GODORT International Documents Task Force Minutes

ALA Annual Meeting
Saturday, June 21, 2003
2:00 - 5:30 PM
Joint American Library Association Canadian Library Association Meeting
Toronto Canada - Hilton Governor General Room

Welcome and Introductions

Chair Chuck Eckman called the meeting to order at 2:00 pm
Present: Andrea Singer, Elizabeth Margutti, Ann Furhman, Cindy Watkins, David Griffiths, Christof Galli, Amy West, Sherry Smugler, Carolyn Kohler, Lynne Stuart, Peter Hajnal, Susan White, Mike McCaffrey-Noviss, Marian Shaaban, Matt Brosius, Lise St. Jean, Brett Cloyd, Barbie Selby, Valenhua Kalk, Susan Hocker, John Hernandez, Jackie Druery, Don Hagen, Susan Xue, & Jim Church (Secretary).

Panel Discussion: Promoting IGO Information Resources to Scholars and Citizens

Chuck Eckman introduced the panelists Peter Hajnal (moderator) is retired faculty from the University of Toronto School of Information and Library Science, and research association at the University of Toronto Centre for International Studies. Mike McCaffrey-Noviss is international documents librarian at York University and adjunct faculty at the University of Toronto School of Information and Library Science, where he teaches course in government information and international organizations Susan White is United Nations documents librarian at Princeton University Chuck Eckman explained that Helen Sheehy, documents librarian at Pennsylvania State University , was not able to attend but had forwarded her paper to him to read.

Mike McCaffrey Noviss began the panel discussion by explaining the two courses on government information he teaches at the University of Toronto , and distributed course outlines, assignments, readings, and sample homework questions The first class, LIS2136 is a general course with an emphasis on Canadian government resources The second, LIS2137, is a course on International Organizations, which was developed by Peter Hajnal. The course begins with background and history of IGOs: the League of Nations , International Military Tribunals, the San Francisco Conference, and the United Nations system The rest of the course focuses on IGO documentation, bibliographic control, reference, and depository libraries, as well as United Nations specialized agencies, regional and multi-regional IGOs, NGOs, and special topics on international law and statistics.

Both courses are grounded in real-life reference situations, mastery of traditional and emerging reference sources and databases, and common sense Students for example are expected to know that the World Trade Organization (WTO) did not exist in 1977 and any reference to the WTO at that time must refer to the lesser-known World Tourism Organization The course as such does not require intellectual brilliance, but a grounded practical approach involving hard work, attention to detail, and practice solving vexing reference questions.

Chuck Eckman then read Helen Sheehy’s paper on the course she teaches at Penn State University: LST 397 “International Governmental Organizations”. This is an undergraduate course taught in collaboration with faculty from political science and international affairs. The emphasis here is on topics like information literacy, problem solving, and systematic approaches to conducting research Course assignments include reading assignments, weekly exercises, a research topic proposal, research logs, q project outline, a research paper with a bibliography, and a final exam.

Helen noted that course difficulties included the amount of time spent working with students in mastering research methodologies for the assignments, and difficulty in getting faculty buy in for the course, which is one reason it has not been taught for several years The rewards of the course include working with and educating undergraduates on research skills, which is a badly needed and essential skill often not taught to undergraduates.

Susan White then introduced her course: the Readex/Newsbank International Documents workshop, which has been held annually in the town of Chester Vermont since the early 1980’s. The course is designed for practitioners working with international documents, and typically includes library students, documents librarians, law librarians, and librarians from other countries Many of them are new and intimidated with their IGO job responsibilities The setting is picturesque and charming which helps to relax everyone attending.

Although much is covered in a very short time, Susan strives to make the content clear and relevant by providing mini-guides to the resources covered and illustrating her points with real-life stories She is careful to provide accurate references to the sources she mentions. She also seeks to facilitate networking with colleagues at other institutions, who may have specialized collections we can draw upon Finally, Susan strives to emphasize the relevance of the work of International Organizations by illustrating the role of IGOs in current and historical world events She brings a passion and seriousness to the class, in which she is proud to observe no one ever goes to sleep.

Peter Hajnal then summarized the presentations of the participants and offered some concluding remarks He noted ach of the classes address different user groups: graduate library school students, undergraduates, and practicing librarians, and as such have different strategies and purposes He testified to the sound design of Mike’s course, its methodology, and the challenges it offers for students to develop critical thinking skills. &He also applauded Helen’s class for teaching undergraduates research methodologies, and Susan’s for deepening professional knowledge and facilitating networking He noted other professional development conferences such as Barbara Sloan’s European Union seminars and the workshops held by the UN Dag Hammarskjold Library Finally he observed the importance of mentoring as exemplified in librarians such as the late Rosemary Little He is encouraged by the fact that despite the low esteem the United Nations is enjoying at present there are good groups such as this one and ACUNS (Academic Council of United Nations Scholars) that are decidedly pro-UN.

