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6 CHAPTER 2 Initial Outreach Effort Interviews with Transportation · Matt Barrett, Librarian, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Stakeholders Transportation Authority · Amanda Wilson, Director of the National Transportation Scope of Interviews Library, U.S.DOT-RITA The research team conducted interviews with stakeholders · Jerry Baldwin, Library Director, Minnesota DOT to understand current perceptions about the need for improve- · Ken Winter, Library Director, Librarian, Virginia Trans- ments to transportation information access, to ascertain what portation Research Council types of TKN products and services will be of most value, and · Toby Pearlstein, Manager of Information Services, Bain & to solicit opinions about key barriers to successful TKN imple- Co., former librarian for Massachusetts Highway Depart- mentation and potential funding sources that could be tapped. ment and CTPS (Boston MPO staff) The following individuals were interviewed: · Lisa Harris, Kansas University LTAP (outgoing NLTAPA president) · Steve Dillingham, Director, U.S.DOT-RITA, Bureau of · Marie Walsh, Louisiana State University LTAP (current Transportation Statistics NLTAPA president) · John Augustine, Senior Advisor, U.S.DOT-RITA, Office of the Administrator Interviews were also conducted with representatives of lib- · Kelly Leone, Deputy Associate Administrator, U.S.DOT- rary networks in the medical and agricultural fields: RITA, Office of Research Development and Technology · Tony Kane, Director of Engineering and Technical Services, · Melanie Gardner, AgNIC coordinator, National Agricul- AASHTO ture Library · Joe Toole, FHWA Office of Professional and Corporate · Michelle Malizia, Public Health Outreach Coordinator, Development National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM), South · Rolf Schmitt, FHWA Office of Operations Central Region · Judy Skeen, Chief Information Officer, Texas DOT · Nick Mandel, Director of Quality Management, New Mex- Key Findings ico DOT · Gary Allen, Chief of Technology and Innovation, Virginia Findings are summarized below in five groupings: FHWA/ DOT AASHTO/DOT Executives, Transit and Port Executives, · Maureen Hammer, Director, Virginia DOT Knowledge LTAP Representatives, RITA, Transportation Librarians/ Management Division Information Professionals, and Non-Transportation Library · Lance Grenzeback, Senior Vice President, Cambridge Sys- Networks. tematics, Inc. · Hal Kassoff, Senior Vice President, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Inc. FHWA/AASHTO/DOT Executives. Individuals inter- · Burr Stewart, Strategic Planning Manager, Port of Seattle viewed within this part of the transportation community artic- · John Inglish, General Manager, Utah Transit Authority, ulated the continuing need to support sharing of best practices Vice Chair of the APTA Research and Technology Com- in the core engineering areas of concern to DOT CEOs, with mittee, and Member, ITS America Executive Committee particular emphasis in emerging areas such as outsourcing and
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7 public/private partnerships or new technologies. TKNs will be very different from those of state DOTs: "they are trying to of value to this community if they provide an effective, elec- manage transportation systems with very limited resources" tronic means to locate current information about "who is and "need answers, not complicated reports." They acknowl- doing what" in different DOTs. TKNs will be an easier sell if edged the problems of information overload, fragmentation of they recognize the distinct subgroups within which information information across multiple sources, and duplication of effort is naturally shared (e.g., geotechnical engineers, statewide across agencies to compile useful information resources. They planners) and build upon and coordinate with already mentioned several product and service ideas for TKNs that existing initiatives to share best practices. Such initiatives might be of interest, including a central information portal, a include FHWA's Communities of Practice, AASHTO's searchable collection of training videos, access to information transportation.org Web site, the Center for Environmental not currently widely available, a consolidated calendar of con- Excellence, and the Highway Engineering Exchange Program ferences, provision of directories of organizations providing (HEEP). Interviews also indicated the importance of effective services to local governments, and tools or services that filter information dissemination. For example, packaging informa- information to cull important information. tion into tutorials or newsletters will have more impact than The FHWA currently sponsors an information clearing- simply compiling information resources and making them house (provided by ARTBA) that includes a searchable resource accessible via search engines. base for LTAP/TTAP centers. A listserv for LTAP/TTAP cen- ters, T2ALL, allows for informal information exchange. Given Transit and Port Executives. Interviews with one tran- these existing services for LTAP/TTAP centers and their mar- sit agency executive and one port executive identified several ket, TKNs will need to demonstrate significant new value to be needs that could be addressed by TKNs: of interest, particularly if cost is involved for participation. · Information sharing about current topics of interest, includ- RITA. NTL staff has indicated general support for the ing new vehicle technology, energy efficiency and carbon recommendations of TRB SR 284, and the NTL continues in its footprints, labor relations, and asset management; national leadership and coordination role for TKNs. Efforts · Information syntheses to help executives understand what have also begun to consolidate U.S.DOT libraries, an impor- new technologies should be considered for adoption by tant step toward building greater coordination of federal- agencies of their size and characteristics; level transportation information resources. Staff of the Bureau · Cross-modal sharing of technology information (the abil- of Transportation Statistics (BTS) and RITA indicated agree- ity to take lessons learned from an application of a given ment that RITA could be a logical home for the national coor- technology in one mode and apply it to another); and dination function recommended in TRB SR 284. However, · Services to identify and share information that could be current resource limitations prevent RITA from taking on used to demonstrate the value of public transit. new responsibilities. The BTS's core function is to serve as a statistical agency. Accordingly, maintaining and enhancing the One interviewee noted that the American Public Trans- popular BTS TransStats Web site (currently getting 19,500 hits portation Association (APTA) already has a structure for per day) is a priority. On the RD&T side, much work remains capturing and disseminating information on current prac- to organize and catalog information about U.S.DOT-funded tice; TKNs should coordinate with this and other existing research initiatives. This work is viewed as "job one." Even if information-sharing efforts. The port