GODORT International Documents Task Force Minutes

1997 ALA Annual Conference San Francisco Marriott, Pacific Suite E Saturday, June 28, 1997, 2:00 pm - 4:45 pm

Attending: Duncan Aldrich (Coordinator), Mary Gay Anderson, Dan Blazek, James Church, Thomas DePaul, Sam Dunlap, Chuck Eckman, Patricia Finney, Christof Galli, David Griffiths, Peter Hajnal, Dena Hutto, August Imholtz, Peggy Jobe, Linda Johnson, Bob Kettner, Sarah Landeryou, Michael Levine-Clark, Rosemary Allen Little, Mike McCaffrey-Noviss, Vida Margaitis, Andrea Morrison, Michael Oppenheim (Secretary), Sandy Peterson, Patrick Ragains, Margaret Renton, Jim Ronningen, Helen Sheehy, Juri Stratford, Kathy B. Tezla, Peter Van Leeuwen, Julia Wallace, Chris Zahn. Duncan Aldrich called the meeting to order at 2:05 pm.

1. Welcome and Announcements

Following introductions around the room, Duncan announced that Assistant Coordinator/Coordinator-Elect Kathy B. Tezla will need to resign her IDTF office, inasmuch as she has been elected incoming Chair of GODORT, and cannot hold both offices simultaneously. The 1998 Assistant Coordinator/Coordinator-Elect Mike McCaffrey-Noviss has agreed to serve as 1998 IDTF Coordinator, and Andrea Morrison will serve as Assistant Coordinator/Coordinator Elect. Duncan also announced that Helen Sheehy will serve as IDTF Liaison to the GODORT Legislation Committee.

2. Approval of Minutes

The Minutes of the 1997 Midwinter IDTF Business Meeting in Washington, D.C., as published on pages 111-114 of the June 1997 issue of Documents to the People (volume 25, no. 2), and on the IDTF Web site were approved with one correction: Barbara Sloan represents the European Community, not the United Nations.

3. Reports from IDTF Liaisons

  1. GODORT Education Committee--Helen Sheehy (on behalf of liaison Debora Cheney) reported that when the Committee meets Sunday afternoon, its major discussion topics will include its Web page (committee members are especially looking for examples of Web-based instruction) and the disposition of Jack Sulzer's monetary gift for continuing education for documents librarians. Also, the Handout Disk Exchange will not be taking place at this Annual, but will at a later date.

  2. GODORT Legislation Committee--Liaison Julia Wallace reported that, along with the usual wide range of federal information matters, Legislation is also working on "fleshing out" a resolution on "Planning for the Preservation of Government Information," which was passed at Midwinter. ALA should, of course, take a leadership role, but how? Duncan noted that GODORT's IDTF-inspired letter-writing to various international bodies concerning the preservation of electronic information certainly represents a useful step in the right direction. Another "productive specific" could be to compose a standardized statement about preservation, to be disseminated as widely as possible.

  3. GODORT Cataloging Committee--Liaison Andrea Morrison reported that the Committee has written a letter to Neville Keery, Head of Library Services at the European Commission, concerning the "problematic usefulness" of OCLC's EUR-OP file (of European Union MARC cataloging records). The records, accessible through PRISM, although worth having available, are also very difficult to use (being essentially in the form of a "data dump" only). Cataloging Internet resources also continues to be a paramount concern of the Committee.

  4. GITCO--Liaison Dan Blazek reported that when the Committee meets on Sunday afternoon, its principal discussion topics will include the activities of the Workgroup on CD-ROM Documentationdisposition of Jack Sulzer's gift (considered jointly with Education)development of a template for "government information" pages on libraries' Web sitesand GODORT's proposed merger with ASCLA (ALA's Association of Specialized & Cooperative Library Agencies).

  5. GODORT Program Committee--Liaison Peggy Jobe reported that the main GODORT program, on GILS, is all set to go on Monday morning. [Additional Program-related information was subsequently discussed under "Old Business."]

