The FLICC Newsletter

No. 183 Fall 1997


Table of Contents

Education Survey Shines the Spotlight on Professionalism

BOARD TALK

Save the Date! 1998 FLICC Forum: March 19, 1998

FLICC Quarterly Meeting Showcases Library Treasures

    Qualifications Standards Update

    Personnel Specialists Please Note

FLICC Unveils All New Web Site

Editorial Staff


Education Survey Shines the Spotlight on Professionalism

The recent FLICC education survey illustrates the great diversity of the federal information community. With the results in hand, both the Education Working Group and FLICC/FEDLINK staff can zero in on how best to meet members needs and design education programs that offer a combination of professional development and the opportunity to share knowledge and resources among federal librarians, managers, staff, and patrons.

Almost 100 survey responses gave program planners better insight into the content and logistics of FLICC's education program. Respondents represented the variety of federal libraries, different levels of professional expertise and responsibilities, and US and overseas locations.

The survey emphasized logistics and meeting planning issues. Interestingly, respondents preferred one-day events by a wide margin over half-day or brown bag luncheons. Their second choice was three-to-five-day institutes, which allow managers to plan and budget for staff attendance at these longer programs. Respondents also cited workload and costs as the top two reasons for not attending FLICC education programs, although 52 percent said that FLICC and FEDLINK programs are reasonably priced.

When asked to rate current programs, respondents overwhelmingly rated the programs highly; 48 percent rated the programs in the top 20 percentile. Almost 60 percent strongly agreed that FLICC presenters and trainers are informed and talented, while 50 percent said program handouts and resources are always useful and well coordinated. Questions concerning location split across geographic lines, with 38 percent calling for more teleconferences and distance learning programs. One third of respondents rated the FLICC event video series as helpful while another third asked for more follow-up workshops after events that had focused on broader scope issues.

Looking to the future, the survey asked about staff and supervisory training needs. Individuals identified their top five topics for further programs: Internet/World Wide Web training, HTML coding, end-user training, position description writing, and technicians' training. Managers and supervisors stressed those topics for their staff as well as requesting additional hands-on training in OCLC services, cataloging, preservation, and document delivery.

Although the formal survey is now complete, members are asked to share their thoughts and opinions on the education program with FLICC and FEDLINK staff. If you have comments to share, please call Robin Hatziyannis or Anna Bohlin in the FLICC Publications and Education Office at (202) 707-4800.

     Comments from the survey:
    "For a one-person library, it is a wonderful chance to be with other librarians. It helps me feel less isolated and more a part ofthe community."

    "We rely on FEDLINK to do much of our staff training and to keep the staff aware of what there is to learn to keep up-to-date in this fast moving field."

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BOARD TALK

With the completion of several consultant studies on FEDLINK and the intensive membership involvement in the multi-year FEDLINK Business Plan, the FLICC Executive Board (FEB) has dedicated a significant portion of its 1997 agendas to the FEDLINK program. This FEDLINK focus culminated in the FEB's November 6 approval of the FEDLINK Advisory Council's (FAC's) proposal for an official "mission statement" for FEDLINK:

To serve the federal library and information center community as their purchasing, training, and resource-sharing consortium.

The year-long process to develop a succinct and resonant mission statement for FEDLINK has provided a unique opportunity to explore the respective roles of FLICC and FEDLINK, and has reaffirmed the ongoing need of federal libraries and information centers for both of these government-wide programs.

The preliminary draft of the FEDLINK mission statement that surfaced in the spring highlighted the role of FEDLINK in providing additional resources to help sustain the centralized coordinating, policy, and educational functions of FLICC. Of course, most of FLICC's activities are supported by the volunteered time of staff of federal libraries and information centers, and by the two permanent positions (the FLICC Executive Director--yours truly--and the FLICC office manager) that have been funded by appropriations since 1968. Nevertheless, it would have been impossible to sponsor the 31 educational programs (including 3 week-long institutes) and their videotaping for ILL, the 50 working group meetings, the FLICC Web site, or even the quarterly FLICC meetings in FY97 without assistance from the FEDLINK Network librarians and other staff funded by FEDLINK revenues.

At the May quarterly FLICC meeting, FLICC members discussed the following questions: (1) What are the three things FLICC does that are most important to you and how could these be funded if not through FEDLINK? (2) Do you decide whether or not to purchase through FEDLINK simply on the basis of cost, or on other factors? (3) Should the FEDLINK support for the FLICC programs be made explicit in the FEDLINK mission statement? The lively discussion revealed widespread agreement on the importance of FLICCs activities and leadership in the areas of networking, surveys, policy analysis, advocacy, and low-cost education. Generally, members affirmed their use of FEDLINK based on cost savings; however, there appeared to be unanimous agreement that FEDLINK revenues should provide both cost-effective procurement and pooled resources for the broader FLICC mission to the extent possible. There was some disagreement as to whether the FLICC support should be explicit in the FEDLINK mission.

