessing these important documents.
  • Work is proceeding on creating a site search application for the GPO Access Web site.
  • Development is ongoing to utilize OpenText for GPO Access. The first application to make use of this will be a new database of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission decisions. This new application should be released sometime in the Spring.

    Robin Haun-Mohamed spoke at the FDTF Work Group session, giving an update on a number of new products available through the FDLP. They include:

  • the Environmental Health Information Service (EHIS) - a subscription service established by NIEHS. Depository libraries are being provided one free subscription to this service which includes online access to Environmental Health Perspectives and Supplements, National Toxicology Technical Reports, and access to the Historical Control Database.
  • copies of the US Industry and Trade Outlook, 1998 were distributed in November. This title replaces the Industrial Outlook, last published in 1994.
  • the North American Industry Classification System manual is not complete yet, but will be sent to depositories when it is. Please retain the 1987 SIC Manual since the new system will not be in effect for several years.
  • USAMARK: Facsimile Images of Registered United States Trademarks is a new Cassis CD-ROM product with facsimile images of US registered trademarks from 1884 to present. Depository libraries, including regionals, will be surveyed in February about this title.
  • Daily Treasury Statements (DTS) are now being uploaded on a daily basis to the Federal Bulletin Board (FBB). At this time, libraries will continue to receive the DTS in paper format.
  • LPS has postponed the discontinuation of any microfiche titles (that were available via an online web site) pending further development of guidelines for such action.
  • Union List of Item Selections, previously produced and distributed in microfiche, is now available on the FBB. The Dec 1997 issue will be the last one produced in microfiche.
  • askLPS is still in a testing phase, but should be ready in the near future.

    Other announcements:

  • Depository libraries will continue to receive the bound Serial Set through the 104th Congress (assuming you already selected that item number.)
  • the US Fax Watch System had hardware problems and crashed in late November. Hardware is repaired, some of the information on the system was lost. Staff are working to rebuild the system and hope to have it available again soon.
  • in October, LPS, in coordination with partners at UTA and SUNY-Buffalo, took steps to develop an archive for all shipping list files loaded onto the FBB for all formats of publications.
  • LPS is working to bring National Imagery and Mapping Agency products back into GPO for distribution.
  • over 90% of the microfiche distributed to depositories is done via one of the 15 full-service microfiche contracts. Please let LPS know when you are experiencing problems with microfiche deliveries. LPS is aware of the problems with Wilkins Systems.
  • the paper version of the 1996 World Factbook did not get order for depository distribution. Libraries do have the 1996 Factbook in CD-ROM. Both the paper and CD-ROM versions of the 1997 Factbook have been ordered for depository distribution.
  • EEOC decisions are no longer coming in microfiche format; GPO is working to get the decisions onto a web accessible database.

    Now that you have all the GPO and agency updates, it is time for an update on GODORT activities.

    A public hearing and open forum was held to discuss the proposal to merge with the Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASCLA) and the Independent Librarians Exchange Round Table (ILERT). Much of the material distributed during the meeting can be found on the GODORT web site http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/GODORT/ Please take the time to read this information! It was decided that a special ballot would go out to GODORT members between July 15-30, 1998 asking if GODORT should merge with ASCLA and ILERT. It was thought that the vote on the proposed merger should be done after we know the results of the ballot to give ALA Council representation to the various Round Tables.

    Odds and Ends:

  • GODORT/MAGERT Hotel for the 1998 ALA annual conference is the St. James Suites, 950 24th St, NW. Single and double room rates are $125/night. Call 800-852-8512 and ask for the GODORT rate.
  • we should start to see DTTP being published on schedule and the back issues arriving in the near future.
  • GODORT will be looking for a website administrator - watch for the position announcement on GOVDOC-L if you are interested.
  • there were preliminary discussions on a possible dues increase since GODORT's expenditures are larger than its revenues.
  • IDTF is doing a preconference June 25th on "International Organization Information for the 21st Century." Registration fee will be $50.
  • Two resolutions were forwarded to ALA Council - one relating to the continuation of the Area Handbook series, the other, asking that Congressional Research Service reports and information products be distributed to depository libraries and made available on the Internet.
  • the Rare and Endangered Government Documents Committee is sponsoring a program at annual titled "Preserving Our Nation's Heritage, How do we Protect Our Government Publications?"

    Since this report is already way too long, I will stop now. As always, please feel free to contact me for further information at mailto:set7c@virginia.edu. Susan Tulis, GOVDOC-L, January 26, 1998.

    Back to table of contents


    (2) PLA IRS Advisory Committee Report

    On Friday, January 9, 1998, the Public Library Association's Internal Revenue Service Advisory Committee met with seven high-level IRS folks to discuss problems with the distribution of tax forms to libraries. GODORT member Roberta Palen is a member of the Committee and I attended as GODORT/FDTF liaison. Some of our concerns are listed below. If you have other complaints or comments, please specify them in an e-mail message to me, and I'll pass them on to the IRS folks.

