Congressional Research Service reports now online from the source #CRS #LoC

tl;dr: The new site is https://crsreports.congress.gov/

The Congressional Research Service is an office within the Library of Congress that does research on current issues for members of Congress. Although it’s funded by the U.S. taxpayer, it does not work directly for us. In fact, its policy was not to make its reports public.

I first learned about CRS in library school from my reference professor, the late Dr. Terry Crowley. In those pre-Internet days, he told us that if we knew a CRS report existed on a subject, we could request it from our member of Congress.

Once the Internet came along, some public-service-minded web sites made a point of collecting as many CRS reports as they could and publishing them online. But since the reports weren’t coming from the source, you never knew if you were getting everything CRS publishes nor whether you were getting the latest versions. (CRS reports are frequently updated.)

Some members of Congress thought this was a crazy way to do things. Prodded by librarians, journalists, and other advocates for the free flow of government information, they introduced a bipartisan amendment to a budget bill requiring CRS to put its reports online. Last month, it happened. CRS reports are available at https://crsreports.congress.gov/ (Press release from Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden, Congressional Research Service Reports Now Available Online)

The site has great searching and a nice layout of results. However, it isn’t perfect. So far, it just includes reports issued in 2018. If the latest version of a report came out in 2016 or 2017, it won’t be on the site. They plan to have the full inventory online by spring 2019. Some other shortcomings of the site are detailed in this article from Roll Call, Public-Facing Congressional Research Reports Site Launches to Criticism.

So, in the meantime, you may want to check the following sites for CRS reports in addition to the official site:
 

 

 

Advertisements

Changing stakeholder expectations for library value #InternetLibrarian

Kim Silk, Hamilton (Ont.) Public Library
Bill Irwin, Huron University

Who does evaluation? Do you find it good or bad? One audience member was able to show that lots of different work areas used her library.

Measure to inform the strategic plan, to see changes over time, to inform our practice, to demonstrate value both quantitative (financial) and qualitative (social, educational, cultural).

Don’t confuse means and ends.

Librarians too often stop with outputs (things you can count). Also, think about outcome (qualitative results).

Public libraries often count circulation, membership, program attendance. But also consider:

Economic impact:
* value per open hour
* value per cardholder
* value per citizen

Social impact:
* student experience
* job skills
* early childhood literacy
* civic engagement
* digital learning
* economic development
* lifelong learning
* summer reading

Promotion can improve usage of parts of the collection that haven’t gotten as much use as they could.

Traditional metrics lack context. Metrics do not reflect evolution of library success. Circulation is just a means to an end.

Whatever kind of community you serve, you know which ones could use more attention. In Canadian public libraries, that’s the indigenous population, immigrants, seniors.

Engage stakeholders at every level: staff, administrators, community. Engage them about metrics.

For example, ask the children’s librarian not just to count books read in the summer reading program, but to ask the kids what they learned, what they got excited about. Maybe pre- and post-literacy evaluations at beginning and end of summer.

Question: we do surveys, but response rate is so low.

Suggestion from a corporate librarian: when you do a literature search, ask if it helped them solve their goal.

Business students learning how to use the library in their third and fourth years of school. That’s a measure. Also improved quality of work.

Market Impact: Creating Positive Outcomes & Actions #InternetLibrarian @SusanSchramm

Susan Schramm

Slides at http://conferences.infotoday.com/documents/319/0845_Schramm.pptx

Libraries are catalysts for smart communities.

Smart communities: IoT, safe, comfortable

Vision:

Streets make changes based on traffic, parking adjusted.

Firefighter knows where the people are. AR with building plans. Doctor could advise EMTs on the way to the hospital.

Open data to solve social problems

Smart parks adjust lighting

Smart airports advise you about things to do.

We used to talk about if, now we talk about how and when.

Thinking about human effects. What about people replaced by robots? What about skills we may not have enough of? What about ethics, such as algorithms that discriminate? How do we make it of, by, and for all?

Libraries can help with this.

Libraries are doing in training in skills: Maker spaces, IoT, etc. Connecting with economic development folks to reach people who want to start new businesses.

Challenges: promotion, staffing, funding. (Same for everyone)

Lesson 1: Clarify our value proposition. What problems can we focus on solving? What do we contribute? What is the call to action for our community?

Keep asking, “So what?”

Why you? Why would I get that from the library?

Sometimes it’s the how that makes you different. Libraries are safe, neutral, local.

Why now? People say, “That’s nice, I’ll have to remember that.” What’s their call to action? How can you get them to do something now?

Lesson 2: Target our audiences. Who really wants to solve this problem? (Stakeholders, not just the people for whom you are solving the problem.). What positive outcomes can be created? What communities can we partner with? Who are the influencers and early investors?

You leverage by getting your message to other groups’ members (newsletters, advertising, etc.).

Lesson 3: Help our customers buy

Lesson 4: Ask the hard questions

Digital archive from scratch, Solomon Blaylock #InternetArchive @SolomonBlaylock

Presentation at http://conferences.infotoday.com/documents/319/A205_Blaylock.pptx

Until recently at Middlebury Institute of International Studies, Monterey

When we started at the school, made a point of asking people, “What are you working on?”

Retired special ops/student is working on a special operations research database going back to World War II.

File types: videos, PDFs, Word docs, images, streaming links. Proof-of-concept site on WordPress.

Challenges:
* Standardization, naming conventions
* Site organization
* Improved searchability
* Scalability

* WordPress update
* Project plan: interviews, task list
* Resources: no time from I.T. Staff, had to do most of it himself and use network of contacts. UCLA intro to digital humanities; The Getty’s intro to metadata; Dublin Core guides.
* Workflow
* Guide, so he could hand it off to the project team. Data input standards. How to upload to Omeka. How to upload videos to YouTube and have it to do auto-transcriptions.

