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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
On This Page:
All Questions in this FAQ
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Related FAQ's elsewhere:
- Geospatial Data
- DefenseLink GILS
- NASA Information Locator
Basic introduction to GILS
GILS in policy and law
GILS as a standard
Technology for implementing GILS
Other standards and technologies
U.S. Federal GILS
Questions and Answers
- What is the goal of GILS?
The goal of GILS is to make it easy for people to find information of all kinds, in all
media, in all languages, and over time. The chosen strategy is to adopt and help evolve
international standards for information searching.
See also </about.html>.
- What's the problem in finding information?
We can think of information as packaged in containers. Imagine trying to find something in
a warehouse. You might crawl around and look at the packaging of the containers. This is
fun if you are just browsing. However, it is not a very good approach if you want to find
a particular thing. In practice, most packaging is of limited use when you are looking for
content. You need some kind of label that describes what is in each container.
People label information containers in various ways to make them easier to locate. On your
word processor, you assign a title and keywords to documents that contain information.
Through its card catalog, a library labels books that contain information. A data center
uses "metadata" to describe containers of digital data.
Such locators can be essential for finding information, but labels exist for only a
portion of the world's information contents. Even where locators exist, you can search
only some of the catalogs, directories, and other locators in a common way.
See also </overview.html>.
- What is the international standard for information searching?
The international standard for information search is ISO 23950, equivalent to the U.S.
standard designated ANSI/NISO Z39.50. (ISO 23950 replaced ISO 10162 and ISO 10163 in 1997.)
The Z39.50 standard was developed primarily in the library and information services
communities, though now it is very broadly applied worldwide on Internet and other
networks. It supports full-text search but also supports large, complex information
While it leverages common practice, the Z39.50 standard does not enforce any particular
format. It does not specify how network servers manage records or how clients use records.
It merely specifies how to express a search and return results.
See also </overview.html>.
- What's the advantage to using GILS?
For content owners offering access to information, GILS helps assure that people can find
it. Publishers can describe information in their own way and need not commit to exclusive
For intermediaries helping people find information, GILS makes it easier to gather
information from any source described. The intermediary has more confidence in what is
gathered and is not constantly adjusting to changing interfaces.
For direct users finding information on their own, GILS supports going through
intermediaries or searching primary sources directly. The user's search tool can be in the
user's own language and with a range of features supporting everyone from casual browser
to professional searcher.
For software companies providing search access to information on the desktop, Intranet, or
Internet, GILS provides a powerful platform adaptable to a range of architectures.
See also </overview.html>.
- Is GILS just for networked information?
Information providers can describe anything with GILS--not only books and datasets but
people, events, meetings, artifacts, rocks.... For networked information, GILS supports
"hyperlinks" for network access to the resource described or related resources.
- What about people who do not have network access?
GILS specifies how information sources are described through locator records on network
servers. Yet, no one expects networks to be the only way to reach all audiences. We all
depend on information providers and intermediaries to add essential value. They compile,
edit, translate, and present information in appropriate media. Sometimes, a printed book
or newsletter is the best media for helping people find information. A telephone referral
service or face-to-face contact is best in yet other situations.
As crucial as it is to assure standard search mechanisms for networks, GILS is just one
aspect of an information infrastructure.
- How does GILS relate to the Global Information Society?
There are many ways to help people find information, but some are better to enhance the
free flow of information. For example, GILS avoids having a central authority or other
fixed relationships. All kinds of people and organizations worldwide can independently
offer all kinds of locators. All that comply with GILS are directly searchable.
- Where is GILS being used?
There does not seem to be a comprehensive list, but some of the initiatives
using GILS are listed at </initiatives.html>.
- What are the typical components of a GILS implementation?
The base of a GILS implementation is information content. To help people find such
information, there must be some selection by which information content is included and
excluded, as well as some process to characterize each information resource.
(For a discussion of "search portals", see
GILS itself puts no constraints on the content selection process. However, by using GILS
it is possible to expose information content to a global and long-term audience. It is a
good idea to briefly document the selection process in a "collections
policy", because many potential users lack the context to understand how and why
the information content was selected.
