Sunday, June 19, 2011

Government Information Professionals: Now and in the Future

Blane Dessy, Executive Director, FLICC/FEDLINK


Blane started by talking about the NewFeds group – Librarians who have worked for the federal government for less than five years.

The group has a lot of energy and they are trying new things and having fun!!

Invisible role of libraries

  • Government Libraries lack visibility in agencies.
  • Government Libraries lack visibility in interagency groups and task forces.
  • Government Libraries lack visibility in many professional associations.
  • Government Libraries lack visibility in the literature.

We should write more – articles, blogs etc. Following the talk Marie Kaddell mentioned that many government libraries do 95% of the work - the research, plan and implement a great program, but then fail on the remaining 5%. They don't write it up and share it with other librarians. It takes time, but we need to share our accomplishments.

We can make our libraries more visible in our agency, our association and in professional literature.

It is the nature of academics to publish – but government librarians are so busy they don’t make marketing/promotion part of what they do.

How do we come in from the margins to the center of the page?

Find one thing that will help to promote the library.

If it were easy – anyone could do it.

If we want people to think we are leaders – we need to lead.

FLICC/FEDLINK works with 2200 federal libraries worldwide!

Federal Information Enterprise

  • Info professionals are placed throughout the federal government.
  • Considerable amount of $$ is spent on info acquisition & creation ($15 billion est.)
  • Many different missions and objectives

How do we bring that broad and diverse group into a single community? We need to find a way.

Two new developments for government libraries:

  1. Identification and digitization of internally created content (strategic knowledge asset of the agency)
    Putting Department of Justice collections on the website

    Find the collections, identify them and make them available to everyone in the agency and outside if possible.

    Mining our own materials – we need to become the masters of this information.

  2. Digital Preservation - NDIIPP – National Digital Information Infrastructure & Preservation Program

    How do we preserve digital data?

    Think about your agency’s digital legacy.

    Paper can last 5 centuries – how long will a flashdrive last?

Strategic content management – How do we engage our stakeholders?

How do we measure performance?

Conduct agency audits to discover what data are being purchased – other departments are spending money on books, periodicals and data purchase – how can we find out what is being purchased and what leverage our agency purchasing power?

Some agencies have already done this. See my Best Practices article from 2010.

Part of the future is customization of data for agencies. This will cost – is it worth it?

Mobile devices – these are widespread in the federal sector – are we marketing our resources to them?

William Butler Yeats –

In dreams begin responsibility.

Don’t wait to strike until the iron is hot, but make it hot in the striking.

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