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James R. Jacobs

US Government Information Librarian


  • (650) 725-1030

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James's role in the library

I collect materials in a variety of formats (including digital!) and give research assistance in the fields of government information and public policy. You can find me online at my blog Free Government Information and on twitter (@freegovinfo

Course Guides by James

Course number Term Guide Instructor
COMM 143, 243 Spring 2014 Communication 143/243 Communication Policy and Regulation James T. Hamilton, Anita Varma (TA)

Selected publications

“What are we to keep? thoughts on the National Collection.” collaboratively written feature by James R. Jacobs, Shari Laster, Aimee C. Quinn, and Barbie Selby. I’m posting my segment as it was written under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share-Alike CC BY-NC-SA license). Documents to the People (DttP), Spring 2015. (In addition, see “What Are We To Keep? (FAQ)” for context and bibliography)

“Digital preservation deserves better coverage.” by James R. Jacobs and James A. Jacobs. Documents to the People (Winter 2014 issue).

“Community-Based Digital Collection Development of Born-Digital Government Information” by James A. Jacobs and James R. Jacobs. (Jan. 12, 2015). Session #43 of the series Help! I’m an Accidental Government Information Librarian Webinars hosted by the North Carolina Library Association. Notes, slides, audio and links at

Webinar presentation entitled “Water, water, everywhere: Digital collection development for ‘drought prevention’.” Part of a panel on “Building Your Electronic Collection” with Daniel Cornwall and Chris Brown. Virtual Depository Library Council (DLC) Conference, December 3, 2014. audio, slides.

Against the Grain: Government Information at Stanford University Libraries. 2014. Presentation by James R. Jacobs and Kris Kasianovitz to the Stanford Library Advisory Council. (May 17, 2014)

"Wait! Don't Digitize and Discard! A White Paper on ALA COL Discussion Issue #1a." James A. Jacobs and James R. Jacobs. Free Government Information. June, 2013.

"The Digital-Surrogate Seal of Approval: a Consumer-oriented Standard." James A. Jacobs, University of California San Diego and James R. Jacobs, Stanford University. D-Lib Magazine, March/April 2013, Volume 19, Number 3/4. Also available in Stanford Digital Repository.

FGI: informing and advocating for government information. FDLP Connection 3(2), March/April, 2013.

LOCKSS-USDOCS Program (review). Government Information Quarterly 29(3) July, 2012. [DOI, PDF]

Preservation for all: LOCKSS-USDOCS and our digital future (PDF). with Victoria Reich. Documents to the People (DttP) Volume 38:3 (Fall 2010)

Stanford helps to digitally preserve mountains of documents. Stanford Report, June 15, 2010.

Free and Equal in Dignity and Rights: The Life and Work of Mary Robinson. Stanford Presidential Lecture in the humanities and Arts. April 12, 2010.

"Distributed Globally, Collected Locally: LOCKSS for Digital Government Information". Daniel Cornwall and James R. Jacobs. Against the Grain, 21(1) February, 2009. p.42-44 (p.5-7 of the PDF)

Delicious government documents or: how to become a social bookmarking fiend. Documents to the People (DttP), 36(2), Spring 2008, online supplement.

"Open source on campus: The Stanford Open Source Lab."Ruth Suehle. Red Hat Magazine.

"Information Commons: Rebirth or Siren Song?" panel discussion with Shinjoung Yeo, Megan Shaw Prelinger, Annalee Newitz and Bodo Balazs. Crisis of the California Commons Conference. April 27 - 29, 2007. Audio available here.

"Fostering Media Diversity in Libraries: Strategies and Actions." (PDF) Prepared by the American Library Association, Intellectual Freedom Committee Subcommittee on the Impact of Media Concentration on Libraries, June 2007. Shinjoung Yeo and James R. Jacobs participated on the committee.

Diversity matters? Rethinking diversity in libraries. With ShinJoung Yeo. Counterpoise 9(2) Spring, 2006. p. 5-8.

"Government Information in the Digital Age: the Once and Future Federal Depository Library Program." James A. Jacobs, James R. Jacobs and Shinjoung Yeo. Journal of Academic Librarianship. May, 2005

"The Future of Government Information". James R. Jacobs, guest opinion piece, Librarians Association of the University of California (LAUC), May, 2005.

"Radical Reference: an open-source organization." (PDF) Shinjoung Yeo and James R. Jacobs. Digital Letters: a newsletter of the UCSD libraries digital library program. Spring, 2005.

"Radical Reference: taking information to the street." (PDF) With Shinjoung Yeo, Joel J. Rane, Lia Friedman, and Jenna Freedman. Information Outlook, Spring, 2005.

Peer-to-Peer (P2P) backgrounder, October 19, 2004. Given to the Librarians' Association of the University of California (LAUC) Executive Board for distribution to individual campus LAUC chapters.

"RSS: It's Only XML But I Like It!" (Summer, 2004). DttP: A Quarterly Journal of Government Information Practice and Perspective, v.31 no.2, p10-11.

Librarians' role and USA Patriot Act (Letter to the editor). The San Diego Union-Tribune. October 2, 2003, B-13. with Shinjoung Yeo. (Reprinted on Radical Reference)

"Blogosphere : exploring the new killer app for librarians" (Summer, 2003). DttP: A Quarterly Journal of Government Information Practice and Perspective, v.31 no.2, p. 6-7.

Rudasill, Lynne Marie, McNeill-Harmon, Katherine, and Jacobs, James R. (2002). "The Inexact Science of Informing Ourselves." IS2002 Proceedings of the Informing Science + IT Education Conference, 1367-1382. The paper was presented at the 2002 Informing Science & IT Education Joint Conference in Cork, Ireland in June, 2002.

More about James

For more about my professional activities, see my bio on Free Government Information.