FEDLINK
Technical
Notes

January, 1998— Volume 16 Number 1




TABLE OF CONTENTS

New FAC Members Attend FLICC/FEDLINK Orientation

TECH NEWS--New HTML 4.0 Standard Now Official

Training With FEDLINK In FY98

1998 FLICC Forum on Federal Information Policies: Forum Call and Forum Agenda

Awards Watch

1998 FEDLINK OCLC Users Council: Nominations Needed

Editorial Staff


New FAC Members Attend FLICC/FEDLINK Orientation

Members of the FEDLINK Advisory Council (FAC) play a key role in FEDLINK program development. They advise staff members on procurement and training initiatives, and review pricing and business plans, and participate in FLICC meetings and working groups.

On December 11, FLICC/FEDLINK held its first orientation for newly elected FAC and FLICC members. "The goal of this new initiative was to provide new representatives with background about FLICC/FEDLINK," said Public Events Specialist Anna Bohlin, who organized the event. "We wanted to ensure that they could immediately begin to participate in discussions about the missions of the two organizations."

In the fall, the FEDLINK membership elected three new members to the FAC: Maxine Brown, Chief of the Scientific Literature Division, Scientific and Technical Information Center, US Patent and Trademark Office; Michael Conklin, Reader Services Chief, U.S. Treasury Library; and Ken Nero, Chief, National Labor Relations Board Main Library. Each will serve a three-year term.

New FLICC rotating members were also elected in late 1997. Amy Begg, Reference Librarian, American History Branch, Smithsonian Institution Libraries; Robin Dixon, Reference Librarian, Goddard Space Flight Center Library, NASA; Lynn Gera, Director, Information Resources Center, Walter Reed Army Medical Center; Joe McClane, Chief of Bibliographic Systems, Sales Management Division, GPO; and Elizabeth Yeates, Chief, Public Document Branch, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, will participate in FLICC meetings and activities for the next three years.

FLLICC Executive Director Susan M. Tarr, who outlined the history of FLICC/FEDLINK, joined with staff members from FLICC Publications and Education, FEDLINK Network Operations, and FEDLINK Fiscal Operations to present program and department overviews. Attendees received and reviewed FLICC's congressional authorization, the FLICC Bylaws, and materials about educational programs and procurement. After a question-and-answer session, FEDLINK Member Services Supervisor Ruby Thomas led the new members through a tour of the FLICC/FEDLINK offices.

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TECH NEWS

New HTML 4.0 Standard Now Official

By Jessica Clark

In late December, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) announced the release of the HTML 4.0 standard as a W3C recommendation. Specifications for the new standard, available at http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/, outline the HTML elements and attributes which will be supported by Web browser, editor, and application developers over the next several months.

The W3C HTML review process is designed to ensure that documents created with approved elements will be globally accessible, interoperable across platforms, and reasonably compatible with earlier browsers. W3C, an industry consortium created to develop common Web protocols, is jointly run by the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science (LCS) in the USA, the National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control (INRIA) in France and Keio University in Japan.

Jargon Watch

The HTML 4.0 specification document differentiates between "elements," "tags," and "attributes." Elements are the building blocks of HTML. The term refers to the set of codes needed to perform a particular function. Elements are made up of tags, the bracketed codes placed before and after objects on a Web page. Attributes are the properties which appear inside of tags; they generally contain an attribute/value pair.

For example:

Image Element: <IMG alt="image"> </IMG>

Image Tag: <IMG alt="image">

Image Attribute: alt="image" (where alt is the attribute and "image" is the value)

This article follows the format used in the W3C specifications, which presents element names in upper case letters and attribute names in lower case letters.

Elements to be phased out

Throughout 1997, Netscape, Microsoft, and other Web product developers pushed the evolution of new HTML standards by introducing competing features. Each browser manufacturer offered site designers proprietary HTML codes to perform certain popular tasks. To streamline coding and ensure interoperability, members of the W3C identified elements which should be phased out or "deprecated."

