The volunteers at Free Government Information were surprised to learn of the impending retirement of Ms. Judith Russell, Superintendent of Documents at the Government Printing Office (GPO). Although we have disagreed with Ms. Russell on a number of issues, we believe she shared our overarching goal of public access to government information. Our disagreements were on methods rather than core values. As such, we applaud her long-term commitment to the documents community.
Here are some highlights of things that happened on her watch that we find especially commendable (we’re sure the list is longer, but these immediately come to mind ):
- Issuing the first ever Biennial Survey to include questions on library’s local storage of electronic federal documents.
- Starting up the GPO LOCKSS pilot project.
- The first ever webcasts of Depository Library Council events.
- Surveying libraries on possible future PACER access.
We’d especially wish to thank Ms. Russell for her work in making GPO Access a reality. For these deeds and others, we at FGI wish Ms. Russell well in her future endeavors when she retires in early 2007.
All of us at FGI hope that President Bush will move quickly to name both a Superintendent of Documents and Public Printer who will have an intense commitment to the permanent public access of fully functional government information. We hope that channels will remain open for rewarding discussion and collaboration with future Superintendents of Documents and Public Printers on the vital issues of access, preservation, and privacy. The entire documents community working together collaboratively and collegially will broaden the meaning of authenticity and build the depository system of the 21st century.
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