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  1. 1. NGOs and Libraries Why Bother? A Call to Action for Government Information Librarians GODORT Update Midwinter 2009 Saturday, January 24, 2009 ALA Midwinter Denver, CO Colorado Convention Center Korbel Ballroom 3C
  2. 2. International NGOs Defined <ul><li>“ Any international organization not established by intergovernmental agreement.” </li></ul><ul><li>United Nations Economic & Social Council Resolution 228 </li></ul><ul><li>“ Includes officials, independent sector, volunteer sector, civic society, grassroots organizations, private voluntary organizations, transnational social movement organizations, grassroots social change organizations, and non-state sectors… These organizations consist of durable, bounded, voluntary, relationships among individuals to produce a particular product, using specific techniques.” 1 </li></ul><ul><li>Gordenker, Leon and Weiss, Thomas. (1996). “Pluralizing Global Governance: Analytical Approaches and Dimensions” in Thomas G. Weiss and Leon Gordenker (eds.) NGOs, the UN and Global Governance. Boulder: Lynne Rinner, p. 17-47. </li></ul><ul><li>Peter Willets “ What is a non-governmental organization ? ” 2 </li></ul><ul><li>1). Both quotes take from Civil Society in the Information Age , Introduction, Peter Hajnal, ed. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2002, p. 2. </li></ul><ul><li>2). Thanks to Kris Kasianovitz for pointing this article out to me. The link appears on the Duke University NGO Research Guide . </li></ul>
  3. 3. NGO Fields of Activity <ul><li>Human Rights </li></ul><ul><li>The Environment </li></ul><ul><li>Development </li></ul><ul><li>International Trade </li></ul><ul><li>Gender & Women’s Issues </li></ul><ul><li>Public Health & Medicine </li></ul><ul><li>Education </li></ul><ul><li>Hunger & Humanitarian Relief </li></ul><ul><li>Science & Technology </li></ul><ul><li>In short…. nearly everything </li></ul>
  4. 4. Categories of NGOs <ul><li>“ Proper” NGOs </li></ul><ul><li>International NGOs (INGOs) </li></ul><ul><li>Public Interest Non-Governmental Organizations (PINGOs) </li></ul><ul><li>Government Organized NGOs (GONGOS) </li></ul><ul><li>Quasi Nongovernmental Organizations (QUANGOS) </li></ul><ul><li>Donor Organized NGOs (DONGOs) </li></ul><ul><li>Grassroots Organizations (GROs) </li></ul><ul><li>Business International NGOs (BINGOs) 3 </li></ul><ul><li>3). Categories again derived from Civil Society in the Information Age, Peter Hajnal, ed. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2002, p. 3. Original quote from ‘Private in Form, Public in Purpose: NGOs in International Relations Theory,’ in Bas Arts, Math Noortmann and Bob Renalda (eds), Non-State Actors in International Relations. Non-State Actors in Internationa;l law Series. Ashgate, Aldershotp. 11-40. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Further Classifications <ul><ul><li>Functional Classifications: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ Operational” vs. “Campaigning” NGOs </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ Advocacy” and/or “service oriented” NGOs </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tactical and/or political classifications: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Conformist, reformist, or radical </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Orderly, obstructive, or destructive 4 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Most NGOS are peaceful and well informed. Unfortunately a minority of destructive and/or obstructive elements (uncivil society) attract much of the media attention. </li></ul><ul><li>4). Categories again derived from Civil Society in the Information Age , Introduction, Peter Hajnal, ed. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2002, p. 6. Hajnal cites “Why did Seattle Fail? Globalization and the Politics of Trade.” Government and Opposition 35 (2), p. 131-151 as his source . </li></ul>
  6. 6. NGO Criticisms <ul><li>Lack of accountability </li></ul><ul><li>Corruption </li></ul><ul><li>Indifference to compromise </li></ul><ul><li>Dissatisfaction with concessions </li></ul><ul><li>Non-elected nature of officers </li></ul><ul><li>Note: For a fascinating, thoughtful and engaging discussion of NGO strengths and short-comings I highly recommend Paul Kennedy’s The Parliament of Man: Chapter 7” “We the Peoples: Democracy, Governments and Non-Governmental Actors.” New York: Random House (2006). </li></ul>
  7. 7. WTO Seattle Protests, 1999
  8. 8. Jubilee Debt Campaign Human Chain: G7/G8 Summit, Birmingham 1998
  9. 9. NGOs and Information Technology <ul><li>The growth and success of Civil Society is largely due to advances in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) </li></ul><ul><li>“ ICT has played a crucial role in transforming and empowering civil society. These technologies extend beyond the internet to include video-conferencing, email, mobile telephones, satellite hookups and other advances.” 5 </li></ul><ul><li>NGO Growth: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>41 NGO granted consultative status by the UN Economic & Social Council in 1946 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>By 1992 this number had grown to more that 700 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>By 2009 the number had grown to 3,187 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>“ If the claim is true that nongovernmental organizations allied with ‘middle power’ organizations are the new superpower, then the internet is their arsenal.” 6 </li></ul><ul><li>5 ). Civil Society in the Information Age , Conclusion, Peter Hajnal, ed. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2002, p. 244 </li></ul><ul><li>6). “The Power of Global Activism Networks: The Campaign for an International Criminal Court,” by William R. Pace & Rik Pangabiban. In Civil Society in the Information Age , Peter Hajnal, ed, Aldershot: Ashgate, 2002, p. 109. </li></ul>
  10. 10. NGO Growth: Number of Organizations, 1950-2006 <ul><li>Source: Union of International Associations (UIA) Online . Statistics, 2007. Table 1.2.1 (b): “Growth In International Organizations, 1950-2006.” Accessed Jan. 2009 </li></ul>
