JUNE 1998

Table of Contents

  1. Madison Award Winners Announced
  2. Inter-Association Working Group Submits Legislative Proposal to Congress
  3. A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation
  4. CIC Supports GITCO CD-ROM Project
  5. GPO MARC Internet Resources (GMIR) Available at BDLD
  6. Impressions from a First Time Attendee (Margo Parmenter Zieske)
  7. Title 44 Reform (IAWG Update)
  8. 1998 DLC and FDC Conference Highlights by Susan Tulis
  9. Census 2000 Updates

(1) Madison Award Winners Announced

Journalist Ben Bagdikian, former Superintendent of Documents Wayne Kelley, federal computer specialist Eliot Christian and the U.S. Geological Survey, and the National Library of Medicine were the recipients of the 1998 James Madison Award, sponsored by the Coalition on Government Information. The coalition, founded by the American Library Association (ALA), presented the awards on March 16 at a reception at the Library of Congress.

"These awards honor the unique and valued contributions that each of the recipients has achieved in furthering the public's right to know," said Daniel O'Mahony, chair of the coalition and Brown University librarian. Named for President James Madison, the awards are presented annually on the anniversary of his birth, Freedom of Information Day.

Ben Bagdikian, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, has cast a critical eye on the media and government as he has exposed the dangers that exist to the public's most basic rights to information. His work is a telling reminder of the need for full discourse in a democratic society and the fundamental responsibility of government to provide people with the information they need to make intelligent decisions that affect their lives.

Wayne Kelley retired in 1997 after serving as the Superintendent of Documents since 1991. Kelley oversaw the Federal Depository Library Program, a program that provides public access to millions of federal publications through the nation's network of depository libraries. Prior to joining the federal government, Kelley was a publisher at Congressional Quarterly and a journalist with more than 30 years of newspaper editing and reporting experience. Throughout his career, Kelley has been a strong promoter of access to government documents and a defender of the public's right to access government information.

Eliot Christian's personal vision of a Government Information Locator Service (GILS) has become a reality in the federal government and has developed into a model standard for state and foreign governments. His commitment to the GILS concept has provided a framework to assist the public in locating and using government information. As a result of his hard work and the support of the U.S. Geological Survey, GILS has swept far beyond the borders of the United States, providing developing countries with a democratic model of public access to government information.

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) is being recognized for its decision to provide free Internet access to MEDLINE, the largest and most extensive database of published medical information, and PubMed, a service that links users from the abstract to the full text of an article. As NLM Director Donald A.B. Lindberg, M.D., stated when announcing this policy change, "Citizens are increasingly turning to the Web as a source of information to improve their daily lives, including their health. So it is vital that they, and the health professionals who serve them, have access to the most current and credible medical information."

The Coalition on Government Information was founded in 1986 by the American Library Association. The 50-member coalition includes diverse groups who share Madison's commitment to open public access to government information. Member organizations include the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Society of Journalists and Authors, the National Education Association, the National Security Archive, the American Physical Society, and many others.

Source: ALAWON, Vol. 7, No. 26, March 16, 1998.

Back to table of contents

(2) Inter-Association Working Group Submits Legislative Proposal to Congress

The Inter-Association Working Group on Government Information Policy (IAWG) has submitted a March 1998 revised legislative proposal to Congress to revise Chapter 19 of Title 44 of the U.S. Code, the law that governs public printing, procurement and the Federal Depository Library Program. Copies of the IAWG legislative proposal and issue briefs, as well as other information about the IAWG and its activities are available at

The latest revision focuses on the library community's three key goals for reforming the law:

  1. Enhancing public access to government information in all formats from all three branches of government;
  2. Strengthening the Federal Depository Library Program to improve public access to government information; and
  3. Ensuring the public has continuous and permanent access to electronic government information.
The IAWG and its member organizations -- American Library Association, its divisions and roundtables; American Association of Law Libraries; Association of Research Libraries; Chief Officers of State Library Agencies; Medical Library Association; Special Libraries Association; Urban Libraries Council -- strongly believe that it is imperative that legislation to reform Title 44 be enacted during the 105th Congress. The present legal framework does not adequately address the new challenges of electronic government information.

For example, no entity in the federal government currently has responsibility for capturing and providing ongoing public access to electronic files available on agency web sites. In addition, agency printing practices have shown a tendency towards increased non-compliance with Title 44 requirements, resulting in fugitive publications that are not included in the Federal Depository Library Program. Without needed reforms, the public will be increasingly denied access to the government information they need to make informed decisions.

Established by ALA in February 1997, the IAWG has been working with members of Congress and their staff, other government representatives, the library community, the public interest community, and other interested constituencies to find common ground in enacting legislation that will improve public access to government information. For more information about the work of the IAWG, contact Daniel O'Mahony, IAWG chair and member of ALA's Committee on Legislation, at 401-863-2522, or email

Source: ALAWON, Vol. 7, No. 26, March 16, 1998.

Back to table of contents

(3) A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation

The Library of Congress National Digital Library Program and the Law Library of Congress announce the online publication of the first part of "A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation: U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates, 1774-1873" as part of the American Memory Collections of the Library of Congress. The URL address is

This first release includes the records of the First and Second Congresses, 1789-1793: the House and Senate Journals, the Senate Executive Journal, the Annals of Congress, and the Journal of William Maclay, Senator from Pennsylvania in the First Congress, approximately 4,400 pages in all. The Journals are available both as digital facsimile images and as searchable texts. The Annals of Congress are available as digital facsimile images accompanied by searchable page headings (subject terms) and indexes. Users will now have unprecedented access to these historic records for research in law, history, genealogy, and many other areas.

The Law Library of Congress houses one of the fullest collections of U.S. Congressional documents in their original format. In its final form "A Century of Lawmaking" will bring together online records from the Continental Congress through the Forty-second Congress, some 355,000 pages in all. Plans for the second online release include the Journals of the Continental Congress, the records of the Constitutional Convention, and the subsequent debates over the adoption of the Constitution. Further releases will bring the records of the U.S. Congress up to 1873, the year in which the Government Printing Office assumed the publication of the proceedings of Congress in the Congressional Record. In addition, the final collection will include the United States Statutes at Large from 1789 to 1873 and the American State Papers, 1789-1838, legislative and executive documents published by Congress.

