Monday, December 17, 2007

Government documents on the edge

Several weeks back I bragged on the students in the OU LIS 5143 Government Publication course. Their midterm project was locating, annotating, and wikifying Oklahoma State Databases. And they did a great job.

I was absolutely terrified to teach this course. It was my first time of dealing with government information, on an in-depth level, since 2002. Four years is a long time to be gone in the world of documents librarianship and in that time I was gone the FDLP reset their priorities and Browse Topics had another facelift. But I believe it's a subject with which all librarians absolutely must be familiar -- regardless of which desk or area you work in a library. And that's the approach I took in teaching the course. I type teach -- but I don't know if I really taught that much -- I always hated classes that were heavy on lecture and didn't allow me time to explore the subject on my own so I tried to direct the class that way. Although I wish I had found a way to encourage discussion more in class. Perhaps that's a skill that comes with much more experience than a first attempt at teaching a subject to graduate students allows. And I still have a lot to learn regarding teaching graduate students....But I digress - if the students gained nothing else from spending Monday evenings with me this Fall I at least hope they remember that government publications cover a wide range of topics. Whether it's cooking squirrel or birth control options - if you can make money off of it the government will publish about it.

Of course if the graduate students remember a second thing from the course it should be that marketing your collection is essential - you market to keep funding, expand a patron base, or just to keep people interested -- and sometimes you have to stretch your imagination to do that.
You can do it the form of a youtube post (like below)

Or you can do it in the form of special finding tools - like annotated bibliographies -- and that is exactly what their final projects were. An annotated bibliography of government publications and the topics had to be from popular culture. I know kind of weird but if you know me you wouldn't expect anything less. And I hoped it had the students practicing their search skills for government resources and also it would allow them to see that there is something out there for everyone from the government.

Now to the fun part - with permission of the students -- I've uploaded their final bibliographies to scribd and have linked to them below. Some are better than others - but they all have fabulous parts. So enjoy - and if any of these soon-to-be new librarians apply for a job with your library or archive then give them a try -- because they aren't afraid to try something new and they have a lot of potential.

In no particular order (and not all maybe loaded right away because scribd does have an up loading ques you have to sit in):

Gilmore Girls
Lindsay Lohan
Pulp Fiction
Rocky Horror Picture Show
Romeo & Juliet

So run to your nearest government documents department and give the librarian there a big smile. And then ask them where the government documents are that can help you survive a zombie attack -- because you have a bibliography and or display to make!


Carleen said...

Adri, these are inspiring?

Carleen said...

That was supposed to be a ! instead of ?