University of 
Michigan Documents Center

Government Documents Librarianship
Federal Depository Administration

Frames Index | No-Frames Version

Administrative Notes | AskLPS | Biennial Survey | Blogs
Collection Value | Depository Library Conference | Depository Library Council
Depository Library Directory | Depository Library Manual | Digital Registry
Discontinued SUDOCS Numbers | Discontinued Item Numbers | Documents Data Miner
Electronic Depository Program | Electronic Only Sales Equivalents | FDLP Desk Top
Format Changes | GPO Depository Administration | GPO Electronic Archive
GPO Sales Catalog | Item Number Lists | LC Classification | Library Programs Service | List of Classes
Monthly Catalog | New Electronic Titles | Needs and Offers | Procedures Manual | Selection Cycle | Self-Studies
Shipping Lists | State Plans | Substitutions List | SUDOCS Humor | Superseded Titles | WebTech Notes

Last updated on June 8, 2009

Administrative Notes

    • Administrative Notes includes information on new publications and services of the Government Printing Office as well as depository library processing information
    • GPO Administrative Notes Text (UMich)
      • Excerpts of Administrative Notes as transmitted through GOVDOC-L, beginning with Sept. 15, 1995 issue
      • Cumulative index for keyword searching
    • GPO Administrative Notes (GPO)
      • HTML (web) version of text with links to additional information
      • Begins August 15, 1996
      • Its Technical Supplement covers the status of individual government publication, addresses of the Library Programs Service, and changes in depository library designations
      • Web Tech Notes
        • Searchable interface to four sections of the Technical Supplement
        • Includes changes in depository item numbers, SUDOCS numbers, and formats; discontinued publications; new item numbers
        • Searchable by title, item number, SUDOCS number, shipping list number

Annual Selection Cycle Tools

    • Amendment to Item Selections
      • Permits depository coordinator with authorized password to make amendments and deletions to the library's depository item number selections
    • Documents Data Miner
      • Combines List of Classes, Union List of Item Numbers, Discontinued Item Numbers, and Depository Library Directory for collection development
      • List of Classes
        • Searchable by agency, item number, SUDOC class stem, title, format (paper, fiche, CD, electronic), and status (active/inactive)
        • Example: all CD-ROMS issued by the Labor Department
      • Depository Library Directory and Profile
        • Search depository libraries by name, state, and type (e.g. community college depositories in Michigan)
        • Provides depository number, name, location, and e-mail address of contact
        • Its selection from the List of Classes may be searched
      • Inactive and Discontinued Item Numbers may be searched separately
      • Session Configuration
        • List your own depository and then set a parameter for other libraries in your area (state, region, mileage range
        • Later List of Classes and click on item number in results to see which depository have it
    • Government Periodicals on the Web from the University of Louisville and Auburn University
      • Alphabetical links to federal periodicals on the web
    • GPO Administrative Notes Index
      • Search GPO Administrative Notes since Sept. 15, 1995 by keyword in title of publication
      • Includes discontinued notes, temporary suspensions, changes in class and item numbers
    • Inactive Item Numbers
      • Lists item numbers discontinued through 1996
      • Arranged by item number with title, SUDOCS number, and notes
    • Item Lister (GPO)
      • Access an individual depository library's selections by depository library number
      • Can create separate or combined lists of selections and non-selections
    • List of Classes
      • Available depository publications arranged by SUDOCS number or agency
      • Identifies title, SUDOCS number, format, and item number
    • Monthly Catalog of United States Government Publications (GPO)
      • Indexes federal government publications since January 1994 by title, year, SUDOCS number, item number, and GPO sales number
      • Links a title with federal depository libraries selecting that publication
    • New Electronic Titles (GPO)
      • Browse publications by week and title
      • Includes hot link to web site, SUDOCS number, and item number
    • Uncle Sam's Migrating Government Publications
      • Identify publication by title or SUDOCS number
      • Entry provides SUDOCS number, format of publication, and hot link to web version
    • United States Government Manual
      • Browse Government Manual to determine agency responsible for subject of interest
      • Government Manual is also searchable by keyword; e.g. search "Medicare" for name of responsible agency
      • Title recommended by Jack Ralston for inclusion in this section
    • Web Tech Notes
      • Searchable interface to four sections of the Technical Supplement
      • Includes changes in depository item numbers, SUDOCS numbers, and formats; discontinued publications; new item numbers
      • Searchable by title, item number, SUDOCS number, shipping list number
    • University of Michigan Notes
      • Depository Library Number is 0278
      • If UMich selects an item number and you are trying to locate it


    • Inquiry form for depository document distribution questions
    • Additional links to GPO staff, FAQs, and Web Tech Notes

Biennial Survey of Depository Libraries

    • Survey held in November of odd-numbered years
    • Includes questions about collection development, cataloging, public service and equipment
    • Instructions and form for current year
    • Statistics since 1997 in csv format


Collection Value

Deceased SUDOCS Numbers

    • Discontinued titles arranged by the Superintendent of Documents Classification System
    • Primarily unofficially "dead" numbers

Depository Library Council

    • Members (1973+), minutes (1994+), Congressional testimony, meeting sites
    • Recommendations of Council and their responses (1979+)
    • Manuals and other publications

Depository Library Directory

    • Federal Depository Libraries (GPO)
      • Search for depository libraries by 18 characteristics or a combination thereof
      • Includes institution, size, type (academic, law, court, etc.), state, city, Congressional District, librarian, date of designation
      • Data includes address, phone, fax, e-mail of librarian, eventually a link to its web site, and item number selections
    • Federal Depository Libraries by Area Code or Zip Code (GPO)
      • Locate federal depository library by area code or zip code
      • Locate libraries holding a document listed in the Monthly Catalog, beginning 1994