representative suggested more resources were made available, RITA would need to that TKNs tap into information resources produced by non- weigh the best use of those resources. Investments in knowl- governmental organizations (NGOs). He also thought that edge networks would compete against other priorities, such MPOs will be growing in importance as regional information as additional efforts to coordinate research activities across providers and noted that regionally based information-sharing administrations. Thus, the ability of RITA to fully implement efforts could be supportive of collaborative efforts across agen- the recommendations of TRB SR 284 would likely depend both cies to build regional competitiveness. Collaboration would be on obtaining additional resources and on clear statutory direc- greatly enhanced via a shared base of information. tion with respect to activities and resource allocation. LTAP Representatives. The LTAP representatives inter- Transportation Librarians/Information Professionals. viewed cited the need for sharing of training materials, infor- Transportation librarians interviewed stressed the need for an mation about funding programs available to local agencies, improved understanding of and appreciation for the value pro- best practices related to use of available funding, and for pro- vided by libraries. They believe that strong networks of well- viding an integrated view of research activities across academic funded libraries are required to move from an "information institutions. They stressed that the needs of local agencies are push mode" to providing information on demand. These
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8 networks should be inclusive and recognize the diversity of electronic access to reliable, evaluated agricultural infor- information needs within the transportation community. mation enhanced by the application of shared technology Librarians acknowledge that technology is part of the solution, and standards." A GSA grant ($250,000) provided funding but indicated that it cannot be a substitute for the services of a to set up the initial information infrastructure. By 1996, the skilled library professional. They also see a need for improv- AgNIC home page was receiving half a million hits per day. ing information capture at their source, paying more attention In 1998, a formal governance structure was established that to resource preservation, and improving access to for-fee includes a coordinating committee and an executive board. resources (e.g., databases and association standards or guidance In 2000, a new technical architecture for information shar- documents). These librarians feel that networks can serve many ing was designed and a "one-stop shopping" portal was put valuable functions, including coordination of collections devel- in place. Web site hits increased to over 31 million. In 2002, opment, leadership and professional capacity building within the NAL and AgNIC created the NAL thesaurus, provided as the transportation librarian community, increased participa- a Web service. Further improvements to the portal and asso- tion in TLCat, interlibrary loan agreements, and negotiation of ciated Web services were made in 2004. At the 10-year point, favorable group rates for memberships and subscriptions. They the AgNIC membership included 50 universities and agri- value the opportunities provided for face-to-face communica- cultural organizations, and sites were getting 125 million hits tion with their peers. per day. AgNIC is supported from membership fees. Three levels of membership are available, with different levels of partici- Non-Transportation Library Networks pation. Sustaining members support one or more selected TRB Special Report 284 summarized the operations, staffing, set of subject areas and maintain Web pages with informa- and budgets of several national libraries (see pp. 3745.) The tion on those subjects. For example, the New Mexico State networks of the National Agriculture Library (NAL) and the University Library maintains a page on chili peppers. The National Library of Medicine (NLM) were selected as models coordinating committee has representation from all members. for transportation. The NCHRP 20-75 research team con- It elects an executive board that votes to accept new partners ducted supplemental interviews with a representative of the into AgNIC. library networks in place for medicine and agriculture. Net- AgNIC operates with an annual budget of $430,000. Its staff work models and scale of operation for these two library net- of three FTEs maintains the Web site, performs coordination works are very different: and outreach, and works on special projects (e.g., for digitiza- tion of documents.) Resources are tight, and AgNIC relies · The Agriculture Network Information Center (AgNIC) is on voluntary efforts of its partners to maintain information a voluntary partnership with 60 members, primarily uni- resources. A recent survey found that only 5 hours per week are versities; the National Network of Libraries of Medicine spent updating all of the AgNIC Web sites. The network has, (NN/LM) has 5,800 members, which includes academic however, provided an effective complement to the NAL's pro- medical libraries, hospitals, pharmaceutical and other spe- grams, extending its reach and providing a coordinated set of cial health sciences libraries, and public libraries with con- specialized information resources. Coordination on standards sumer health collections. has produced a single taxonomy of terms and an approach that · AgNIC has a modest, centralized infrastructure. NN/LM is enables metadata harvesting from Open Archive Initiative much larger and is organized regionally, with eight compet- (OAI) compliant repositories of member agencies. itively awarded contracts for coordination activities within The charge of the NLM is to provide all U.S. health profes- different geographic areas. sionals equal access to biomedical information and to improve · AgNIC is funded primarily through membership fees; the public's access to information to enable them to make NN/LM is funded through the NLM and membership is informed decisions about their health. The Regional Medical free. In both cases, members agree to share their informa- Library system came into existence in the mid-1960s to bring tion resources. NLM services to the local level. NLM contracts with eight · Both AgNIC and NN/LM provide Web portals and work major institutions to administer and coordinate NLM serv- with their respective national libraries on shared thesauri ices within different geographic regions. These contracts are and information-sharing standards. awarded on a competitive basis. Contracts vary but are sizable. For example, the South/Central region (serving 854 members Additional background information on the AgNIC and in five states: Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, NN/LM is provided below. Texas) had a budget of $1.2 million for FY06. The regional AgNIC began in 1995 as a partnership between four land libraries provide training and outreach services. Nationwide grant universities and the NAL. AgNIC's focus is "providing membership of NN/LM is currently over 5,800. Membership