For further information, contact Emily Lind Baker at .

Source: Jim Martin, Law Library, Library of Congress; telephone: (202) 707-5080; e-mail:, via GOVDOC-L, March 17, 1998.

Back to table of contents

(4) CIC Supports GITCO CD-ROM Project

Handling the hundreds of CD-ROMS being distributed by the federal government is one of the greatest challenges documents librarians face. That's the reason so many of us admire Rob Lopresti's visionary DocBase and the Government Information Technology Committee's efforts to create a data base of bibliographic, technical and user information.

The documents librarians of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (Big 10 schools plus the University of.Chicago and the University of Illinois, Chicago) resolved last year to support GITCO by converting to the web high priority technical documentation appearing on the CD-ROMS themselves. Before launching the project, we needed to know what was already available.

The initial phase is finally available on the web as:

CIC CD-ROM Technical Documentation Project

It consists of four files accessible from that page.

  1. A matrix of federal, commercial and international CD-ROM titles. The tabular format lists title and SUDOCS number when applicable, links to user guides, technical documentation, and the corresponding web version. The links to the user guides are being coordinated with the web version of the GODORT Handout Exchange. The column for UMich call numbers should be ignored by all but UMich staff. The matrix is considered a working document for the CIC but the information could be more generally applicable.

  2. National Educational Longitudinal Survey of 1988. Technical documentation.

  3. Income and Poverty: 1995. Technical documentation, including Cross Tab installation instructions.

  4. 1990 Census Public Use Microdata Samples - 5% Files. This includes Quick Tab instructions and the Public Use Microdata Areas (PUMAS) for all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Future documentation projects may include additional NCES CD-ROMs, selected 1990 Census Subject Summary Tape Files, and the definition of PUMS 1% PUMAS.

Were we to wait for perfection, no one would ever know about the project, so we're announcing this with an invitation to suggest corrections.

Source: Grace York, Coordinator, Documents Center, The University of Michigan Library, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1205; Phone: (734) 936-2378; Fax: (734) 764-0259; E-Mail:, via GOVDOC-L, April 15, 1998.

Back to table of contents

(5) GPO MARC Internet Resources (GMIR) Available at BDLD

The BDLD site at has added a new web reference publication - GPO MARC INTERNET RESOURCES (GMIR) - a collection of more than 3,200 abbreviated Marc records from GPO/CDS which contain 856 fields.

While GMIR may be used to access US government electronic resources directly (if the URL is correct), it purpose is to assist librarians and others who are faced with the task of trying to maintain URL links in their web-based OPACS. See the Introduction to GMIR which is reproduced below for more information.

Access to GMIR records is provided by SuDoc Class Number, Government Author, OCLC Number and URL.

GMIR can be accessed directly at

With GMIR's 4.7 megabytes of files, the entire BDLD site has now increased to more than 30 megabytes of FDLP administrative and bibliographic information. I sincerely thank Bob Stocker and the University of Denver Computer Technology Services for providing a home and for serving BDLD for the past two years.

Introduction to GMIR

GPO/LPS first started using the 856 Electronic Location and Access field in 1995. Since then more than 4,000 Marc records have been issued in the GPO-Marc series by the Library of Congress Cataloging Distribution Service.

Libraries implementing Web-based OPACs which make the URL links in the 856 field "live" have discovered that many of the links are no longer valid. Some libraries have started to implement procedures for URL maintenance, others are trying to work out their procedures, and still others have all of this before them. The absence of appropriate tools for libraries in the Federal Depository Library Program to assist in this process has prompted a new BDLD publication - GPO Marc Internet Resources (GMIR).

GPO Marc Internet Resources (GMIR), is an inventory of the more than 3,200 unique GPO Marc bibliographic records issued during the period January 1995 through the end of March, 1998. In cases where the record was issued more than once, the last use is used in GPO Marc Internet Resources.

The immediate purpose of GMIR is to provide some context for the rapidly increasing number of catalog records which, in all liklihood, will ultimately provide the greatest single source of library-maintained links or pointers to the electronic resources of the United States government.

GMIR is arranged like the BDLD List of Classes - by Superintendent of Documents class number. Records in GMIR are abbreviated to show the fields most associated with internet access. The following data elements are displayed if they exist in the original record:

Additionally, an InterCat/OCLC PURL Resolver (URL: type PURL (Persistent Uniform Resource Locator) has been added to the display. The 856 URL and the OCLC PURL are live-linked for purposes of link testing on the GMIR files and to provide electronic access if the URL is correct.

GPO/LPS' new PURL resolver entries (URL: ) are represented in the ititial version of GMIR by only three entries. As of May 9, 1998 more than 600 GPO PURLS had been created in this resolver. Future GPO-Marc records will carry PURLs linked to GPO/LPS resolver in lieu of actual URLs.

Access to records in GMIR is possible in a browse mode in the following ways:

GMIR is not meant to be an authority for "correct" URLs nor is it an alternative to GPO/LPS' Browse Titles pages. GMIR merely shows the URLs as distributed via GPO-Marc. This is an experimental publication with no regularity. If future verions are created, there may be changes in both scope and presentation. I hope librarians will find GPO-Marc Internet Resources useful, helpful, or at least, of interest.

Source: Tom Tyler, Associate Director for Budget & Technical Planning, University of Denver Library, Denver, CO 80208; e-mail:; telephone: (303) 871-3334; fax: (303) 871-3446. Posted to GOVDOC-L, May 12, 1998.

Back to table of contents

(6) Impressions from a First Time Attendee (Margo Parmenter Zieske):
1998 Federal Depository Council and Depository Library Conference

Going to a new place is both exciting and scarey. That's how I felt going into my first session on Monday morning, by Thursday morning I was sad to leave. I learned a lot, felt much, and look forward to returning. I always doubted the value of my attending this conference because we are a medium size public library system, definitely in the minority among depository sites. Now I see how valuable attending this conference was and urge each of you to consider attending next year.