Documents Data Miner

    • Joint project of Wichita State University, National Institute for Aviation Research, and GPO
    • Combines List of Classes, Union List of Item Numbers, Discontinued Item Numbers, and Depository Library Directory for collection development
    • List of Classes
      • Searchable by agency, item number, SUDOC class stem, title, format (paper, fiche, CD, electronic), and status (active/inactive)
      • Example: all CD-ROMS issued by the Labor Department
    • Depository Library Directory and Profile
      • Search depository libraries by name, state, and type (e.g. community college depositories in Michigan)
      • Provides depository number, name, location, and e-mail address of contact
      • Its selection from the List of Classes may be searched
    • Inactive and Discontinued Item Numbers may be searched separately
    • Session Configuration
      • List your own depository and then set a parameter for other libraries in your area (state, region, mileage range
      • Later List of Classes and click on item number in results to see which depository have it

Electronic Depository Library Program

    • GPO announcement, technical guidelines and transition study
    • Library community's response and ALA GODORT Ad Hoc Internet Committee Report
    • Links to electronic document bibliographies

Electronic Only Sales Equivalents

    • Catalog of items for sale from GPO in paper format
    • Only includes publications distributed by GPO to libraries in electronic only format

Federal Depository Administration (GPO)

    • Text of basic documents (instructions, manuals, preparing for an inspection)
    • GPO Administrative Notes beginning August 15, 1996
    • Laws governing the depository library program

Federal Depository Library Conference

    • 1996 Proceedings
      • Government statistical policy, electronic check-in, Defense Technical Information Center are among the articles
    • 1997 Proceedings
      • Articles include preservation and cataloging of electronic materials
      • GPO/Agency partnerships, National Criminal Justice Reference Service data base
    • 1998 Proceedings
      • Articles include Documents Data Miner, electronic shipping lists, ERIC and NTIS web tests
      • GIS, electronic service guidelines, drafting a state plan and writing a self-study, creating a departmental web page
    • 1999 Proceedings
      • Spatial data, DOE Information Bridge
      • CD v. DVD
    • 2000 Proceedings
      • Public dissemination assessment, government scientific agency programs, historic cataloging
      • Documents displays, disaster plans

Federal Depository Library Manual - 2008

    • Describes Library Programs Service
    • Recommendations to depository libraries for collection development, cataloging, maintenance, and promotion
    • Depository library inspections

GPO Electronic Archive

    • Type into the URL box
    • Search results show all of the titles which have been removed from agency web sites and are permanently archived by GPO
    • Search results arranged by PURL number but data provides a history of the URL

GPO Library Programs Service Directory

    • Directory of key contacts for depository libraries
    • Name, office, address, phone, fax, and e-mail

GPO Sales Product Catalog (GPO)

GPO Shipping Lists (University of Denver)

    • Lists publications sent to federal depository libraries beginning 1996
    • Separate paper, microfiche, and electronic shipping lists identify title, item number, and SUDOCS number
    • DBF version from GPO
    • Alternative site at SUNY-Buffalo provides labels

Item Lists

    • Item Lists (GPO)
      • Search depository library number to obtain a list of all GPO item numbers selected
      • Depository library numbers may be searched by name of library

Library of Congress Classification Outline

    • Library of Congress call number arranges assigned to books and journals
    • Divided by class and subclass

List of Classes

    • List of Classes (University of Denver
      • Arranged by SUDOCS Number with a separate file by item number
      • SUDOCS number provides brief agency, title, item number, and format
      • Additions and Changes covers changes since 1995 by SUDOCS number and government author
    • University of Michigan Selections
      • Sixteen Excel spreadsheets with item number, SUDOCS stem, selection decision, title, and location of uncataloged microfiche

Monthly Catalog of United States Government Publications (GPO)

    • Indexes federal government publications since January 1994 by title, year, SUDOCS number, item number, and GPO sales number
    • Links a title with federal depository libraries selecting that publication
    • Renamed Catalog of United States Government Publications in July 2000

Needs and Offers List (GPO)

    • Desiderada and disposal lists of federal documents from depository libraries
    • Material usually free except for postage
    • Search index to individual titles

New Electronic Titles (GPO)

    • Browse publications by week and title
    • Includes hot link to web site, SUDOCS number, and item number

Procedures Manual (Louisiana State University)

    • Staff guide to processing depository boxes, circulation, microforms
    • Student worker manual
    • Public service guide

Registry of U.S. Government Publications Digitization Projects

    • Database lists projects to digitize previously-printed federal government publications
    • Searchable by keyword and browsable
    • Launched in January 2006

Self-Study of a Federal Depository Library (GPO)

    • GPO guidelines and the text of the form updated 1999
    • Libraries may prefer to download the Microsoft Word version
    • NOTE: self-studies require a written explanation as well as yes/no answers and checked boxes
    • Includes hot links to related GPO instructional manuals
    • Examples of self-studies appear in the GODORT Handout Exchange

State Plans

Substitutions List

    • Official GPO data bases which can be substituted for a paper product


Superseded Publications

Web Tech Notes

    • Searchable interface to four sections of the Technical Supplement
    • Includes changes in depository item numbers, SUDOCS numbers, and formats; discontinued publications; new item numbers
    • Searchable by title, item number, SUDOCS number, shipping list number

Quick Jumps:

Associations | Depository Library Directories | Depository Library Web Sites
Electronic Federal Depository Initiatives | Federal Depository Library Administration
GODORT Handout Exchange | Government Information Policy | GPO Administrative Notes
Job Postings | Periodicals | Publishers' Catalogs | Teaching Materials
Return to Documents Center

Grace York, Coordinator, Documents Center
University of Michigan Library
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Since April 7, 1997 this page has been accessed

FDLP Desktop
Site syndication for the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP).