In many cases, the process of characterizing a group of information resources has been
done at least partially and there already exists some kind of a resource inventory. Or,
characterizing might be accomplished with automated tools such as Web crawlers. In other
cases, it may be appropriate to employ trained catalogers or to provide a facility for
providers and intermediaries to characterize in their own way the information resources
For any group of information resources, a decision is made on common characteristics that
would be useful for people when searching. (Typical characteristics are Title, Author,
Subject, Date of Publication, Date Last Modified, Time Period of Content, Spatial Domain,
Use Constraints, among many others.) Any particular set of characteristics for related
information resources may be called metadata, bibliographic citations, catalog entries,
directory records, etc. The chosen set of characteristics may follow an existing
"usage guideline" or may establish a new usage guideline.
Collections policies and usage guidelines exist in virtually all organized mechanisms by
which people find information, though they may be known by other names and may not be
formally documented. The added value of GILS is that diverse sets of characteristics are
made searchable through a common, decentralized mechanism using electronic network
The essential and defining component of a GILS implementation is a GILS-compliant server.
Such a server has a well-defined set of behaviors for search and retrieval of locator
records. These behaviors are designed to maximize interoperability among GILS
implementations ranging over a broad spectrum of collections policies and usage
guidelines, as can be seen in the GILS Showcase.
See also </overview.html>.
- How much does it cost to put up a GILS-compliant server?
Freeware implementations of GILS are available for many platforms. Of course, these may be
more difficult to administer, may have minimal documentation, and typically do not have
Commercial GILS-compliant software starts at under $1,000 for a small implementation.
Additional options are available for sophisticated database support such as Informix,
Intranet knowledge management such as Fulcrum, or library support with
products such as SIRSI and OCLC FirstSearch. For pointers to companies
offering products and services, see </software.html>
- Where can I get GILS-aware client software?
Some of the GILS-aware client software products are listed at
Also, see </portals.html>
for a discussion of "search portals".
- Where can I get GILS-compliant server software?
Some of the sources for GILS-compliant software are listed at
Also, see </odbc.html> for
a discussion of Z39.50/ODBC Gateways and </portals.html>
for a discussion of "search portals".
- Doesn't GILS duplicate what Web search engines accomplish more
No, although the two are complementary in some respects and have some overlap.
In common usage, the term "Web search engines" encompasses two distinct
processes. One process is the building of an index to Web resources by
"crawling" along hypertext links. GILS does not address how records are created
or managed. Web crawling is one of the many ways used to populate a set of records (see
The other process used by Web search engines involves a Web user interface with various
features that permit searching of the index. Although GILS does not address user
interfaces, search features do relate to GILS. (Also, see
for a discussion of "search portals".)
See also </overview.html>.
- How come GILS is sometimes called Global Information Locator
Service and sometimes Government Information Locator Service?
One of the roots of GILS is in the Global Change Research Program, where the focus is on
the global information infrastructure needed for long term access to environmental data
and information. This work provided a base for a Government Information Locator Service
initiative in the United States.
As this was developing, a Global Information Society initiative began under the auspices
of the G7. Within the G7 initiative, the U.S. led a project on Environment and Natural
Resources Management with a goal to gain consensus on a Global Information Locator
Service. The consensus reached was to employ the GILS Profile (see
From the perspectives of standards and technology, the Global Information Locator Service
is no different than the Government Information Locator Service.
- How does GILS relate to Electronic Document Management Systems?
One of the primary functions of Electronic Document Management Systems is to provide
access to documents by certain characteristics. A search function such as GILS also
provides access by characteristics, and it has been shown to be straightforward to map
characteristics onto a GILS-compliant search interface. (Blue Angel Technologies
<http://www.BlueAngelTech.com> has worked with
a prominent vendor, Fulcrum/DOCS.)
