Recently, I attended the NCLA Government Resources Section Annual Meeting & Workshop. This event was held on the campus of Elon University and was sponsored by the Carol Grotnes Belk Library. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet with colleagues, and discuss current issues and upcoming changes within the Federal Depository Library Program and the NC statewide depository program.

Here are some of the highlights:

Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) Update
David Durant, GRS Chair & Federal Documents Librarian @ ECU
Beth Rowe, Federal Regional Depository Library Representative & Documents Librarian @ UNC-CH
During the 2014 FDLP Conference proceedings this past April, GPO unveiled a new strategic direction for the FDLP . Developed from external reports and feedback from library users and contributing institutions, the National Plan for the Future of the FDLPproposes some changes to the current program, while maintaining it’s original mission and core values. The plan has not yet been enacted, as GPO wanted to give member libraries and invested users an opportunity to provide input and feedback about what the program will become. The proposed changes include:

– a partnership with the Digital Public Library, which would serve as a host for collecting and housing materials.

– Rebranding efforts: (seems to be a trend, as GPO has adopted a new motto/slogan–Official. Digital. Secure.) FDLP (Federal Depository Library Program) will become FIALP (Federal Information Access Library Program). FIALP member libraries will become “Regional Federal Access Libraries” (currently Regional Depository Libraries) & “Federal Access Libraries” (currently Selective Depository Libraries). The possibility of changing GPO: Government Printing Office to GPO: Government Publishing Office was also mentioned (although there has already been a lot of back and forth discussion about this change with the increase of born-digital GovDocs).

– a collaborative network called the Government Information Access and Preservation Network, and a partnership program (the Federal Information Access Assurance Partners) to manage legacy print collections, promote investment in the preservation & digitization efforts, and to provide continued access to partnering government collections.

Because it is still in the planning phase, the plan is purposefully vague, presented without many details as to how the program will operate. During our discussion, concerns were expressed about how the proposed plan would impact current collaborative efforts by regional GovDocs consortia (such as ASERL). Additionally, some of my colleagues expressed their concerns over the varying tracks of focus that exist within Government Documents programs– one focused on access, and one focused on preservation, and how some depository programs may have to choose to prioritize one over the other. If you would like more information about the plan and current discussion about the proposed changes, please see GPO’s National Plan for the Future of the FDLP& ASERL Deans’ Letter to GPO re: “National Plan for the Future of FDLP”.

NC State Documents Update
Jennifer Davison, State Library of NC
Denise Jones, State Library of NC
The NC Government Publications Clearinghouseis currently focused on NC state digital publications and collections, and recent digitization efforts. The Clearinghouse manages more than 16,000 born-digital items, and 4,000 digitized items.

Jennifer shared some recent digitization projects that are available through the NC State Government Publications Collection, and some very useful Research Guides that pull together associated documents for themed NC research (such as ‘Agricultural Stats in NC‘ & ‘Native American History in NC‘). I am glad to know these exist!

Jennifer & Denise also discussed the challenges associated with managing digital state documents, such as collecting “Fugitive Documents“. These are online publications that meet all of the requirements for distribution through the government depository program, but were never submitted to the clearinghouse & therefore are not directly accessible to contributing libraries or agencies through the depository program. Apparently, it is estimated that about 50% of Federal documents are fugitive, and apparently, the percentage is even higher in NC state documents (!!).

Online Mapping Made Easy: Create a Map in 10 Minutes
Phil McDaniel, GIS Librarian @ UNC-Chapel Hill
Having a background in Geography, and an interest in datamapping and geocoding, I was admittedly jazzed for this presentation. Phil shared two mapping applications that are *free* and relatively easy for GIS beginners to create maps from their data– ArcGIS & Google Fusion Tables. Phil demonstrated uploading tabular data (that includes geographic values) with both programs, and how to modify the design and focus of your data map. Here is an example of a map that I created through the ArcGIS system, with data available from the Winston-Salem Metropolitan Planning Organization.

Winston-Salem Annual Average Daily Traffic (1981 vs 2013)

You may not believe me, but I’ve had three unique map requests from faculty members in the past year–not the typical reference request. Knowing what these programs are & the opportunities for data visualization that they provide is a good trick to have up my sleeve.
*sidebar: if you also geek-out over maps & all things GIS-related, drop me a line and let’s schedule a map-a-thon!

NC Open Government Coalition & Issues in Open Government
Jonathan Jones, Director of the NC Open Government Coalition
The North Carolina Open Government Coalitionis a nonpartisan organization that advocates for transparency in government, and the public’s access to government activity, records, and meetings. Jonathan shared with us the Coalition’s Mission and guiding principles, both of which are focused on ensuring and enhancing the public’s access to government activity, records, and meetings.

Jonathan also shared with us some common access issues that the NCOGC face, and exemptions to public record access laws (such as information related to criminal investigations, trial preparation materials, emergency response plans, autopsy photos, & email listservs).

There are some very useful resources available from the Sunshine Center’s website, aaand they have an app (NC Sunshine Center) that delightfully summarizes Public Record Laws, Open Meeting Laws, AND has a button to the NCOGC hotline (should you ever need clarification on your rights as a seeker of government information or a holder of government information).

All in all, a great meeting and workshop! I am looking forward to becoming more involved with the NCLA Government Resources Section in the future.