  6. GODORT Rare and Endangered Documents Committee--Liaison Mike McCaffrey-Noviss reported that when the Committee meets Sunday morning, attention will be focused on the Serial Set Survey. The Committee has not, as yet, begun to address issues concerning foreign and international "rare and endangered documents," a matter which IDTF will continue to press.

  7. Ad-Hoc Committee on the GODORT Web Presence--Liaison Mike McCaffrey-Noviss strongly urged everyone to come to the Committee's meeting on Sunday afternoon, where a "preliminary report" on the GODORT Web will be discussed. High-priority issues involve the character and extent of ALA's oversight of the GODORT Web.

  8. ALA International Relations Committee--Liaison Rosemary Allen Little represented the IDTF at the Friday orientation meeting for international attendees of ALA Annualshe had some very good conversations with some of the attendees, and GODORT enjoyed excellent PR. New to ALA this year is an International Lounge for those attendees, of whom there are more than ever before. The Committee met first on FridayRosemary has their agenda and related documents. At its next meeting, on Tuesday, the IFLA Human Rights Resolution on Freedom of Information will be discussed. The new Chair of the Committee is Robert Seal, University Librarian of Texas Christian University.

  9. IFLA--Liaison Helen Sheehy reported that IFLA's Government Information and Official Publications Section (GIOPS) is ready to issue formal requests for experts to be part of its "Directory of [International] Government Information Specialists" database . IFLA is also seeking funds (nearly $100,000 is needed) to present a seminar for Eastern European/former Soviet Union librarians in Moscow, in late October. One potential donor, the Gorbachev Foundation, although hesitant to fund a one-time event, may be more receptive to another GIOPS proposal: for an Eastern European/United States librarian exchange program. At IFLA's Annual Conference in late September/early August (in Copenhagen), GIOPS will present programs on electronic information dissemination and copyright issues, and a hands-on Internet workshop. Finally, IFLA's Government Libraries section has made merger overtures to GIOPSalthough GIOPS does not wish to merge, they are talking, nevertheless.

4. Old Business

  1. Center for Research Libraries (CRL) Information Update--Patricia Finney, Head of CRL's Stacks Management Department and in charge of all Special Collections materials, described the history and current management of Foreign Official Gazettes (FOGs) by CRL. Additional major collections include those of the Library of Congress, the New York Public Library, the United Nations, the Organization of American States, the Harvard and Los Angeles County Law Libraries, UC Berkeley, and the University of Michigan. In 1992, the NYPL determined it could no longer continue to participate in the project, and it invited CRL to take over its holdings. CRL's FOG collection is to be retrospective, with coverage through 1995, and with microfilm as the overwhelmingly preferred format (although hard copy contributions will be accepted when microfilm is not available). CRL is integrating NYPL's collection "in alphabetical order" with its own, as they receive it (to date, they are up to "G" in the NYPL materials). The materials are going in to CRL's Innovative Interfaces (III) online public access catalog as "in process," not complete MARC, records. Those records can be retrieved by author (name of country at time of publication)titlewords in the titleCRL call numberand subject heading (i.e., name of country at time of publicationeach/all name changes of countryand "foreign official gazettes"). Also available are union holdings listings (i.e., for the other collections noted above). Telnet to the catalog at CRLCATALOG.UCHICAGO.EDU ( the log-in prompt, type "guest." When all the records are entered (CRL is up to "L" with its own holdings), the database will be made available as a Web site (a "hoped-for" target date is "sometime" in 1998), with such access points as geographic area, format, and many more. Overseeing the FOG project is an ad hoc Task Force, whose members are Robert Buckwalter, Harvard Law Library (Chair)John Ganly, NYPLThomas Reynolds, UC BerkeleyRose Marie Clemandot, Law Library of Congressand Margaret Leary, University of Michigan. Grants will be vigorously sought to fund microfilming of FOGs in hard copy. Ongoing problems and concerns center on future acquisitions: although the UN and LC (the Law Library is concentrating on Western Europe) are continuing to acquire FOGs, major gaps remain, especially for Sub-Saharan Africa and the English-speaking Commonwealth countries (which were NYPL's focus). Eastern European materials are also a concern. For these reasons, the CRL Task Force is seriously considering prospective collection development.