Question & Answer

Some general discussion ensued regarding the importance of collaboration, collective problem solving, networking, and the need for a new publication on IGO collections and librarians at institutions worldwide. Amy West asked for advice on cross-training reluctant reference librarians intimidated by international government information sources Susan noted the usefulness of providing tools such as mini-guides in print and online. Jim Church responded that when he is called out to help with a reference question he always teaches the librarian who made the referral as well as the student Peter replied that Helen Sheehy and Deborah Cheney authored a good article on teaching documents in library school in the Journal of Government Information.

The meeting adjourned for a 15-minute break at 3:30

IDTF Business Meeting

The business meting convened at 3:45

Approval of Agenda

Chuck asked for a motion to approve the draft agenda The motion was made, seconded and carried.

Approval of 2003 Midwinter Minutes

Chuck asked for a motion to approve the Minutes The motion was made, seconded and carried.

Reports from Committee Liaisons

1. Toolkit has been updated and revised The look and feel is now similar to the federal documents toolkit. It is moving to the University of Delaware where John Stevenson will administer it. Barbie also spoke briefly of the cataloging pre-conference scheduled for ALA Annual 2004 in Orlando, which will focus primarily on federal documents Chuck thanked Barbie for working hard to update the toolkit.

2. Education Committee Lynne Stuart reported for Barb Mann. The committee has not yet met but has on its agenda the Government Information Clearinghouse and badly out of date handout exchange.

3. GITCO, Carolyn Kohler GITCO has not yet met, but is working on a report on the Terrorist Information Awareness system. Megan Dreger will be reporting on Census tape files and the Census 200 toolbox.

4. Legislation, Susan Pinckard Absent, no report.

5. Program, Margaret Rento Absent, no report.

6. IFLA, Sandy Peterson. Sandy has been appointed to IFLA starting in 2005 and will attend the 2005 annual conference in Oslo.

7. IRRT, David Griffiths. The IRRT program for this year will be Health Information and Health Care in the World Environment.” IRRT is continuing to work on sister library arrangements.

8. ACRL Women’s Studies Section, Susan White. The section is investigating gender-specific information on IGO web sites, for example the Avalon Project at Yale Law School. Many IGO sites still lack important information on women.

9. Agency Liaisons, Marian Shaaban. This year’s agency liaison report has been posted to the IDTF web site Andrea Singer ( University of Indiana) is the new liaison to United Kingdom. The Stationary Office (TSO) Marian noted Mercedes Sanchez (FIU) is retiring and asked the group acknowledge her work in the liaison project.

Reports From the Field

1. OECD, Matt Brosius Source OECD has rolled out its Health data, but the format is not compatible with Beyond 20/20 software In order to use the data separate software needs to be downloaded and installed on the PC being used The new Ingenta platform for Source OECD is forthcoming Future enhancements include OECD working papers and greater download capacity for numeric data.

2. World Bank, Valentina Kalk Valentina gave a presentation on the new World Bank e-library and distributed a handout The e-library went live in January 2003 and is a “titanic operation” with over 1300 full-text titles going back selectively from 1993 and comprehensive from 1999. “Regional portals” are available for institutions interested in specific parts of the world, which are divided according to the Bank’s organizational structure. Subscriptions can be pro-rated according to the calendar year, and discounts are available for institutions subscribing to World Bank numeric databases.

Susan White raised the question of archiving practices for “other” freely available world bank information , such as the Policy Research Working Papers Valentina responded saying the Bank is working on the issue and striving to ensure consistency of data archiving practices.

3. The Stationary Office (TSO). The Stationary Office is now the official distributor for all UK Official Publications.

4. Bernan, Don Hagen Bernan is bringing back the publication “international documents news” as an online newsletter, which is organized by IGO agency.

5. Renouff, Lise St. Jean Lise announced that Renouff is the primary distributor of IGO documents and publications in Canada and will also welcome orders for publications from U.S. libraries.

Old Business

1. Survey of IGO Preserbation practices, Jim Church. The article will appear in a 2004 issue of Documents to the People. The task force reminded the author he still has to write a thank-you letter to participating agencies.

2. Cataloging toolkit - tabled

3. IFLA appointment, see IFLA report, item 6, committee liaisons.

4. NGO database, Christof Galli. The NGO database project has fallen by the wayside Originally it was intended as a web index of NGO documents on the web Caroline Kuhler indicated that the University of Iowa may be interested in taking up such a project.

New Business

1. ACUNS, Peter Hajnal Peter spoke about the Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUNS). ACUNS is a “quasi-NGO” with over 900 members in 50 academic institutions Its mission is to build a constituency for the UN through education. ACUNS publishes a major journal , Global Governance. The title of its 16 th annual meeting will be “A World Free from Fear” and will include an interview with Kofi Annan. Also included will be four panels, which will focus on topics such as Civilians in Armed Conflict ACUNS sponsors summer workshops. The next one will be at Yale University on Human Rights Every five years ACIND changes its headquarters, and this coming year it will move to Wilfrid Laurier University. The new website is http://www.acuns.wlu.ca/ .

2. Program proposal, Jim Church Jim is bringing a program proposal on Cataloging and archiving of digital government information to the program committee meeting this conference in preparation for formal submission at midwinter. The proposed program would take place at ALA annual in Chicago , 2005. SLDTF has already met and endorsed the idea A motion was made to do likewise and the IDTF also endorsed.