Owen Ambur <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>
has followed the two communities and answers as follows: "Ideally, all documents
would be created and processed in electronic document management systems. EDMSs automate
much of the metadata collection process as well as the records management process. The
purposes of GILS will be best served when metadata is routinely gathered as an integral
(and largely automated) part of the ongoing processes by which the underlying
documentation itself is actually created, manipulated, and managed. To the degree that
stovepipe systems can be avoided and a single enterprise-wide EDMS can be used within any
organization, efficiency and effectiveness can be fostered."
- Are GILS records supposed to point to items, catalogs of items,
or catalogs of catalogs?
Any level of aggregation can be supported in GILS, and logically nesting of locators can
be a powerful navigational aid. For examples of GILS at various aggregation levels, see
However, any particular set of records can be confusing if levels of aggregation vary
widely. Specific policies for any particular set of locator records should be documented in
a collections policy and/or usage guideline.
- How does GILS relate to Harvest?
Harvest was a popular tool focused on gathering Web resources, while GILS is silent
on how records are gathered. In practice, Harvest is one among a variety of techniques that
populate a set of records on GILS-compliant servers. (See
for notes on other information sources that may be encompassed in a GILS
- How does GILS relate to SQL databases?
SQL (Structured Query Language) operates on relational databases. A relational database is
one of the mechanisms that can be used to store locator records behind a GILS-compliant
server. In fact, many implementations of GILS employ a gateway from ANSI Z39.50/GILS to
SQL using the ODBC mechanism. (See </odbc.html>
for a discussion of Z39.50/ODBC Gateways.)
- How does GILS relate to the Dublin Core?
Dublin Core is a set of
definitions (semantics) for some common metadata elements. The fifteen unqualified Dublin
Core elements are mapped to GILS by the Library of Congress
Network Development and MARC (Machine Readable Cataloging) Standards Office (see
Dublin Core does not specify syntax (although there is a W3C proposed convention for how
to represent Dublin Core elements within HTML). These features of Dublin Core are in
common with GILS.
Unlike GILS, Dublin Core does not specify a search service. GILS-compliant search is being
used very successfully in combination with Dublin Core semantics in operational
for a further discussion of the relationship between GILS and Dublin Core.
- How does GILS relate to the MARC standard?
The MARC (Machine Readable Cataloging) standard
provides a combination of syntax and semantics for a range of applications that are
primarily bibliographic. (Semantics are more properly described separately in cataloging
rules such as the Anglo-American Cataloging Rules.)
GILS adopts MARC semantics for the elements used in locator records and a one-to-one
correspondence of GILS elements to MARC tagged elements is maintained in the GILS Profile.
(see </prof_v2.html#annex_b> )
- How does GILS relate to WAIS?
Wide Area Information Servers (WAIS) was created using what is now the obsolete version 1
of Z39.50, documented as Z39.50-1988. GILS requires Z39.50 version 2 or version 3,
documented as Z39.50-1995. The commercial version of WAIS was updated to be
GILS-compliant, but the freeware version of WAIS has not been updated.
An upgrade path for WAIS users is available in freeware from the Clearinghouse for
Networked Information and Discovery (CNIDR) in a product suite known as Isite
A commercial software upgrade path is available from Blue Angel Technologies
- Is the GILS technical specification stable?
The GILS Profile was first stabilized and approved through the standards process in 1994.
A second version was approved in 1997, but the changes were largely confined to extending
and refining the available elements and their semantics. A third version might be expected
around the year 2000.
- What is a "Profile"?
As defined in the GILS Profile, a "Profile" is:
"The statement of a function(s) and the environment within which it is used, in terms of a
set of one or more standards, and where applicable, identification of chosen classes,
subsets, options, and parameters of those standards. A set of implementor agreements
providing guidance in applying a standard interoperably in a specific limited context."
- What is a "collections policy" in the context of GILS?
A collections policy documents the rules for inclusion of candidate locator records within
a particular collection. Relevant factors in the policy context might include the goals
and constraints of the maintaining organization. Additional factors might include
pragmatic concerns such as available resources and the volatility of the referenced
resource. One example collections policy is found at
For other examples, see </policy.html>.
