The Digitization Projects Registry

Responses to the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) Forecast Study clearly demonstrated that digitization initiatives are underway among a number of libraries and institutions. Libraries expressed interest in digitizing, planning to digitize, or actively digitizing U.S. Government publications. Perhaps your library is one of those that is planning a digitization project. So, how do you go about determining the scope of your project? What file formats are you going to use, and where and how do you store the digital files? What technical standards are others in the FDLP community following? How do you ensure that files are accessible to the public? Furthermore, how do you find others who may have already digitized the same or similar publications, so that you don’t duplicate efforts?

The Digitization Projects Registry (Registry) answers many of those questions. First launched in 2006 as the “Registry of U.S. Government Publication Digitization Projects,” the name was subsequently shortened and the tool enhanced in 2008. The main goal was to provide access to digitized U.S. Government content. It was designed not only to serve as a directory and locator tool of digitization projects, but also to increase awareness and encourage cooperative efforts. Although the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) hosts and maintains the Registry, it was designed to function as collaboration among GPO, libraries, Federal agencies, and others. The process of registering digital content is easy. The first step is to sign up for an account and then create one or more listings that point to the digitized collections. Each listing includes the name and description of the collection, administrative information such as contact information, and technical information. While the Registry can be searched using simple keywords, there is also an advanced search that allows users to search on any of the fields in the listings, such as geographic coverage, SuDocs classification, institution name, state, and many others.

But what other functions can a tool like the Registry incorporate? A focused discussion held during our virtual Preservation Week in April of this year addressed that issue. Participants mentioned some great ideas for additional metadata they would like to see: among others, MARC records, any grant funds that were received, and whether the digitized collections are authenticated.

Over time, any Web-based tool needs a little TLC, and the Registry is no exception. Beginning in March of this year, a team from GPO’s Library Services & Content Management undertook a systematic review of all of the listings in the Registry. The team—composed of Mark Ames, Kristina Bobe (Team Lead), John Braddock, John Dowgiallo, and David Walls—met and discussed the need for a review and overhaul of the tool.

What did we find? Although listings are developed to be updated by each listing owner, some were out of date, out of scope, had URLs that no longer worked, or needed other updates. The team initiated an outreach effort to all listing owners that provided necessary updates but also fostered dialogue between GPO, libraries, Federal agencies, and others in the information community. While some listings were found to no longer meet the criteria of the Registry, other new listings were created and added. The ultimate goal of this review, which will be ongoing, is to keep up a constructive and valuable conversation while continuously improving and enhancing the Registry.

Is your library considering or has it already completed a digitization project of U.S. Government content? Please let us know! Promote access and awareness of your collection of digitized U.S. Government publications by sharing it with the FDLP community; sign up today to include it in the Digitization Projects Registry.