September 2006 Digital State Publications Task Force Meeting Summary

Mary Jo Lazun, Carol Carman, Doug McElrath, Christine Alvey, Joan Bourne, Steve Anderson, and Daria Parry

Next Meeting:
October 20 at 2:00 pm @University of Maryland

Briefing for Daria
The group briefed Daria on the group’s origin and work it has undertaken.

Daria clarified the Dept of Education position that if funding from the LC/Illinois grant comes through, they would be interested in participating.

Now that the group has immersed itself in the major issues, it needs to work with the Department of Education and SLRC to develop an implementation strategy, budgeting, staffing and whether to use a centralized or decentralized approach to collecting, cataloging and storage.

Carol pointed out that shared cataloging was tried in the past, and that it did work for a while, but was not sustainable because work demands pulled people way from their depository duties. The group felt that shared cataloging might work if the requirements of the libraries were clearly defined, and most importantly, there was leadership to sustain the process.

Issues Chart
Mary Jo shared the “Issues Chart” she developed. The chart illustrates the major issues, decision points, and their interrelationship facing the collection of digital publications in Maryland. An area of major discussion was the need for leadership and consistent funding for the project. There was general agreement that the State Publication program may require a new organizational home. There was a general consensus that a new organization, modeled on a mini-GPO, that would have statutory authority and independence might offer the program a stable home.

Demo Project with University of Maryland Library
Doug talked with CLIS and they were not interested in working with us. However, the Digital Collections Research group at University of Maryland libraries might be interested in working with us to develop a pilot project. Doug is going to develop a proposal to present to the Digital Collections Research group. Our group will be meeting in College Park in October. This meeting might double as an introductory meeting with the Digital Collections Research group.

State Survey
Christine shared her draft of a phone survey of states that are actively implementing a process to manage state publications. Christine will send around the final version shortly. We divided up the states as follows:

Steve-North Carolina
Mary Jo-Connecticut and Wisconsin
Christine-Arizona and New Mexico
Joan-Texas and Alaska
Daria-Ilinois Carol-Michigan

Depository Meeting
Joan is going to finalize a date for the upcoming meeting of the Depository Libraries, probably in October. The group is going to use Mary Jo’s chart as the substance of the presentation.

COMAR and State Archives
Christine shared the draft COMAR regulation that would require all state agencies to deposit copies of digital publication with the Archives. The Archives is currently in the process of reviewing its regulations and this proposal is part of the review process. It should be noted that that this regulation was developed over a year ago, before the Task Force was formed. It is based on the Archives mandate for acquiring and providing permanent public access to Sate government records.

Published in: on September 20, 2006 at 2:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

August 2006 Digital State Publications Task Force Meeting Summary

Mary Jo Lazun, Carol Carman, Doug McElrath, Christine Alvey, and Joan Bourne.

Next Meeting:
September 8th 2:00 pm @Maryland State Archives

Follow-ups from last meeting

Watch That Page
Mary Jo shared her “Watch that Page” web page which includes links to homepages and publication pages for most of the Maryland state government web sites. Mary Jo will email relevant updates to the group.

Legislative Services Database and Mandated Publications
Carol said that Legislative Services would not be willing to share their database of contacts for Maryland publications. However, we do have access to their work via “Maryland Documents” which lists all mandated reports collected by Legislative Services. Entries often include the web address of the publication and contact information.

Scanning Project
Carol also said that Legislative Services is embarking on a scanning project for all past publications from Legislative Services Office of Policy Analysis from 1997 to present. Stable 856 links will be included in their catalog. Carol is going to email the links to us these links as she adds them.

MD Law Library to Purchase Digital Repository and Software
MD State Law Library is going to purchase a digital repository to handle documents it is planning to scan. Mary Jo is optimistic that the system could be used as a prototype for Maryland publications, starting with those from the Judiciary.

Illinois Grant Proposal
Joan said neither MSDE nor Pratt would be capable of participating in the grant project with Illinois because of lack of funding and FTE shortages in SAILOR. The State Library Resource Center has in its Strategic Plan FY 2006 to FY 2008 an objective (3.1): “in collaboration with stakeholders, publish a plan for end-user(s) to have electronic access to state documents” by July 2007.