  • FDLP Desktop Re-launch
    published on Fri, 09 Jan 2009 13:36:25 +0100
    On Monday, January 12, 2009, the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) will re-launch the FDLP Desktop. Visitors to ( will see that the beta version has been replaced by the new design. At the same time, the homepage for the legacy FDLP Desktop ( will redirect users to This re-launch comes after a year of development and community feedback and is designed to streamline GPO’s dissemination of Program-related news, content, and tools to enhance library participation and public services. Highlights of the re-launch include: Homepage news organized by categories Easy login using your depository number and internal password Access to depository-only services (e.g., promotional ordering) The ability to bookmark Desktop pages within your library’s login Please note the following: URLs to content may have changed. Please update your bookmarks. The navigation scheme has changed. Content is continually being migrated from the legacy FDLP Desktop. Individual accounts are no longer active on the FDLP Desktop. Social networking tools (e.g., blogs, forum) are consolidated under the FDLP Community site ( ( Users are encouraged to sign up and participate. More information on the structure, design, and functionality of the FDLP Desktop is available under Tutorials, which is available from FDLP Desktop homepage.
  • GPO Announces New Partnership with GAO
    published on Thu, 11 Dec 2008 13:05:55 +0100
    The U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) is pleased to announce a new partnership with the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to provide permanent public access to the GAO Reports and GAO Comptroller General Decisions databases that are available on the GAO Web site. The GAO Reports database ( contains reports on audits, surveys, investigations, and evaluations of Federal programs conducted by GAO. The content in this database dates back to 1970 and earlier. The Comptroller General Decisions database ( contains decisions and opinions issued by the Comptroller General in areas of Federal law such as appropriations, bid protests, and Federal agency rulemaking. It also contains historic material dating back to 1970. GAO is actively working on digitizing its legacy collection so historic material will continue to be added to the two databases. The content contained in the GAO Reports and Comptroller General Decisions databases is currently duplicated on GPO Access. With a partnership to ensure permanent public access to the content on the GAO Web site, this duplication is no longer necessary. GPO will maintain archives of both databases as they were at the time the agreement was signed, but no new content will be added to the GPO Access versions of...
  • OPAL for Everyone: Share Your Knowledge
    published on Mon, 08 Dec 2008 14:44:41 +0100
    Depository library staff are encouraged to present educational and training sessions for the benefit of the depository community through OPAL, a Web conferencing service. GPO welcomes proposals on any aspect of U.S. Government information, Federal Depository Library Program issues, or depository library operations and management. Most GPO OPAL sessions are recorded and archived at OPAL online-archives (, allowing depository staff who cannot travel to depository conferences the opportunity to share their expertise with a large group of their peers. Two of the most popular OPAL presentations to date include “The Conservation Kitchen: Basic Tools for Any Preservation Recipe,” presented on May 20, 2008 by Diane Hutchins and Marcea Horst from the Washington State Library and “Cooking with Content - Creating Successful OPAL Presentations,” presented in October 2008 by Diane Hutchins from the Washington State Library. Both of these presentations can be viewed in the archive. So if you are already doing training at your library, or if you have an idea for an educational session, let us know! Just fill out the Online Educational Program Proposal Form (learning/opalproposal.html). For more information on OPAL (Online Programming for All Libraries), see OPAL online (
  • International Scholar Studying the FDLP at GPO
    published on Thu, 04 Dec 2008 14:23:36 +0100
    A research scholar from Japan is spending a year at GPO and the Library of Congress to learn how the U.S. government makes the documents of its democracy available to the public. Professor Nobuhiro Igawa hopes to take what he learns at GPO and propose a similar program for the citizens of Japan. Professor Igawa is from the International University of Kagoshima, Japan and will study the FDLP. “I am honored to study and learn how the United States disseminates government information to its citizens,” said Professor Nobuhiro Igawa. “If I could introduce a system similar to the Federal Depository Library Program in Japan, it would benefit all citizens who want to learn more about government information.” Professor Igawa's visit is being facilitated by the Library of Congress, where he has already performed some analysis on production, dissemination and use of federal public information in the Library’s Government Documents Section. Following his studies at GPO, he will return for further research at the Library. GPO's Library Services and Content Management staff will provide introductory and advanced topics for his research. In addition to conducting his own research, Professor Igawa will also study the many challenges facing the FDLP and provide a fresh...
  • Promote the FDLP at Your Library with the Easy As FDL Video
    published on Tue, 04 Nov 2008 00:01:00 +0100|cover1.jpg Using our theme, Easy As FDL: Free Information, Dedicated Service, and Limitless Possibilities , this video demonstrates what makes Federal depository libraries so unique and essential to the American public. People who are dedicated to and knowledgeable about the FDLP were interviewed and asked to express their opinions about Federal depository libraries and how the FDLP benefits the American public. This video is available for you to distribute as you choose. Post it to your library’s Web site, various social media sites, social networking sites, or in your presentations. You may also ask local government offices and educational institutions to place it on their Web sites. Read on to download the videos and learn how to share them on the Web.

