Saturday, 21 February 2009

Congressional Bibliographies project at NCSU

The following was posted to the govdocs listserv this week:
Folks, After spending more than twenty years in the enjoyable role of editing the Congressional Bibliographies project at NCSU, it's time to move on. NCSU was the home of Mary Elizabeth Poole, a petite documents giant of the old school, the author of "Documents Office Classification" and other federal document bibliographic studies. The Congressional Bibliographies continues that same tradition of research and service. A unique confluence of factors allowed me to devote time and energy to this project, but that alignment no longer exists. Congressional Bibliographies at NCSU will soon become static. Perhaps its only future source will be the Internet Archives Wayback Machine. (That site is mysterious to me, it sometimes shows more site crawls than at other times. Search there for )
There's an opportunity here for a new person to step up and take over this valuable project, to develop new features, to further its capabilities, to enhance its behind-the-scene data-gathering functions. I've filled this editorial role at NCSU since the mid-1980s, since not long after the Senate applied its numbering scheme to hearings, prints, and publications in 1983. GPO compiled one issue of a proposed biennial "List of committee hearings, committee prints, and publications of the United States Senate," for the 98th Congress (1983-84) in 1988. NCSU's Congressional Bibliographies is the place to visit if you want to know that all the hearings of a given Senate committee are found in your collection.This first goal of the Congressional Bibliographies is of primary interest to documents librarians. Over time I enlarged the project's resources to encompass other objectives. It offers a poor man's alternative to LexisNexis Congressional as it facilitates study of Congressional activity. It has brought me professional satisfaction as I've helped scholars (and school children) worldwide who ask how to find U.S. federal government information.The site's study of unprinted Senate hearings has documented the fact that fugitive documents exist even in the halls of Congress. Not all Congressional committee hearings (setting aside those that are classified) are available to the public. Why does this happen!? I've graded Senate committees' publishing activity for 1993-2003 with the Congressional Bibliographies' "Senate Report Cards." The titles of unprinted Senate hearings will raise your eyebrows, where percentages might not, and are found on the site for those same years. Data for House and Senate committee meetings, drawn from the Congressional Record's Daily Digest, drove a sophisticated application that allowed much more refined searches for committees meetings than do Thomas or LexisNexis. That data can be provided to a new editor who could then create a new version of the Congressional Committee Meetings Index. This search feature no longer exists on the NCSU site.There are other innovative possibilities a new editor could bring to fruition. To continue this service would require a dedicated documents librarian's time, commitment and vision; computer resources (staff time, server and storage space); and your administrators' support. I'm happy to discuss with any potential partner the possible transfer of the Congressional Bibliographies to a new home.You can review the project's background and read how its components are currently compiled by visiting these pages:background - - Please contact me with proposals, thoughts and/or suggestions. Thanks.
Jack McGeachy-- John A. McGeachySocial Sciences Reference LibrarianResearch & Information Services DepartmentCampus Box 7111North Carolina State UniversityRaleigh, N.C. 27695-7111(919) 513-0444 phone
I've emailed Mr. McGeachy for more info about the time and $ commitment necessary to keep this excellent service going.

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