- What is a "usage guideline" in the context of GILS?
A usage guideline documents the rules for what elements of a locator record are mandatory
and how to fill out all of the elements. Any particular set of locator records is usually
regarded as conforming to a particular usage guideline.
- What is the difference between an "Attribute Set" and
an "Element Set"?
In Z39.50, there is a strong distinction between "searching for information" and
"presenting search results". An Attribute Set is used for defining components
that are used in searching. An Element Set is used for defining components used in
presenting search results.
For example, a server would use the Attribute Set to support a "subject" search
over several relevant elements. On request for presentation of a record, the server would
reference the Element Set to identify the elements.
Each well-known element of the GILS Element Set is also separately identified as available
in the GILS Attribute Set.
- Where can I find model laws, policies, and other directives
related to GILS?
For pointers to policies, laws, and other directives related to GILS, see
- Who verifies that a server is "GILS-compliant"?
There is no officially-sanctioned verification facility. However, it seems apparent that
builders of GILS-aware client software are in the best position to verify GILS-compliance.
- Why doesn't the GILS Profile specify a record format?
The minimum requirement for achieving the goals of the GILS initiative is that locator
records be searchable. A much broader domain of interoperability results from the fact
that the record format is not constrained.
- Why doesn't the GILS Profile specify any mandatory elements?
The GILS Profile states that a server must be capable of handling well-known elements, but
its also states that such elements may not be populated in any particular set of locator
records. It is the domain of policy, preferably documented in a usage guideline, to
specify whether any element exists or must have a non-zero-length value in a particular
set of records.
- Why is client software called "GILS-aware" instead of
The GILS Profile does not specify compliant behavior for clients, only for servers. A
client capable of exploiting the behaviors of a GILS-compliant server is said to be
- How does GILS relate to the U.S. National Spatial Data
Infrastructure (NSDI) and the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC)?
The National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) is a community of interest within the U.S.
National Information Infrastructure. The Information Infrastructure Task Force was the
focus for Federal activities in the National Information Infrastructure, while the Federal
Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) focuses U.S. Federal activities in the NSDI.
The U.S. Federal Information Infrastructure Task Force approved GILS for finding and
retrieving information throughout the National Information Infrastructure. The FGDC
approved the Content Standard for Spatial Metadata to guide creation of facilities for
finding and retrieving information throughout the NSDI. The Content Standard for Spatial
Metadata inherits the metadata content given in the GILS Profile and provides further
elaboration peculiar to spatial data.
A user with client software for finding NSDI locator records will have no trouble finding
everything being made accessible according to the GILS Profile. A user with client
software that is GILS compliant but not compliant to the Content Standard for Spatial
Metadata will be able to find NSDI locator records generically, but won't be able to
refine the search according to detailed spatial criteria.
A description of the relationship among GILS, NSDI, and the National Biological Information
Infrastructure (NBII) is available at </nsdi_nbii.html>
- Who have been the major contributors to GILS?
A partial list of major contributors to GILS policy, standards, technology and
implementation is at Acknowledgements. Eliot
Christian initiated GILS and continues to provide leadership.
- How do I contribute my GILS record(s) to other collections?
The process varies for different implementations.
DefenseLink has an online registration
process, for example.
If you do not know the process in use by the community you wish to reach, you might check
the list of GILS contacts </contacts.html>
and implementors </implement.html>.
You can also post a note to the GILS list </forum.html>
- How does GILS relate to the Bib-1 Attribute Set in Z39.50?
The Bib-1 Attribute Set is commonly supported by most implementations of ANSI Z39.50,
although protocol compliance does not require support for Bib-1. GILS is an applications
profile that specifies just exactly which functions are supported at a compliant server.
Among the functions is support for a set of numbered search attributes called the GILS
Attribute Set. The GILS Attribute Set is available as a separate Attribute Set but all of
the GILS attributes are included in the Bib-1 Attribute Set as well.
(see </elements.html> ).
- How does GILS relate to the Common Indexing Protocol (CIP)?