    1. libraries having a specific contact and the local IRS office.
    2. send IRS newsletters and announcements to the person at the library who is in charge of IRS tax forms rather than sending it to the library director.
    3. consider legislation to require post offices to distribute tax forms.
    4. provide more user aids. Most important is that to include a simple chart about who should use 1040, who should use 1040A, and who should use 1040EZ (include ALL THREE on the chart) and put the chart on the same page of 1040, 1040A, and 1040EZ instructions (somewhere close to the front of the booklet, like p. 3)
    5. include as entries in all indexes to publications the title by which people commonly refer to different publications.
    6. in forms sent to libraries, have a box where libraries can check off if they need assistance from volunteers to restock forms in the public areas (mainly for libraries distributing a large volume of forms).
    7. the IRS should take initiative to provide volunteer support in libraries that distribute a high-volume of forms, regardless of whether the library has asked for support.
    8. An IRS employee should monitor library discussion lists and the PLA and GODORT should assign someone to monitor the IRS discussion list.
    9. Standardize aspects of loading the IRS forms compact-disc, so that the library doesn't need to have a really experienced technology expert in order to load the CD.
    10. Develop a pamphlet that answers basic questions that librarians may have about the BPOL program.
    11. IRS should start an e-mail list to send out late-breaking information to librarians.
    12. when persuading post offices to join BPOL, focus on post offices in larger areas that do not have a local IRS office, so that the library is not overwhelmed with requests.
    13. stagger the shipmentsand delivery of forms to high-volume libraries, so that they don't have to take up so much scarce storage space.
    I have appointed as a second GODORT/FDTF liaison: Michele T. McKnelly, Government Documents Dept., Chalmer Davee Library, University of Wisconsin-River Falls, River Falls, WI 54022; phone: (715) 425-3874, fax: (715) 425-3590, e-mail: Michele.McKnelly@UWRF.edu Source: Larry Romans, FDTF Co-ordinator, GODORT, and Political Science Bibliographer and Head, Government Information Services, Central Library, Vanderbilt University, 419 - 21st Ave. South, Nashville TN 37240-0007; phone: (615) 322-2838; fax: (615) 343-7451; e-mail (office): ROMANS@LIBRARY.VANDERBILT.EDU or e-mail (home): romans@ibm.net. Posted to GOVDOC-L, January 22, 1998.

    Back to table of contents


    (3) NARA Launches New Records Web Site

    Agency Records Disposition Online Resource Web Page
    http://www.nara.gov/records/ardor
    http://ardor.nara.gov/

    The National Archives and Records Administration has made public its prototype of a World Wide Web page that describes federal agencies' records and their plans for preserving them.

    Although the application, called the Agency Records Disposition Online Resource (ARDOR), is designed primarily as a reference tool for government records managers, NARA officials and government watchdog groups said it could potentially help citizens who are trying to find agency information. For the past year the site was restricted to federal agency use only, but NARA made it publicly accessible late last month.

    William LeFurgy, chief of the archival services branch at NARA's Center for Electronic Records, said ARDOR represents a step toward his agency's goal of obtaining and reviewing federal records information electronically. Ultimately, LeFurgy said, agencies would submit their records-retention schedules -- descriptions of their files and how long they plan to keep them -- to NARA online, and this information would be maintained electronically.

    Some agencies already maintain their records schedules electronically for internal and public use, but they submit this information to NARA most frequently on paper. NARA maintains this data -- the equivalent of 28 file drawers -- on microfiche, which makes it difficult for anyone to look up the information they want, LeFurgy said. ''For the first time, [ARDOR] lets someone from the public or an agency to get an overview of what exists'' by, for example, searching the online files by keyword.

    ''I think it will be useful for agency records administrators in seeing what has been approved by NARA for other agencies for similar type records,'' said Edward Arnold, who is in charge of records management policy for the Army.

    Irving Wilson, records officer with the Treasury Department, said he has already used ARDOR to retrieve information he needed about an agency records schedule when he could not reach a colleague on the phone.

    To date, 39 agencies have provided copies of their records schedules to ARDOR, but those submissions are not necessarily current or complete. LeFurgy said NARA will not require anyone to participate in the system and that his agency does not have a timetable for accepting records schedules online routinely.

    Michael Tankersley, senior staff attorney with the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen and a frequent NARA critic, said he thinks NARA is ''ambivalent about their commitment to this as a resource.'' He said ARDOR would be most useful to the public if it includes a complete, current listing of agency records schedules.