Free Government Information (FGI) blogs

  • National Data Catalog from Sunlight Labs
    published on Sun, 19 Jul 2009 17:22:43 +0000
    Our friends over at Sunlight Labs have announced a new project they call that "National Data Catalog" that will build on Today I?m happy to announce Sunlight Labs is stealing an idea from our government. is an incredible concept, and the implementation of it has been remarkable. We?re going to steal that idea and make it better. Because of politics and scale there?s only so much the government is going to be able to do. There are legal hurdles and boundaries the government can?t cross that we can. For instance: there?s no legislative or judicial branch data inside and while links off to state data catalogs, entries aren?t in the same place or format as the rest of the catalog. Community documentation and collaboration are virtual impossibilities because of the regulations that impact the way Government interacts with people on the web. We think we can add value on top of things like and the municipal data catalogs by autonomously bringing them into one system, manually curating and adding other data sources and providing features that, well, Government just can?t do. There?ll be community participation so that people can submit their own data sources, and we?ll also catalog non-commercial data that is derivative of government data like OpenSecrets. We?ll make it so that people can create their own documentation for much of the undocumented data that government puts out and link to external projects that work with the data being provided. If you're interested in helping out on this effort, please join the National Data Catalog Google Group at
  • The Power of Versioning: Climate Change Bill
    published on Fri, 17 Jul 2009 21:12:47 +0000
    Our friends at Open Congress recently provided a concrete example of the benefit of being able to work with government provided data. In a July 1, 2009 blog posting titled See all the Last-Minute Changes to the Climate Change Bill blogger Donny Shaw notes: We may never get the details of the back-room negotiating that took place leading up to the bill?s passage in the House on Friday, but with OpenCongress?s legislative versioning tool we can see exactly what was changed in the bill in the process and then start to figure out why. Just go to the text of the bill as passed by the House and select ?Show Changes.? You can scan the entire bill and see, with color-coded text, exactly what was changed ? red, stuck-out text denoting changed or removed sections in the bill, and green text denoting sections that were inserted or modified. Donny spent about 30 minutes scanning through the bill's changes and documented what he found. What can you find? This sort of quick work at finding rush changes is only possible because copyright-free federal legislation is available to transparency organizations like OpenCongress to put into their change revision software. This gives regular citizens specialized access to legislation that was formerly only available to subscribers to expensive premium services. This is a good thing. The Government Printing Office's talks with the Library of Congress about bulk distribution of legislative data will only make things easier.
  • Eleven Great Sources of Government Data Sets to View in Google Earth
    published on Wed, 15 Jul 2009 00:50:33 +0000
    One great way to get your head around a large government dataset is to view it using Google Earth. I went on a hunt for the most interesting, striking and geography based government data sets currently available in the KML format used by Google Earth. There is a large gallery of tours and layers available from Google Earth's site, including some based on government data - but I wanted to look beyond them. Here are eleven data sources (in no particular order) that have KML files ready and waiting for you to download. For some of these you will need to read the instructions associated with the KML to understand what you are looking at and what special features are enabled. Some have multiple datasets within a single KML file -- others include animations. Often when you open them in Google Earth they will start out with either a helpful note or a built in graphical key. USDA Forest Service: MODIS Active Fire Mapping Program: View fire detection data and incident information USGS Earthquake Hazards Program: real-time earthquake data (updated every 5 minutes!), geologic features and virtual tours of historic earthquakes. FEMA Flood Hazards: Stay Dry provides basic flood hazard map information from FEMA's National Flood Hazard Layer for specific addresses while NFHL (National Flood Hazard Layer) appears to be a more general application that displays flood hazard zones, floodways, base flood elevations, cross sections and coastal transects and much more. NASA: Goddard Scientific Visualization Studio: provides various visualization layers including Tectonic Plates Boundaries and African Fires during 2002. Dig through the various categories, there is a lot here. Nasa Jet Propulsion Laboratory OnEarth: multiple options are available for viewing daily updated views of earth from satellites. Very striking! gCensus: provides access to data from the 2000 US Census. The site lets you browse for various elements of data and generate a KML file you can then view via Google Earth. Air Quality Now: provides current and forcasted air quality conditions for locations across the USA. It is a product of a partnership of multiple US Government agencies. National Weather Service: has a full page of KML layers related to all aspects of weather - past, present and predicted. National Gallery of Art: Afghanistan Hidden Treasures from the National Museum: visit Aï Khanum, Tillya Tepe, and Begram?that and examine Afghan Treasures National Park Service: National Register of Historic Places: provides Google Earth layers per region of the USA that mark historic places. District of Columbia Data Catalog: provides a wide range of data about our nations capital. You must supply some simple data to identify yourself before downloading these KML files. This is just a taste of what various regional governments are providing. Give your home state, district or territory's website a look to see if you can find KML data available. Have a favorite KML formatted government data set I missed? Please share it in the comments. I found many of these by starting in Goggle's US Government Search and searching for Google Earth.
  • ALA Annual GODORT Update Meeting: "Need Data ? but don?t know where to go?"
    published on Sat, 11 Jul 2009 14:44:02 +0000
    ALA Annual GODORT Update Meeting: "Need Data ? but don?t know where to go?"
  • 4th edition of "On their terms" govt information lexicon published
    published on Wed, 08 Jul 2009 20:55:12 +0000