The Common Indexing Protocol is an Internet RFC produced by the IETF (Internet Engineering
Task Force) FIND working group.
The FIND working group focuses on Internet directory services, including X.500 and
Whois++. CIP is intended for use by directory services when passing indexing information
so that a user query to one server could also result in referral to another server based
on the exchanged index information. An example of indexing information is a word
occurrence metric such as a "centroid" (for example,
- How does GILS relate to the Lightweight Directory Access
Protocol (LDAP) and X.500?
The X.500 family of standards provide a robust series of mechanisms for management of and
access to directories such as electronic mail and other addresses. The X.500 Directory
Access Protocol, and its "lightweight" version for the Internet, incorporates a
query service for the directory. Because the LDAP query interface can be regarded as a
special case of search, it has been possible to build a gateway for Z39.50/GILS to access
data from an X.500 distributed hierarchical database.
- How does GILS relate to the Standard Generalized Markup Language
The GILS Profile does not specify how records made accessible through a GILS-compliant
server may be maintained. However, it is quite common for locator records to be
represented in SGML and some GILS implementations may require SGML. The server may deliver
search result records in SGML, although the GILS Profile does not require the server to
have such a capability. Further information about SGML is available at
- How does GILS relate to the Stanford Protocol proposal?
The Stanford Protocol Proposal (STARTS) used GILS elements for metadata (see
). An implementation on the freeware Apache server
demonstrated a STARTS implementation together with Z39.50/GILS.
- How does GILS relate to the W3C Resource Description Framework
is being designed as an infrastructure to support metadata across many web-based
activities, with different application communities each defining the metadata property set
that best serves their needs. RDF will provide a uniform and interoperable means for
exchanging metadata between programs and across the Web.
So far, RDF has defined XML (Extensible Markup Language) as the transfer syntax and work
is beginning on schema definition. The overlap with GILS will be primarily in the RDF
schema(s) and any subsequent work on services, especially search.
- How does GILS relate to WhoIs++?
GILS should be seen as a complementary technology. GILS and WhoIs++ can interoperate via
gateways. The particular focus of GILS is on the search facility but it also defines a
common set of elements for "locator records". The set of elements in a GILS
locator record can be implemented as a WhoIs++ template.
- How does the GILS Profile differ from the Z39.50 standard
The ANSI Z39.50 standard is a complex specification with many features. However, a server
may be compliant with Z39.50 and yet not be capable of handling structured metadata. The
GILS Profile select only a minimum number of Z39.50 features but it requires those few
features on every compliant server.
In the GILS Profile, the search service is only defined at the server side of a
client/server interface. It specifies support of Boolean queries (Type 1) using four
structures (word, word list, date, URL) and five relations (less than, less than or equal,
equal, greater than or equal, greater than, not equal).
Queries on a GILS-compliant server are applied to a few well-known search access points
common to bibliographic and other structured metadata: Title, Originator, Distributor,
Subject Terms, Date of Last Modification, and Record Source, plus a server-unique
identifier called Local Control Number. The search access attributes known as
"Any" and "Anywhere" enable full-text search, and the GILS Profile
notes as available about 150 other well-known record elements.
- How does the GILS Profile relate to the Catalog
The Catalog Interoperability Profile will be a superset of the
which is itself a superset of the GILS Profile. Therefore, servers compliant with the
Catalog Interoperability Profile will also be GILS-compliant.
- How does the GILS Profile relate to the FGDC Geospatial
The Geospatial Profile
is intended to be a superset of the GILS Profile. Therefore, servers compliant with the
geospatial Profile should also be GILS-compliant. (See also How does
GILS relate to the U.S. National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) and the Federal
Geographic Data Committee (FGDC)? )
- How does the GILS Profile relate to the proposed profile for
the Computer Interchange of Museum Information (CIMI)?
The CIMI Profile was to provide for interoperability with GILS. Leading the CIMI work is
John Perkins <mailto:email@example.com>.
- Is there a GILS DTD (Document Type Definition)?