  2. Another letter will be drafted (principally by incoming IDTF Chair Mike McCaffrey-Noviss and Duncan Aldrich, assisted by Chuck Eckman, Sandy Peterson, Helen Sheehy, and Kathy Tezla), in response to further questions raised by the United Nation's 4/18/97 response to the GODORT Chair's letter praising the Web-based ready-reference database UN-I-QUE (http://www.un.org/Depts/dhl/unique/index.html) and addressing related matters. Key points to be raised in the follow-up letter include making multiple passwords available to UN depository libraries for use of UN-I-QUEthe inadequacy of "concessional pricing" (currently, a 25% discount on UN materials to depository libraries)and conference and support services. Also, letters from 1997 GODORT Chair Andrea Sevetson to the European Commission concerning long-term access to electronic documents received appreciative responses from the EC on 2/3/97 and 4/4/97. As IDTF Chair, Duncan received from the EC a copy of Librarians in the Information Society, 1996: Deposit Collections of European Publications [document number EUR 161910 EN--not an EC depository document]. Duncan and Mike McCaffrey-Noviss will review the document, and share their findings with the IDTF.

  3. Various issues concerning programs at 1998 Annual in Washington, D.C., were discussed. Julia Wallace reported that ALA President-Elect Barbara Ford asked 1997 GODORT Chair Andrea Sevetson to recommend GODORT personnel to advise on implementation of her 1998 "Global Touch, Local Access" theme. The following "smaller committees," already getting underway, may provide particular opportunities for GODORT: one is compiling a book on international librarianship ("a natural place for something about access to international information"), and another is working on a bibliographically-themed CD-ROM for those who do not have Web access. Other 1998 activities "in the works" include volunteer activities in local libraries, a Literacy Fair, a Diversity Project, an opening General Session with "international celebrities and an "Embassy Reception Night." Although GODORT's main 1998 program (on rare and endangered documents) is already long-established, and a Pre-Conference may have to have been proposed and approved before now, the IDTF will move ahead with planning, under the leadership of Mike McCaffrey-Noviss, for a presentation in 1998. [Note: At Second Steering, a motion was passed approving the IDTF program as a Pre-Conferenceplease see the Minutes of the GODORT Second Steering Committee Meeting, July 1, 1997.] Peggy Jobe, Andrea Morrison, and Kathy Tezla (who, as GODORT Chair-Elect also becomes Program Committee Chair) will work with Mike, who has already spoken with the European Union's Barbara Sloanshe has promised a monetary donation (the precise use of which will be determined). A very popular program idea emerged in Margaret Renton's suggestion of the Model UN Program. This long-time, major contribution by UN depository libraries reflects with almost "metaphysical perfection" the "Global Touch, Local Access" theme, and has perhaps not received the recognition it has long deserved.

  4. Duncan relayed a brief update on the publication status of CIS's Guide to Official Publications of Foreign Countries [edited by Gloria Westfall] and the distribution of free copies of it and the Guide to Country Information in International Government Organization Publications [edited by Marian Shaaban] to developing countries (the same distribution list will be used for both works). August Imholtz of CIS stated that the Gloria Westfall book should be out at the end of August.

  5. Duncan distributed copies of the highly detailed June 1977 Status Report on the Agency Liaison Program, by Coordinator Mercedes Sanchez. Mary Gay Anderson has also written a report on her liaison work with the European Unionshe will be happy to send a copy to anyone who asks. Mike McCaffrey-Noviss will post copies of both reports to the IDTF Web site.

  6. Peggy Jobe announced that nominations (which may be limited to titles) are urgently needed for the International Documents section of Library Journal's next annual "notable documents round-up." (No nominations were received last year.) Although "anything" may be nominated, submitters should be aware that the judges may often not have copies of the documents, so titles that are otherwise accessible will tend to be the "better" nominations (accessibility is also a major consideration for the smaller, less resource-rich libraries for which these lists are targeted). The deadline is OctoberPeggy will post detailed calls to GOVDOC-L and INTL-DOC.

