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BC Library Conference 2017

April 19–21, 2017

Vancouver, BC

F19 - Small Steps to Becoming a Government Information Activist

Friday, April 21, 2017 at 2:00 PM–2:45 PM PDT
Salon E
Session Description

This session will discuss two projects illustrating how concern on the part of government information professionals morphed into advocacy.
The first project involves an advocacy effort to save the United Nations Depository Program advocacy foster access to UN Information. UBC Library is one of the few UN Depository libraries in Canada. In the session I will provide a brief history of the program, which dates back to 1946, and explain how a collaborative collegial relationship has devolved into a commercial vendor transaction with the launch of the UN iLibrary. I'll explain how, in my role as Information Coordinator for the International Documents Task Force, a subgroup of the Government Documents RoundTable of ALA, I led a group of invested government information to voice our concerns about the dismantling of the depository program. As well as conveying the importance of the UN Depository Program, we also encouraged free access to the iLibrary for UN Depository members and stated potential access concerns for developing countries. Our advocacy efforts culminated in the creation of an ALA Resolution entitled "Restoration of the United Nations Depository System."
The second project deals with fugitive government documents and how libraries are working together to preserve this fleeting information. I will discuss my involvement in the Fugitive Documents Working Group (FDWG), which created a national survey to gauge how information professionals are dealing with these materials. THE FDWG is a subgroup of the larger Canadian Government Information Preservation LOCKSS Network, a national digital preservation network established in 2013. In this discussion, I’ll explain how we created a workflow to ensure fugitive federal government documents are being preserved in light of the demise of the print Canadian Depository System. I hope to demonstrate how government information professionals are at the forefront of developing collaborative relationships, which are powerful in addressing change. I also want to touch on the fact that I came into these projects from a cataloging background and did not formerly see my self as an "activist," so to speak. Since carrying out this work my view on activism has changed and I've realized that one doesn't require a megaphone to initiate change!


Susan Paterson, University of British Columbia

Susan Paterson graduated from Western University with an MLIS and has worked at the Ministry of Natural Resources in Ontario and the Legislative Library of British Columbia in Victoria, BC.

She has worked as a government information librararian at UBC since 2009, is the Information Co-ordinator for the International Documents Task Force, part of the Government Documents Roundtable Section of ALA, as well as the Information Officer for the Government and Information Section of IFLA. Susan is currently involved in provincial and national web archiving projects including the Canadian Government Information - Digital Preservation Network, where she is a co-chair. Her other subject liasion areas include Social Work and French Language and Literature.

Carla Graebner, Simon Fraser University

Carla Graebner is the Data Research Management and Government Documents Librarian at Simon Fraser University.