    ''Over time, all agencies are going to have their records manuals in electronic form even if it's just by virtue of the fact they have to update that information for their employees,'' he said. ''NARA ought be making sure they get those documents.''

    Arnold thinks ARDOR may not be as useful to the general public as it could be to agency Freedom of Information Act officers who have to find records that the public requests. By consulting a list of records schedules online, ''they'll know more quickly whether they need to do more looking around'' to find the information that requesters want, he said.

    Source: Elana Varon, e.varon@erols.com, FCW Government Technology Group. Posted by Michael Tankersley, Public Citizen Litigation Group, 1600 20th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20009; e-mail: tankers@citizen.org. Reposted by Raeann Dossett, GOVDOC-L, January 21, 1998.

    Back to table of contents


    (4) Congressional Research Service's Products on the Internet?

    On January 28 Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and Representative Christopher Shays (R-CT) introduced S 1578 and HR 3131, bills to provide the public with access to the Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports and products on the Internet at no cost. A division of the Library of Congress, CRS will receive nearly $65 million this year to provide information and detailed analysis to members of Congress and to produce Reports, Issue Briefs, and Authorization and Appropriations products. Currently, Members of Congress are permitted to provide constituents with reports upon requests. Under the legislation the Director of CRS will post the CRS products on a web site; however, to protect CRS staff time, McCain has emphasized that CRS staff will not be available to the public to answer questions about the reports. The bill also gives the Director of CRS authority to withhold information that is determined to be confidential. Additionally there will be a 90 day delay between the release of CRS material to Members of Congress and the release to the public on the web site.

    In introducing the bill McCain noted the high quality of CRS products which are widely recognized as unbiased, concise and accurate. "Public access to these CRS products will mark," he said "an important milestone in opening up the federal government." Because constituents will be able to see the research documents which influence Members of Congress' decisions, the public will have an opportunity to gain a more accurate view of the Congressional decision-making process. It is McCain's hope that as the public understands the trade-offs and factors considered by Members that this will assist in countering the prevailing cynical view of Members selling their votes to the highest campaign contributor.

    Source: Page Putnam Miller, Director of the National Coordinating Committee for the Promotion of History pagem@capaccess.org NCC Washington Update, vol. 4, # 2, January 29, 1998. Note: A complete backfile of NCC Washington Updates is maintained by H-Net at http://h-net.msu.edu/~ncc/.

    Back to table of contents


    (5) Census 2000 Developments

    The Census 2000 Initiative hosted a send-off reception for outgoing Census Bureau Director Martha ("Marty") Farnsworth Riche on Tuesday, February 3 at the American Association for the Advancement of Science headquarters.

    In a January 17 editorial, The New York Times said that Dr. Riche's departure "does not bode well for hopes that the 2000 census will be more accurate than the flawed effort in 1990." Riche's resignation received widespread media coverage, including a story on the front page of the Los Angeles Times.

    Possible Legal Actions

    The Southeastern Legal Foundation has announced that it plans to file a lawsuit on February 3, challenging the constitutionality and legality of sampling and statistical methods in the census. The Foundation is described by Roll Call, a Capitol Hill newspaper, as an Atlanta-based "conservative" legal advocacy group. It is unclear who will be named as the plaintiffs in the suit, or where the case will be filed.

    On a separate legal track, House Speaker Newt Gingrich plans to contract with the Los Angeles-based law firm of Latham & Watkins, one of the largest firms in the country, to represent him in his lawsuit against the use of sampling in the census. The agreement between congressional Republican leaders and the Administration last fall, which cleared the way for final action on the Census Bureau's funding bill, authorized the Speaker to file such a lawsuit with the help of the House Counsel, who in turn may contract for outside legal assistance. The Speaker's suit will be paid for with public funds.

    With the January 25 deadline in sight, both the White House and congressional Republican leaders are expected to announce their appointments to the new Census Monitoring Board in the near future. Both sides are said to be narrowing their lists of candidates; the White House has the added administrative burden of performing background checks on the President's appointees, which could cause it to miss the deadline.

    Questions about the information contained in this News Alert may be directed to TerriAnn Lowenthal at (202) 434-8756 or, by e-mail, at TerriAnnL@aol.com. Please feel free to circulate this information to colleagues and other interested individuals.

    Posted to GOVDOC-L on January 23, 1998 by: Julia F. Wallace, Government Publications Library, 10 Wilson Library, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455-0414; e-mail: j-wall@tc.umn.edu; phone: (612) 626-7520; fax: (612) 626-9353.

