Volume 28, Number 2, Summer 2006

Illinois Digital Library Programs

by Connie Frankenfeld, Digital Programs Librarian, Illinois State Library

Illinois' electronically-published state documents of the 1990s are gone. Back then, no state or federal agency was equipped to preserve such documents. The files posted on Illinois government Web sites during that time are not saved anywhere. In the late 1990s, during a change of gubernatorial adminstration, all of the former adminstration's Web sites were removed. For the first time, much of an administration’s information was digital, and no one saved the files.

Someday the Illinois State Library (ISL) may receive a request for the state response to the September 11, 2001 attacks, or the state's preparations for the possible avian flu pandemic. The fact that the state administration has changed or that the format os such information has changed to digital formats won’t matter to the person who needs the information -- but it is important from a preservation standpoint because digital information requires more resources to maintain.

The Illinois State Library Act (15 ILCS 320/6 (q.) and 15 ILCS 320/21) and the Illinois Administrative Code (23 SEC. 3020.110) assign the responsibility to preserve digital publications and online access to ISL. Therefore, ISL has created three programs to ensure long-term public access to electronically published Illinois documents, digital images, and electronic versions of print publications, using the Internet.

Illinois Government Information (IGI) is the ISL's Web site search engine, which “spiders” more than 200 state-supported Web sites of state offices, agencies, boards, and commissions and copies their contents each month. IGI then indexes the text and any publishing information that can be extracted so users can search by keyword, subject, or originator (publishing agency). IGI is easy to find on the Find-It! Illinois Web page, and it also powers the search for the Illinois Secretary of State’s Web site.

The same monthly harvest is used by Capturing Electronic Publications (CEP). CEP is a computer system that monitors changes made to electronically published state government documents on the Internet and then copies the changed documents to a database for safekeeping.

The Electronic Documents Initiative (EDI) is the state depository, which provides permanent public access to State of Illinois publications that have been published in electronic form. Security is ensured because transmissions are encrypted, and the administrator is automatically alerted if any deposited files are altered. It has a fully ADA-compliant interface and will be available publicly when more content has been deposited.

EDI and CEP were developed by a partnership between ISL and the Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS) at the University of Illinois -- Urbana-Champaign, with funding from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services. Currently, GSLIS also operates IGI because combining IGI and CEP operations saved costs.

Although the efforts may be taken for granted, ISL is working to ensure that the lapses of the '90s are not repeated, that permanent public access is in place, and electronic state publications will be available when needed.

For more information, contact Connie Frankenfeld.