Deprecated elements include: "APPLET", "BASEFONT", "CENTER", "DIR", "FONT", "ISINDEX", "MENU", "S", "STRIKE", and "U". Other elements, "LISTING", "PLAINTEXT", and "XMP", were declared obsolete—the HTML 4.0 standards document suggests that page developers replace these tags with the "PRE" tag.

Federal library Webmasters please note: deprecated elements probably will not need to be replaced on current Web sites until Netscape Communicator and Internet Explorer 4.0 have been upgraded and the new versions gain popular support.

New HTML elements

New features in the HTML 4.0 standard allow Web site creators greater design latitude, improve Web access for disabled users, and standardize coding for international characters. The HTML 4.0 standard allows for advanced forms, inline frames, enhanced tables, and broader inclusion of objects and scripts.

A number of new elements support an object-oriented model for HTML documents, in which each paragraph, image, script, or multimedia element may be assigned a particular name and set of properties. Each of these objects may then be programmed to react to user input. The new approach moves site design away from a print design paradigm and towards a paradigm of interactivity. Proposed additions to the HTML specification, such as Dynamic HTML (DHTML) and eXtensible Markup Language (XML), will build on the object-oriented programming model.

Some elements which have already been in use for several months, such as those associated with style sheets and frames, have been streamlined and officially incorporated into HTML 4.0. New HTML elements include:

Structural elements

"ACRONYM"—indicates that text is an acronym

"BDO"—sets the direction to display text for languages which do not read left-to-right

"DEL"—marks deleted text

"INS"—marks inserted text

"NOFRAMES"—marks content to be shown when user's browser does not support frames

"NOSCRIPT"—marks content to be shown when user's browser does not support scripts

"OBJECT"—marks generic embedded objects, such as applets, video or sound clips, or scripts

"Q"—marks short inline quotation

"SPAN"—marks sections of document to name and format them individually

Table elements

"COLGROUP"—marks a table column group

"TBODY"—marks table body

"TFOOT"—marks table footer

"THEAD"—marks table header

Frame elements

"FRAME"—creates subwindow

"FRAMESET"—creates window subdivision

"IFRAME"—creates inline subwindow

Form elements

"BUTTON"—creates push button (similar to "INPUT")

"FIELDSET"—defines form control group to allow grouping of related items like address components

"LABEL"—creates form field label text

"LEGEND"—creates caption associated with field set—i.e., "address"

"OPTGROUP"—marks group of options within a form

Designing with style sheets

Much of the pressure to update the HTML 3.2 standard came from designers who wanted more control over the appearance of Web sites. Designers have been using elements such as "TABLE", "IMG", and "FONT", and attributes such as "align", and "bgcolor" to format pages and text. The 4.0 standard favors the use of style sheets over the formatting of individual pages or objects. Site developers may use style sheets to control line spacing and indentation, text and background color, font size and style, and other design features.

Style information may be specified in the head of an HTML document or in external style sheets. By separating presentation information from content, developers of the 4.0 standard hope that site designers will return to marking up document sections according to their structural purpose. The use of structural tags like "H1" and "STRONG" helps to ensure that documents will translate well between platforms.

The "STYLE" element supports different style sheet languages. The default language in the W3C release is "Cascading Style Sheets" (CSS1). The new HTML standard also allows site creators to specify different style sheets to be used with a variety of browsers and systems. This optimizes the same Web page for access through various devices, such as screen readers, Web TV, or personal digital assistants.

Creating more accessible pages

The new standard facilitates access to Web sites for a wide variety of users. Descriptions of objects with a visual or aural component can now be included within the "OBJECT" element, and the "alt" attribute is now required for the "IMG" and "AREA" elements. The "title" attribute (not to be confused with the "TITLE" element which appears in the document head) can be used within several elements to incorporate explanatory text.

A number of changes to the standard will help users with speech synthesizers to understand content more clearly. Elements which mark abbreviations ("ABBR") and acronyms ("ACRONYM") will make these expressions easier to interpret. Changes in forms will allow developers to group queries by content and provide keyboard shortcuts for input. Tables will include elements such as headers, footers, and column groups which will facilitate understanding when data is read aloud.

