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Newsletter of the Federal Depository Library Program

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Cumulative Table of Contents Vol. 1 - present [ PDF ] ( includes current issue )

July 15, 2003

GP 3.16/3-2:23/03
(Vol. 24, no. 09)

Library Programs Service Update

Remarks by Sheila M. McGarr
Chief, Library Division

Before the
Government Documents Round Table
Federal Documents Task Force
American Library Association
Toronto, Canada
June 21, 2003

Good afternoon. I am pleased to be speaking before GODORT’s Federal Documents Task Force again. For those few in the audience who did not know, I left GPO in December 2000 to become the Director of the National Library of Education at the Department of Education. I returned to GPO in mid-April for the exciting opportunity to be part of the team who will reshape the public products and services under the purview of the Superintendent of Documents.

As T.C. Evans, Deputy Superintendent of Documents, will talk about the planned reorganization, I will concentrate on activities in the Library Programs Service (LPS). I will touch on topics in the two handouts only as a reminder. [See handouts in this issue.]

Contracting for an Integrated Library System

GPO is evaluating a proposed solution to implement an integrated library system (ILS) in LPS. Contract development should be completed this month, depending upon the time required for reviews by our contracting office and the attorneys in the Office of General Counsel. Upon completion of this review, our statement of work will be sent to the likely provider, who will have about two weeks to respond in detail to our requirements. This is quite a complex contract, as it covers multiple service providers and software packages, each of which must be licensed for use in the ILS project.

GPO still hopes to have initial implementation of some systems early in 2004. We expect that GPO cataloging records back to 1976 will be available on the system on Day One.


Early this spring, Gil Baldwin convened a team to plan the collection component of what we’ve called the U.S. Library of Public Information. In conjunction with regional Federal depository library collections, this Library collection will serve as the collection of record for the FDLP. Through collection access and delivery, it will also serve as the collection of last resort for all Federal depository libraries. The purpose of the plan is to estimate the resources, in personnel, space, and dollars, to build a comprehensive collection, so that we request those resources in our FY2005 appropriation. At the moment, we have no space or staff to accept lots of "stuff" weeded from depository collections. However, if you are offering some unique materials, please contact us so we can evaluate it.

The collection is comprehensive and includes publications of the Federal Government, which are of public interest and educational value, regardless of format. A comprehensive collection is defined to include, as far as reasonably possible, all official publications of the United States Government.

  • From all three branches of Government
  • Across the spectrum of subjects
  • Disseminated to Federal depository libraries
  • Cataloged but not disseminated through the FDLP
  • Produced in English and other languages


  • Format in which the agency produced the publication
  • Digitized copies
  • Existing microfiche
  • No new microfiche, unless it is the format produced by the agency
  • Maps
  • Tangible electronic products
  • "Best edition" or "best available copy" for retrospective additions

Some publications, such as those that cannot be adequately digitized, may be represented in the collection in multiple formats to support user need or preference for a specific format.

NARA Memorandum of Understanding

GPO is negotiating a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). This contract will make GPO an official "archival affiliate" and all of the GPO Access databases will be considered the official archival copies, as if they had been physically transferred to NARA, but GPO will continue to maintain them for permanent public access. In terms of legal custody, the "records" will be transferred to NARA.

Pilot Projects

I just want to mention a few of the pilot projects that are underway:

  • The University of Arizona is engaged in a project to become the first all-electronic selective depository library. They are working with GPO to identify electronic counterparts for all of the items that they select and systematically substituting those items for tangible products. To date, the Cataloging Branch has cataloged 1849 titles. We anticipate cataloging many more as this project continues.
  • For the University of North Texas (Cyber-Cemetery), GPO has cataloged 890 monographs and 22 serials at the site. A newly deceased sub-agency has recently been added to the site and we are presently cataloging new additions. Other than this, the site has been completely cataloged.
  • The regional depository libraries have been asked to develop proposals for pilot projects to test a new concept for inspections. In the past 30 years, the inspection process has been reinvented several times, from the 12-question checklist and unannounced visits in the early 1970’s to the self-studies with or without a follow-up inspection in the 1990’s. Throughout this period, the GPO inspectors have worn two hats, that of a consultant passing along examples of best practices and that of an auditor reviewing for compliance with GPO policies. This role has been schizophrenic. Because of advanced scheduling, there has never been the flexibility to stay an extra day or visit multiple libraries in a day.