At their July meeting, the FEB reviewed the major points made in the May FLICC discussion, and then at their September meeting, they worked with facilitator Barbara Robinson (of Robinson & Associates) to try to articulate a complementary FLICC mission statement. Their work is not complete, but the evolving statement focuses on "strengthening the federal information infrastructure" through initiatives in "education, advocacy and cost-efficiency." At the November meeting, FEB members recommended including the conepts of "leadership" and "service" in the ultimate mission statement and suggested that "effectiveness" was equally important as "cost-efficiency." As you can see, there is still work to be done by the 1998 FLICC Executive Board to finalize a clear, concise mission statement for FLICC. If you have recommendations--either concepts or proposed wording--please share your thoughts with me via email at [email protected] or by phone at 202-707-4800.

In exploring the relationship between FLICC and FEDLINK at its September meeting, the FEDLINK Advisory Council concluded that, in fact, FLICC and FEDLINK could exist as separate entities, even though FEDLINK was originated by FLICC in the 1970s. No FAC members, however, considered such a move desirable. My own viewpoint, which I believe reflects the sentiments of the FAC, is that FEDLINK's identity as a major program of FLICC helps keep the program focused on the welfare of federal libraries and information centers and on the goal of serving them effectively and thereby prevents its evolution to a totally bottom-line, spiritless business operation. It also allows for a critical mass of library specialists, who, when they aren't writing FEDLINK RFPs or training OCLC users, can provide expert consultation for member libraries, can support the FLICC working groups, and can plan high quality educational programs, under the broad umbrella of FLICC.

                        Susan M. Tarr
                        Executive Director, FLICC

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Save the Date!
Plan to attend the 15th annual
FLICC Forum on Federal Information Policies
Adapting to Reinvention: Getting Results in Government Publishing
March 19, 1998

This year's Forum will take a closer look at how federal libraries and information centers respond to reinvention initiatives and the key issues of providing government information in this fast-paced environment.
Watch your mail for details!

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FLICC Quarterly Meeting Showcases Library Treasures

FLICC members who attended the October 2nd quarterly meeting were treated to a guided tour of the American Treasures of the Library of Congress exhibition in the recently renovated Jefferson building. LC Visitor Services Officer Teresa V. Sierra and Exhibit Coordinator Cheryl Regan led attendees through this permanent exhibit which showcases a rotating array of significant books and artifacts from LC's collections. More than 200 items from Americas past, selected by LC subject specialists, have been arranged into the same categories as Thomas Jefferson's own library: Memory (history); Reason (philosophy, law, science, and geography); and Imagination (fine arts, architecture, music, literature and sports). The exhibition also highlights a changing "Top Treasure"--a founding document such as the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, or the Gettysburg Address. Those FLICC members who missed the tour may want to visit the online version of the exhibit at http://lcweb.loc.gov/treasures/.

Later in the meeting, Dorothy Weed of the Department of Labor and Doria Grimes of NOAA discussed "treasures" from their federal library collections. Their presentations dovetailed with FLICC's plan to publicize federal library holdings and digital projects in conjunction with the upcoming Library of Congress bicentennial celebration.

Historical Labor Collections

Weed explained that the Department of Labor is one of the oldest Cabinet-level departments, and that its library has a collection of labor-related materials that is both exceptionally old and complete. The library opened in 1917, when the collections of the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Department of Children's Labor were combined. The library has 3,000 titles which represent more than 400 unions and date back to the 1860's. Many trade unions have considered the Department of Labor library an appropriate repository for their papers. Current labor unions, such as the Bridge, Structural, and Ornamental Ironworkers Union, are now drawing upon the collections to write historical pieces. The library holdings also include foreign statistics and labor information, and because of upheaval in Eastern European and third world countries, the library may have information that the governments of those countries do not. Other important holdings cover children's, women's, and minority labor issues.

Weed noted that states collected labor statistics before the federal government did, and showed attendees the second annual report of labor statistics in Virginia. She explained that the book contained no information, just a notation to see the third annual report for the summary of the secod annual report. She also displayed the 1939 issue of the Flint Autoworker, printed on asbestos because the union's headquarters had been threatened with arson; a book produced by female mill workers in Lowell, Massachusetts; and broadsheets published by the International Workers of the World during a 1929 strike in Chicago.