Meeting for Depositories
Joan hopes to have a meeting in October for all the state depositories. The task force plans to present its work and solicit ideas from the group.

Next Steps for the Task Force
The Task Force is going to focus on a series of documents the group hopes will provide background, guidance, suggested approaches, and a sample budget. These documents include:

  • Short phone survey questionnaire for states regarding the approach they are taking to managing electronic publications.
  • Presentation outlining the crisis in state pubs on a national level and Maryland.
  • A proposal to describe the best approaches to managing digital documents.
  • Sample budget including FTE, start up, and re-occurring costs.
  • As we see it now the major issues are:

What should we collect?
There is a huge amount of digital “publications” on the web. Need a way to decide what should be collected. Doug’s “Hierarchy” will help address this issue.

How should we collect?
The current model requires that agencies send us their material as stated in the statue. However this is not occurring when it comes to online publications since at this time there are no mechanisms to collect or store digital files.

Who should collect?

1. Dedicated staff to handle collection of all state documents


2. Collaborative collecting shared by Maryland depositary libraries

Where should the documents live?
1. Dedicated server operated by Sailor or another Maryland government entity. Software options: Open Source (Dspace Greenstone) or COTS (ArchivalWare by PTFS another similar product)


2. OCLC via Digital Archive Currently in pilot. For more info see

Who should do the cataloging?

3. Dedicated staff to handle all state documents


4. Collaborative cataloging shared by Maryland depository libraries

How we can “lock down” the copy so users know they are using an authentic version of the document?
We need to find a way to give users and library staff the confidence that the copy of the document they access is in fact the “original.”

To Do List:

Get started on the PowerPoint to describe the need to focus on digital state documents

Talk to CLIS.There maybe some interest in working with us on this project Follow up on Kansas presentation at SAA-use of open source software

Mary Jo
OCLC Digital Archive: status and cost

Basic questionnaire for other states-Approach and cost

Current and future budget for state publications program

Published in: on August 29, 2006 at 12:59 pm  Leave a Comment  

June 2006 Digital State Publications Task Force Meeting Summary

Meeting Date: Friday, June 16, 2006

Present: Mary Jo Lazun, Christine Alvey, Doug McElrath, Carol Carman, Steve Anderson and Joan Bourne

Next Meeting: July 21st at 1:00 Pratt in the Poe Room

Illinois State Library Grant Proposal to Library of Congress

Mary Jo and Steve described how Maryland (via the MD Dept of Education and MD State Law Library) has become a part of a multi-state initiative to develop software, systems, and best practices, to manage state documents with a focus on legal and legislative materials.

Members of the group were surprised by our speedy inclusion in this project, but the general consensus was that right now there is really no downside for Maryland. At this point we are only listed as a potential partner so we have until September, when the grant will be formally awarded to learn more about the project.

In early July, Mary Jo will be talking with Connie Frankenfeld from the Illinois State Library who is leading this project. Mary Jo is working on a list of questions to ask, the most important being what expectations does Illinois have for us. We don’t want this project to interfere with the work of the task force.

Watch This Page

Mary Jo described a tool that she started using called “Watch This Page.” The purpose of the software is to notify a person of changes to web pages. It is a web-based program and pretty simple to use. You enter a URL and the software sends an email when the page is changed. Hundreds of pages can be stored and they can be organized in a hierarchical manner. Mary Jo has found it to be a great tool in keeping track of new publications that may be available only in electronic format.

Email Notification for Legislative Audits

Christine talked with the staff at Legislative Audits who developed an email notification program for new legislative audit reports. Although the program they wrote is pretty simple, it is based on their particular email and operating systems and really isn’t something that could be used “statewide” to notify us of new publications.

Hierarchy of State Publications

Doug presented his first draft of the Maryland State Publications Hierarchies. The document is a wonderful way of organizing the various types of publications that we collected. Doug began with the Texas model of 26 categories and managed make his version a much more manageable nine categories.