What were they really like? I wanted to see what Robin Mauhamed-Haun looked like. I had an idea, I had envisioned her as a tall brunette with long hair. I was right about brunette and long, she is my height. Having read her email messages for two years I was not disappointed in how she conducted herself. She seems reliable and authoritative on the list serve, and even more so in person. Sheila McGarr was absolutly facinating. She handled all the SNAFUS with aplomb, and dignity, and a smile. Everyone turned to her for answers, the Council, the attendees, the staff, everyone was after her for something and she seems unflappable.

New Documents Librarians Orientation. Sheila conducted a session that used the questions of those present to spur discussion so everyone went away with their questions answered. I learned the difference betweeen E which is a cd rom product, and EL which is electronic online access. Multiple classes in one item number is not a priority at this time, but is something they recognize and would like to clean-up. The Superceeded List is being developed into a data base, no expected finish date. If possible FDLP would like us to go to an electronic check-in proceedure. Start the Self Study EARLY. CD's not mounted on a system are encouraged to be made available to check out. Promotion, do more. Not only am I responsible to promote docs to my system, but also to the entire Congressional District, what a challenge!

Documents Data Miner. The DDM was the new buzz word, the new electronic toy, the one thing I heard more about than any other single issue. It's good and I enjoyed hearing about it from the people who developed it. They recommend Netscape 3.0 or higher, and cookies turned on. Be sure to look at it under the tools icon from the FDLP page on the web. It claims to be fast and accurate. GPO data is loaded the first friday of each month. What I like is that I can see my profile and it will tell me how many items I get from each agency. I can immediately see the strengths of my collection, and I was surprized at the numbers from a few areas. This is still a work in progress and improving its usefulness is still a priority. It can be used in concert with Excel or MS Works.

Relationship Between Council and GPO. By the close of the conference it was clearly apparent that there is a great deal of respect and co-operation toward a common goal between these two bodies. All of the Council members appear to be issue-orientated and committed to making a good program better. There was a great deal of appreciation expressed from each side toward the other and I look for good things to come from future Councils, because our own Paula Kazmarak is joining their ranks.

GPO Access. The Support Team gets 6000 calls per month and trys to deal with each one in less than 24 hours turnaround time. New improvements are continually being added, and we can soon look up the CFR by both part and sub-part. History of Bills is updated daily online. The PDF format shows the inserted and deleted text of the bill. Good Advice: Think of what you do by hand to find the information, and then do it the same way on line. ( I'm working on this theory.)

SELF-STUDY. Start early. Develop a time line and establish deadlines for completing each section. Budget adequate time. Involve appropriate stakeholders: administration, support staff, reference department, and the regional librarian. Talk with everyone about it. Writing the self study is an exercise in technical writing, you might want to look at a book to get pointers, or even take a class to develop your style. Remember the primary audience for this report is the GPO Inspection Team. They recommend using Times New Roman font at size 12. Retain the questions in the report but make sure they stand out in contrast to your answers. Every yes or no answer must explain why. Answer every question, do not leave any blank. Use the Active voice. Be Honest. Explain local politics. Be consistent in terminology. The average is in the 20-25 page range. Make a copy for the Regional, and your file. To ensure peace of mind, used Certified Mail. Attach whatever may be useful, such as your Written Collection Development Policy, Map of the Library, Organizational Chart, Relevant pages from procedures manuals, Chamber of Commerce handouts, etc. Whew...I'm starting now!

Closing Morning: Chris Casey has written a book, The Hill on the Net, and updates it on his homepage at He was delightful and informative without too much techie talk. Get his book, what an interesting view of Congress. He shared some do's and don't about using email to contact congressmen. Grace York, from the University of Michigan, talked about the Documents page she oversees and some of it's ups and downs. She pointed out something that I recognized as ringing true in our library also -- The number of reference questions are down, because people are using the Net in a basic way to gather info, BUT the amount of time spent on each question has increased, because the really hard questions are those that still need the skill of the information professional. Be sure to take the credit for the fine job we all do to assist the public with their informational needs.

Well I came away loaded down with handouts, and have begun to sort them out. I could tell you more of the fun stuff, like meeting new people, finding out how they do it (then things don't seem so bad at your depository), interesting meals at unique restaurants.....and on, but plan to experience it, at least once, you'll want to come back. I know that I do. See you there.

Source: Margo Parmenter Zieske, Government Documents Librarian, Monroe County Library System, 3700 S. Custer Road, Monroe, MI 48161; telephone : (734) 241-5277; fax: (734) 242-9037; WATTS:1-800-462-2050; e-mail :

Back to table of contents

(7) Title 44 Reform (IAWG Update)

On Tuesday, May 5, hundreds of librarians will take part in ALA's Library Legislation Day by visiting the offices of their Members of Congress in Washington, DC. Among the messages librarians will be delivering is the need to reform Title 44 of the U.S. Code during the 105th Congress in order to improve public access to government information.

In summary, the message to Members of Congress at this time is:

For more information about the Inter-Association Working Group on Government Information Policy (IAWG) and activities relating to Title 44 reform, please see the IAWG website at

Source: Daniel O'Mahony, Chair, Inter-Association Working Group on Government Information Policy, Government Documents Coordinator, Brown University Library - Box A, Providence, RI 02912; e-mail:; phone: (401) 863-2522; fax: (401) 863-1272; GOVDOC-L, May 3, 1998.

Back to table of contents

(8) Ah - Spring in Washington DC!

1998 Depository Library Council & Federal Depository Conference Highlights (April 20-23, 1998)

by Susan Tulis

Once again, this meeting had an incredibly full agenda with lots of informative sessions and programs. I can summarize only the tip of the iceberg.

Public Printer Mike DiMario

As is traditionally, the conference began with welcoming remarks by Public Printer Mike DiMario. He expressed appreciation for the many participants and the fact that quite a number attend at their own expense. Rather than give his usual "state of the legislation," DiMario encouraged us to attend the evening session where Eric Peterson, Staff Director of JCP, would be giving such an update. DiMario did say that GPO is anxious to see an end to the proposed changes at GPO - just so they can settle down and get on with their lives.

Since January, GPO has had three hearings - House and Senate appropriations and an oversight hearing. As of April 20th, GPO had had no word on their appropriations. GPO asked for an increase, but DiMario expects that they will get level funding which, in essence, is a cut.