As an aside, Weed spoke about some of the changes the library has undergone in the last 25 years. In 1975, the library had 50,000 square feet, state-of-the-art technology, and a specially-designed space which included a smoking room. In the mid-1980's, however, an A76 study suggested that the library could be more efficiently run by contractors. Labor opted to reduce a full-time staff of 25 and a part-time staff of five to one full-time librarian. Weed began as the sole librarian in 1996, and has since supplemented staffing through detailed employees, a clerical staff member from the welfare-to-work program, and presidential administrative interns. Because of its collections, the library has continued to hold status in the industrial relations library community, and Weed has been able to organize projects such as joint publications with unions. She has recently worked to secure a $100,000 reinvention loan to fund evaluation and cataloging of the librarys stacks.

Rare Exploration and Meteorology Resources

Grimes explained that the NOAA library is relatively young; it was founded in 1970 from resources owned by other agencies, including the collection amassed by Ferdinand R. Hassler, the first director of the East Coast survey commissioned by Thomas Jefferson. Hassler was an avid book collector, and when his survey ran over budget, he sold his 5,000-item collection to the government to repay the debt. The collection included many old and rare items, including personal accounts of explorations during the 17th and 18th centuries. The NOAA library also has all of the notes and papers from the coastal survey, and has won the contract to be the sole distributor of the notes, maps, and sketches on a print-on-demand basis. Grimes passed around a print-out of a sketch from the collections done for the survey by James Whistler.

When it was founded, the NOAA library also inherited the collections of the US Weather Bureau, an unparalleled selection of weather-related publications. The oldest book from this collection is a Latin translation of a Greek work by Hippocrates on the effects of the weather on the human body, published in 1485. The rare books collection also includes a copy of Aristotle's Meteorologica from 1560, three original publications by Benjamin Franklin, and many other valuable items.

Grimes also demonstrated the library's WINDandSEA atmospheric and oceanic sciences Internet Resource Locator. WINDandSEA has over 750 selected links to science and policy sites organized by topic and alphabetically within topic. It is available at http://www.lib.noaa.gov/docs/windandsea.html.

Meeting Highlights

Joan Buntzen of the Naval Research Laboratory presented a Certificate of Appreciation to Patricia John of the National Agricultural Library for her work as Chair of the FLICC Personnel Working Group on the 1994 OPM Classification Standards and the position paper, "Qualification Needs for Federal Librarians." Buntzen also welcomed the newly appointed permanent members to FLICC: Stephanie Bianchi, Chief Librarian of the National Science Foundation Library; Helen Bradley, Director of the General Services Administration Library; Hugh Howard, Collection Development Librarian at US Information Agency; and Barbara Wrinkle, Director of the Air Force Libraries.

Information Technology Working Group

Buntzen then reported that two recent FLICC Newsletter articles about library automation from respected federal librarians were part of a series planned by the Information Technology working group. Cheryl Thomas (Farm Credit Administration) is coordinating this series of articles; FLICC members are urged to contact her at [email protected] with ideas. The working group has established a subgroup on ILS maitenance and is also investigating consortium purchasing of electronic journals.

Personnel Working Group

Susan Tarr (FLICC) reported that the group had been reconstituted to consider various hiring issues. Group members met with Steve Perloff of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to request that OPM require that applicants for GS-9 librarian positions have an MLS. Perloff explained that OPM rarely mandates that applicants meet a certain educational requirement, and must provide a "back door" for applicants whose experience qualifies them for a job. Tarr noted that a test is no longer used for hiring purposes. The group plans to work with Perloff on strengthening the KSAs to ensure that only qualified candidates are considered for the positions. They will also try to determine how many of the staff members currently in 1410 positions have an MLS (see boxes below).

Policy Working Group

Dan Clemmer (Department of State) introduced Anne Heanue, Associate Director of the ALA Washington Office, to discuss proposed revisions to Title 44 of the United States Code, the statute that governs printing and public dissemination of government information. Heanue noted that Congress and the Executive Branch have indicated that increasing amounts of government information will be made available electronically. This could shift costs to the depository libraries, which will be expected to access, download, and print documents for users. Proposed revisions may also result in decentralized publication distribution, making it more difficult for the public to discover and access documents.

Qualifications Standards Update

The FLICC Personnel Working Group has been reenergized to follow up on major issues affecting the hiring of federal librarians. Although the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) updated the 1410 classification standards in 1994 as a result of efforts of the original working group, the minimum qualification standards still have not been reevaluated.