Installed Omeka on a server. I.T. Wanted to vet any plug-ins they wanted to use.

Documentation at: https://library.woodbury.edu/c.php?g=878987

Learning from customers/ patrons/ users/ clients #InternetLibrarian

Jeromy Wilson, Niche Academy

Presentation: http://conferences.infotoday.com/documents/319/D204_Wilson.pptx

* Get new people in the library
* Get people back to the library
* Enhance everyone’s experience
* Find unmet needs

How do we find out about patrons’ needs:

* One-on-one
* Observation
* Surveys
* Focus groups

Listen, seek to understand, repeat it back

Niche Academy provides tutorials on common library subscription databases. They collect data from hundreds of library systems (anonymized).

Consumer Reports gets a big spike in Nov.-Dec. Maybe you could promote it other times.

Libraries see a jump after marketing efforts.

Other sources of data:
* Circ data: not just numbers, but also types of interest
* E-resources: stats
* Video cameras to do people watching. (Hmm, this seems a little creepy.)

Crawled & Collected, now what? Access & discovery in web archives #InternetLibrarian @IndustryDocs @StanfordLibs @UCDavisLibrary @archiveitorg

Slides at Google docs

Jillian Lohndorf, Internet Archive

Largest web archive in existence. Web archives aim to collect as much of the content/code as possible so it looks as close as possible to the original experience.

Topical collections.

Web history for a specific institution: records retention, FOIA laws, historical record. (Also national libraries collecting web sites from their countries.)

* Capture: Heritrix
* Storage: WARC is industry standard, redundant storage
* Access: Playback mechanism is necessary. Wayback has its own.

Additional consideration:
* Search (Archive-It)
* Metadata

Integrations:
* Catalog
* Web site
* WorldCat

Can create derivative files: metadata, visualization

Kris Kasianovitz, Stanford

Archive of state and local government web sites. *ca.gov web space. California Digital Library, State Library, State Archives, U. Of California, Stanford.

Using Archive-It.

700+ seed URLs.

Realized they were missing metadata. Collection-level records on WorldCat. Did a “metadata sprint,” call for volunteers. Used Dublin Core fields: coverage, subject, languages, etc.

Agencies go away. Take info from “About” page.

Public libraries could call for suggestions for “seed” pages in their communities.

Kevin Miller, UC Davis

https://archive-it.org/collections/5778

Using Archive-It.

Archives sites related to the campus and Davis community. Including UC Davis individuals, such as prominent faculty. A way to capture their work (such as on blogs) before they retire. Using ORCiD to find UC Davis faculty and their publications.

Automated taxonomy pilot for Archive-It. Script determines the “aboutness” of a website.

Integration with:
* Library catalog
* Finding aids

Rachel Taketa, UCSF

https://idl.ucsf.edu

Industry documents from companies “that negatively impact public health.” Where they have strategies to mislead the public. For example, tobacco, chemicals (e.g., Monsanto), pharmaceuticals.

Collect documents that are produced during lawsuits, documents from whistleblowers.

Tobacco industry site has about about 15 million documents.

Coming soon: sugar industry.

E-cigaratte advertising. Campaigns against cigarette taxes. (Campaign web site go down the day after the election.)

Access through Archive-It and on their site.

Using spreadsheet to cross load metadata from Archive-It to IDL.

Question re. Copyright: Internet Archive leaves it up to their partners. UCSF doesn’t worry about it: commercial and electoral materials. Stanford: state and local government sites can be copyrighted. Depend on robots.txt files to alert them. If they run into that, contact the agency. UC Davis: alert faculty and let them opt-out (in itself an opportunity for outreach as well).

Updated to add links.

Digitizing and Archiving, Susie Kopecky #InternetLibrarian

Allan Hancock College, Santa Maria

Have an archive from the Hancock family, whose estate is the site of the college. Also have an archive devoted to the history of the college.

Hancock was a wealthy oilman in Southern California in the early 20th century.

They have approximately 60 large, flat archival boxes, 28 wider boxes, photo boxes, newspaper clippings, correspondence, etc. Previous librarians cleaned the items and moved them to acid-free containers. None trained as archivists.

Sorted:
1. Cleaned and entered into an Access database.
2. Cleaned but not entered into the dB.
3. Neither cleaned nor entered into the dB.

A storage container suffered water damage.

Metadata: decide what info to enter and how to label items with unique identifiers. Former librarians volunteered.

* Year object created
* Accession no.
* Title
* Author
* Brief description
* Part of another collection?
* Subject
* Cross-listed events and individuals

Got a scanner.

Some of the first scans: telegrams and evidence of Captain Hancock’s pursuits.

Challenges:

* Scanner went missing
* Having limited time
* Not currently having volunteers
* MS Access is kind of clunky
* Scanning large amounts of info in a timely fashion. (Want to have something ready for 100th anniversary of college in 2020.)
* Want a cloud-based system to share collection

Hosting possibility: Airtable. Currently being used by a performing arts archive.

Software possibility: ArchivesSpace (formerly Archivist’s Toolkit)

Crowdsourcing ideas for the above. (History students as interns, California Digital Library)

Another problem: nitrate films are flammable. May not be able to keep them.

Suggestion: LC site on personal archiving. (Possibly
http://www.digitalpreservation.gov/personalarchiving/)

Suggestion: Anything you do yourself takes lots of babying. ContentDM is expensive, but very nice.

Open source: Omeka S, Islandora