Google doesn’t have it all. That’s even true when it comes to finding government documents that are in the public domain free of copyright. Many governments documents not on the Internet are only available in print at depository libraries and archives. They are often difficult to identify in online catalogs, and when finally identified, it may require some traveling to gain access to them.
I’m going to share a nifty new application called BookMyne that, at least for Utah, may allow you to find documents in seconds. If you’re a state employee, the State Library will even have them delivered to your office.
In this example, you’re assisting a committee member to understand the original intent of Utah’s Government Records Access and Management Act and you need access to the original guide to the Act produced by the Utah Attorney General’s Office in 1992. It’s not on current websites though some of the later revisions including the 2005 edition are in Utah Government Publications Online. For this exercise you just need to know that nearly all print state publications back to the 1970s are physically available at the Utah State Library and that all state employees are eligible to receive a library card to check out materials.
You didn’t know that? Yes, it’s true, and the card can be used to access all the Public PIONEER databases from your home or wherever you may be. For that reason, my USL library card is one of the few cards that I keep in my wallet to accompany me wherever I travel. To get yours, simple call or email Ruthanne Hansen at the Utah State Library (801.715.6758).
The next step (you only need to this once) is to download and install BookMyne from the Apple App Store. It is a free iPhone/Ipod Touch application from SirsiDynix that also works on the iPad. SirsiDynix is the company that provides the library cataloging software for dozens of academic and public libraries in Utah including the Utah State Library. The app installs automatically without any configuration needed. If your using an iPad, click the 2X button to enlarge the app to the full size of the device.
BookMyne uses your current location to list for you all the SirsiDynix libraries within a range of up to 300 miles. You can move a slider to reduce this range down to ten miles. Here’s the simple procedure:
1) From the list of libraries select USL Government Publications and touch the star under its name to select it as the current library. You’ll need to enter the number on your card in the space labeled Library Card Number. Unlike the web catalog access, you only have to enter this once and the application remembers it. Leave the Nickname field empty.
2) Click the search button and enter your keywords. In this example I’m simply enter the words Government Records Access and Management.
3) Click the radio button opposite titles of interest in the result list or click the title to read the full catalog record.
4) Click the Save button to email the record(s) to any email address, place a hold, or to save it to a personalized list. In this case, click Place a hold.
5) Choose whether you want to pick it up at the library or have it mailed to you (via state mail) and click Confirm. That’s all there is to it. If you choose to have it mailed, you’ll have it at your office in two business days.
The application also allows you to view your account to review your check outs, cancel holds, and pay overdue fines. You can click the Libraries button to easily backtrack to add other libraries where you might have library privileges. This includes the BYU, Utah State, UVU, and many other Utah academic and public libraries. Click on the Suggested button and easily link to Goodreads to get suggestions for books in your local library that might interest you.
BookMyne is much easier and faster to use than logging on to the Web to use a library catalog. Since it supports multiple libraries (limited to SirsiDynix Symphony connections at present) there’s all the more reason to use it if your library is supported. In any case, you know that the Utah State Library is, and now you know now, too, how to get quick access to all those older state publications that have not yet been digitized.
Ray Matthews is the state library’s Government Information Coordinator and administrator of Utah Government Publications Online