With agencies downsizing, rightsizing, and reinventing entire functions, librarian positions are being eroded. In some agencies, positions are filled based on a combination of experience and education, but often a library science degree is not required. Some personnel classification specialists rate so few librarian vacancy announcements that they do not understand the profession and are not familiar with the requisite knowledge, skills, and abilities.

The working group produced the 1994 OPM Standards Annotated Guide (available on the FLICC Web site at http://lcweb.loc.gov/flicc) for the revised classification standards, and a position paper "Qualification Needs for Federal Librarians" (rev. 1996) to clarify for OPM the need to establish the MLS from an accredited library school as the positive educational requirement to minimally qualify for the 1410 series.

The FLICC Personnel Working Group will be working with OPM on additional specifications for the qualifications of librarian positions. If you have questions or comments on these policies, please contact Tad Downing, Chair of the FLICC Personnel Working Group, at [email protected] or (202) 512-1121, or Kathy Eighmey, the FLICC staff liaison to the working group, at [email protected] or (202) 707-4836.

Personnel Specialists Please Note

OPM no longer gives the written subject-matter test in library science to people seeking to qualify for GS-1410 librarian series positions. People who want to qualify for GS-1410 positions must do so on the basis of education and/or experience specified in the OPM qualification standard for librarian positions. References to the test will be dropped in the next revision tothe qualification standard. Agency personnel specialists who have questions about this should contact Steve Perloff, Chief, Qualifications Standards Branch, OPM, at [email protected] or (202) 606-2557.

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FLICC Unveils All New Web Site

FLICC has proudly announced its newly revised Web site! FLICC Editor-In-Chief Robin Hatziyannis and FEDLINK Network Operations Specialist Erik Delfino unveiled the redesigned site at the October 14 FEDLINK Membership meeting. Along with a new look, the site offers an improved navigation scheme and new resources for federal librarians, FEDLINK members, and vendors.

The "What's New" page highlights upcoming events, publications, and resources. Library and information center staff can now visit the "Educational Programs" page for schedules and descriptions of courses, events, and workshops conducted by FLICC, FEDLINK, and OCLC regional networks, as well as links to library schools and professional associations. The "Staff Directory" page helps users make quick connections with FLICC and FEDLINK.

The "Federal Library Issues" page features the sites of federal libraries and information centers. This page also links visitors to a wide array of other sites concerned with legal issues such as copyright, fair use, and licensing; collection issues such as preservation and digitization of materials; information technology policy issues such as legislation on federal depository libraries and government reinvention initiatives; and personnel issues such as librarian qualification standards. Federal library and information center staff can also check this page for links to job opportunities in federal libraries; other types of job listings will soon be added.

FEDLINK members can now find the FEDLINK Member Handbook on the "Publications" page, along with the Vendor Services Directory, current and past issues of FEDLINK Technical Notes, information alerts, meeting announcements, and proceedings and materials from FLICC educational programs. The "Member Financial Services" page features step-by-step registration instructions, and a link to ALIX-FS. Instructions for logging on to the ALIX-FS system are outlined below.

Accessing ALIX-FS

To access the ALIX-FS system:

  1. Use your Web browser to go to http://lcweb.loc.gov/flicc.
  2. Select the "Member Financial Services" button on the sites home page, and then click on the "Managing Your Transfer Pay Accounts" link. This will bring you to a section titled "Transfer Pay Accounts." Click on the "Logon to ALIX-FS" link in this section.
  3. Enter your FEDLINK ID in lowercase letters and your password.
  4. Click on the "Sign on" button.
  5. The next screen contains links to the Daily Account Balance report, the Statement Detail files, and the OCLC Usage Data files. There are also links to download and unarchive, and suggestions for using the data.
  6. Important! After you have finished using the system, be sure to click on the "Sign off" button.

Daily Account Balances

You can see a daily report of your accounts for FY92 forward. The report gives your account balances as of the previous statement, the sum of all transactions posted since the last statement, and the new current balances for your accounts. The report is summary information only. Your statement detail is included in the statement data file and copies of your paid invoices will continue to be attached to your statements. You may view the balance report on screen, print it, or save it to disk.

The account balances only include posted and paid delivery order and invoice transactions. Pending IAG transactions and delivery orders that have not yet been issued are not included. Invoices rejected for insufficient funds are not calculated into the balance or included in the figure for your usage since the last statement. If invoices have been rejected for insufficient funds since your last statement, your account is marked ith an asterisk. The "*" is a reminder that you must take immediate steps to amend your IAG to cover your rejected invoices. It only appears if invoices have been rejected in the period since the last statement; there is no mark for invoices rejected earlier in the fiscal year.