  7. Duncan announced that the GODORT budget now "officially" includes $1,500 to support travel expenses for the IFLA representative.

5. New Business

  1. Duncan led a "congratulatory huzzah" for IDTF's own 1998 GODORT Chair-Elect, Kathy Tezla.

  2. Kathy Tezla briefly reported on United Nations 21 (an electronic document, available from the reform page ) at http://www.un.org/reform/sginit/un21ref.htm . This "annual-report-like" agenda for reform contains serious implications for the continuing dissemination of UN information on paper, particularly in its "Challenge #3" (of 4) to "modernize services to UN member states, and reduce hard-copy documentation." Kathy will write up her observations for posting on INTL-DOC. Duncan noted that these concerns should provide good, additional fodder for the follow-up letter to the UN (see Item #4[B] under "Old Business").

  3. Sam Dunlap presented a proposal to establish an official GODORT/IDTF Liaison to ACRL's Western European Subject Specialists section. W.E.S.S. members are eager to hear about IDTF activities, as both groups share many concerns. Also, W.E.S.S. has been focusing more and more on social sciences-related bibliographic issues. This proposal will be brought as an action item to the GODORT Business Meeting.

  4. In response to concerns that GODORT's Rare and Endangered Documents Committee has yet to address the many issues involving rare and endangered foreign and international documents, Julia Wallace led a resounding "endorsement of empowerment" for IDTF's Liaison to the Committee, Mike McCaffrey-Noviss, who is more than fully prepared to champion the cause.

6. News from the Field

  1. Peter Van Leeuwen of Readex reported that Version 2 (beta) of their Access UN is out, and Readex subscribers may use it free of charge until the end of the year. This new version provides hot links to materials not in the Readex databaseReadex would obviously like to provide this service, but they are also necessarily investigating its legal ramifications. August Imholtz of CIS reported that their Web-based Statistical Compass, which includes the Index to International Statistics (along with all other CIS statistical products), will be released in September. Chris Zahn reported that Bernan is working out invoicing options by which to reduce customers' shipping and accounting costs.

  2. Peter Hajnal presented reports on (1) his January 1997 work as one of two evaluators of the United Nations' Dag Hammarskjold Library and (2) his attendance at the recent "Summit of the Eight" in Denver.

    1. The Library evaluation, which Peter carried out and wrote in record time with co-evaluator Stephney [sic] Ferguson, Chair of the Department of Library Studies, University of the West Indies (Kingston, Jamaica), is now available as a General Assembly publication: A/AC. 198/1997/2. (Also available is an Addendum, issued by the Secretary General: A/AC. 198/1997/2/Add. 1.) The evaluation covers every aspect of the Library's operations and services. The Secretary General concurred with most of the 28 recommendationssome cannot be implemented because of funding problems. Among the recommendations: that the Library continue to issue certain core materials in paper, and that the UN presence throughout the world be used to its fullest advantage to disseminate information electronically. The General Assembly will deal formally with the report in the fall, as a part of overall UN reform.

    2. On June 20-22, 1997, the G-7 met in Denver as the "Summit of the Eight" (G-7, plus first-time attendee Russia). As a member of the University of Toronto's G-7 Research Group, Peter has attended many of the previous summits. Big on spectacle, the Summit also had a very strong Internet presence. Particular kudos goes to Denver's local library community for setting up a most impressive information center for the benefit and use of Summit attendees.

  3. Duncan urged everyone to attend the 25th Anniversary GODORT Reception on Sunday night, where Peter will receive the James Bennet Childs Awardhe is only the second IDTF member ever to win this. Also, the second edition of his International Information: Documents, Publications, and Information Systems of International Governmental Organizations, is about to be published.

Following two 20-minute extensions, the meeting adjourned at 4:45 pm.

Respectfully submitted by:

Michael Oppenheim, 1997 IDTF Secretary
Government Information Services & Reference Librarian
JFK Memorial Library
Calif. State University, Los Angeles
5151 State University Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90032-8300
Voice: (213) 343-3996
Fax (213) 343-5600