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Thoughts on the National Collection (DttP, spring 2015)

A few weeks ago, I posted on FGI my part of a collaborative feature article in the Spring 2015 issue of Documents to the People (DttP) (What are we to keep? thoughts on the National Collection). The other writers (Shari Laster, Aimée C. Quinn, and Barbie Selby) have given me permission to post their segments of our piece. We hope that this will spur some positive discussion and move the community toward a sustainable future for the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) and for government information in libraries.

Thoughts on the National Collection

In August 2014, at the request of outgoing Federal Documents Task Force Chair, Jill Vassilakos-Long, several GODORT members met via conference calls and e-mail to discuss the GPO proposal to enable regional depository libraries to discard tangible material by substituting digital documents if they met specific criteria. Shortly after this group’s work was completed (FGI Editor’s note: see the GODORT letter in re this proposal as well as those of other library associations), a general call for articles was announced on GOVDOC-L by the editors of DttP, and we thought it would be interesting to offer our personal opinions on one of the questions in the announcement which related to our work from the task force. We agreed to each limit our contributions to 2-3 pages. The following pieces are our individual perspectives about who is responsible for the preservation of government information and the feasibility of setting a target for an optimal number of tangible copies for preservation purposes.

James R. Jacobs, Stanford University
Shari Laster, University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB)
Aimée C. Quinn, University of New Mexico
Barbie Selby, University of Virginia


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