    Back to table of contents


    (6) National Trade Data Bank Redesign Underway

    During the month of January, STAT-USA will begin discussion and planning for a third generation NTDB CD-ROM. The current Windows NTDB CD-ROM has not lived up to expectations and still contains annoying errors. Moreover, the collection has grown so large that it is difficult to find all relevant information. It is time to think about the next step. Since the depository library community is such a large base of users of this CD ROM, STAT-USA would like your input into our planning process and I encourage you to send me e-mail with suggestions.

    Here are a few ideas we are considering.

    1. Separate export and import statistics from text data. We are working with the Census Foreign Trade Division to develop new Import/Export CD-ROMs that utilize a new software product specifically designed to display and provide some manipulation of numeric data. We have a prototype CD now and are considering debuting this product in March, 1998 in time for the annual 1997 summary.

    2. STAT-USA/Internet is our most complete collection of data. For future purposes, we will consider it to contain the complete NTDB information collection.

    3. Abandon distributing the complete NTDB every month on CD-ROM. Our current strategy uses the kitchen sink model, i.e., throwing every piece of data possible into the data bank. We have concluded that this approach may not be the best method to deliver relevant information to our customers.

    4. Remake the monthly CD-ROM using a thematic or magazine model which may focus on different countries and/or industries each month.

    5. The CD-ROM will only contain new or updated information. The complete NTDB archive will be available via Internet.

    6. Link the CD-ROM data base to the Internet data base using software such as WebCD.

    7. Develop a comprehensive content index and complete attribution of each document.
    Many of you have given us good ideas in the past. This is your opportunity to help us starting at the ground floor. Our goal is to deliver a product that I appreciate and thank you for your contributions. Please send them directly to me at krogers@doc.gov.

    Posted to GOVDOC-L, December 30, 1997, by Ken Rogers, Director, STAT-USA; telephone: (202) 482-1405; fax: (202) 482-2164.

    Back to table of contents


    (7) Feds Make Web Child's Play

    Your nine-year-old can navigate the ocean of information on the World Wide Web like a veteran Navy captain. You, on the other hand, can barely get your ship out of dock. But now's your chance to show your kid you're not a complete landlubber.

    In April, President Clinton ordered agencies to cast out to the Internet sea and put educational resources online. Clinton ordered the Education Department to write up a navigation guide for parents who are trying to keep up with their kids. The guide is slated for release by the end of November. In the meantime, several agencies have anchored some educational--and fun--sites on the Web to which you can steer your kids and get ideas for your own agency's educational online outpost.

    The Environmental Protection Agency's Recycle City ( http://www.epa.gov/recyclecity/) is an island oasis of fun facts and games. You and your kid can rummage through "Dumptown" as you learn about the recycling process and about things your family can do to be less wasteful. Bill Glenn, Recycle City's manager (and the EPA's San Francisco office Internet coordinator) says the idea for the town came from a "Recycle City" poster his office produced.

    "It occurred to me in early 1995 that by creating a Web version of Recycle City, we could make it far more interactive and expand upon the information offered in a way that we couldn't on a sheet of paper," Glenn says. "The Web also allows us to reach classrooms around the world 24 hours a day--and to update our material almost instantaneously--without the cost or limitations on distribution that accompany printed materials."

    At NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, kids can check out images of the Earth captured by KidSat (http://kidsat.jpl.nasa.gov), a program in which middle school students control cameras in space. The photo gallery has some pictures from a birds-eye view that will impress the young ones.

    The U.S. Geological Survey's Learning Web (http://www.usgs.gov/education) links up to numerous educational activities, including "Ask a Geologist," in which kids can email questions to USGS scientists.

    On the Treasury Department's Kids Page ( http://www.ustreas.gov/treasury/kids), children click on the paw prints of "Trez the Alley Cat" to get information on money, savings bonds, and a history of the department (where Trez falls asleep).

    Trez's next-door neighbor, Socks the Cat, guides youngsters through the White House for Kids site (http://www.whitehouse.gov/WH/kids/html). The First Cat takes visitors on a White House tour and introduces them to the rest of the first family.

    If your kid is still unimpressed with your Web sailing skills after all that, drop anchor at the Navy's USS Constitution Web page (http://www.ncts.navy.mil/homepages/constitution) and abandon ship.

    Source: Brian Friel, e-mail: bfriel@govexec.com, GovExec.Com, October 1, 1997. Permission to reprint came from Tom Shoop, Executive Editor, Government Executive Magazine, e-mail: tshoop@govexec.com, February 2, 1998.

    For even more examples, take a look at Uncle Sam's The Feds Go to School, compiled and maintained by the Government Publications Department, Regional Depository Library, The University of Memphis.

    Back to table of contents


    (8) Next Entry

    Pointers
  • 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
    Social Sciences and Humanities Reference
    Michigan State University Libraries
    100 Library
    E. Lansing, MI 48824-1048
    Voice mail: (517) 432-6123, ext. 123
    Last revised 01/29/98

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