    Susan Maret, professor in the School of Library & Information Science at San José State University and co-author of Government Secrecy: Classic and Contemporary Readings, gave us a heads up that the 4th edition of On Their Terms govt information lexicon has just been published. She kindly sent a PDF of the lexicon which we've attached below. Check it out, it's amazing the breadth of govt information described in the lexicon which represents ..."a virtual seed catalog to federal informationally-driven procedures, policies, and practices involving among other matters, the information life cycle, record keeping, ownership over information, collection and analysis of intelligence information, security classification categories and markings, censorship, citizen right-to-know, deception, propaganda, secrecy, technology, surveillance, threat, national security, and forms of warfare." and the introduction is quite a good read too!! Thanks for the heads-up Susan! (btw, if you're reading this, we'd love to invite you to be a guest blogger sometime on FGI. you know where to find us if you're interested :-)) Since the first edition in 2005, On Their on Terms has reported language that reflects the scope of U.S. information policy. Now in its fourth edition, the Lexicon features new terms that further chronicle the federal narrative of information and its relationship to national security, intelligence operations, and freedom of information, privacy, technology, and surveillance as well as types of war, institutionalized secrecy, and censorship. This fourth edition of the Lexicon emphasizes the historical aspects of U.S. information policy and associated programs in that it is a testament to the information politics of the Bush-Cheney years; there is also a look back to historical agency recordkeeping practices such as the U.S. Army?s computerized personalities database , serendipitously discovered in a 1972 congressional hearing on military surveillance of civilians1 and the 1970s DoD program Project Camelot , which has parallels with Project Minerva efforts to recruit academics.2 Including these programs alongside contemporary federal information initiatives and public policy critiques furthers the ?history of ?govermentality,? ? an inquiry put forth by Michel Foucault (1994,1978: 219-222) that examines the ?ensemble formed by the institutions, procedures, analyses, and reflections, the calculations and tactics that allow the exercise of this very specific albeit complex form of power.? This latter thought suggests an active, genealogical role for FOIA researchers, archivists, historians, information professionals, and public interest groups in not only rescuing lost histories but integrating findings into existing understanding of federal information practices. Throughout the Lexicon , links have been verified and replaced. However, in certain instances, Web pages and documents have been removed by the issuing federal agency. Considering the historical and archival importance of this information, links to the original source at the Wayback Machine is included.
  • GAO has YouTube channel, two Twitter feeds
    published on Tue, 07 Jul 2009 16:28:25 +0000
    The official YouTube channel of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO): Twitter feed for: reports and testimony. Twitter feed for: Legal Decisions and Opinions. more:
  • Guide of the Week & Concluding Remarks
    published on Sat, 04 Jul 2009 17:40:01 +0000
    A Happy Independence Day to all of our US readers! May we live out the values enshrined in our founding document, including a sincere belief that all people are created equal and have inalienable rights no state can take away. Not even the United States. This is going to be the last regular installment of "Guide of the Week" because I have hit two milestones. With this guide highlight, I will have hit every subject page at least once. With this week, I have done roughly a year's worth of guide highlights as I started on July 12, 2008. I would end with July 11, 2009, except that I will be in Chicago attending the annual conference of the American Library Association. So it seems good to end this regular column today. This isn't the total end of highlighting materials from the ALA GODORT Handout Exchange, which you better have bookmarked by now. As I notice new guides being added, I will try and highlight them here. Additionally, if there seems to be an all consuming news topic that I can identify a relevant guide for, I'll highlight it. We have created an archives page for past Guide of the Week features at If you are a govdocs blogger, I hope you will use the Handout Exchange as a source of posts. And like I've been saying almost every week in the past year, if you are a docs librarian with a handout, I expect you to share it on the Exchange. Housekeeping done, let's move on to our last Guide of the Week: Gender Equality (University of Colorado at Boulder Government Publications Library, 2008) This annotated guide is divided into three sections: U.S. Information, International Information and Nongovernmental Sources. Some of the resources include: Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 this the Department of Education's page on Title IX, it contains the law, along with guidance and publications on the law. United Nations Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality (IANWGE) or WomenWatch, is "a central gateway to information and resources on the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women throughout the United Nations system, including the United Nations Secretariat, regional commissions, funds, programmes, specialized agencies and academic and research institutions." Women Working, 1800-1930 is a collection of digitized historical, manuscript, and image collections on working women from the Harvard Library collection. In addition to this guide on Gender Equality, there are three other guides on women's issues on the Exchange. They date from the late 1990s. Think that is too few from too long ago? Then link to your more current guide or handout on women-related government information resources! Although I've now hit all of the guide subject pages from A to Z, there is much more to explore in the Handout Exchange Wiki. So go forth and explore. And if you're a docs librarian, please link your favorite handout (or 12) to the Handout Exchange.
  • Sunlight Foundation's Transparency Corps Recruits People Amazon Turk Style
    published on Sat, 04 Jul 2009 15:22:50 +0000
    The Sunlight Foundation recently announced the creation of the Transparency Corps. Modeled after Amazon?s Mechanical Turk, the Transparency Corps aim to make it easy to harness small efforts by enthusiastic volunteers to move forward efforts to improve government transparency. From the June 30, 2009 Sunlight Foundation press release: ?Inspired by Amazon?s Mechanical Turk, Sunlight created Transparency Corps as a new way for people to volunteer to make government transparency a reality,? said Ellen Miller, executive director and co-founder of the Sunlight Foundation. ?Now, when people ask ?how can I help?? Sunlight and future partners can provide micro-tasks that when aggregated, help solve research and data analysis problems when computers alone cannot properly scrutinize government information.? Right now there are two projects: Read Those Earmarks II Upload Your Photo Telling Congress to READ THE BILL Each time you complete a task, you get points. Those points add up and are how you move up the transparency leader board. I joined up to see what a task would look like. For the earmarks task I was presented with a PDF of a letter requesting funding for a local project and a form to the right of the letter to be filled in with data such as the quantity requested, title of the project and other requester information. You can see an example of one of the letters on ScribDB. I am curious to see how big they can grow their corps & see what projects they target over the next year. I love that they are grabbing structured data. This particular task is part transcription and part encoding and reminds me of some of the work being done over on For an example of one of the datasets they are building, take a look at their U.S. National Register of Historic Places base or the Government Commons.
  • Jefferson, cryptology, moose and the internet
    published on Fri, 03 Jul 2009 05:47:04 +0000