  11. 11. NGO Publication Figures: 2006 <ul><li> Total IGO Publications – 5111; Total NGO Publications – 29,481 </li></ul><ul><li> Source: Union of International Associations (UIA) Online . Statistics, 2007. Figure 8.1.1: “Number of Publications of International Organizations by Tyoe, 2006.” Accessed Jan. 2009. </li></ul>
  12. 12. NGOs & Academics <ul><li>In the Worldwide Political Science database a search for “Civil Society” returns approx. 5,800 results; “NGOs” returns about 1,900. </li></ul><ul><li>University of California Online catalog (Melvyl) returns over 14,000 items with a keyword search for “NGOs” or “Civil Society” </li></ul><ul><li>Examples of courses taught at UC Berkeley: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Letters & Sciences 150a: &quot;Global Transformation and Cultural Change: NGOs, AIDS, and Sub-Saharan Africa.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Undergraduate and Interdisciplinary Studies 161: ”International Non-governmental Organizations.” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Personal experience: level of student interest across a wide variety of courses is intense. </li></ul>
  13. 13. UC Berkeley Government Information Web Site: Evidence From Google Analytics
  14. 14. NGOs and the Library Literature <ul><li>The Library Literature has largely ignored this explosion of information and public/academic interest: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Search for term “civil society” in the Library Literature database returns 17 results; “NGO” returns 10 results; “NGOs” 12 results </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Total of about 25 unique results (some marginally relevant). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Search for “United States Congress” returns 291 results </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Search for “United Nations” returns 267 results. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Search for “George Bush” returns 109 results </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Why Are NGOs Significant for Government Information Specialists? <ul><li>Selected NGOs have official working relationships with Government Organizations. </li></ul><ul><li>NGOs are instrumental in influencing the government process and affecting government decisions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Coalition for the International Criminal Court successfully campaigned for the creation of the International Criminal Court </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>International Campaign to Ban Landmines and Landmine Survivors Network instrumental in the adoption of the Mine Ban Treaty </li></ul></ul><ul><li>NGOs alter the outcomes of high-level intergovernmental meetings: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>WTO Protests in Seattle in 1999 (50,000 protesters) leads to reform in the WTO external relations division and official dialogue with NGOs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Official Response to Jubilee 2000 Drop the Debt Campaign at G7/G8 Birmingham Summit </li></ul></ul><ul><li>To ignore NGOs is to ignore changing patterns in world politics and reinforce a potentially dated “state-centric paradigm.” </li></ul>
  16. 16. NGO Relations with International Governmental Organizations <ul><li>NGOs work with International Organizations by attending conferences, officially partnering with the organization, or helping to disseminate information. </li></ul><ul><li>Official UN Secretariat relations with NGOs fall into two main categories: consultations with governments, and information servicing by the Secretariat </li></ul><ul><ul><li>NGOs with Consultative Status with UN Economic & Social Council </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>NGO Section of the Department of Public Information </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>See also the ECOSOC Committee on NonGovernmental Organizations </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Other International Organizations with NGO relations include (but are not limited to): </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>International Labour Organization </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>United Nations Development Programme </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>List of UN Organization NGO “focal points ” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>See also UN NGO Handbook & UN NGO Liaison Office , the Global Policy Forum and the Duke NGO Research Guide </li></ul>
  17. 17. Why Else Should Government Information Librarians Take Responsibility? <ul><li>NGO Information and Government Information share many characteristics: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>NGO Information is multi-disciplinary </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>NGO Information is primarily digital </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>NGO Information is poorly documented </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>NGO Information is difficult to acquire </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>NGO Information is in peril of digital demise </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>At most libraries no one is officially responsible for it </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Practical Application: Providing Reference <ul><li>NGOs publish information and criticism about Government organization structure, function, and processes: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Government Information about itself can be biased. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>NGOs are often set up specifically to criticize or promote reform of government organizations and can provide clear explanations about key issues. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Examples – try finding clear information about the following from Official Government Organization Sites: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Security Council Reform from the UN Security Council </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Information on Poverty Reduction Strategy Critiques from the World Bank </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Alternatives: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reform the UN (World Federalist Movement) on UN Security Council Reform </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>World Development Movement for World Bank/IMF Reform </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. The Publishing Landscape <ul><li>NGO Information is primarily digital and not widely distributed by commercial presses: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Some exceptions, e.g. Earthprint, Zed Books, Nova Publishers, Renouf </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Most NGOs lack the staff and financial resources to fund a large publishing operation </li></ul><ul><li>Conservative (and liberal) think tank publications are widely distributed by commercial book vendors </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Examples: CATO, American Enterprise Institute </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Result: libraries routinely purchase from well-funded think tanks and frequently ignore the NGO literature </li></ul>