Web developers can now specify the language for text with the "lang" attribute; this will interface with screen reading software to provide more appropriate pronunciation. HTML 4.0 integrates the recommendations of internationalization experts on the character set needed to support the display of documents written in many languages. The initial character set supported by HTML was only appropriate for Western European languages.

Incorporating metadata

The 4.0 specification allows site designers to create "profiles" which provide metadata about a document. This metadata may include information such as pertinent keywords, document creator(s), date of creation, and rights management. Developers may incorporate metadata into HTML documents by using the "META" element, or may link to metadata documents with the "LINK" element. Librarians should keep abreast of ongoing debates about metadata, as the choice of standard will have an impact on online searching and electronic document management.

Next steps

The W3C approval of the HTML 4.0 is only a stopgap measure. Browser, software, and hardware manufacturers, researchers, programmers, designers, and other interested parties continue to introduce innovations which change the day-to-day practices of Web site development. Developers should familiarize themselves with the 4.0 standard, and update their sites as the new elements are phased in. More importantly, however, they should become familiar with the complexities and implications of object-oriented site development. This model will provide the basis for the next stages in Web building.

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Training With FEDLINK In FY98

By Patti Fields

FEDLINK Network Training COTR

Now, the once daunting tasks of contacting several networks, obtaining their course catalogs, spotting scheduled classes, and registering for them have been simplified! The information is now available on the FLICC/FEDLINK Web page (see below). If you have not already done so, set a bookmark for: http://www.loc.gov/flicc. Once there, just click on the "Educational Programs" button and browse.

Registration Ground Rules

Remember the following registration ground rules for all FEDLINK training options. Failure to play by these rules can delay your registration, or even cause outside organizations to require that federal libraries in your region register for future training on an advanced payment basis only.

1. Register when funded.

Do not register until full funding for services is committed in your chosen payment method. For example, if you choose the "Bill FEDLINK" method, make sure your FEDLINK Training (FT) Account has funds to pay the full amount of a training invoice.

2. If you pay for training with appropriated funds transferred to FEDLINK (FT Accounts), the date of training is important.

The federal fiscal year begins October 1 and runs through September 30 of the following year. When you ask SOLINET to "Bill FEDLINK," we use the date of training on the invoice to determine which of your FEDLINK FT accounts to bill. For example, a SOLINET invoice for training conducted on October 5, 1997 will be billed to your FY 1998 FT account but an invoice for the same course taken on September 30, 1997 (just a week earlier) will be billed to your FY 1997 FT account because the September training falls within FY 1997 (October 1, 1996 - September 30, 1997).

3. You aren't "in" until the training network confirms.

Each OCLC training network confirms differently, but all advise you not to assume you are in the class because you submitted a registration. Confirmation from the training network is essential!

If you are paying for training directly (not through your FEDLINK FT account), there are important additional ground rules.

4. Use authorized billing options properly.

Some networks offer payment options that are not available to federal libraries. If you request SOLINET to bill your agency directly, or wish to use a credit card, be sure to document your official authorization for the amount of the training and method of payment. Be sure to comply with all internal policies and procedures of your agency when you choose this option.

5. Furnish complete information.

Other OCLC Networks (including the contracted training vendors) are not government agencies. They may not be familiar with how your agency pays its bills or what your centralized payment office may require for payment. They need clear and complete information to collect their fees promptly. One agency's failure to pay may affect registration for all federal libraries in your region.

6. Understand personal liability for "unauthorized purchases" and take the initiative to get problem invoices paid.

If your agency refuses to honor an invoice from an OCLC network, take action to see that it is paid. Otherwise, they may assess a monthly late fee until your payment (personal or agency) is received. SOLINET members pay an additional 1% per month on late payments; do not expect special treatment because you are in a federal agency. Go to the training officer or other official who authorized your training, and get the invoice paid.

