FDLP Community Educational Sessions Inform and Engage at the 2012 Meeting & Conference

Presentations by members of the depository community and organizations that work with U.S. Government information tend to be among the most popular sessions at Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) events. These presentations cover many topics and often offer practitioner experience and ideas for best practices that may be directly applied at libraries

This year, all 18 proposals for an educational session were included in the Depository Library Council Meeting and Federal Depository Library Conference (Meeting & Conference). One participant had this comment about the presentations: “I have been attending for over 15 years both conferences. The “conference” or education part of this conference was the best I can remember.” This was great feedback!

Some highlights from FDLP community programs:

  • ASERL Disposition Database
    • Winston Harris, University of Florida
    • Bill Sudduth, University of South Carolina

Attendees learned about the development of the ASERL Documents Disposition Database and how its implementation has impacted the withdrawal process and the continued creation of ASERL Centers of Excellence in states that use it. A demonstration of the tool illustrated its structure and features.

This session highlighted the challenges and opportunities of the ASERL Centers of Excellence model faced by three pioneer COEs. The goal of the COEs is to increase user awareness of vital Government resources held in library collections.

Karen Russ and Frances Hager gave a lively presentation to an enthusiastic audience. Ms. Russ used her own family as an example to illustrate her presentation. She also highlighted commercial and non-government tools and how they and the Government resources can complement each other. For example, the Library of Congress’ American Memory site “... provides free and open access through the Internet to written and spoken words, sound recordings, still and moving images, prints, maps, and sheet music that document the American experience. It is a digital record of American history and creativity.” Ms. Russ’ presentation partner, Frances Hager, discussed the Land Patents Database at Bureau of Land Management(BLM), General Land Office (GLO) Records Automation Web site.

Chris Brown of the University of Denver is leading The Colorado Alliance of Research Libraries to digitize all depository microfiche that do not now have an online equivalent. Bedsides discussing project details, Chris’ presentation illustrates the once major role depository microfiche had in depository libraries, and how that distribution and use has shrunk since a high point in 1998.

Bert Chapman defined rare earth materials and their uses in critical technologies, and he highlighted the important Government publications that document the world of rare earth minerals. In his presentation, under the “Why Should I Care?” section, Mr. Chapman highlighted the importance of rare materials, their availability mostly outside the United States (China 90%), economic and political volubility in countries that supply rare earth minerals, and the need for the Unites States to develop rare earth resources, and other important issues.

This session provided an overview of the North Carolina Library Association’s Government Resources Section’s “Help! I’m an Accidental Government Information Librarian” series of webinars. How it was implemented along with its current impact on the community was highlighted. The program also looked to the future of the series and made a call to anyone interested in participating as a presenter.

  • How Innovation Fosters FDLP Outreach
    • Paula L. Webb, University of South Alabama

Paula L. Webb examined more than 60 years of primary documentation capturing the history of the FDLP Biennial Survey from 1947 to the present. She analyzed the types of questions included during the years the questionnaires were used to poll the FDLP community. She focused on outreach, particularly noting technology-related methods, such as virtual reference and social networking. She hypothesized that spikes in outreach related to spikes in technological innovation in the environment, and gave examples.

Gwen Sinclair described in detail the contents and differences between executive orders and proclamations. She listed some famous executive and proclamations. Ms. Sinclair included resources for accessing current and older execution orders and proclamations, including whitehouse.gov for the sitting president.

Ms. Ornes shared her successful tips on how to engage freshman on her campus with unique and interesting resources from the Library of Congress American Memory site and through the student use of iPads and various apps that can access Government information.

The Sunlight Foundation is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to enhance Government transparency by providing free online resources to access Government data. This session provided an overview of creative tools available to research and track Federal and state bills, explore the Congressional Record, and access agency and legislative data.

Mr. Morrison started with a good explanation of patents, and went on to give detailed, step-by-step instructions on searching patent databases, including the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Web Patent and Application databases, and the European Patent Office ESP@CENET database. Also included in the presentation were good tips on analyzing search results – what was too many or what was a good number of manageable hits to analyze. Mr. Morrison ends his presentation by including a detailed list of links in his slide presentation.

The non-governmental National Security Archive operates out of George Washington University and contains roughly eight million pages of declassified U.S. Government records obtained largely through FOIA. Of particular interest was learning about the ways in which the declassified information has been used in courts and the news, and how it has contributed to a reshaping of our understanding of history, and more.

The session started with a history of the Statistical Abstract of the United States, documenting its value and use over time and also outlining the reaction to the Census Bureau’s decision to discontinue publication. ProQuest, which is now publishing this valuable resource, then shared many insights about the steps it is taking to recreate the publication.

  • Snapshot in Time: Results from the Southeastern Federal Depository Coordinators Salary Survey
    • LuMarie Guth, Columbus State University
    • Chris Sharpe, Kennesaw State University
    • Yadira V. Payne, Fort Gordon, Woodworth Consolidated Library

The March 2011 Southeastern Federal Depository Coordinators Salary Survey gathered data on salary, job responsibilities, qualifications, and education from regional and selective depository coordinators across the Southeast. The results provide a snapshot of the Government depository community and show interesting and unexpected trends.

  • Storing Government Documents in a Robotic Retrieval System
    • Claudene Sproles, University of Louisville
    • Randy Kuehn, University of Louisville

The University of Louisville acquired a Robotic Retrieval System (RRS) in 2005 as a new compact storage solution. This presentation outlined how the RRS works from both the patron and staff perspectives. Items discussed were: advantages, disadvantages, system maintenance, user opinions, impact on the Government Documents Collection, and future plans.

Professor Canfield offered a bilingual presentation in English and Spanish on using Government documents in scientific research. She explained the resources available, especially in Puerto Rico at the five depository libraries there. She included a generous listing of hyperlinked resources throughout her slide presentation.

Ria Lukes presented the tale of her library’s comprehensive depository collection weeding project. Blended with humor about the challenges that popped up during the project, she outlined the numerous steps involved and shared the results.

Ms. Ryan and Ms Jervey gave a very interesting presentation on the War of 18212 and how its history and impact can be ascertained through Government publications. Their slide presentation included a good number of screen shots of Government documents related to the War of 1812, and also included an interesting Code of Federal Regulation citation describing the playing of the national anthem and the protocols for doing so, including the required conduct of military and non-military personnel in attendance whenever the national anthem is performed.

For more information about the programs, check out the event proceedings.

GPO thanks all presenters and appreciates the wealth of information they shared at this year’s Meeting & Conference.