Going Viral: U.S. Government Information Online

IRELAND, Sonnet (2016) Going Viral: U.S. Government Information Online. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2016 – Columbus, OH – Connections. Collaboration. Community in Session 99 - Government Information and Official Publications with Government Libraries and Law Libraries.

Bookmark or cite this item: https://library.ifla.org/id/eprint/1379
Language: English (Original)
Available under licence Creative Commons Attribution.


Going Viral: U.S. Government Information Online

With the 20th anniversary of the Electronic Freedom of Information Act Amendments of 1996 approaching, this paper will examine how this law influenced the future of online government information, as well as how the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) is likely to change in the future. Depositories have already started to evolve by digitizing older content that is not available online. Many depositories scan and digitally store these documents in an effort to free up space within their libraries, but the implications go far beyond that. Now depositories are working with each other and with the U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) to ensure public access to these documents on a wider scale. There is also a place for born-digital documents in depositories. During the U.S. federal government shutdown in October 2013, most of the government sites were down. Having depositories store born-digital documents on their own servers would ensure public access to information even when GPO cannot. There may be a new future on the horizon: one where each depository is responsible for collecting and maintaining the electronic documents of a certain agency. This is already occurring with physical documents with the Association of Southeastern Research Libraries’ Collaborative Federal Depository Program, where depository libraries become Centers of Excellence (COE). Currently, COE choose a subject or agency and focus on collecting and maintaining physical documents that fit their goals. It is not hard to imagine that COE will be required to maintain a physical collection while also digitizing their documents in the future for more widespread access. It is the goal of this paper to get others, particularly FDLP participants, to consider how to improve and implement these changes sooner rather than later.

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