JUNE 1996

Table of Contents

  1. GPO Access via Library of Michigan
  2. 1996 Biennial Geographic Area Meeting, Southeastern Area, Highlights
  3. 1996 Biennial Geographic Area Meeting, Central Area, Highlights
  4. Zero-Based Item Selection Review

(1) GPO Access via Library of Michigan

Check out the new GPO Access via Library of Michigan on the Michigan Electronic Library Government & Politics page : This new gateway allows fast access and full WAIS searching of:

Keyword searching is flexible and search results include "helpful hints" choices for improving your search. You can specify the number of hits and more.

Source: Debbie Gallagher, (University of Michigan, 117D Hatcher North, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1205; Tel: 313-764-4108; Fax: 313-764-3916; E-Mail:, Michlib-L, April 15, 1996.

(2) 1996 Biennial Geographic Area Meeting, Southeastern Area, Highlights

Mary Karpinski reported the following highlights from the Michigan Council of Federal Depository Libraries meeting that was held at Eastern Michigan University Library on May 3, 1996.

First of all documents librarians should mark the following two meetings on their calendars:

Cass Hartnett, Ann Sanders, and Bob Schroeder next provided a summary about the Federal Depository Council Meetings held in Washington, D.C., April 14-16, 1996.

Highlights included :

  • GPO has proposed, as a result of input from the depository community, that the transition be extended to September 2001. However, any extension must be approved by Congress.

  • Congressman Packard still supports the two year transition time period. Documents librarians may want to send him a note.

  • If various federal agencies will be responsible for producing and maintaining their own electronic information, how can GPO centralize or focus such activities?

  • Two important documents were distributed which everyone should take a look at :
  • According to Judy Russell, GPO is not only focusing on converting printed documents to electronic formats, they are also hoping to include other materials never distributed before in the Federal Depository Library Program.

    During the question and answer session, comments were made about:

  • Since GPO is planning to divert its resources from inspections to training and support, and rely on depository self studies, how will GPO ever know what is going on in local depository libraries?

  • GPO's goal is to have at least one internet station available per Congressional District.

  • The minimum guidelines have two purposes, (1) to help depository libraries justify the acquisition of necessary technology and (2) to force depository libraries to begin planning for and implementing electronic services.

  • The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) Center for Electronic Records presently retains all electronic records distributed to the FDLP and plans to be a partner in whatever electronic programs are implemented.

  • GPO will keep and maintain electronic material that are in their control as long as there is a demand. Once the demand falls off, items will be transferred to NARA.

  • In practice, most federal agencies (such as the Census Bureau) maintain control over their information products for twenty years, as mandated, before transferring them to NARA.

  • The model is shifting from libraries having responsibility for archiving materials to GPO having that responsibility. This raises the concern over the future support of, maintaining the integrity and authenticity of, the only original copy of centralized data.

  • GPO will only provide URL links for GPO maintained sites. The links will appear in the 530 note field and in the 856 field for GPO sites and serial titles at other sites.

  • At least for the time being, GPO's Monthly Catalog on the web will not provide hotlinks to URL addresses. A SuDocs class stem will be assigned to electronic resources, but will not be a part of the URL.

  • Pathway will provide hotlinks. Electronic resources will be sorted out by "Subject Bibliographies" categories.

  • Regional depository libraries were encouraged to revisit their state plans, encourage depository libraries to get more involved with freenets and local community nets, and do assessments of the libraries reporting to them.

    Submitted by Mary Karpinski, Library of Michigan.

    (3) 1996 Biennial Geographic Area Meeting, Central Area, Highlights

    Larry Hall reports that seventeen area depository librarians, support staff, and library directors came to Alma College on May 8 to review the April Federal Depository Conference in D.C. (really Arlington, Va.) and chart the first steps for Michigan libraries in the proposed "transition to a more electronic Federal Depository Library program".

    Ann Sanders and Cass Hartnett, Regional Depository Librarians, co-chaired the 9 a.m.-4 p.m. meeting and began with a good summary of the April conference. Several other librarians who attended the conference also shared their observations as well. In short, the conference (Washington, D.C.) seemed to generate a lot more questions than answers regarding the transition.

    Ann gave a live Internet demonstration of GPO Access via the Michigan Electronic Library.

    After lunch, the group worked on a "Minimum Technical Guidelines Worksheet". In summary, four libraries present at the meeting thought they were "At/Near" the most recent federal "minimum technical guidelines", two were "below" them, and none felt they were "above".

    Cass made it clear that although we have been given a target date of October 1, 1996 to try to reach the minimum technical guidelines, the intent and direction of the Regionals and GPO (both before and after that date) will be to work with the selectives in overcoming any remaining obstacles to achieving these standards. "Action Plan Exercises" were then completed, guidance provided in identifying where each of us stood in the transition, "obstacles" identified which need to be addressed, and "allies and resources" available for assisting us in reaching the standards.

    Other topics covered a review of a less adversarial GPO Inspection program in the future and some tips on completing the Annual Selection Update Cycle 1996 (due July 5) just received by depository libraries.

    Submitted by Larry Hall, Alma College, May 9, 1996.

    (4) Zero-Based Item Review

    A number of documents librarians were involved in a lunchtime discussion with me at the recent regional meeting at Alma College about the annual item selection update and the concept of a zero-based item review. Since these reviews have been a part of my worklife until this year, I offered the procedure I learned from Michael McDonnell at Western Michigan University. It is but one way to handle this, but I've always found it so logical I never tried any other system. Feel free to contact me for clarification on specific points.

    This procedure assumes that one has an item card file, not just a list of item numbers selected or not selected. It is also helpful if one has the assistance of a student assistant (or any other helpful soul). One can use this method solo, but it is very slow, and requires isolation and quiet.

    Ask your helper to read off the item numbers from the GPO-provided printout. At the same time, flip through the card file(s), scanning the title information on the cards. You'll stop and start frequently for cases where your file doesn't match the printout, where you have cards that are not on the printout (which you should move to an inactive item file,) or (even more frequently these days) to make note of item numbers that are new & you don't have cards for. As you scan the cards, you can also pull or make note of potential items to add or drop.

    This process can be slow (I have taken as much as a week to get through the file, since you have to do other work, answer questions, eat, sleep, etc.) but is the only satisfactory way I have found to do a zero-based review in the time between receiving the printout and having changes back to GPO. It's also imperfect in that no one's item cards are going to be perfect or complete. Before being able to add or drop one still has to check and see what is attached to an item number, since the card may be out-of-date. I did always make a note on cards I researched, since I tended to find the same things year after year that looked good but had some reason not to change the selection.

    Other notes about the process: I always found it helpful to know what other depositories added and dropped. Michael and I shared this information for several of the years I was in Tennessee and I often found good ideas in his changes, even after allowing for our different collection emphasis and geographic location. I also found it useful to ask the helper to use the List of Classes to identify groups or types of publications we choose not to select, such as posters or phone books. A commercial CD-ROM Monthly Catalog is a godsend in researching potential items to add, and of course your stacks are the best place to look at what to drop.

    Finally, I should say that the Library of Michigan tries very hard to keep good item records, not because we use them as often but because we hope to answer selective's questions on item numbers. If you have item numbers you cannot identify with the List of Classes, the Union List of Item Selections, or the Administrative Notes Tech Supplement, e-mail our account and we'll try to either answer the question or get the answer from GPO.

    Source : Ann Marie Sanders, Depository Librarian, Library of Michigan, P.O. Box 30007, 717 W. Allegan St., Lansing, MI 48909; e-mail :; telephone : 517-373-9489; fax : 517-373-3381. GOVDOC-M, May 10, 1996.

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