A draft final report was released April 17th by Booz Allen - the consultant hired by GAO to do a management review of GPO. Booz Allen was instructed to look at certain programs: the production department, the printing procurement department, the documents program (specifically the distribution function), the financial management office, and certain personnel specific functions. In addition, Booz Allen looked at the Office of Information Human Resources Management and the Year 2000 requirements. DiMario reported that while the draft report is critical of some of GPO's internal administrative management issues, they were very positive about the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP), the in-house production operations and the printing procurement operation. They generally endorsed what GPO does as necessary functions of government although they did point to the Sales Program as something that was not inherently governmental and should be considered contracted out. One of the criticisms was that DiMario has flattened the organization - some 23 people now report directly to him. DiMario did this at the request of the JCP who asked him to get rid of the heavy top management in the structure.

DiMario concluded by stating that he thought it myopic of Congress to view the entire program of electronic information as one of cost savings or cost avoidance as opposed to one of enhancement of public access. While GPO is putting up more and more products electronically, internally they are cognizant of the need for paper distribution.

Fran Buckley, Superintendent of Documents

Fran Buckley, Superintendent of Documents, observed that some 20 years after he served on Council, we are still talking about many of the same issues. But what remains is the overarching concern of the community, that is, access to information - to ensure that it is equitable and easily available, for no or low fee. Throughout his administration as Superintendent of Documents, Buckley hopes to bring to bear his public service orientation and experience in actually finding or trying to find government information to answer questions from the public. His goal is to ensure that the programs he oversees complement each other and are coordinated to provide effective public access to government information in tangible and electronic mediums, to ensure current and permanent public access to the information, and to enable individuals, businesses, and organizations to purchase popular government information products at low cost. During his four months at GPO, he has found it a challenge to manage these areas not only from a policy perspective, but operationally as well.

Buckley then commented on some of the significant issues regarding the SuDocs programs. First he gave some current statistics about the FDLP: as of January 31, 1998 there were 1,365 libraries in the FDLP; in FY 97, 13.4 million copies of 44,820 tangible products were distributed to depository libraries and approximately 30,000 items were cataloged; the latest Biennial Survey indicates that over 89% of depository libraries have a publicly accessible computer workstation for access to the Internet and another 4% of the remaining libraries have staff access; and the number of users being served by depositories each week averages 188,000.

GPO Access continues to be a success - with preliminary statistics for March showing that more than 13.5 million documents were downloaded from the site and there were 1.8 million searches and retrievals. GPO Access points to more than 2,300 agency resources and hosts government information locator service (GILS) records for 30 federal agencies. GPO's Monthly Catalog on the web is unique in that it locates both physical items in depository libraries and agency products on the internet. GPO Access has drawn praise from a variety of sources, the most recent being a March 23 Federal Computer Week article titled GPO's Web Site Muscles Up on Links to Federal Documents. It notes: "In a Web environment overrun by sites that are the equivalent of a Hollywood movie set where style takes precedence over substance, the GPO site stands out as an unassuming, information-rich offering."

In terms of outreach/public relations, Buckley has been quite active. He has received a number of invitations to speak and write about his new role as Superintendent of Documents. He has been interviewed for articles in American Libraries (December 1997), AALL Spectrum (March 1998), and an upcoming issue of Library Journal. He has participated in GPO's Congressional appropriations and oversight hearings; made presentations to the Federal Library and Information Center Committee (FLICC) annual forum and the University of Connecticut InForm Colloquium; and was guest lecturer at Syracuse University's Federal Information Policy Class (held in DC). He has submitted articles for publications of the Oregon and Ohio Library Associations as well as writing an "On My Mind" editorial for American Libraries. He has visited bookstores in Denver and had a chance to tour the Yale University and Law School Libraries. And there are more speaking engagements in the works.

Other outreach activities include having GPO's display booth at numerous library and computer-related meetings, as well as updating and making more readily available many of the brochures, information sheets, background papers on the SuDocs programs.

Buckley plans to expand the scope of the collection management plan for online information to include the FDLP print and sales collections.

Fugitive documents, government information products that fail to be included in the FDLP, continue to be a problem. Four major factors have contributed to losses of key general interest publications for the FDLP:

  1. electronic information dissemination via agency web sites without notification to the FDLP;
  2. decreasing compliance with statutory requirements for agencies to print through GPO or to provide copies of publications not printed through GPO to the FDLP;
  3. the increasing trend for agencies to establish exclusive printing arrangements with private sector entities that place copyright or copyright- like restrictions on the products involved in such agreements; and
  4. increasing use by agencies of language in 44 U.S.C. 1903 that permits publications to be excluded from the FDLP if they are "so-called cooperative publications which must necessarily be sold in order to be self-sustaining."
When an agency uses GPO for production or procurement of a publication, GPO ensures that distribution to the libraries is made. Some agencies want more independent control of their printing and have challenged the requirements to use GPO. In fact, the Department of Defense/Defense Automated Printing Service (DAPS) have just announced a merger with the General Services Administration (GSA) to do general printing in regional defense printing plants to have a higher volume of business to support their operations. GSA's Reproduction Service Centers in 11 locations nationwide have been transferred to the management of DAPS - a transfer that was sanctioned by the Office of Management and Budget. The rationale for the transfer is economic - both GSA and DAPS have been having trouble breaking even.

GPO has realized that they must reach out to the agencies to resolve the fugitive problem. Therefore, within GPO they are developing a proposal for a team dedicated to getting more content into the FDLP. The team will utilize notices that GPO staff receive from librarians when a government information product is discovered to exist outside of the FDLP as well as lists of agency publications that will be checked for depository distribution. Such notices will act as a trigger for discussions between GPO and agencies to get the material into the FDLP, GPO Access or the Sales Program as appropriate.

Buckley concluded by saying he knows this is one place where he is "preaching to the converted." He assured us that GPO will continue working to develop and evolve their systems so that citizens -- library users -- will have permanent access to federal government information well into the next century, which is no longer so far away.

Jay Young

Jay Young, Director of the Documents Sales Service, began with an update on the Sales Program. He was pleased to report that there has been much improvement since the losses sustained in FY 1996. FY 1997 had a surplus of about $1 million, and FY 1998 is projected to show a small surplus as well. GPO's new Integrated Processing System (IPS) is now expected to go live this summer. When GPO cuts over to the new system, the existing Publications Reference File will remain available for searching but records will be frozen in place. However, new titles will be added until a Sales Product Catalog can be generated from the new system to replace the PRF.

