Newsletter of the Federal Depository Library Program
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March 15, 2004 GP 3.16/3-2:25/04
(Vol. 25, no. 04)
READ (Docs!) Posters and Web Site –
You Can Do This Too!!
Christine Dent, University of Minnesota, Morris
Amy West and Julia Wallace, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
Minnesota's READ (Docs!) poster/web project has received some national publicity through GOVDOC-L and through a display at the fall 2003 Depository Library Conference. Other libraries asked if they could also send pictures to our site. We thought that a better plan would be for libraries, alone or in groups, to do their own. It is really not hard at all. So this brief article tells how our project got started, and how we did it. We hope to see more sites like this and maybe they will get linked from GPO's Promotion page on the FDLP desktop. To see what we're talking about, check out the Minnesota site at <http://govpubs.lib.umn.edu/forum/read2003.phtml>.
How It Got Started
READ (Docs!) came into existence haphazardly at a meeting of Minnesota government documents librarians in March 2003. Our fearless leader and magnificent regional librarian, Julia Wallace, was featured as one of the Movers and Shakers in Library Journal. The March issue came out just days before we met, so of course we had lots of questions for Julie, and wanted all the juicy details of what it was like to be photographed and written about!
Julie's pose in her photo came under intense discussion. Why that pose? Why holding a pen? Why not holding a government document? Why not holding a government document? We asked again. "We should take pictures of Julie holding a document." "Yeah, and we could blow them up and hang them in all our libraries!"
You know how it is when people get together…someone tosses out a thought and it gets built upon, it grows, it takes on a life of its own. "No, I know," someone said, "we should take pictures of all of us and hang them in our libraries! Like the famous people in the ALA posters. Just think, our patrons could say – Hey! I know who that is! That's my librarian – and what's that document in their hand…I'd better check it out, looks cool!" And so it began…
Depository libraries around the state got out the digital cameras and found their favorite documents. The pictures were then sent to the regional library where they were compiled onto a web page. We chose the name READ (Docs!) as a shameless imitation (the sincerest form of flattery) of ALA's Celebrity READ posters (see http://www.alastore.ala.org/.)
Putting Together The Web Site
Putting this site together was pretty easy. The regional volunteered to host since there was plenty of web space and a willing volunteer, but any library could do it. The amount of space needed should not be a strain on the average system. While some images as sent (via e-mail attachments) were rather large, the resolution was changed to keep them all between 50k and 150k on the web. So the total site uses about 5mb.
The coordinator needed to have knowledge of basic HTML to design the template. In addition, a graphics-editing program was used to bring the images down to 72-pixel resolution, which usually made them small enough to appear in a single screen. The graphics program needn't be a new or powerful one either – we used a very elderly copy of PhotoShop. Each submission included the name and library of the staff member pictured, plus a citation for the document(s). This permitted indexing by name, institution, and also (how quirky is this?) by SuDoc number. The editor added catchy cutlines, just for fun.
The pages were put together manually, but if we had it to do over we would change the procedure a bit. Perhaps these suggestions will make it even easier for others who want to try a similar project. The main change would be to create a submission form that would send the image, citation and ID information together, with the HTML coding already included as part of the form. Then each e-mail could be copied into an HTML file, named and saved. A consistent naming structure would make creating an automatic index very easy.
And The Saga Continues…
To keep this on people's radar, and to expand publicity within Minnesota, we conducted a contest on our Minnesota government documents discussion list, to pick the top favorites of the documents community. (See results on next page.) We then printed copies of all of the web pages as posters on the large format color printer in the University of Minnesota map library. The entire printing project took a couple of hours. We took them to the Minnesota Library Association annual conference, for the exhibit hall. We carried a big easel, and punched holes in the posters for easy mounting on the easel. We also printed 8 ˝ x 11 copies to put in a notebook, with all of the indexes. Attendees could flip through them, and could also vote for their favorites. As long as that exhibit was so successful, we then rolled up the posters, stuck them in mailing tubes, and brought them to the GPO's fall conference in Arlington. Once again, they were a big hit. Libraries that want to produce higher quality posters from their photos can use their original digital image files.
While discussing depository promotion ideas at the state conference, a suggestion was made for bookmarks with basic depository information – a library URL, hours, and a catchy phrase. This idea was combined with the READ (Docs!) campaign, making use of the photos taken earlier and allowing each library the opportunity to promote their depository using their own staff and documents.
Here's how it works: a small copy of a READ (Docs!) image is inserted near the top of the bookmark. Somewhere on the bookmark is the phrase READ (Docs!). A statement such as: "You may be surprised by the information you can find residing in a federal depository library!" is included. A link or two such as: "locate a federal depository library" and/or "find documents online, go to: [URL]," are added in, or the depository's hours are included. This format allows for the inclusion of basic common pieces of information, while still leaving room for individual depository specialization. Bookmarks may be printed on heavy cardstock and/or laminated if desired. (See example on next page.)
*Can you guess what the favorites were? Votes were initially taken online, with the documents community voting. At the MLA State Conference, votes were again taken, this time from any and all attendees who chose to stop by the exhibit table and vote.
Photos may be viewed at: <http://govpubs.lib.umn.edu/forum/read2003.phtml>. The numbers below correspond to the numbers in the title list.
What are your favorites? Get inspired!!
Minnesota's Favorites - Depository community:
1st He's Bac! A children's guide to keeping food safe (#21)
2nd MMWR: Morbidity and mortality weekly report (#27)
3rd Roswell report: case closed (#40)
4th Outstanding gasoline stations (#30)
Minnesota Library Community:
1st He's Bac! A children's guide to keeping food safe (#21)
2nd MMWR: Morbidity and mortality weekly report (#27
3rd (tie) Outstanding gasoline stations (#30)
3rd (tie) United States Coast Pilot 6, Great Lakes and their connecting waterways 2003 (#47)