I just came back from DLC 2015, having to leave a day early so I can teach tomorrow, and came back thinking that this is best DLC I can recall in recent years. Not sure if the change is on my side or on DLC’s.
On my side, I am two years removed from serving on council, and those dreary monthly conference calls are beginning to fade away. They were always a challenge for me because the feeling was that you were listening to text and sub-text at the same time, but you never know which was which. Unless there was someone to keep you in the loop it was easy to be clueless (thanks fellow council members for keeping me afloat.)
On GPO’s side, maybe I was naïve, but I seemed to sense that a lot of good stuff was going on. I am quite impressed by the demo of the new FDsys and my sense was that the audience was as well. If it lives up to the demo, and there is every reason to believe it will, it will be in a league of its own. For people like me who still miss Thomas.gov and never took to Congress.gov, this is an appealing alternative.
I wish I could have cloned myself to attend multiple sessions, but here is some of what I ended up going to:
- Info Lit in Action and Framework for Info Lit. both focused on teaching government information within academic libraries. Both Seth Porter and Shari Laster provided interesting examples from their work. Sharri’s mirroring of the ACRL literacy guidelines to government information was particularly interesting to me as someone who teaches in these areas.
- The Monday morning kickoff, which already seems days away, was quite cheerful. Council chair Hallie Pritchett has an upbeat personality and she set a nice tone with her delivery of the traditional morning calisthenics (on second count, I realized I need to move from the 5-10 category to the over 10 category)
- It was nice to see the libraries that received Depository of the Year award, and to count among them two of my fellow former council members Suzanne Sears for UNT libraries and Stephanie Braunstein for LSU Libraries. Later that afternoon I got to hear in more detail about the work that Suzanne and her colleagues do at University of North Texas, Eagle Commons Library.
- After lunch, Cass Harnett and I presented Where has all the data gone: Citizen Created Tools. It was great creating this presentation with Cass and pulling our strengths together across two coasts. The presentation was about tools created by different groups such as developers, hackers, universities, foundations; what they all have in common is that they use data (numeric and textual) from the federal government. This can be the FR in XML, bulk data from FDsys, Census files and more. I think our presentation was well received, or at least a number of people told me so.
- I enjoyed all the education sessions I went to and learned a lot. Highlights included some interesting non USPTO sources for searching patents for genealogical research, and some interesting things about FOIA and GAO reports and learning about NLM. The poster session was a particular delight, and not only because one of the presenters was a former students who is now at the HSS.
On the lighter side, after years of complaining about the Doubletree Hotel, even that wasn’t so bad this year. The rooms were not freezing and there were no snuggie jokes and the wifi and technology worked everywhere.
Looking forward to 2016!
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