    Thomas Jefferson's been on my mind and in the news lately. Today, there was a fascinating article about Jefferson and the breaking of an unbreakable cipher in the Wall Street Journal -- Two Centuries On, a Cryptologist Cracks a Presidential Code. Rachel Emma Silverman. Wall Street Journal, Thursday July 2, 2009. Don't miss the interactive graphics that describes the mysterious cipher sent to Jefferson by his friend Robert Patterson, a mathematics professor at the University of Pennsylvania and how the cipher was finally broken 200+ years later by Lawren Smithline, a mathematician who works with cryptology, or code-breaking, at the Center for Communications Research in Princeton, N.J., a division of the Institute for Defense Analyses. This article comes on the heels of a June 25 NY Times pictorial thought-piece on Thomas Jefferson by Maira Kalman called "Time Wastes Too Fast". That there are over 900 comments is testament to both the power of Jefferson's life and Kalman's words and drawings. Last but not least, I just finished David Post's truly mind-blowing book, "In Search of Jefferson?s Moose: Notes on the State of Cyberspace." Post's book is a juxtaposition between Jefferson's intrigue with large ungulates, the description and mapping of the natural world, and the state and natural history of the internet. Yes I know it sounds bizarre, but Post pulls of the juxtaposition expertly. I highly recommend this book.
  • Welcome Jeanne Kramer-Smyth to the BOTM podium
    published on Thu, 02 Jul 2009 05:20:05 +0000
    Happy July everyone! This month we've got Jeanne Kramer-Smyth with us. Among other things, Jeanne is a blogger at Spellbound Blog, a really interesting blog about the intersection of archives, digital humanities, cultural heritage institutions and technology -- here's her full biography. Take it away Jeanne! We also want to thank Molly and Lori from the Internet Archive for being our guests for the month of June. They turned us on to a bunch of cool Archive-it digital collections hosted at the archive. We really hope they'll continue to keep us posted on the Archive's happenings. Thanks again Molly and Lori!! View RSS feed
  • North Carolina State Archives and State Library of North Carolina?s Web
    published on Thu, 02 Jul 2009 02:35:13 +0000
    The North Carolina State Archives and the State Library of North Carolina teamed up in 2005 to create Archive-It collections that collect, preserve, and utilize the state's historic and evidential resources so that present and future residents may better understand their history. This contributes to their overall goal to safeguard the documentary and material evidence of past generations for the education of all citizens and the protection of their democratic rights. You can find the North Carolina State Archives? portal to their Archive-it collections here. The North Carolina State Archives and State Library specifically used Archive-It during the 2005 Archive-It pilot period to capture former Governor James Hunt?s website which they had been unable to obtain from other sources, and the site came down from the web shortly after they captured it. The Archives reports that it has gotten many requests for information from Governor Hunt?s website and being able to point folks to the website archives collection has elicited very positive feedback. They also captured then Governor Mike Easley?s August 2003 video message to President Bush regarding the closing of textile mills in North Carolina (these mills were very important to NC?s economy). The video is no longer available online due to a change in administration, so having it archived will ensure continued access. The Archives and State Library are now working to capture their current governor?s Facebook and Twitter accounts as a way to document elected officials use of technology to reach large communities with their message. -Lori
  • More Gov Info Presentations @ ALA Annual
    published on Wed, 01 Jul 2009 16:01:34 +0000
    If you are going to the ALA Annual 2009 Conference in Chicago next week, please come to the "ALA Unconference" where I will be leading a broad discussion on Friday, July 10th from 11:10-12:00 on the library's role in current & emerging trends of civic engagement, transparency, preservation and access to Government information. The supporting materials and presentation will be linked in the Unconference wiki. Also, please come to the LITA BIGWIG Social Software Showcase to discuss and learn about Government Information Mashups! I will be presenting on this topic and would love to have you help out and/or join in on the conversation! The presentation will be posted on their website but the face to face portion of the BIGWIG Showcase presentations will take place Monday, July 13th from 10:30am - 12:30pm in the McCormick Convention Center West, Room W-184.
  • Librarian Guide to Honduras
    published on Mon, 29 Jun 2009 21:30:52 +0000
    By now, most FGI readers should know about the coup in Honduras. You may not know that the ALA GODORT Handout Exchange has some resources to help people learn more about Honduras: Honduras Country Guide from the University of Colorado at Boulder Government Publications Library State Department microfilm documents on Latin America from the University of California at Berkeley. While not a handout nor in the Exchange, people interested in historic interactions between the United States and Honduras should check out the cross-agency Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Search put together by Stanford University's Social Sciences Research Group and hosted by Archive-It. Librarians - If you want to use library/govdoc resources in highlighting news stories or themes important to your audience, you don't need to work alone. The Handout Exchange is there to help.
  • Guide of the Week: Treaty Research
    published on Sat, 27 Jun 2009 13:30:36 +0000
    Treaties exist between many nations on many subjects. From mutual defense to copyright to exchanging meteorological data, chances are there is at least one treaty between at least two nations on almost any subject you can think of. This week's Guide of the Week will help you navigate this crowded field: Treaty Research: Sources and Tips (Debbi Schaubman, Michigan State University, 1999) Last updated 10/27/2006 by Terri Miller. This guide aims to be a starting point for the most important sources to treaty finding. It is divided into five sections: General Bibliographies and Indexes: World Coverage General Bibliographies and Indexes: Regional/National Coverage Treaty Texts Treaties between Native Americans and the United States or Canada Tips for Tracking Recent Treaties and Treaty Actions Some of the resources include: Treaties and Alliances of the World Canado-American Treaties United States Treaties and Other International Agreements Avalon Project: Treaties between the U.S. and Native Americans Texts of Recently Deposited Multilateral Treaties In addition to Terri's guide, there are currently at least six other guides on international treaties. Explore them all at
  • New "Global Legal Monitor" RSS Feeds @ LOC
    published on Fri, 26 Jun 2009 21:03:20 +0000
    The Law Library of Congress's Global Legal Monitor has added more than 300 topic and jurisdictional RSS feeds. Topics include the Census, Freedom of Information, Government Publications, Intellectual Property, Libraries, and Secrecy! There is also an RSS for all articles in the Global Legal Monitor too. Tip o' the hate to Resource Shelf.
  • FGI @ ALA annual conference '09 in Chicago
    published on Fri, 26 Jun 2009 19:45:20 +0000
    If anyone's going to be in Chicago July 9-13, you might consider heading over to the American Library Association's Annual Conference '09 for their grassroots program. All of the FGI gang will be there. Jim Jacobs, Shinjoung Yeo, and friend of FGI Gabriela Schneider will be on a panel called "Libraries and Obama?s Information Policy" on Saturday, 3:30?5 p.m. Hope you can make it!! Libraries and Obama?s Information Policy Saturday, July 11, 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. Hilton, Lake Ontario room The nation?s information policy is a major concern for the library community. We are facing a critical historical juncture, where libraries can raise our voices and provide a vision of information policy. This panel will provide an opportunity to identify key issues in the new administration?s information policies and discuss ways the library community can participate in forming that policy. Moderator: Caroline Nappo, Doctoral Student, Information in Society Fellow, University of Illinois, Graduate School of Library & Information Science Panelists: Jim Jacobs, Data Services Librarian Emeritus, University of California San Diego, Co-creator of; Gabriela Schneider, Communications Director, Sunlight Foundation; ShinJoung Yeo, Information in Society Fellow Graduate School of Library and Information Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign There's also a panel on Monday July 13 from 8-10am called "From Legacy Data to Linked Data: Preparing Libraries for Web 3.0." None of the FGIers are on the panel, but we're sure to be there as data is very important!!
