December 8, 2006

Call For Interest: Making Openly Available Selected Pre-1975 U.S. Government Agency Technical Reports

.: From an e-mail circulating on SLA-ENG:

In mid-November, the GWLA/CRL Federal Technical Reports Digitization Project Task Force issued a call for interest. The text of that announcement is copied below. For those of you who have already responded, we very much appreciate your interest. For others of you who have been intending to respond soon or who are concerned they may miss the originally requested deadline, we want to make sure that you are given every opportunity to respond. Please send your response to the call for interest to Alice Trussell at by Friday, December 15, 2006. This is a week longer than the originally requested date. It will be very helpful to us to have this information prior to any holiday breaks and absences that will be occurring at many of our institutions and agencies.

Below is the original call for interest:

The Greater Western Library Alliance (GWLA - and the Center for Research Libraries (CRL - are collaborating on a pilot project to ascertain both the practicality of and impediments to digitizing and making openly available selected pre-1975 U.S. government agency technical reports. We have chosen those parameters to avoid duplication of digitization efforts that have been undertaken by federal agencies. We are contacting and endeavoring to work closely and cooperatively with the agencies whose publications are being considered for digitization.

There is a vast amount of potentially valuable information contained in hundreds of report series that is quite difficult to access due to limited distribution, format issues, and the cataloging practices (or lack thereof) associated with these types of materials at many institutions at the time these materials were published. Many libraries have no record of what was published in many tech report series or what series/reports are available at different institutions. Some institutions have, or are considering, withdrawing large portions of their paper technical reports collections, in part because they use up valuable shelf space and in part because they tend to get low use. But part of the reason for that low use is the lack of cataloging and/or other access options to that material. The results of this project would help remedy both of those issues for institutions worldwide.

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