Preliminary Project Proposals for the Consideration of International Documents Task Force Members

Working Group on Service to IDTF Members and the Profession, June 2006

At its midwinter 2006 meeting, the International Documents Task Force (IDTF) created a Working Group on Service to IDTF Members and the Profession. Its charge was to explore how IDTF might be more useful to government documents librarians as well as information professionals in other subfields, and to present its findings at the 2006 Annual Conference.

The group’s members include Marcy Allen, Christof Galli, David Griffiths (Chair), Katherine Holvoet, Andrea Morrison, David Oldenkamp, and Amy West.

We believe the five proposals described below have equal merit, and if carried out carefully and diligently, they would benefit GODORT and the profession. Following discussion of these projects, IDTF should identify the project(s) it would like to pursue at this time. Working groups, which would develop extensive proposals to be presented at the IDTF 2007 Midwinter meeting, could then be formed. Membership in each group should be restricted to members willing to participate directly in implementing the project assigned to it.

Proposed Projects

1. Create online information on IGO RSS feeds and pull these feeds into an IGO news blog.

2. Solicit authors—including new authors—to write books and articles for GODORT on topics suggested by IDTF. Some of these publications, such as books published by ALA Editions, could produce revenue for GODORT. While the publication of books is important, the submission of manuscripts to DttP is critical and should be encouraged regularly.

3. Librarians new to IGO and national government (NG) documents, as well as librarians who are not government information specialists, need nuts-and-bolts information on the publishing and distribution policies and practices of IGOs and national governments. [1] IDTF should consider the creation of an online database providing specialized information on these topics. Member versus non-member access should be considered. The IGO component of this product should include the following information:

  • Organization’s name
  • Organization description
  • Website URL
  • Main subjects covered in its information resources
  • What it makes available on its web site.
  • Whether it has a depository program, and what it distributes to depository libraries
  • Whether it offers blanket and/or standing orders
  • Contact information for vendors that distribute its documents and publications
  • Whether its publications are distributed through approval plans
  • Its subscription databases
  • Its principal serial publications
  • The language(s) of its products
  • Indexes to its publications
  • New titles RSS feed or e-mail newsletters
  • Quirks librarians have encountered in the course of acquiring the organization’s publications Whether the IGO explicitly states how long electronic documents remain on its web site
  • If so, which documents, and for how long?
  • (This database should also contain searchable FAQs. Not only questions recently submitted but also questions that have been asked in the past or may arise in the future should be included.) The Working Group recognizes that it is often difficult to implement a database project — particularly one undertaken by persons affiliated with different institutions. Many questions would have to be addressed in the proposal: Where will the database be built? What institution would host it on its server? How would content be added? Who would edit entries and maintain quality control? Given these challenges, it may be wise to create a simple web page or pages in preparation for the more demanding task of creating and maintaining a database with similar content.

4. Create a directory of IDTF members willing to answer questions about specific IGOs. Access to this directory could be restricted to GODORT members. IDTF may be able to implement this by expanding the role of its agency liaisons.

5. Promote collaborative collection development in order to ensure that major research libraries in the U.S. and Canada are acquiring nearly all available IGO and NG documents—including both print and e-only titles. As part of this effort, provide online information identifying groups of IGO and NG documents that particular libraries collect comprehensively. Also collect institutions’ collection development statements regarding IGO and NG documents.

    In this document “national government” (NG) documents refer to the information resources of all national governments except that of the United States. It is used in lieu of “non-U.S. federal” documents.