Tuesday, September 09, 2008


Erin Z.-R.

I had the privilege of attending The Interagency Depository Seminar in Washington D.C. Presentation materials can be found here. At this seminar representatives from a variety of federal agencies presented training and updates on their information products and activities as they relate to Federal Depository libraries. As you may know the Saint Paul Public Library has been a partial depository since 1914 and the Central Library has a large collection of Federal documents in a variety of formats. I had originally hoped to post each day of the seminar, but found that at the end of each session I was pretty tired so I have summarized what I learned each day.

Day 1:

On the first day we learned about the history and role of the Government Printing Office and met members of its management team who talked about their work. GPO is the Federal Government’s primary centralized resource for gathering, cataloging, producing, providing, authenticating, and preserving published information in all its forms. GPO is responsible for the production and distribution of information products and services for all three branches of the Federal Government, including hosting websites like Ben’s Guide to the U.S. Government (GPO is looking at updating this site so if there are features you like or would like to see added/changed, let me know and I can pass this on when comments are requested) , databases, forming partnerships to make information accessible, managing an online bookstore, etc.

Projects GPO is involved in include authenticating online documents with digital signatures to show that they have not been changed, FDLP Desktop, an online information resource for depository libraries, digitization, online learning (OPAL-is Online Programming for All Libraries, and is a collaborative effort to provide web based training and programming to library staff and customers), marketing, training, and outreach.

GPO works to provide free access to government information, but also makes money for its operations by contracting for printing and other publications and promotional pieces needed by federal agencies and by training agencies in printing and publication technology and trends.

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