GovDocs geek in heaven: GoDig gets a behind the scenes tour of the New York City Visitors Center

On Thursday April 11, 2013, the government documents special interest group (GoDig) of METRO (The Metropolitan New York Library Council) held our spring meeting at the newly opened (May 2012) New York City visitors center.

GoDig@NYC Visitors Center

GoDig@NYC Visitors Center

But first, who we are: GoDig is a group of librarians who work in various libraries throughout the New York metropolitan area, and who in some way or another deal with government documents.
We include librarians from Brooklyn College, from New York Law School, from NYU, from SIBL, from Brooklyn Public Library, from Columbia, from SUNY Maritime, from City College, from Lehman College, from St. John’s University and from many others.
We are law librarians and data librarians and business librarians and public librarians and academic librarians. Two of us are currently members of the Depository Library Council (with my term ending in June).

We hold meetings twice a year. Usually we have an educational program followed by a business meeting in which we exchange news from our institutions and have a Q&A.
Last week we held our spring meeting at the New York City visitors center. The visitors center on Chamber street opened in May 2012 and is most known for its online photo gallery of 870,000 digitized photos is housed in a beautiful Beaux Arts marble building.

The meeting began with a lively 1:30h. discussion lead by a panel of 6, with active audience participation, about the challenges and best practices of working with government documents. We addressed issues such as demonstrating worth, tracking usage statistics, digitizing on demand, working with faculty, cataloging and weeding, and many more.
An outreach librarian from GPO participated via Skype.

After the program, we went on a behind the scenes tour of the NYC Visitors Center. We saw some fascinating artifacts in the exhibit, including the 9/11 flag, and the city “body book” (recording the bodies that passed through the city, listing in the volume we saw, Abraham Lincoln. Cause of death: Pistol shot) and then visited the photo conservation lab where microfilms are still made and which has its own darkroom, the paper conservation lab and the digitization lab where 870,000 photos were digitized.
Some pictures of the tour are available at our LibGuide
(see under File Repository tab).

We are now seeking suggestion for the fall program.
Please let us know what you want for the next session. If there are any topics you’d like to discuss, an educational session you are interested in, or if you have a library you would like to visit, or if you would like to host or help with the program, please get in touch with us.


No-fee public access to government information

My bags are packed and I’m ready to go to Washington DC to do my bit for “no-fee public access to government information in all forms and from all three branches of government now and in the future.”
Oct. 14-18 brings the DLC Meeting and FDL Conference. For those unfamiliar with this annual ritual, let me explain. The Government Printing Office is a federal agency with several responsibilities, among them disseminating information created by the U.S. government to the American people. This information is made available through about 1200 libraries where librarians with expertise in government information maintain the collection and provide research, reference and informational services. The FDL Conference. During the four conference days attendees discuss content, policies and politics of public information. During the content session there are presentations on census data, public health information and other information sources. The policies sessions discuss upcoming projects such as new databases or collections that will be added to FDsys, and updates on library services and content management. The politics sessions discuss the future vision for the depository library program and the sessions about the forecast recently conducted by GPO will be streamed live.
In the current political climate when many government programs are on the chopping board, advocating from public information is everyone’s responsibility. Follow GPO on Twitter for updates during the conference: #dlcf12 OR #dlc12 OR #fdlp