  • Lunchtime listen: Tim Berners-Lee on government data
    published on Wed, 24 Jun 2009 16:51:08 +0000
    I just read Tim Berners-Lee's notes on putting government data online. I must say, when TBL describes it, it sounds like a piece of cake :-) The key seems to be the use of linked data. It's a snap; let's do it! RAW DATA NOW!! Footnote: Do's and Don'ts * Do pick URIs which are likely to be persistent * Do put RDF metadata giving the license. * Do use the RDF and SPARQL standards * Make sure your human readable pages are accessible. * Do NOT hide data files inside zip files unless they are also available directly. * Do NOT put data up in proprietary formats. * Do NOT wait until you have a complete schema or ontology to publish data. * Do NOT seek to replace existing data systems.
  • University of Toronto?s Canadian Political Parties and Political Interest Groups Collection
    published on Mon, 22 Jun 2009 18:11:07 +0000
    The University of Toronto Libraries are a network of 30 collections with over 15 million holdings, forming the largest academic library in Canada, and ranking third among research libraries in North America. With an average of 12,000 visits per day, and a rapidly expanding online information system, the collections meet the research, teaching and learning needs of scholars in an exceptionally broad range of disciplines. Serving researchers in Canada's largest university, across the country, and around the world, UTL is an internationally recognized cultural resource. The University of Toronto has used Archive-it to create a comprehensive collection on Canadian Political Parties and Political Interest Groups. The collection archives the websites of all of the national Canadian political parties, and a number of special interest groups across the political spectrum. The University of Toronto has been archiving these sites several times a year since 2005. You can find the University?s portal to their Archive-it collections here. -Lori
  • US Office of Historian site redesign
    published on Mon, 22 Jun 2009 03:27:10 +0000
    Department of State Office of the Historian has just released the redesign of its site: They've done a really nice job with the redesign including new and easier access to my favorite Foreign Relations of the United States. Users can now browse FRUS by themes like decolonization, instability in Latin America, US-China trade etc (though I'm surprised that there's no theme for Cuban Missile Crisis, Vietnam, SALT etc. Perhaps they'll add those additional themes). Users can also browse by country to find history of US diplomatic relations and links to other key publications like Department of State Background Notes, Department of State Country Information, CIA World Factbook, and Library of Congress Country Studies. The new website boasts greater accessibility and searching within the Foreign Relations of the United States documentary series. It currently offers both textual and facsimile copies of Foreign Relations volumes from the Kennedy Administration through the Nixon-Ford administration. The Office plans to continue to digitize older volumes and eventually house all of the Foreign Relations volumes on its website. The website also contains updated sections on the history of the Department of State, biographies of notable diplomats, and an in-depth timeline of United States diplomatic milestones. The Office?s educational curriculum guides are also downloadable from the website. The Office hopes that through its enhanced presentation and organization, the new website will become the preeminent online resource for U.S. diplomatic history. --Source: U.S. Department of State [Thanks Resource Shelf!]
  • Guide of the Week: Statistical Resources
    published on Sat, 20 Jun 2009 14:55:18 +0000
    Anecdotes are not data. If you want data, you should turn to today's Guide of the Week from the ALA GODORT Handout Exchange Wiki: Finding Statistical Resources (Sherry Engle Moeller, Ohio State University, 2005) CC Last updated 9/6/2006 I especially like this guide because it is more than a list of statistical resources. Sherry Moeller has a whole set of questions to help guide people to the right resource. She starts out with: Ask yourself the following questions: What is the subject of interest? (Topic) Examples: Crime, Economics, Education, Health Who or what is being counted? (Unit of Analysis) Examples: Individuals, Families, Households, Businesses, Farms, States, Countries What level of geography is desired? Examples: World, Country, State, County, City, Census Tract, MSA, Zip Code Do you want data for a single location or multiple locations? Examples: Ohio, Great Lakes Region by State, All U.S. States What time period should the data cover? Examples: Most recent available, 1870, 1900-1950 What frequency of data do you need? (Are you looking for figures for a specific point in time or are you comparing data over a period of time?) Examples: One time, decennially, annually, monthly, daily What variables are of interest? Examples: Race, Sex, Acreage, Gross National Product Sherry also gives this practical suggestion: If you don't know who collected or produced the data, can you make an educated guess? (Who would need this kind of information?) Examples: Number of airplane crashes in the U.S. - U.S. Department of Transportation?; Number of AIDS cases by country - World Health Organization? Once she has given you some focus, Sherry's guide moves into the following sections: General Sources, International Resources, Foreign Government Resources, U.S. Government Resources, State and Local Government Resources and Other Resources. Among the many annotated resources listed are: Statistical Abstract of the United States World Development Indicators (World Bank) Statistical Agencies [By Country] Energy Information Administration (DOE) Statistics at the State and Local Level The full guide is well worth your time if you have any interest in statistics whatsoever. Aside from this guide, there are about three dozen other guides to various kinds of statistics available from the ALA GODORT Handout Exchange. Go check them out at
  • Legistalker
    published on Sat, 20 Jun 2009 01:33:05 +0000
    Legistalker - The latest online activity of Congress Members. Legistalker makes it easy for you to stay on top of what your elected officials say and how they vote. Legistalker was created by Forum One Communications as an entry for the Apps for America competition. The ever-growing database is updated every 20 seconds, and relies on data from Twitter, YouTube, Capitol Words, literally hundreds of different news sources, and others.
  • Archive-It Wiretapping and the National Security Agency Collection
    published on Fri, 19 Jun 2009 20:41:56 +0000
