Well, now that you’ve probably everything you ever wanted to read about the major conferences this year, I’m finally able to put in my two cents worth. Today I’ll be concentrating on CLA.
I actually only attended 1 day of the Canadian Library Association Annual Conference in Ottawa, but what a day to go. I attended the Government Information Track, sponsored by the Access to Government Information Interest Group (more news on this group in a moment). The day consisted of 3 panel discussions.
What are you talking about? Interpreting, understanding and answering government reference questions
This panel included Mike McCaffrey, Ian McDonald and George de Zwann. Mike went over the types of questions (bibliographical, directory/services, statutory/regulatory, legislative/political, administrative, statistical and historical) and stated that the road to improvement incorporates literacy (political, arithmetic or statistical, legal), literature in the field, a systematic study of your collection and library schools and colleagues. Ian highlighted the activities of the Library and Archives of Canada (LAC), including the recent merge with the Archives of Canada. George followed with the activities of the Archives of Canada. This was the best attended session, despite it’s early time slot. This highlights librarians ill-ease with government publications and the need to know more about them. With libraries losing gov docs librarians, seeing gov doc reference desks merged with reference desks, and the increasing number of gov docs on the web, it’s not surprising that interest in gov docs reference help is high.
Preservation of Web-based Government Information
John Stegenga, Annemarie Toth-Waddell, and Julie Schwartz formed this panel. All three gave examples of different approaches to preserving web-based gov pubs. John noted LAC’s use of a more homegrown approach. Annemarie of the Ontario Legislative Library spoke of her library’s use of a commercial software. Julie, of the Connecticut State Library, shared her experiences of using a more supported commercial service (OCLC Digital Archive). All stressed the importance of partnerships for the future of web-based gov pubs.
The Future of Accessing Government Publications
Gay Lepkey, Liz McKeen, and Nancy Brodie tackled this daunting topic. A number of problems were highlighted, including the need to keep better statistics for gov pubs use. Statistics will make it easier to fight to keep these important documents. They also highlighted what is being done, particularly by LAC.
Well, a very brief overview of what happened in the panels. As usual, while the sessions were enlightening, I found many of the conversations held between the sessions particularly useful. Conferences are essential to keeping connections and sharing knowledge.
I mentioned CLA’s Access to Government Information Interest Group (AGIIG) as the sponsor of the above track. In addition to teaching a distance course on reference this fall, I have also agreed to become the new Convenor for AGIIG. I’ve got some big shoes to fill and hope I can forward this group further in their work. Wish me luck!