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Western Transportation Knowledge Network (WTKN): Guiding Principles

WTKN website

Guiding Principles

Adopted June 25, 2008
Information providers are referred to throughout this document, in order to streamline the language. We define “information providers” to include, but not be limited to: libraries, data providers, website managers, records managers and other communicators. The impetus for forming the group came from the library community and upon that foundation we seek to build a regional organization representative of, and relevant to, all interested information professionals within the transportation field.

The Western Transportation Knowledge Network (WTKN or “the Network”) is made up of cooperating information providers with specialized collections focused on transportation. Participating institutions may be associated with federal, state, or local governments, universities, or private businesses. WTKN is located geographically within the following western states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. The Network is formed on a regional basis in order to improve communication among participants, and to enable participants to develop common principles, standards, and cooperative agreements.

These information providers have joined together to develop and share their resources to benefit all participants in the transportation community within the region. WTKN will develop and foster leadership
skills among staff of network members. This leadership will be essential in efforts to create a national Transportation Knowledge Network, and, ultimately, to form alliances with networks in other countries, assisting in the worldwide sharing of transportation information resources.

Demands for information refinement will increase, as evolving library and information technologies, the Internet, web-based collaborative tools, and the development of social networking make more and more information available to users. Professional expertise must continually develop to match the growth in user expectations. In order to meet users’ expectations now and into the future, librarians and other information providers must be able to:

  • determine which resources are responsive to user questions or research needs;
  • evaluate sources and formats for accuracy and completeness;
  • collect, organize, maintain and preserve information; and
  • assess and procure technologies to aid in all aspects of service delivery

Since many transportation information providers are solo practitioners within their organizations, sharing of expertise as we all strive to meet these daunting demands is a key benefit to forming this Network. A regional framework that fosters awareness of collection strengths across the Network, with collaborative resource sharing, will allow members of WTKN to deliver targeted and timely information, a key benefit to users.

The responsibility for providing excellent and innovative information services in this increasingly complex discipline rests with local information providers and their funding authorities, but must be understood in a regional context by Network members striving to make the most of participation in WTKN. Local decisions regarding resource acquisition, staff development and collection maintenance will reverberate throughout the Network and help determine its distinctive features.

Information providers throughout the region need to ensure equitable sharing of resources and responsibilities. The purpose of these Guiding Principles, and the Criteria for Participation included within them, is to describe the roles of members and protect the integrity of the Network as a whole. Members of the Western Transportation Knowledge Network believe it is imperative that all participating information providers follow these Guiding Principles and strive to meet the criteria listed below.

The mission of the Network is to augment the effectiveness and efficiency of participating institutions by expanding their access to local, state, regional, national and international transportation information resources.

The following principles guide the administration of and participation in the Western Transportation Knowledge Network, and describe the roles of participating libraries, information centers and other providers.

Direct user services are provided by participating members, which are the authority for determining which services are offered to their local users. Network members are responsible for their own collections, bibliographic records and personnel.

Participation in the Network should improve or expand upon an individual member’s existing services and increase accessibility to other members’ resources for their users. In no case should participation of any information provider lead to deterioration of service to its users or to other participating institutions.

Participation should also increase cost-effectiveness of services for individual information centers, and allow for improved use of available funding.

Innovative programs should be developed to support local, state, multistate, regional or national cooperative activities that support the Network’s mission. National and international standards and protocols (bibliographic, telecommunications, etc.) should be adopted as appropriate, to enhance the efficient sharing of information and resources.

WTKN membership does not preclude participants from taking advantage of services available from other organizations or agencies. Libraries and other information providers are encouraged to use other available resources as appropriate, whether local, regional, national, etc., in providing their services. The network will be stronger as each member institution develops to its individual potential.

The following criteria outline expectations for each institution participating in the Network.

Each library, information center or other information provider will be an institution having or desiring to have a bibliographically organized collection of materials and resources such as print, electronic, audiovisual materials and computer software focused on transportation. Such collections should be available to users. Each facility shall be staffed with professionally trained personnel to assist users in locating and securing needed resources and information.

Each participating member is responsible for providing its own collections, bibliographic records, and personnel, and Must not rely on borrowing materials to meet the majority of its users’ information needs.

Participation does not diminish the responsibility of each member’s appropriating authority to provide adequate financial support to meet current and ongoing collection and operational needs.

Each participating library or information provider is expected to have a designated staff member for day-to-day operations. The staff is expected to interact with other participating members to perform the following functions:

  • Share resources, including collections, bibliographic records, reference support, and staff expertise, in a manner consistent with local policies
  • Update and maintain cooperatively developed information (for example, current cataloging in OCLC, the Online Computer Library Center)
  • Abide by current Network policies and protocols
  • Perform other functions as agreed upon by Network participating organizations

It is recommended that each library or information center be staffed by at least one full-time professional to administer the program of information services provision. For example, such professionals might be librarians who have earned master’s degrees in Librarianship, information science professionals with graduate degrees in Information Science/Information Management, or the like. If such professionals are not available to a member facility, appropriately trained paraprofessionals should be available to assist users in locating and securing materials and information.

Libraries are strongly encouraged to contribute bibliographic records to OCLC.

All members, to the best of their abilities, are strongly urged to loan materials to Network members through interlibrary loan (ILL) and to abide by the WTKN interlibrary loan guidelines.

Network members must attend Network meetings for discussion of issues of regulation, funding and fees. Meetings will be held in such a way and in such place as to facilitate and encourage the broadest possible participation.

Members must join the WTKN electronic discussion group to keep current on announcements, issues, meetings and training.