    John Gilmore is an open software proponent, co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and perhaps most importantly an Archive-It partner (as an independent researcher). His Archive-It collections focus on open access to government information and policy as well as free and open source software. John has been archiving sites related to wiretapping and the National Security Agency since 2007. Describing the reasons for creating this collection, John says: "I'm trying to record and make searchable some documents related to the controversy over NSA wiretapping domestically without warrants, or with general warrants, which the Fourth Amendment outlaws. "  This collection demonstrates how the recent change in administration has opened up further crawler access to the National Security Agency (NSA) website. Previously, most NSA web content was blocked to the Archive-It crawler (as well as other crawlers) using the robots.txt exclusion protocol. Looking at their old exclusion list, for example this one from 2008 you can just how much of their website was blocked from crawler access. (all the directories listed could not be accessed). Since January 17, 2009 however crawlers have access to much more content. At the Internet Archive, we have noticed similar changes in other .gov websites including (compare this version from 2006 to the current exclusion list). Its exciting to know that moving forward John and other Archive-It partners will be able to collect more complete snapshots of government websites. -Molly and Lori
  • Update on Data.Gov
    published on Fri, 19 Jun 2009 15:15:22 +0000
    Sunlight Labs has an update on the status of gets an update, by Clay, Sunlight Labs, June 19 2009. has given itself a slight upgrade, adding a bunch more feeds. To compensate, has turned itself into three subcatalogs: A raw data catalog, a tool catalog and a geodata catalog.
  • National Archives now on YouTube
    published on Fri, 19 Jun 2009 15:09:11 +0000 Thanks and a tip of the hat to Kate.
  • Idaho Digital Publications Archive
    published on Thu, 18 Jun 2009 17:32:04 +0000
    As an Idahoan, I was excited to learn that the Idaho Commission for Libraries and the Idaho state legislature have made preserving and providing digital access to government publications and other information a priority. First a little background: the Idaho Commission for Libraries is the State Library of Idaho, and assists libraries throughout the state to build the capacity to better serve their clientele. The Commission has been charged with the responsibility of establishing and maintaining a digital repository of state publications in a publicly accessible database in revised Idaho Code 33-2505. Many state publications are preserved and made available online here. To further achieve this end, the Idaho Commission for Libraries has used Archive-it to preserve Idaho state government websites in their Idaho Digital Publications collection. This collection includes websites for state departments, universities, local and statewide initiatives, and even the first lady?s website. Check it out! -Lori
  • LOC to Capture #sotomayor Tweets
    published on Thu, 18 Jun 2009 14:51:13 +0000
    The Library of Congress announced via their Twitter account, that: LOC will capture tweets on #sotomayor for its web archives on the Sotomayor nomination. Here is a list of some of the latest web capture projects they are working on: Supreme Court Nominations 2009 The Supreme Court Nominations 2009 Web Archive will be a selective collection of Web sites archived between June 2009 through the completion of the hearings process. Web sites collected will include materials produced by watchdog, public policy, and political advocacy groups, blogs and tweets, community and religious organizations, foreign and domestic news sources, educational and research institutions, and independent websites. Collection dates: June 2009 through confirmation hearings. Indian General Elections The Library's Delhi Overseas Operations Office is documenting the ongoing process of India general election in 2009. Presidential Transition During a Time of Crises Web Archive Presidential Transition During a Time of Crises Web Archive will be a selective collection of Web sites archived between January 2009 and June 2009. Web sites collected will include materials produced by domestic and foreign political groups, community and religious organizations, advocacy groups, foreign and domestic news sources, and independent websites. Collection dates: January 2009 - June 2009. The collection will be evaluated prior to completion and may be extended. I would suggest they start archiving the tweets about the #iranelection (see earlier blog post) by James R. Jacobs.
  • Improve PACER - Sign the Petition
    published on Wed, 17 Jun 2009 18:45:30 +0000
    Folks, We crafted a very short petition directed at the Administrative Office of the US Courts to improve PACER. The petition is online here: It reads: We ask the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts to improve PACER by enhancing the authenticity, usability and availability of the system. We the undersigned, urge the Administrative Office of the US Courts (AO) to make the following changes to the PACER system: For verification and reliability, the AO should digitally sign every document put into PACER using readily available technology. PACER needs to be much more readily accessible if it is to be usable for research, education, and the practice of law. Improved accessibility includes both lowering the costs for using PACER and enhancing the web interfaces. Depository libraries should also have free access to PACER. Please sign the petition, comment on the ideas and share the petition with your friends and colleagues! I encourage you to sign the petition. And if you have any questions about it, please don't hesitate to contact me. Thank you, Erika Wayne e-mail: evwayne AT stanford DOT edu
  • State dept asks Twitter to be eyes and ears of Iranian elections
    published on Wed, 17 Jun 2009 16:11:53 +0000
    Twitter, the 140 character social media micro-blog, was scheduled to go down for maintenance on monday night. But, according to the CNN blog, a little thing called the Iranian elections and a request from the US State Department caused them to change their scheduled downtime to yesterday afternoon from 2-3 PST (middle of the night Tehran time) in order to ensure that the flow of information from Iran remains open and that Iranians can continue to communicate internally and with the rest of the world. This is a pretty amazing development in that, despite the Iranian restrictions on journalists and news organizations, the world is still able to get up to the minute accounts - complete with video on youtube, hashtags on twitter and facebook. Now libraries just have to figure out how to collect, preserve and organize this massive flow of information ;-) Mashable has more on why this matters as well as a HOWTO guide on following the elections.
  • The Census and Politics
    published on Tue, 16 Jun 2009 17:55:09 +0000
    This article does an excellent job of explaining the issues involved in picking someone to head the Census Bureau. Census Pick Illustrates Broader Obama Strategy, by Michael J. O'Neil, The Huffington Post, June 15, 2009. If you need a non-statistician's explanation of why sampling and estimation is as accurate as an actual enumeration, consider your last blood test: did they remove and test ALL your blood?. These matters are beyond any scientific dispute. Yes, sampling is theory -- the same way gravity is theory.
  • Lunchtime Listen: Catch up on your Internet History
    published on Mon, 15 Jun 2009 22:50:45 +0000
    The UK Open University has a series of 9 short interviews with Internet pioneers available on iTunes: The Internet at 40 [iTunes link]. Listen to Vincent Cerf, Donald Davies, Tim Berners-Lee, Ray Tomlinson, David Filo and Jerry Yang, "Weld Pond" and "Mudge," and Shawn Fanning. Even if you know the history of the Internet, you'll probably enjoy these interviews. One of my favorites is the conversation with Rodney Harrison, a Lecturer in Heritage Studies at The Open University, about a his "Cyber Archaeology" research of Second Life. Note that transcripts of each interview are available as well.