GPO’s Library Services System: A State-of-the-Art Technology Platform for the FDLP

  • lss wkshop
  • The staff at the U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) has been continuing their work to establish a state-of-the-art technology platform to support the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP). The goal of this effort has been to develop a suite of tools and services designed to complement the way in which depository libraries perform their work. GPO has invested in developing a deep knowledge of the program user and what it means for service delivery and design. In order to accomplish this goal, GPO contracted an ethnographer in FY 2016 to conduct a participatory work-practice study of the FDLP, which resulted in a series of qualitative requirements for the new Library Services System (LSS).

    Dr. Nancy Foster, well known for her ethnographic work within the library community, visited depository libraries to conduct observations, structured interviews, and work-practice studies (scrutiny of video-recorded work tasks). She also worked with GPO to host a user-centered design workshop last June, all to enhance our understanding of how to design systems that best support the way library staff work.

    Most of this work was performed at 12 depository libraries, geographically dispersed throughout the United States. This group of libraries volunteered a significant portion of staff time to this effort, and GPO would like to express deep gratitude for their contributions to this important work.

    • Bangor Public Library
      Bangor, Maine

    • California State Library
      Sacramento, California

    • Cornell Library
      Vermont Law School
      South Royalton, Vermont

    • Eli M. Oboler Library
      Idaho State University
      Pocatello, Idaho

    • Encarnacion Valdes Library
      Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico
      Ponce, Puerto Rico

    • Fenwick Library
      George Mason University
      Fairfax, Virginia

    • Harford Community College Library
      Bel Air, Maryland

    • Interior Library
      U.S. Department of the Interior
      Washington, D.C.

    • McWherter Library
      University of Memphis
      Memphis, Tennessee

    • Sitting Bull College Library
      Fort Yates, North Dakota

    • Stratton Taylor Library
      Rogers State University
      Claremore, Oklahoma

    • Washington State Law Library
      Olympia, Washington

    We also must extend a hearty thank you to those that volunteered their time to participate in the design workshop in Orlando last summer. It was an intense day of work, yielding a wealth of valuable input from the depository librarians who participated. The work is now complete, and a summary report is now available on fdlp.gov. The next phase of work will be to finalize the LSS Concept of Operations documentation and begin development activities.

    One of the initial development efforts of the LSS suite of services is the national needs and offers tool known as the FDLP eXchange. This new application offers a streamlined, automated service to help depository libraries more easily manage the disposition process of Government documents, following the prescribed FDLP guidelines and regional depository instructions.

    The FDLP eXchange underwent beta testing by a group of regional and selective libraries this past fall. The design team incorporated feedback provided by the test group and will implement some of the recommended modifications/enhancements in the live release, which is currently scheduled for late May/early June 2017. A webcast is available that provides an overview of the FDLP eXchange, including a description of the various features of the tool and the interfaces and capabilities for regional and selective libraries.

    Behind the scenes, GPO staff have been working to enhance the hardware and software hosting architecture to better support the technology platform’s ability to respond more rapidly to change, when it is needed.

    In 2016, GPO moved the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications (CGP), MetaLib, and the Federal Depository Library Directory (FDLD) to Amazon Web Services (AWS). The move to AWS establishes a robust platform that provides improved performance for users across these sites during peak traffic times, giving faster search results and content downloads.

    In 2017, LSCM seeks to continue the work of developing a state-of-the-art technology platform by relocating additional public-facing services to a cloud platform, to better support scalability and enhanced performance.

    Two other priorities that were amplified by the Work Practice Study include modernization of the CGP as well as the Depository Selection Information Management System (DSIMS). LSCM will be exploring modernization options for the CGP including web-scale discovery services. The LSS program planning team has also begun to outline the functional requirements to support a next-generation DSIMS service.

    GPO is also planning to modernize askGPO, which will include improved services to help better serve the needs of depository libraries. This “behind-the-scenes” enhancement of the service will allow GPO to better respond and communicate depository library needs as they arise.

    Technology can be an enabler, but can also stand in the way of efficient processes if the implementation does not carefully consider the end-user. In accordance with the National Plan for Access to U.S. Government Information, LSCM is using a user-centric approach to designing tools and providing services. Part of GPO’s vision is ongoing transformation to a digital information platform. To help achieve this, the agency has established a goal of implementing processes and procedures that develop an internal organizational culture in which exceptional service, delivery, and customer satisfaction are encouraged and rewarded. The LSS development strategy is well-grounded in these principles and is measuring success by its understanding of process and its ability to respond with effective solutions.

    Stay tuned to FDLP News & Events throughout the year for updates on these exciting initiatives.


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