A suggestion by the Superintendent of Documents Buckley is that the Sales Program should consider itself a Sales Collection that is part of an overall SuDocs Collection of government information products. The other 2 components being the FDLP Print Collection and the FDLP Electronic Collection. If you look at the Sales Program this way, the selection and retention of Sales titles becomes not just a marketing or financial decision, but a public policy decision as well. So GPO is taking a new look at what the scope of the Sales Collection ought to be, to ensure they are including enough of the tangible government information products that the public needs and wants to buy from them. GPO is also looking at how long to keep products available for sale, as well as worrying about missing items that they should have for sale.

Another new initiative is a project to develop a real online book-selling site on GPO Access. Such a site should encourage frequent return visits, participation by agency publishers, and provide full-service search, ordering, inquiry, and announcement capabilities. An important feature will be an opt- in email notifications system so that anyone wanting to be notified when a new product of interest becomes available will receive that notification via email. GPO also expects to link with publishing agency pages, which will enable GPO to take orders from agency sites.

Young closed by saying that the Sales Program is working to improve product selection, modernize its order processing, fulfillment, and inventory management operations, and use the power of the Internet. All of this is to help GPO fulfill the mission of providing a means for anyone who want their own copy of a tangible government information, product, to be able to obtain it at a reasonable price, complementing the free access provided through the FDLP.

T. C. Evans

TC Evans, Office of Electronic Information Dissemination Services, gave an update on GPO Access activities and improvements. Unfortunately, I was out of the room when he did this! Look for it in an upcoming issue of Administrative Notes.

Gil Baldwin

Gil Baldwin, Chief of the Library Division, Library Programs Service (LPS), began with a status of the transition to a more electronic FDLP. At present, LPS is about 2 years into the 5-7 year process. Today we are in a parallel-processing period, where you keep the old system running while developing, installing, testing, and debugging the new. An example of this occurs in cases where GPO continues to distribute tangible copies of certain titles to depository libraries even when the originating agency also publishes the same content over the Internet.

Last fall, LPS had proposed to discontinue distribution of microfiche of certain titles and point to the online version for use by depository libraries and the public. Concerns were raised about the provision of permanent access to such titles. Inasmuch as GPO is still developing a comprehensive approach to ensuring permanent access to this category of electronic products it is premature to proceed at this time with eliminating related tangible information products from the FDLP. However, GPO is working to develop content partnerships, notification procedures, and other mechanisms to ensure permanent public access to agency electronic information products. Once these mechanisms are in place LPS will proceed with identifying and replacing candidate tangible products with reliable, official, and permanent electronic versions.

The inclusion of electronic information in the FDLP is proceeding in a rational fashion, in tandem with developments in the publishing agencies. LPS's focus today it to improve its awareness of what agencies are doing, and to incorporate their electronic products into the FDLP Electronic Collection. At present, the FDLP is running at more than 35% electronic. While the numbers of tangible products are probably going to decline, Baldwin believes that the FDLP will be a mixed-format program for many years to come.

GPO has made a significant improvement in their cataloging and locator services. They now have an integrated process for providing bibliographic control to Internet resources. When GPO learns about a new Government product on the Internet, they assign that resource a PURL (Permanent Uniform Resource Locator) and announce it in the Browse Electronic Titles (BET) Pathway service. Then GPO catalogs it and includes the PURL in the cataloging record. That means that wherever that GPO cataloging record is used, whether in GPO's Web catalog, or in local OPACS, the user can move directly from the description to the content. And when the URL changes, GPO can fix the problem for everybody by updating its PURL resolver table. This is a key development, and provides a critical element to GPO's ability to manage the products in the FDLP Electronic Collection.

One of last year's key developments was the "collection management" concept. Since then the concept has expanded. It is no longer limited to just the electronic products accessible via GPO Access, rather it covers the whole body of electronic government information. GPO is referring to this body of products as the FDLP Electronic Collection. The FDLP Electronic Collection consists of four elements: (1) core legislative and regulatory GPO Access products which will reside permanently on Government Printing Office (GPO) servers; (2) other remotely accessible products managed either by GPO or other institutions with which GPO has established formal agreements; (3) the tangible electronic Government information products distributed to Federal depository libraries; and (4) remotely accessible electronic Government information products that GPO identifies, describes, and links to but which remain under the control of the originating agencies.

The FDLP Electronic Collection is also a way to visualize what GPO must address to ensure permanent, future public access to electronic Government information products, whether those products are shipped to depository libraries or made accessible via the Web. In GPO's policy and planning discussions they have taken the position that GPO's permanent access responsibility extends to electronic Government information products that they bring under bibliographic control through their cataloging and locator services, but which remain on their originating agencies' servers.

One of the early manifestations of the collection concept is a digital collection on GPO Access known as the "Core Documents of U.S. Democracy: An Electronic Collection." Under development is a set of "FDLP Electronic Collections" Web pages for GPO Access. These pages will provide links to a variety of electronic collection resources, both inside and beyond GPO. Links will be to full-text content and a complete array of finding tools.

The raw data from the 1997 Biennial Survey is available from the Federal Bulletin Board on GPO Access. The files include the text of the Biennial Survey, data conversion table, and the answers from each depository in comma- delimited format. Depository librarians can use the data to compare their depository operations with others in their peer group or within their state or region.

NCLIS has contracted with Westat, Inc. to undertake research and data collection from a select number of federal agencies in all three branches as well as solicit opinions from selected knowledgeable experts for the "Assessment of Electronic Government Information Products." Westat will complete an analysis of the data and opinions and produce a final report that will be available from GPO.

askLPS, an automated inquiry service, became operational in April 1998. askLPS is available by e- mail or via the Web. There are five components to askLPS: (1) an electronic inquiry form; (2) WEBTech Notes, a searchable database for postings made in the Administrative Notes and Administrative Notes Technical Supplement, dating back to 1991; (3) FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) and News; (4) FDLP Contacts Page; and (5) the Federal Depository Library Directory.