OCLC Regional Support Network Options

Four OCLC Regional Support Networks offer classroom, regional, and on-site training on a "Bill FEDLINK" basis.

Most offer multiple payment options including self-pay (your agency pays the invoice) or "Bill FEDLINK FT account" (FEDLINK pays the invoice).

Check out your options at:

CAPCON—Washington, DC

http://www.capcon.net/training.htm

MLC—Lansing, MI

http://www.mlc.lib.mi.us/cal/

PALINET—Philadelphia, PA

http://www.palinet.org

SOLINET—Atlanta, GA

http://www.solinet.net/cet/cethome.htm

Tips: Your FEDLINK "FT" account must be established in advance of registration to use the "Bill FEDLINK" option. On your registration form, be sure to include your 4-letter billable FEDLINK ID and 3-letter OCLC symbol, and check the box to "Bill FEDLINK." Otherwise, FEDLINK must return your invoice to the network and/or payment may be delayed.

Establish an "FT" Account
    If you wish to establish a FEDLINK FT account, the FEDLINK Hotline will fax the form required to amend your FY98 IAG and add an FT transfer pay account. IAG amendments are generally accepted through mid-August each year. Call the FEDLINK Hotline at (202) 707-4900 for assistance.

OCLC Pacific Option

If you live on the Pacific Rim, OCLC Pacific is an option for classroom, regional, and on-site training.

You may not use a FEDLINK FT account for this training. OCLC Pacific offers only one payment optiontraining charges are billed to your OCLC (OC) account.

Visit their Web site at:

OCLC PACIFIC—Rancho Cucamonga, CA

http://www.oclc.org/oclc/pacific/pacific1.htm

Tips: Your FEDLINK "OCLC" account must be established in advance of registration. Do not send the online registration form to OCLC Pacific. Instead, fax it to FEDLINK, Attn: Elinda Harris, at (202) 707-4873. OCLC Pacific requires FEDLINK advanced verification. To ensure timely registration, send the registration to FEDLINK. Course costs will appear on your OCLC invoice.

FLICC/FEDLINK Options

FEDLINK members anywhere in the world can request FEDLINK's classroom, regional, and on-site training.

This training is billable to your FEDLINK "FT" account.

For details, visit:

FEDLINK—Washington, DC

http://www.loc.gov/flicc/mmeduc.html

Tips: Contact Milton Megee to request on-site FEDLINK training at mmeg@loc.gov or (202) 707-4830. You may register for other courses through the FEDLINK Web page or by contacting Elinda Harris at fliccfno@loc.gov or (202) 707-4848.

FLICC Videotaped Programs

If your training budget is tight, or you cannot wait for a scheduled training, do not forget that FLICC programs are videotaped and made available at no cost through Interlibrary Loan by the National Library of Education.

To see a list of currently available FLICC programs, log on to OCLC and enter the following series search key: vid,ta,of f<F11>. If you have logged on with an ILL authorization, you can attach an ILL workform and request a loan on the spot.

Tips: Demand for certain video tapes can be very high, and NLE (OCLC Symbol NIE) is the only lending library. If your request comes back unfilled, please try again in four weeks. If you receive repeated UNFILLED responses, please notify Anna Bohlin, FLICC Events Coordinator, at aboh@loc.gov or (202) 707-4822.

Training Questions?
    If you have questions about training options through FEDLINK or the four contracted OCLC networks, please contact Patti Fields, FEDLINK Network Training COTR at pfie@loc.gov or (202) 707-4834. If you have questions about using a standard government training form, or registering for a course, contact Elinda Harris at fliccfno@loc.gov or (202) 707-4848.The Federal Library and Information Center Committee.

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1998 FLICC Forum on Federal Information Policies

March 19, 1998

The Library of Congress, Washington, DC

Adapting to Reinvention: Getting Results in Government Publishing

1998 FLICC Forum Call

Federal "reinvention" programs were launched more than four years ago with Vice President Gore's National Performance Review (NPR) report and cemented with the passage of the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA). Such initiatives have since become the norm in federal government operations. The Forum vision speaker will review the original goals for reinvented government, assess progress toward those goals, and elucidate the federal future that is being shaped by the rules that emanated from the original vision.

