ACCESS: gopher://umslvma.umsl.edu:70/1/1/library/govdocs gopher umslvma.umsl.edu 8. The Library 9. Government Information
The US Department of Commerce intends to load their popular CD- ROM databases (National Trade Data Bank and National Economic, Social, and Environmental Data Bank) onto the Internet by the end of 1994. Meanwhile, the University of Missouri at St. Louis (UMSL) offers full-text gopher access to many popular and useful NTDB/NESE titles today. Gopher offerings appeal to both serious researchers and the merely curious alike.
For detailed government and business data, the UMSL reference librarians serve up classics such as the Overseas Business Reports (marketing and trade reports for 25 countries); Country Reports-Economic Policy & Trade Practices (economic and trade assessments of nearly 100 international markets); Economic Reports of the President; North American Free Trade Agreement; Small Business Administration Industry Profiles and State Profiles; and full text of the Health Security Act.
Ready reference resources include the CIA World FactBook; Occupational Outlook Handbook; US Industrial Outlook; Background Notes (history, culture, economy and politics of nearly 100 nations); and press releases and statements of the President and Vice-President.
Currently the Government Information menu consists of 31 items, mostly full text government documents and statistical databases. Some selections, such as Library of Congress Marvel and Wiretap, serve as gateways to other popular gophers sites. Approximately half of the selections originate directly from the monthly NTDB and quarterly NESE CDs. New items are loaded upon arrival of the CDs.
UMSL's extraction of data from electronic sources perhaps represents a new model for reference service. In the words of Raleigh Muns, one of the UMSL Reference Librarians charged with maintaining the Library node, "our plans are to transfer our expertise in collection development, presentation, organization, etc. from the physical world to the electronic world. The general techniques of extracting pieces of Government CD-ROMs and arranging them in more palatable formats are very empowering." Let's wish the UMSL Library much success by utilizing this virtual treasure trove of public-domain information.
Mansfield University, Main Library
January 29, 1994