All askLPS inquiries originating from the Web page will receive an immediate response acknowledging the receipt of the inquiry. LPS is still working on the automatic acknowledgement for the pure e-mails. LPS's goal is to respond to each inquiry sent to askLPS within 10 working days. Occasionally the first response may be an interim answer when responding to the question requires information from another agency. Inquiries received via askLPS are being given priority over inquiries submitted via fax, telephone, or regular mail. Focusing on this one channel for inquiries should help LPS to track the inquiries as they arrive, and should also minimize the duplication of effort to research inquiries by staff throughout LPS. If an inquiry submitted via fax, telephone, or regular mail is on a matter of general concern to the depository community the response will be incorporated into one of the askLPS applications. Depending upon the subject matter of the inquiry, in addition to a direct reply to the person making the inquiry, the response may appear in the WEBTech Notes, the FAQs & News area of askLPS. Although LPS is giving priority to inquiries sent electronically, fax inquiry forms will continue to be a useful mechanism when additional information, such as photocopies of titles, must accompany the inquiry.

Robin Haun-Mohamed

Robin Haun-Mohamed, Depository Administration Branch (DAB) Chief, began with an update on service issues and then gave a short product update. She also mentioned askLPS and described many of its components. The WEBTech Notes is a searchable database containing postings to Administrative Notes and the Administrative Notes Technical Supplement, retrospective to 1991. FAQs & News is a listing of answers to frequently asked questions from the depository community. It also includes an area for announcements that have been posted in the past on GOVDOC-L. THE FDLP Contacts page is a "one-stop shopping" list of LPS personnel and their general areas of responsibility. The Federal Depository Library Directory is a searchable database of the official GPO directory of federal depository libraries. It is an SGML database with links to each library's Item Lister file. Haun-Mohamed encouraged us to check WEBTech Notes and the FAQs & News weekly postings before submitting inquiries to askLPS since the question may already have been researched and the response posted in the database. Keep in mind that the information available via the WEBTech Notes is available several weeks before the printed AdNotes Technical Supplement is available in libraries.

Documents Data Miner (DDM), another electronic service to assist in the operation of a depository library is also now available. DDM is a collection management tool which features a field searchable List of Classes, a field searchable Discontinued Item List, complete depository profiles and union lists, and a searchable library directory. DDM was developed through a service partnership between the University Libraries at Wichita State University and the National Institution for Aviation Research. DDM will be available at the FDLP Administration site at The direct URL to DDM at Wichita State University is

The Union List of Item Selections is now available for download in an ASCII comma delimited format on the Federal Bulletin Board (FBB). It is updated on a monthly basis on the first Friday of each month - the same time frame as the List of Classes and Item Lister.

The most recent additions to the electronic shipping list files available on the FBB are the USGS Automatic Sendings Lists. These are posted in Word Perfect 6.0 format. LPS is working with shipping list partners at SUNY Buffalo, the University of Texas-Arlington, and USGS to find a better way to post this information with a minimum amount of intervention.

Product Update

  • 1997 World Factbook was distributed in paper format on SL 98-0020-S, dated March 11, 1998. Copies of the 1997 CD-ROM version were distributed on SL 98-0036-E, dated March 20, 1998. Instructions on the CD-ROM were incomplete, but additional instructions have been posted on the askLPS FAQ & News site.
  • House Commerce Committee has published Committee Print 105-P, Documents Relating to the Committee's Hearing on the Proposed Tobacco Settlement. Both the committee print in paper, and the supporting documentation on CD-ROM were distributed on SL 98-0161-P, dated March 3, 1998.
  • LPS has received copies of numbers 16 &17 of the FBIS on CD-ROM series. These were distributed on SL 98-0043-E, dated Apr 9, 1998. Disc #18 has not yet been released from the agency.
  • CIA has recently declassified publications on the Bay of Pigs. The report "Inspector General's Survey of the Cuban Operation and Associated Documents" has been acquired for distribution. These publications were prepared in 1962. They have been classed under PrEx3.2: C89/pt. 1&2, item 0856-A-02. LPS did try to obtain paper copies but were unable to get enough copies so it will be sent to depositories on microfiche.
  • LPS and the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA) have signed a new Memorandum of Understanding to bring NIMA products back into GPO for distribution. By early May, libraries should begin to see the NIMA material arrive from GPO in separates shipments and depository boxes.
  • Survey 98-001 closed Mar. 30, 1998. LPS had a 94% response rate to this first on-line only survey. Great job libraries!
  • The 1998 Periodical Supplement was distributed to libraries under an incorrect item number. Please bear with LPS while they obtain additional stock and redistribute to selecting libraries.
  • Many of the Tax Court Memos from 1983-1990 have not been sent through the FDLP. Selecting libraries will be receiving on microfiche copies of vols. 52-59 of the Tax Court Memorandum Decisions because the slip memos are no longer available. Note: Research Institute of American gave permission for this title to be distributed to depository libraries.
  • The FED LOG CD-ROM Basic is, according to the agency, "For Official Use Only" and is "classified and 'self-sustaining'". Copies will not be coming through FDLP.

    In addition to classification and acquisition of tangible information products, DAB is also responsible for searching, identifying and classifying of new on-line Internet sites, as well as the assignment and maintenance of the PURLs for all new Browse Electronic Titles entries. DAB staff also perform the weekly maintenance of existing URLs on the BET pages, identifying of dead links, locating the new URL for dead links, and modifying the BET pages accordingly.

    Tad Downing

    Tad Downing, Cataloging Branch Chief, began with an overview of PURLs. PURLs provide a means for supporting efforts to provide continued access to electronic resources. As links change, new links are substituted for old ones. This application is of value to such LPS operations as Browse Electronic Titles (BET) and the GPO website catalog. PURLs are now input into the 856 field of the website catalog records. At present, more than 360 catalog records representing BETs published since Jan 1998 now include PURLs in records produced in OCLC. GPO is selectively converting URLs to PURLs in the more than 3800 catalog records that contain URLs. When links can't be determined for broken links, GPO deletes URL & PURL data from records and adds a note saying no longer available on the internet.

    Next Downing outlined a new cataloging initiative, which become effective in April 1998. Catalogers are now applying a collection level records cataloging policy to catalog BET entries, when such entries take users to collected works associated with the BETs. This new initiative is important because it establishes for the first time a one to one correspondence between each BET and a single cataloging record. Collection level records provide users with access to collected works associated with a major topic that are often further identified at a site via a clickable index or search window.