The Forum will next furnish a brief primer on applying GPRA to government operations. The GPRA is an attempt to transform the ideals of reinvention into practical reality through strategic plans and performance/output/outcome measurement. Speakers will address how a focus on results can assure that federal programs have the clear goals necessary to achieve successful reinvention, and that federal managers are accountable for reaching those goals.

Moving from theory to practice, the Forum will illustrate how GPRA principles have been applied. A panel will discuss how well the GPRA is achieving coherence and clarity of purpose in federal programs—at the macro-level, in a large federal bureaucracy, and at the micro-level, specifically in an information service. The morning session will conclude with a panel assessment of results management in the government context.

The afternoon session will present a case study in large-scale reinvention. Government information distribution may not be a typical federal government program, but it is certainly one worthy of reinvention. Both Congress and the White House have spent a great deal of energy over the last four years reshaping the government's information dissemination programs. Proposed changes in Title 44 (Public Printing and Documents) capitalize on advances in electronic data sharing to ease the way to decentralized, agency-based distribution of program information to the public. The Forum will present major players in the ongoing Title 44 reinvention project, each discussing his/her vision of the ultimate government information distribution program.

How will electronic information be organized for access and preserved for the future in this new decentralized environment? These two challenges are key to the outcomes envisioned by Title 44 revisionists, and library and information specialists have the knowledge base to help their agencies realize the performance goals of reinvented government information distribution.

National library panelists will show how libraries are grappling with the challenges of ensuring access to information. The final panel will then attempt to answer the question: "Who is responsible for performance when government printing devolves to the agencies?"

FORUM AGENDA
Welcome and Introduction
9:00 - 9:15
Susan M. Tarr, Executive Director, FLICC
Winston Tabb, Associate Librarian of Library Services, Library of Congress
Vision for Reinvention
9:15 - 9:45
Reinvention Today
Vice President Al Gore [invited]
--Where does the reinvention initiative stand now?
--What role will information services play in reinvented Government?
Break 9:45 - 10:00
Focusing on Results
10:00 - 11:00
Results Measurement in Theory and Practice
Christopher Mihm, Associate Director, Federal Management and Work Force Issues, General Accounting Office
--Overview of performance/results measurement concepts and techniques
--Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA)
Developing a GPRA Plan Nancy Rhett, Department of Planning and Evaluation Services, Department of Education
--The Department of Education's Experience
--The National Library of Education's part in the Department Plan
Questions and Answers
Break 11:00 - 11:15
Good Enough for Government Work?
11:15 - 12:30
Results Measurement in the Government Context
Elaine Kamarck, Executive Director, Visions of Governance for the 21st Century, JFK School of Government, Harvard University, Moderator
--Is the performance/results measurement concept suited to Government operations?
--Is it suited to measurement of information services?
Commentators:
Virginia Thomas, Committee Liaison, House Majority Leader's Office, U.S. House of Representatives
Angela Antonelli, Deputy Director, Roe Institute for Economic Studies, Heritage Foundation
Harry Hatry, Director, Public Management Program, Urban Institute
Questions and Answers
Lunch 12:30 - 1:30
Case Study in Reinvention—Reforming Government Publishing
1:30 - 2:30
Eric Peterson, Staff Director, Joint Committee on Printing
--De facto decentralization of electronic publishing
--Formal reform of Government printing and dissemination under Title 44
The Library Community perspective Prue Adler, Asst. Executive Director, Association for Research Libraries
Questions and Answers
Break 2:30 - 2:40
National Libraries' Information Access Initiatives
2:40 - 3:45
Introduction
Dan Clemmer, Librarian, State Department, Moderator
National Agriculture Library (NAL)Pamela Andre, Director, National Agricultural Library
--Electronic document plans, archiving
National Library of Medicine (NLM)
2:40 - 3:45
National Library of Medicine (NLM)
Kent Smith, Deputy Director, National Library of Medicine
--Reactions from users and the vendor community to PubMed and GratefulMed on the Web
Library of Congress (LC) Laura Campbell, Director, LC National Digital Library Program
--Public/private partnerships, getting sponsorship/funding for LC Digital Library project
Break 3:45 - 3:55
Ensuring Results and Accountability
3:55 - 5:00
Introduction
Blane Dessy, Director, National Library of Education, Moderator
Government Printing Office's Role Francis Buckley, Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office
--How will GPO ensure availability and access for Government publications?
The Executive's Role(NLM)Alvin Pesachowitz, Chief Information Officer, Environmental Protection Agency
--How will CIOs monitor quality in Government information products, as well as information systems?
The Congressional Role(LC) Kennie Gill, Minority Staff Director and Chief Counsel, Senate Committee on Rules and Administration
--What oversight will Congress give to Government publishing initiatives?
Break 3:45 - 3:55
Questions and Answers To request the removal or move of dedicated lines requires 25-45 working days. Allow time prior to the end of the fiscal year if billing needs to be stopped before a new fiscal year begins. Credits for dedicated lines are not available.
Adjourn 5:00

