On the Bookshelf
Barkley took on book as
By Carolyn Gonzales
Tapping State Government Information Sources
Greenwood Press, 2003
by Dan Barkley
Dan Barkley, coordinator of government information at UNM’s Zimmerman Library, has co-authored a new publication that provides a road map for navigating government information sources at the state level.
The book, “Tapping State Government Information Sources,” was released in November by Greenwood Press. The book’s design and layout is reflective of “Tapping the Government Grapevine,” written for finding federal government information and resources.
Lori Smith, government information librarian, Southeast Louisiana State University, was the impetus behind the project, said Barkley. “She developed a survey questionnaire and quickly realized the project was larger than she anticipated. She contacted me and three others about co-authoring the book,” he said.
Barkley, who took on the book as a sabbatical project, was responsible for the information on ten states, including New Mexico. During the process of collecting information and Web addresses, the State of New Mexico changed its entire Web presence to a portal. He had to go back and revise the state’s entire chapter shortly before the book went to press.
“The good news is that information available for New Mexico is accessible and presented as well as for states like New York and California which are considered technologically advanced,” he said. He added that deciding what types of information and resources to leave out was more difficult that determining what to include.
The text contains a broad selection of information and resources from all 50 states. The text includes Web addresses to assist in locating information on motor vehicle registration, how to obtain a driver or hunting license, information about schools, local and state governments and much more. Each chapter focuses on five broad categories: financial/budgetary resources, statistical resources, directories, legal resources and “other.”
“‘Other’ was used as a category to include information pertinent to a specific state, such as tourism in New Mexico,” Barkley explained. He said that the text also includes a detailed description of each state’s depository library program. That information includes how each state defines a “government publication,” statutory laws governing the depository program, and dissemination and access to state government information.
Barkley said he was “amazed” at the amount of state information freely available via the Internet. “States have mirrored the efforts of the federal government to provide free and unfettered access to state government information.”
The book is oriented toward academic and public libraries, Barkley said.
“The United States is a more transient society. As a result, people need access to state government information as they change jobs, relocate or plan vacations,” Barkley said.