    In terms of current cataloging operations, Downing reported that as of March 30, 1998, the Depository Administration Branch had posted 2728 BET entries, at which point, all but 192 (67 monographs, 125 serials) have been cataloged. BETs are usually cataloged within one week of posting. From Oct 1997-Mar 1998, GPO Cataloging received 16,818 pieces of work, of which 13,287 pieces have been processed.

    Downing then mentioned the situation with the GPO cataloging tapes. The Cataloging Distribution Service within the Library of Congress had not been able to issue tapes since Nov 1997 due to technical difficulties. Downing expected that these tapes would be issued soon, as well as the current ones being back on track.

    Another delay is the production of the Jan -Mar 1998 issues of the CD-ROM and paper editions of the Monthly Catalog. GPO expects the Jan CD will be distributed in mid-May and subsequent issues soon after. Downing encouraged us to use the GPO catalog website application since it has the advantage of including records that have been produced in OCLC as recently as one day before they were posted.

    Downing concluded by announcing that in response to a Council recommendation, GPO has a proposed user-friendly display for the website edition of the catalog for our consideration - one that is not a numeric MARC tag display. Also, publication of the paper edition of the Periodical Supplement has been resumed.

    Sandy Schwalb

    Sandy Schwalb, Management Analyst, last but not least, concluded the morning program. Before given an update on activities of the Electronic Transition Staff, she announced that she has become a permanent staffer in the Library Programs Service as of March 15, 1998.

    For those who have never had an opportunity to visit GPO or would like to learn more about the operations of LPS, Schwalb stated that we can now "visit" a new Web site linked from the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) Administration Page. The LPS virtual tour, in words and photos, follows the order in which tangible government information products are processed in preparation for dissemination to depository libraries: depository distribution area; lighted bins -- yes, photos of the infamous lighted bins; mail manifest; acquisitions and classification; micrographics; cataloging; and depository services. In addition, there is information -- everything one could possibly want to know or not -- about the mission and operations of ETS.

    A new draft recommended specifications for depository libraries has been issued; the deadline for final comments is May 15th. These specifications are intended to "assist" depository staff in making informed purchases that will best achieve the goal of providing public access to Federal government information products in a variety of electronic formats. Given the large variation in the sizes of the depositories and the numbers of users served, LPS cannot recommend one universal standard for the number of public access workstations in any given library.

    The initial collection of sites for almost all 160 Topics in the Subject Bibliography-based Browse Topic list is now complete. Currently there are 33 topics being maintained by volunteers in the depository and information communities. Links have been created from Topics to relevant Subject Bibliographies. ETS's goal is to update all Topics on at least a quarterly basis. More volunteers will be needed for Browse Topics.

    The Pathway Indexer search engine of online government information utilizes the freeware product Harvest and will continue to be used until the government-mandated Advanced Search Facility is online. This service indexes well over 160,000 web pages from over 1380 different servers with new sites added to the list daily.

    An article in the April 15 Administrative Notes outlines GPO's objectives for the Gateways initiative and gives a step-by-step view of how to proceed. Input from the existing Gateways assisted in developing this document and redefining the Gateways initiative.

    Work progresses on the FDLP Electronic Collections. The Department of Energy (DOE)/Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) will rollout a depository library version of its electronic dissemination system, "Information Bridge," this week. This gateway will provide a public view to the more than 25,000 reports that have been produced by DOE/OSTI since January 1996. This project will provide access to the information that had previously gone to depository libraries on microfiche until October 1996.

    Another electronic collection is the FDLP/ERIC Digital Library Pilot Project, which will begin this summer and make public domain reports available from ERIC to depositories. Previously provided to the FDLP in microfiche, reports from January 1997 forward will be converted to TIFF image format and stored at OCLC. This pilot will provide the project participants with useful information on managing a large, high-demand electronic collection. The full pilot group of 300 libraries should have access to the products by July and access for all depositories by late 1998.

    Another project with which Schwalb has been closely involved for many months is now officially underway as a pilot with the National Technical Information Service (NTIS). At the moment, 24 institutions have offered to be part of this pilot. For more information about this project see the April 15, 1998 issue of AdNotes.

    LPS continues to monitor and provide feedback on an effort by the U.S. Information Agency and the Corporation for National Research Initiatives to create a Foreign Affairs Documentation Center, that would collect online foreign affairs documents on a government-wide basis and provide both access and authentication to those documents.

    Schwalb concluded by talking about partnerships. She announced that Wichita State University has joined GPO in a service partnership with their Documents Data Miner product that brings together data from various Library Programs Service administrative databases to create a searchable List of Classes, directory of depositories, and other features. Discussions continue with several agencies and institutions for new content partnerships. Staff from LPS will be meeting with representatives from U. S. Geological Survey and the Cartographic Users Advisory Council during the conference with an eye toward possible partnerships. ETS is always looking for suggestions for new partnerships - feel free to contact them with your ideas.

    This summary covers only one day of a three day conference. You will have to check out the proceedings of the meeting when they become available for the rest of the session. As always, feel free to contact me if you have questions about anything I have written.

    Federal Depository Library Council
    Spring 1998


    Council recommends that GPO adopt the "Draft Depository Library Public Service Guidelines for Government Information in Electronic Formats" as amended at the spring 1998 Depository Library Conference. Council understands that GPO may need to make certain technical amendments.

    Rationale: The eighteen-month process of creating the Draft Guidelines has provided the entire depository library community with adequate time to comment, recommend changes, and dialog with one another. These comments and recommendations, as well as those from GPO, resulted in many changes to the original draft. It is now time to move forward and finalize the Guidelines.


    Council recommends that:

    Rationale: Although the Biennial Survey, as it currently exists, has yielded useful information for the GPO, the process could also be made useful to depository libraries if the data were tracked over time and made compatible with other data collection instruments. The data that are gathered should meet the needs of GPO and the FDLP libraries: for FDLP management; for FDLP advocacy; for reporting to Congress; for depository library management; for depository library advocacy; and for satisfying the requirements of the law. We need to begin to gather data on a consistent and methodologically sound basis. Each data element should be sufficiently defined so that FDLP libraries can complete the survey instrument with accuracy and consistency. FDLP libraries should have sufficient notice of new data or definitions to allow them to prepare; e.g., if annual data are required, the libraries should know at least a year in advance.


