Preserving and Providing Access to Digital State Publications in Alabama: A Case of Cooperation
As initiatives to achieve a more interactive web-format for government information expand, concerns continue to mount over data security and preservation. While efforts to address these issues are ongoing at the federal level, at the state and local levels there continues to be gaps between state and local agencies creating digital publications and services and ensuring the long-term preservation of those publications. The nature of government information on theWeb also presents challenges. Some information is generated from databases (often federal) which pull together information and make it readily available. Such data, such as the Alabama’s agricultural statistics, are actually derived from the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. In this case, the data resides in the “Deep Web.” These statewide statistics cannot be harvested directly using web-crawling tools.
Among the challenges faced by libraries is a lack of clarity in legislation mandating electronic access to publications at the state level. To address issues relating to preservation and access to “born-digital” state publications the Network of Alabama Academic Libraries in 2005 created a Task Force to examine the issues relating to the preservation of “born-digital” state publications, along with the conversion of print publications to an electronic format. The Task Force examined various practices and developed a recommendation for a cooperative method of identifying and preserving state publications.