There are DTD's used with GILS-compliant servers, though there is no one canonical or
preferred DTD for all GILS. An example of a GILS DTD is at
- What is happening with the Z39.50 Explain service in the
context of GILS?
A good contact for Explain in the context of GILS is Sebastian Hammer of IndexData in
- What is the process for evolving the GILS Profile?
The GILS discussion list </forum.html>
serves as the forum for all proposed changes to the GILS Profile. The formally constituted
mechanism for coordinating such changes with other standards bodies is through the Open
Systems Environment Implementors Workshop (OIW). The specific group that represents GILS
to the OIW is the OIW/Special Interest Group on GILS (OIW/SIG-GILS). When changes occur,
the U.S. Federal Government also updates the GILS Federal Information Processing Standard,
FIPS 192. Version 2 </prof_v2.html> is
the current approved GILS Profile, and the corresponding FIPS is 192-1.
- How does GILS relate to the Encoded Archival Description (EAD)?
The EAD is a standard for encoding archival finding aids (inventories, registers, indexes,
and guides which describe and facilitate access to collections). EAD specifies a Document
Type Definition (DTD) using the Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML).
The EAD standard is maintained in the Network Development and MARC Standards Office of the
Library of Congress in partnership with the Society of American Archivists (see
SOLINET's Public Information
Project is using EAD in combination with GILS.
- How does GILS relate to the Extensible Markup Language (XML)?
Extensible Markup Language (XML) was developed by the World Wide Web Consortium as a
version of Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML) for electronic publishing and data
interchange. (see <http://www.w3.org/XML/> )
Designed for Web content providers, XML is quickly becoming a common metadata
representation in Web objects and elsewhere. As a standard for metadata representation,
XML is complementary to GILS in the same way as SGML. In the World
Wide Web Consortium work on XML Schema and Resource Description Framework,
a further possibility is emerging in using XML as a way to specify multiple metadata schemes
and place the various sets of semantics into a commonly accessible and automated registry.
Standards work in this direction is clearly part of the evolution of GILS.
- How does GILS relate to WebDAV and DASL?
DAV Searching and Locating (DASL) provides a client/server protocol enabling search on
properties of objects that conform with Distributed Authoring and Versioning for the Web
(WebDAV). The DASL protocol is specified in Internet RFC produced by the IETF (Internet
Engineering Task Force). Alignment of GILS with DASL is
- What is the U.S. Federal GILS?
As part of the Federal role in the National Information Infrastructure, GILS identifies
and describes information resources throughout the Federal government, and provides
assistance in obtaining the information. GILS supplements other government and commercial
information dissemination mechanisms, and uses international standards for information
search and retrieval so that information can be retrieved in a variety of ways.
- Why is the U.S. Federal GILS Important?
U.S. Federal GILS can help people find information resources throughout the Government.
U.S. Federal GILS records identify these resources, describe the information available
from these resources, and provide assistance in obtaining the actual information from
- Who Can Benefit From Using U.S. Federal GILS?
U.S. Federal GILS can benefit anyone who is searching for information from the Federal
government, or anyone who helps others search for such information. Searches can be
performed directly from your workstation using the Internet and other electronic means to
visit any of the dozens of U.S. Federal GILS sites.
- What Will You Find in a U.S. Federal GILS Record?
U.S. Federal GILS records provide you with descriptions of publicly-available information
on your topic of interest. Each U.S. Federal GILS record presents a thorough description
of the information resource, including: What information is available and why it was
created. How the information is made available for your use. Who to contact for further
information. In some cases, a direct electronic link to the information itself is
- How Do You Access the U.S. Federal GILS?
One good starting point is the U.S. Federal GILS site on GPO Access. This site contains
the U.S. Federal GILS records for 25 Federal agencies, additional records designed to
serve as pathways to information sources in all Cabinet-Level and major independent
Federal agencies, and pointer records with links to other U.S. Federal GILS sites. For
those without WWW access, this site can also be utilized through: WAIS client software.
Host: wais.access.gpo.gov Port: 210 Database: GILS It can also be reached by telneting to
swais.access.gpo.gov or dialing in to (202) 512-1661 (log in as guest).
