History of Fed in Print

Fed in Print, or The Fed in Print as it was originally called, was started during the 1960s by Doris Zimmermann (known as Doris Zimmermann Taylor after her marriage in 1974), a librarian at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. The project was later taken over by Barbara Turnbull, Aileen Boer, Timothy Schiller, and eventually Deborah Naulty (in this order), all of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.

In the early 1960s, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia began compiling an index of articles published by all of the Federal Reserve banks. These articles appeared in the Federal Reserve Bulletin and the business reviews of the individual banks. The topics covered regional economic conditions, monetary and fiscal matters, in addition to topics on more general business areas. The index was first featured as a quarterly in the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s Business Review. It was later published semi-annually. Starting in 1962 and continuing until 1976, a cumulative index was released every two years under the title, Federal Reserve Bank Reviews Selected Subjects, 1950-yyyy. As of March 1970, the index had been renamed The Fed in Print. In 1972, The Fed in Print first appeared as a separate publication.

In the 4th quarter of 1980, the System Research Advisory Committee, upon recommendation by the Committee on Library Functions, approved the expansion of Fed in Print to include all textual publications from the Research Departments, research-related technical publications such as Staff Studies, and at least the major articles and testimony from the Federal Reserve Bulletin. Fed in Print would be published as quarterly supplements with annual cumulations. It was also decided that the System Subject Heading List would be the thesaurus. More study would be done on an internal online system.

Beginning in January 1982 catalogers across the System provided their banks’ publication entries on 3”x5” index cards, which were sent to Philadelphia. Each entry was limited to three subject headings. After the index entries were compiled, Philadelphia’s print shop printed Fed in Print.

In 1984, publication of Fed in Print switched from quarterly to semi-annual.

In November 1986, the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco established a condensed version of Fed in Print, which contained only Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco publications. The index covered 1973 through mid-1986. Works indexed included the Weekly Letter, the Economic Review, working papers, selected monographs, and individual chapters of conference proceedings. This index was updated by a supplement cumulated periodically.

In 1986, simultaneous with establishment of the print production, Diane Rosenberger of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco led an effort to provide online access to a System-wide version of Fed in Print. The digital version of Fed in Print was built on Inmagic, a DOS-based text management software developed for special libraries. A cumulative index, Fed in Print was accessible through the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco public website. The digital instantiation of Fed in Print was searchable by subject, keyword, title, author, bank, publication title, and date. Librarians emailed their Fed in Print records as .dmp files to Diane Rosenberger, who input the records into Inmagic. The index was updated monthly. By 2009, changes had been made which allowed librarians to enter their records directly into Inmagic, thereby providing immediate public access to records. This process introduced many technical problems that ensued well into 2011.

With successful online availability to a comprehensive index, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia contemplated ceasing publication of the paper copy of the Fed in Print index in April 1999. Philadelphia surveyed their users, and in early 2000, printed its final issue.

In 1993, Diane Mogren, a librarian at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, enquired on the BusLib-L listserv to see if anyone could host Fed in Print. She received a response from Thomas Krichel of the University of Manchester, who offered to integrate Fed in Print with the BibEc repository. This was approved by the Committee on Library Functions and put in place in the 4th quarter of 1993. Previously, Thomas Krichel created a consortium on NetEc, an Internet gopher, which included, in addition to BibEc, a number of other online economics resources. He later collaborated with Christian Zimmermann in creating Research Papers in Economics (RePEc). By 1995, dissatisfied with NetEc’s search function, the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco began looking into alternatives to NetEc. In 1997, NetEc commenced migration to RePEc, which required that Fed in Print records conform to the Research Documents Information Format (ReDIF) metadata specification. It was decided to pull out of NetEc/RePEc. Twenty years later, a new relationship would be set up with RePEc, in which Fed in Print records could be input directly. But, before this came to pass, Diane Rosenberger began dumping Fed in Print records into a form that she sent to RePEc at least once a month. Then EconLit staff would pull new papers from RePEc of selected Federal Reserve series. This process continued through the early to mid-2000s.

In 2002, it was decided to expand the scope of Fed in Print to include, not only Research Department publications, but substantial publications from Federal Reserve departments other than Research.

In 2007, a subcommittee was formed under the direction of Tim Dewolf, library director at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, and Joan Coogan, librarian at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. In addition to recruiting librarians from across the System as members of the subcommittee, the group sought to recruit volunteers from the WEDGE (Web Developers Group Exchange) membership.

The main goals of the subcommittee were to improve the usability of the Fed in Print and to make a more efficient process of updating the index. As part of subcommittee’s work, a survey of both internal and external users was conducted in early 2008. User feedback included the following:

  • A list of the sources should be provided so that people have an understanding of what is in Fed in Print;
  • Branding should indicate that it is a System resource rather than uniquely a Federal Bank of San Francisco resource;
  • Online assistance tools should be expanded, especially for guidance with searching;
  • Results should be able to be sorted;
  • Browsing should be improved;
  • An A to Z list of subjects should be provided; and
  • Older publications should be digitized to eliminate the frustration that occurs when a source is not available online.

In 2010, speeches of the Bank presidents were added to Fed in Print.

In late 2012, discussions were initiated with Christian Zimmermann, economist at the Federal Bank of St. Louis and co-founder of RePEc, about the possibility of integrating Fed in Print with RePEc to streamline the submission process to RePEc. On December 2, 2013, Diane Rosenberger added the complete Fed in Print database to RePEc. Inmagic was retired as the primary database for the Fed in Print records and, as of December 18, 2013, librarians commenced submitting records directly to RePEc, using a form Christian Zimmermann designed specifically for Fed in Print materials.

By late 2015, select Banks made contracted the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) to harvest Fed in Print records with SSRN’s “automator,” which pulls new record additions daily. Previously, records were manually submitted to SSRN. The automated harvest of records removes yet another additional step in making research available.