Downloading the File

Your statement detail file is cumulative for the current year plus the immediate prior fiscal years: records for all the statements FFO generates for you every month are added to the end of the file.

FEDLINK adds a sequence number to each record consecutively throughout the file. By noting the final sequence number in your last download, you can identify the records that have been added to the file when you download it the following month.

The data is in ASCII comma-quote-delimited format for you to load into a database or spreadsheet program. In this format, commas appear between the fields, text fields are surrounded by double quotes, date fields and dollar fields are not surrounded by quotes.

Because it contains data for all your transactions and can grow quite large, FEDLINK compresses or "zips" the file. The files are named with your library's 4 letter FEDLINK ID, plus "stmt.exe" (eg: abcdstmt.exe).

  1. Below are instructions for downloading & un-archiving the statement archive files.
  2. Before downloading, decide which folder/directory on your PC to store the file in, or create a new one.
  3. In your browser, click on "Download Your Statement Detail".
  4. Your browser will ask what folder you want to save the file in; pick the folder you decided on in Step 1.
  5. Click on [Save]. The file will be saved in the folder you selected, with a name like "abcdstmt.exe," where "abcd" is your FEDLINK ID.
  6. After downloading, use Windows Explorer or My Computer (Windows95), or File Manager (Windows 3.1), to find and open the saved file.
  7. In that folder, locate the file (for example, named abcdstmt.exe), and double-click on it. This will "unarchive" the contents.
  8. When finished, there will be a new file (eg: abcdstmt.txt) containing the transactions that have appeared on your monthly statements for the last 5 years. This file is designed to be imported into a database or spreadsheet program.

Data Fields

The data file contains the same fields that are printed on your statement (which are explained in Section 4.1 of the FEDLINK Member Handbook) plus a sequence number to help you manipulate the records. From ALIX-FS you may print or download a file called "Data Description" that gives the exact structure of the statement data file (field names, lengths, types). Your statement data fields are:

    FEDLINK ID;
    service ID;
    fiscal year;
    statement date;
    transaction type - 20 for invoice, 25 for invoice rejection, 40 for correcting transaction, 70 for delivery order;
    posted date;
    your user's ID;
    invoice or delivery order number;
    invoice or delivery order date;
    duplicate code;
    invoice amount - invoice amounts are negative and credits are positive;
    invoice period - vendor's bill from date;
    invoice period - vendor's bill through date;
    FFO invoice received date;
    delivery order amount; and
    sequence number.

Manipulating the Data

Sorting the Records: You can sort your data by service, fiscal year, user ID, transaction type, or any other field, and then re-sort the file back into its original order using the sequence number field.

Separating Fiscal Years and Services: You may wish to divide the records into separate databases for different fiscal years and services. This will make it easier to calculate the running balance in an account, to identify usage associated with particular user IDs, to analyze monthly spending patterns, etc.

Identifying Outstanding Rejected Invoices: Your rejected invoices all have a transaction code 25. After you load your data into a database or a spreadsheet, you could extract the rejects and identify their invoice numbers. ou can then search the file to determine whether invoices with those numbers were subsequently paid.

Rejected invoices that do not have a code 20 transaction with a posted date later than the reject date are still outstanding. With this information, you can take action to amend your IAG to cover the outstanding amounts so the vendor can resubmit the invoices and be paid.

Updates to the Detail File: The statement detail files are updated after each FEDLINK statement cycle. We recommend you download the file and check for updates on or about the 3rd of each month.

The FLICC/FEDLINK Web site is a work in progress.
To make comments or suggest changes or links, please email FLICC's Publications and Education Office at
[email protected] or phone us at (202)707-4800.

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Editorial Staff

The FLICC Newsletter is published by the Federal Library and Information Center Committee.
Suggestions of areas for Federal Library and Information Center Committee attention
or items appropriate for inclusion in the FLICC Newsletter should be sent to:

FLICC Newsletter
Federal Library and Information Center Committee
Library of Congress
101 independence Ave., SE
Washington, DC 20540-4930
Email: [email protected]
Internet: http://lcweb.loc.gov/flicc

FLICC Executive Director's Office
Phone: (202) 707-4800
Fax: (202) 707-4818

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

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Susan M. Tarr

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Robin Hatziyannis

WRITER/EDITOR
Jessica Clark

EDITORIAL ASSISTANT
Mitchell Harrison

The Federal Library and Information Center Committee 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
present in the federal library and related information community. Its goals are:

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