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Awards Watch: Promote Your Library and Yourself
    FLICC/FEDLINK wants you...
to apply for library and information industry awards! A FLICC Working Group has been formed to identify appropriate awards and to recognize federal librarians and information center staff members who have received awards. Please forward any information about awards you have spotted or won to fliccfpe@loc.gov.

SLA Award: International Special Librarians Day
    This year's International Special Librarians Day will take place on Thursday, April 23, 1998. The Special Libraries Association (SLA) will present an award to a member who successfully promotes his/her library, information center, or profession on this day. There's still time—start planning your library advocacy campaign now! Award nominations must be postmarked by May 1, 1998, and nominees must be SLA members.

General information about
SLA membership is available at
http://www.sla.org/content/membership/index.cfm.

Please direct questions to: Jennifer Stowe, Director of Public Relations, Special Libraries Association, 1700 Eighteenth Street, NW, Washington, DC 20009-2514 USA

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Nominations Needed for the 1998 FEDLINK OCLC Users Council:

One Delegate and Two Alternates

Each FEDLINK library that uses OCLC is eligible to vote for delegates and alternates to the OCLC Users Council. In 1998, FEDLINK needs to elect one delegate and two alternates. Member libraries are encouraged to send their nominations along with a biography no longer than one page to Milton MeGee at email: mmeg@loc.gov, or by fax to 202-707-4818 by February 23, 1998.

See http://www.loc.gov/flicc and http://www.oclc.org/oclc/menu/uc.htm for more information.

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Editorial Staff

FEDLINK Technical Notes is published by the Federal Library and Information Center Committee. Send suggestions of areas for FLICC attention or for inclusion in FEDLINK Technical Notes to:

FEDLINK Technical Notes
Federal Library and Information Center Committee
Library of Congress, 101 Independence Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20540-4935

FLICC/FEDLINK:
Phone (202) 707-4800    Fax (202) 707-4818
Email: fliccfpe@loc.gov    Web Site: http://www.loc.gov/flicc

FEDLINK Fiscal Operations:
Phone (202) 707-4900    Fax (202) 707-4999

Executive Director: Susan Tarr    Editor-In-Chief: Robin Hatziyannis
Writer/Editor: Jessica Clark    Editorial Assistant: Mitchell Harrison

FLICC was established in 1965 (as the Federal Library Committee) by the Library of Congress and the Bureau of the Budget for the purpose of concentrating the intellectual resources of the federal library and related information community. FLICC's goals are: To achieve better utilization of library and information center resources and facilities; to provide more effective planning development, and operation of federal libraries and information centers; to promote an optimum exchange of experience, skill, and resources; to promote more effective service to the nation at large; and to foster relevant educational opportunities.

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Comments: Library of Congress Help Desk (02/23/98)