The group quickly found MANY uses for the document. It could be used to determine which documents will get full cataloging and which may just get a basic treatment. It will be a great guide to webmasters to show them what documents we REALLY need and what documents would be nice to have. Doug is going to “work” the document a bit more. We may add sample titles, ideally one for each agency/department so they have a good idea of what we require of them.

Collecting of State Publications

Christine pointed out that there are MANY mandated reports listed in the Maryland Manual and unfortunately there is no systematic to way of know if the depositories have received them from Pratt. Carol described the amazing job that Legislative Services does in keeping track of publications that are required by the Legislative Services library, may of which are mandated state publications.

Legislative Services has an Access database it uses to track all publications. After each session, staff goes through the budget and bills to determine what reports are mandated and adds these to the database. Yearly they make requests for over 500 documents and actually receive about two thirds of these. Some requests are ignored but in most cases it is probably because the required report is not complete or will never be published since agencies are not always aware that they arer required to report on a given topic.

Carol will discuss with the Legislative Services staff ways their work can be used or emulated by the Pratt to get all state mandated publications. One option would be to have Legislative Services also request 16 additional copies to be sent to Pratt for distribution. Another option would be get a copy of the database for Pratt. Doug’s document hierarchy may help us figure out what we need to go after i.e. the mandatory and statutory publications.

Collection Policies

We had a short discussion about collection policies of the depository libraries. Joan suggested that depository libraries look at their collection polices to determine what items each library should add it its collection. Steve pointed out that his interpretation of the statue was that depositories do not have choice about what to keep. People will assume that each state depository library will have a complete collection.

This may be where Doug’s hierarchy may be very useful, i.e. to determine which publications all libraries must collect (like task force reports) and which ones are “optional” (like locations of farmers markets).

E Pubs

The group discussed how we are now handling those born-digital publications. Pratt (at the request of the Maryland Department) is printing all electronic publications. Christine at State Archives is doing the opposite, storing all electronic pubs in the Archives’ govdoc database. The rest of us are using variation of the theme with some 856 links to items that appear to have stable URLs, at least for a while.

Hopefully the work with Illinois will give us the software and server space to store the documents. At present Illinois is still working on document retrieval.

Michigan Experience

Carol shared an excellent article, “Michigan Documents in the Digital World: How We Got Here and Where We Started” by Bernadette Bartlett. It does an excellent job of describing the challenges of collecting digital state publications and how Michigan has worked to resolve some of these problems. Mary Jo is going to see if we can get an electronic version of the article to post on the web site.

The “To Do” List

  • MJ will be talking with Connie Frankenfeld about Maryland’s role in the LC grant proposal
  • Carol will be talking with Legislative Services staff about their database and tracking of state publications
  • Steve will talk to Irene re: budget and server issues
  • Doug is going to take a stab at a draft of a letter to state agencies and departments about the program and e-publications
  • Joan is going to get a list of webmasters

Keeps coming up.

Re-writing the law. Lots of states have done it.

Need for a steady and well funded program.

Published in: on June 22, 2006 at 3:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

May 2006 Digital State Publications Task Force Meeting Summary

Friday, May 5, 2006

Next Meeting: June 16 at 1:00 at the MD Law Library.

Attending: Mary Jo Lazun, Christine Alvey, Doug McElrath, Carol Carmen, Steve Anderson and Joan Bourne

News: Irene Padilla met with Steve and is delighted that the group exists. She wishes to stay in the loop and has suggested the possibility of using Sailor’s computer resources.

Ellis Kitchen considering joint the “board” of Sailor. This is great news because one of goals is to develop strong and cooperative ties between agency webmasters and the depository librarians.

The Challenge: We all agreed that the North Carolina white paper provided the best background on what challenges we face. It clearly illustrates the need to collect electronic pubs and the challenges we face.

Publications: We discussed revising the definition of a publication and decided that the definition is fine but what would be helpful is a “hierarchy of publications.” A hierarchy would help us determine what we need to collect and will give agencies clear examples of what they need to “send” to us.

Over the years, we do expect our list of examples to grow to include more than just what we think of now as “publications.” We expect that that technology will develop so that we can capture databases and websites and be able to store them in a meaningful way.

