Sunday, October 26, 2008

Real American Government Information, in Northern VA of All Places!

Last week I was able to attend the biannual Federal Depository Library Conference in Arlington, VA. In addition to spending time with some old friends and meeting new ones (hey Audrey - knitters!), I was nearly overwhelmed by the great choices of sessions being offered. These conferences coincide with the Federal Depository Library Council meetings, but I felt safe in skipping most of the Council working sessions as they are documented in exquisite (some would say excruciating) detail in GPO's Administrative Notes, so I was free to choose from the three other concurrent tracks during most of my time, and even squeezed in some promotional events offered by Lexis-Nexis and Marcive.

Some of the presentations were put on by various agency personnel, and highlighted that agency's online offerings and other services. Most of the presentations have already been posted to the conference website, and I encourage anyone who's interested to check them out! I attended those dealing with:

Other sessions that also dealt primarily with online content included the following:

Some of the more thought-provoking sessions dealt with meeting the users' needs through the appropriate combination of collections and services, a topic that drives our own library.

I also indulged in some of the geekier offerings, targeted specifically at those whose work revolves around the minutiae of SuDoc classifications, shipping lists, claims, corrections, and shelflists, and described the tools available to make our lives easier. I won't bore you with the details, but yes, I enjoyed them immensely...

Finally, the plenary sessions at this conference reinforced my takeaway experience of the FDLP Interagency Seminar in August; although the GPO and the FDLP are bureaucracies, and prone to the same issues that affect any bureaucracy, these organizations have taken to heart their missions of providing Government Information to the people of this country, and have adapted to a changing environment with the intention of improving their contributions to the library community. They understand that the lines have blurred between collections, services, communication, access, and stewardship, and they are committed to capitalizing on this situation, to the ultimate benefit of users everywhere. I feel lucky to have been able to attend this conference, network with my colleagues from all over the country, and soak up some of the energy that is infusing the depository community these days!

If any of you are interested in hearing more about the sessions I've described, or anything having to do with Government Information or the FDLP, please get in touch with me -- I'm happy to share what I know!

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