- Where Did U.S. Federal GILS Come From?
Congress and the Office of Management and Budget directed all U.S. Federal agencies to
create, and to make available to the public, GILS records on their information holdings.
These mandates also directed that agency efforts were to be based on internationally
accepted standards for information search and retrieval. GILS efforts are also being
implemented at the individual State level, by other nations, and by international
- How does the US Federal GILS relate to other national or state
All initiatives that adhere to the GILS Profile will be interoperable for searching to the
level provided by the common elements in the particular sets of records made accessible
for searching. It is to be expected that different communities will have quite different
usage guidelines and collections policies.
- Is US Federal GILS supposed to cover non-digital resources?
Yes, agency implementations of U.S. Federal GILS are supposed to cover non-digital
- How does US Federal GILS relate to the Electronic Freedom of
Information (E-FOIA) Act?
The United States Federal Office of Management and Budget has noted in its advice to
agencies that there is a relationship between GILS and E-FOIA.
- How should GILS be used by the records management community?
The following comments were made in October 1997 by John Carlin, Archivist of the United
States: "Some agencies, most notably the Treasury Department and the Environmental
Protection Agency, currently are using GILS as one means of identifying government records
for the purpose of scheduling and appraisal. In fact, NARA appraisal archivists also use
GILS as a tool to monitor agency resources that have yet to be scheduled. Employing GILS
in this manner appears to be effective".
- How does the US Federal standard for GILS (FIPS 192-1) relate
to the international standard GILS Profile?
The U.S. Federal Government adopts the GILS Profile through a Federal Information
Processing Standard (FIPS). The formally constituted body for maintaining the GILS Profile
is the Open Systems Environment Implementors Workshop/ Special Interest Group on GILS
Version 2 </prof_v2.html> is the
current approved GILS Profile, and the corresponding FIPS is 192-1. The U.S. Geological
Survey is the maintenance agency for FIPS 192-1 as designated by the National Institute
for Standards and Technology.
- How can I change a usage guideline like the U.S. Federal GILS
NARA specification to suit my own purposes?
The NARA (National Archives and Records Administration) guidelines for locator records
pertain only to U.S. Federal agencies at the Cabinet level in the specific context of
compliance with U.S. law and policy. For all other purposes, the collections
policies and usage guidelines should be quite different. For some
examples, see </gilscopy.html> or
check the list of GILS contacts </contacts.html>
and implementors </implement.html>.
- How does the GILS mandate in law connect with the technical
specification of the GILS profile?
The U.S. Federal GILS is established by Public Law in 44 U.S.C. 3511.
In that statute, responsibility to establish and maintain GILS is placed in the Director
of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). OMB had pre-existing policies that carried
the GILS mandate through to Executive Branch agencies (e.g., Circular A-130, among
OMB authorized issuance of Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 192 which
adopted the GILS Profile and mandated its application in Federal agencies. OMB issued
Bulletin 95-1 to give specific directions to certain agencies
during the GILS start-up period. OMB Memorandum 98-5
reiterated the responsibilities for agency compliance with GILS under law and policy, and
also outlined the role of the CIO Council in GILS.
- What is the requirement for public access to US Federal GILS
from Federal Depository Libraries?
Paragraph 7-8 in the "Guidelines for the Federal Depository Library Program"
"Appropriate hardware and software must be provided for public users accessing
electronic information available through the Federal Depository Library Program (e.g.
CD-ROMS, online databases etc.). This hardware and software should include computer
workstations capable of providing Internet access that includes GILS-aware client
software, CD-ROM readers, and printers.".
- How Can I Get More Information About U.S. Federal GILS?
To learn more about the U.S. Federal GILS and other GILS efforts, go to the GILS home page
on the World Wide Web at </index.html>.
Specific information regarding individual agency U.S. Federal GILS sites should be
addressed to the developers of the site. An example of this would be to contact the GPO
Access User Support Team via e-mail <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>
or phone (202-512-1530) for information on the GPO Access GILS site.
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