In this new initiative, we would like to establish locally based "consultants," who would be assigned responsibility for approximately 40 to 60 depository libraries in a geographic area. Similar to your commercial vendor account representatives, these consultants would visit each of those libraries at least once per quarter, some for only a few hours and others for a day or more, depending on the need.

Consultants will be most useful in states where official documents interest groups do not exist or regional library staff does not have the time or the resources for regular consultation or continuing education activities. During the pilot project, GPO will "hire" people as expert consultants much as we did with the electronic transition specialists not to exceed one year. To date, we have received two proposals, one from Michigan and one from a consortium of North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. GPO’s depository library inspectors will conduct formal inspections of at-risk depositories.


ERIC Documents

I have a vested interest in the project to make digitized versions of federally funded Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC) reports available on GPO Access. The National Library of Education’s ERIC Program Office, the ERIC Document Reproduction Service (EDRS), and GPO have worked together to provide electronic access to Government-funded education-related publications at no charge to the public through depository libraries. For many years, this dissemination was primarily in microfiche. GPO plans to migrate the FDLP dissemination of federally funded ERIC information completely into the electronic environment. GPO has ceased disseminating ERIC microfiche to depository libraries. EDRS has ceased providing microfiche reproducibles to GPO for replication and distribution.

EDRS now provides GPO with a monthly file transfer of electronic files of TIFF images of ERIC documents eligible for the FDLP. GPO will make these files received since October 2002 available free of charge through GPO Access and will assure that the Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) files are permanently available. GPO’s cataloging and locator services will point to the GPO Wide Area Information Service (WAIS) database, or its successor technology, for ongoing access. GPO staff is reviewing test pages on GPO Access now.

OMB/GPO Printing Compact

Public Printer Bruce James and Office of Management and Budget Director Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. recently announced an innovative agreement that will free executive branch agencies to choose their own printers while saving taxpayer dollars. The agreement will also empower GPO to maximize public access to all information produced by Federal agencies. Details are provided on the green handout.

Tangible Titles in the FDLP

Our pink handout shows that about 60% of the new titles made available through the FDLP are online. The program has been on this plateau now for a while, yet you heard Bruce James estimate that in 5 years, the FDLP will be 95% electronic. Reaching this level means that we will be aggressively pursuing opportunities to get online information into the FDLP, and looking for titles that are now disseminated in tangible and online versions. Just as you are reviewing your selections for the Annual Item Selection Update, we are reviewing and establishing our FDLP requirements for the coming year. As we work through, we will follow the policies set out in SoD 71, that the default choice of dissemination format for the FDLP is online.


  • LPS will be sending a letter to those depositories that receive the bound Serial Set alerting them to a binding error that occurred in the production of volume 14337. Senate Document 104-24 was inserted instead of Senate Treaty Document 104-24.

Libraries that received this volume may return it to GPO for rebinding. GPO will send a prepaid shipping label for this purpose to each selecting library via first class mail. Additional instructions for those libraries will accompany the shipping labels. Don’t send the volume back until you receive GPO’s letter.

The volume will be rebound with Senate Treaty Document 104-24 substituted for Senate Document 104-24 and returned. Due to the historical and permanent nature of this publication, GPO will correct, rebind, and redistribute the volumes at no expense to libraries.

  • Don’t forget the Annual Item Selection Update cycle concludes on July 31. Details are in the pink handout and on the FDLP Desktop.
  • The agenda for the Federal Depository Library Conference will appear in the July 15, 2003 issue of Administrative Notes. The dates are October 19-22 at the Doubletree Hotel in Arlington, VA.
  • The "Recommended Minimum Specifications for Public Access Workstations" appeared in the June 15, 2003 issue of Administrative Notes.
  • So far, GPO has received only one nomination for the first Depository Library of the Year award. Win an all expenses paid trip for 2 to the fall Depository Library Conference! The deadline is June 30. See the pink handout for more details.
  • The 2003 Biennial Survey of Depository Libraries will have essentially the same content as 2001 and will be conducted in November. Watch for the announcement! GPO anticipates using the results of the Biennial Survey to identify libraries that need extra attention.
  • GPO’s partner, Oklahoma State University, has contacted almost 80 people who have been contributors to Browse Topics and has received 47 updates to their pages. Over 30 files will be updated soon. OSU has a new list of topics for adoption and the list will be posted to the website soon. There is no representation from over 40 states in developing this service and OSU hopes to expand the geographic distribution of the participants.
  • Before anyone asks, the DVD for the Bureau of the Census Summary File 3, U.S. Summary, item number 0154-F-01, has arrived in LPS. The National Summary is due soon.