  20. 20. Print Acquisitions: Part 1 <ul><li>Selected International NGOs with print publications: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Amnesty International </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Human Rights Watch </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>International Committee for the Red Cross </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Oxfam </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Third World Network </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>New Economics Foundation * </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>North/South Institute </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>World Resources Institute </li></ul></ul><ul><li>*The NEF is from the UK but their reach has been global. The group started to attract attention in 1986 when they called the “Other Economic Summit” (an alternative to the G7 summit) which eventually morphed into the World Social Forum. My favorite NEF product is the “ Happy Planet Index ”. The NEF was heavily involved in the Jubilee 2000 Campaign. </li></ul>
  21. 21. International Committee of the Red Cross & Red Crescent Societies Copyright © 2004 & 2008. International Committee of the Red Cross & Red Crescent
  22. 22. Oxfam Copyright © 2008. Oxfam Great Britain & Oxfam International
  23. 23. Print Acquisitions 2: Additional Publishers <ul><li>Asian Human Rights Commission </li></ul><ul><li>International Institute for Sustainable Development </li></ul><ul><li>Human Rights First </li></ul><ul><li>World Conservation Union </li></ul><ul><li>Antislavery International </li></ul><ul><li>International Ecotourism Society </li></ul><ul><li>Finding additional NGOs that sell print publications is time consuming. One process (not necessarily the best) is to go the the NGO Custom Search Engine and type “book store” “purchase publications” etc. An evaluative process of the results is obviously also required. </li></ul><ul><li>Worldwatch Institute </li></ul><ul><li>International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs </li></ul><ul><li>Center for Development and Population Activities </li></ul><ul><li>Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research </li></ul><ul><li>Panos London </li></ul>
  24. 24. Digital Resources & Guides <ul><li>Union of International Organizations Yearbook/Database </li></ul><ul><li>NGO Custom Search Engine </li></ul><ul><ul><li>David Oldenkamp (Indiana University) James Jacobs (Stanford) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>UN Economic & Social Council NGO Database </li></ul><ul><li>UN NGO Database (UN Office in Geneva) </li></ul><ul><li>Global Policy Forum </li></ul><ul><li>G8 Information Center (University of Toronto) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>See especially the Civil Society and Expanded Dialogue Unit </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Directories: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>TakingITGlobal </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Idealist.Org </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Directory of Development Organizations </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Duke University NGO Research Guide </li></ul>
  25. 25. Digital Preservation Iniatives <ul><li>New Zealand Digital Library </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Africa Collection for Transition </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Human Development Library </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Human Info NGO Education and Development Library </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Archive-It.Org </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Stanford University, Social Sciences Resource Group: Climate Change & Environmental Policy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Columbia University Libraries Center for Human Rights Documentation and Research </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>International Institute for Social History </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The majority of sites on Archive-It are for state/local governments & Universities. Much more work needs to be done for IGOs and NGOs. </li></ul>
  26. 26. Next Steps… <ul><li>Consider incorporating NGO information into GODORT’s official purpose and mission </li></ul><ul><li>Engage in broader NGO print collection development </li></ul><ul><li>Request commercial book vendors to distribute NGO publications </li></ul><ul><li>Incorporate NGO links on institutional web sites for Government Information </li></ul><ul><li>Educate colleagues on the uses of NGO information for reference </li></ul><ul><li>Work to digitally preserve NGO information </li></ul><ul><li>Publish, present, and educate colleagues about NGO Information </li></ul>
  27. 27. Don’t Wait…
  28. 28. Special Thanks To… <ul><li>Peter Hajnal for his inspiration and scholarship </li></ul><ul><li>Brett Cloyd for inviting me to speak </li></ul><ul><li>Kris Kasianovitz for putting up with me while planning this </li></ul><ul><li>James Jacobs and David Oldenkamp for the NGO Custom Search Engine </li></ul><ul><li>Catherine Shreve and Christof Gali for the Duke Library NGO web site </li></ul><ul><li>My daughter Alison for making me stop working on “all that international blah blah blah” </li></ul>