A Gift That Began Before There Was Google
In the pre-Google, pre-World Wide Web age, information was mostly available on paper files documented in paper catalogs. As the digital age began to take shape, the Congressional Information Service got in on the ground floor. A database outgrowth of the printed indexes of the American State Papers, Senate Executive Documents and Reports, as well as various Congressional Committee Hearings, the Congressional Information Service had an enormous task: digitizing previous printed matter and keeping up with the steady stream of new materials.
For a researcher in government documents, this electronic version of the printed index was a resource of incalculable value. Government, especially federal governance, continues to be a major producer of printed and digital resources, and cataloging those resources continues to require dedicated librarians.
During 26 years in higher education publishing, Scott Eller has spent a good deal of his working life among teachers, students, and librarians, and the Congressional Information Service is how he got started making those connections. Having watched the field of librarianship change and grow over the years, he recognized the importance of professional development opportunities for students in information sciences – and he wanted to give something back.
Taking a portion of his severance package, Eller has made a gift to foster just such development. “I want to provide a small scholarship that will help MLIS students find out if pursuing government documents would be a good fit for their librarian goals,” Eller says.
Specifically, Eller would like to see Kent State University iSchool students use these funds to attend conferences and/or workshops with a focus on government documents, including the most prominent one, the Federal Depository Library Conference. “Education is all about opportunity,” Eller adds, “and I hope my gift helps make some of those opportunities possible for students.”
Dr. Kendra Albright, Director of the School of Information, sees this gift as providing exposure for students to professional organizations. “We want to thank Mr. Eller for his generosity. This gift creates possibilities for students to see themselves on a career path and to network with individuals established in the field of government document research.”