    Council recommends that the Public Printer allocate appropriate resources for GPO Access training and user support and asks the Public Printer to provide a progress report to Council on the GPO Access Learning Center. In addition Council recommends that GPO expand its GPO Access hands-on training efforts.

    Rationale: The remarkable success of GPO Access as evidenced by the phenomenal growth in its use as well as the positive publicity that has appeared in the professional literature demonstrate the need for expanding training opportunities. Despite the reality of constrained funding, Council reiterates the importance of training and user support in the continuing transition to a more electronic Federal Depository Library Program. The entire GPO Access user community continues to benefit from the training efforts at conferences as well as on-site training and user support.


    Council recommends that GPO resolve problems related to the processing of cataloging records so that these records are available in a timely manner for the production of GPO's own products and for use by libraries. Specifically, Council urges GPO to:

    Rationale: Cataloging of depository information is an essential function of GPO. In addition, many libraries depend on tapes of GPO records for their online catalogs. Delays in the production and distribution of these tapes cause serious problems for libraries.


    Council recommends more frequent updating of the online Superseded List. Council and GPO should establish an ongoing committee of depository librarians to evaluate new items for retention decisions, with special emphasis on tangible electronic products.

    Rationale: The Superseded List is heavily used in depository libraries as a collection management tool. More expeditious updating of the list for new information products would greatly assist these libraries in the management of their collections. Information about agency policies relating to retention of electronic products is especially necessary, since it may be more difficult to ascertain from the product in hand. Council believes that GPO is in the best position to determine from the publishing agencies their policies and recommendations regarding retention. Regional libraries as a group should be encouraged to evaluate new items, in particular new tangible electronic products, to make recommendations on retention by some or all Regionals.


    Council recommends that GPO provide the FDLP community with guidance on retention of tangible products that are available in the FDLP Electronic Collection

    Rationale: GPO is now providing permanent public access to many Congressional and administrative publications through GPO Access. GPO is also developing plans for the FDLP Electronic Collection. In light of these developments, depositories are asking whether they may withdraw a tangible product and rely on the electronic version as their official depository copy. While the electronic collection plan is still under development, it is time to begin the deliberations about this complex policy issue. Council will want to work with GPO and regional libraries as the requirements of the law are clarified and appropriate guidelines are developed.


    Council recommends that GPO work with the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House to encourage more Congressional committees to create electronic files of hearings transcripts, and that these be made available through the GPO Access database of Congressional hearings.

    Rationale:GPO Access provides online access to important Congressional resources, including the Congressional Record, bills, House and Senate Reports and Documents, and other valuable Congressional materials. Council applauds efforts by GPO to enhance the GPO Access system by creating a database of selected hearings from the 105th Congress (1997) forward and encourages further efforts to develop this into a more comprehensive database.


    Congress is currently considering legislation (S. 1578 and H.R. 3131) that would provide no-fee public access through the Internet to issue briefs and reports of the Congressional Research Service (CRS). If this legislation is enacted, Council recommends that GPO pursue making these important Congressional materials available through GPO Access.

    Rationale: CRS Issue Briefs and Reports are an important part of the Congressional decision-making process. Council believes that, if this legislation is enacted, these important materials should be available to the public through GPO Access.


    Council recommends that GPO continue to provide an update at Council meetings on its progress in implementing Z39.50/GILS compliance for the databases GPO maintains. Rationale:Council reiterates its concern, expressed in recommendations of October 1997, that GPO remain committed to the interoperability of its online services using the ISO 23950 (ANSI Z39.50) international search standard and GILS Profile. This particular interface is essential to GPO's ability to keep pace with technology evolution in its own information systems, as well as to GPO's ability to enable access to information throughout government.


    Council recommends the formation of a committee to provide expert advice to GPO and Council on issues of information architecture in systems operated in support of the FDLP. Rationale:The complexity of systems supporting the FDLP would be a design challenge under any circumstances. The pace of change in information technologies compounds the challenge and makes it even more critical to attend to the basics of information architecture, such as the interfaces between central and distributed databases or facilities for networked information discovery and retrieval. Council and GPO could benefit greatly from an ongoing source of architectural advice focused specifically on the FDLP. Council believes such advice could be obtained directly from information architecture expertise available among institutions participating in the FDLP. The work of such a committee might also generate a greater awareness of the FDLP among computer science and networking leaders.

    Federal Depository Library Council
    Spring 1998


    Council commends Dan Barkley and Ridley Kessler for their extraordinary efforts in the writing of the "Draft Depository Library Public Service Guidelines for Government Information in Electronic Formats". Their commitment to work on this project with the entire depository community andGPO is greatly appreciated.


    Council commends GPO for its active and positive role in assigning and maintaining persistent names for cataloged Internet resources. In addition to the challenges of tackling a complex technical problem, GPO has demonstrated leadership in accepting the risks associated with choosing among competing technologies such as PURLs and DOIs. Council looks forward to GPO's continued leadership in this critical area.


    Council commends GPO for making the raw data from the 1997 Biennial Survey available for downloading from the Federal Bulletin Board.


    Council commends Kevin Reynolds of the University of the South for his implementation and maintenance of the online "Needs and Offers List." This service provides a rich opportunity to Federal Depository Libraries to exchange depository publications.


    Council commends GPO for developing a new user-friendly default public display of entries in the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications, while retaining the MARC display as an option. Council believes that the public will more easily understand this descriptive-label display.


    Council commends GPO for resuming publication of the Periodicals Supplement to the Monthly Catalog. The recent selection of this title by 990 depository libraries is a clear indication of continuing need for this product.


    Council commends the GPO and the Department of Energy for providing no-fee public access to the Office of Scientific and Technical Information's "Information Bridge" through GPO Access. This partnership between a major technical agency and GPO provides a convenient and cost-effective successor to the DoE depository microfiche collection.

    For more information, contact Susan Tulis at

    Source: Susan Tulis, GOVDOC-L, May 18, 1998.

  • 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 06/12/98

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