December 23, 2009
New ARL-COSLA Commissioned Report Presents Vision for Sustainable Access to Government Information for the 21st Century
The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA) retained Ithaka S+R to conduct a comprehensive study on the state of the Federal Library Depository Program and to recommend how to respond to changes in an increasingly digital, networked environment that have caused a decline in incentives for libraries to participate in the Program. The report from this project, "Documents for a Digital Democracy: A Model for the Federal Depository Library Program in the 21st Century," is now available. Recommendations as reported on the download link cover webpage:
Following a thorough examination of the Program’s current state, this report suggests a vision for the program: seamless, no fee access to government information for a range of potential users at their point of need and appropriate preservation of this material for future generations. To achieve such a vision, the FDLP community must address five key goals:
- Newly issued government information must be made freely available in digital form and must be preserved for the long-term.
- To provide this permanent public access for the historical collection, a significant program of retrospective digitization is required.
- Print will play a significantly reduced role for access by users to the historical collections, so some original print copies must continue to be preserved even though fewer depository library collections overall will be required.
- The print format will continue to have advantages for certain subsets of material types and user communities, so the Program must provide appropriate access to certain historical and new materials in print form, where appropriate via print on demand.
- Depository libraries must reemphasize their commitment to serving user needs for outreach, discovery, and access.
Thanks ARL and COSLA! So where was AALL in this activity? "We support a Washington office with the very important goal of making statements on behalf of our organization. Where are they?" Quoting Betsy McKenzie in On Nudging AALL to Support GPO's Digitization of Legacy Documents. [JH]