Phased Approach: Since working with electronic publications is new to us, and sending them to the Pratt is new to agencies, a phased approach going to be the best way to go.

First Steps: We will probably start with a model that is very much like what we have now. Agencies will let the Pratt know of new online pubs posted on web site, probably via email. Pratt will compile a list of links to send out to the libraries.

Getting agencies to email their links to the Pratt requires us to get to know agency webmasters and their managers. We agreed that it is very important to establish a good working relationship with these individuals just as Darcell and Joan have done with their print contacts. Joan is going to work with Ellis Kitchen to introduce “us” to agency webmasters.

Email Notification of Updates-Possible Model: The Office of Legislative Audits has started an email notification service to let their clients know of new publications available on their web site. There is a simple form to sign up and as updates are made to the site the person receives an email notification of the posting with the URL to the audit report.

Christine is going to learn more about the system. If it is easy for webmaster to implement it might be a good way for them to notify us of updates.

The Depository: Once we start receiving links to online publications we need to set up a depository to keep them. The depository will be set up for permanent access, which assures document integrity, with stable URLS, and formats that can be migrated as technology changes. Using 856 links is a stopgap solution since we know that publication on websites and their links come and go very quickly.

At the present there are a number of commercial and shareware programs that meet this criteria. The MD State Law Library is actively searching for software and hardware to hold and find newly scanned collections of its legal materials.

NEW-MD Law Library suggests that the group use the hardware and software that the library will be procuring this year as a test bed for MD Digital Publications.

Harvesters: The long-term goal would be to use a harvester to find publications for inclusion in the depository. This model allows the librarians to decide what should be in the collection, rather than relying on agency webmasters to determine these publications.

Currently a number of states are using newly developed harvesters to locate documents. Generally the system does a wide pass on agency web sites, locates new documents and then librarians review the documents to determine if they should be included in the depository. This is an important area of research for the group.

Shared Cataloging: One area we discussed was shared cataloging. Once the depository is set up, depository libraries would share the cataloging. Right now some shared cataloging goes on via OCLC. It is very possible that this could be done more systematically.

Getting the Word Out The depository libraries have a treasure trove of information that is not well known. The group will be taking measures to increase awareness of the MD Depository Library system. Ideas considered were presenting next year at MLA and using MILO to reach libraries.

The ” To Do’ List:

  • Doug-Work on developing a hierarchy of publications
  • Mary Jo-Blog update-set up meeting minutes and contacts page. Continue research on vendors for depository
  • Christine-Find out more about email notification system for legislative audits and harvesters
  • Joan-Get updated list of agency webmasters and depository library contacts. Continue conversation with Ellis Kitchen on best ways to get us hooked up with agency webmasters and their managers.
  • All-Continue to review work done in other states.
Published in: on May 8, 2006 at 4:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

Legislative Audits Notification Service

The Office of Legislative Audits subscription notification service seems to me to be an excellent way to learn of new State government publications available on the Internet for downloading. If you want it, you can go and get it.

OLA is willing to explain to us how they set it up. We stand a better chance of persuading other agencies to cooperate with the Depository if they don’t have to devise a delivery system for electronic documents.

This method also allows each library or a central electronic depository, should there be one, to select the digital documents appropriate to their collections.

Published in: Uncategorized on May 8, 2006 at 4:25 pm  Leave a Comment  

Cooperative Cataloging

At our April meeting we didn't get a chance to discuss options for shared cataloging. I know many of us use OCLC and share records that way. Is this working? Any suggestions?

Published in: Uncategorized on April 12, 2006 at 4:59 pm  Leave a Comment  

New Page–Suggested Reading

The blog now has a “page” of suggested reading. The link is right above these words. Please add links to papers, web pages, other blogs that you think might help us get a handle on the digital publications.

Published in: Uncategorized on April 12, 2006 at 4:57 pm  Comments (1)  

Getting Started

At our April meeting a task force group was formed to develop and hopefully implement a plan to handle the "born digital" publications that are now so prevalent on Maryland government web sites.

The first meeting of this group will be Friday, May 5th at 1:00 at the Maryland State Law Library.

Published in: Uncategorized on April 12, 2006 at 3:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

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