House Administration Rejects NAPA Recommendation to Charge Public for Access to Legislative DocumentsSubmitted by jajacobs on Wed, 2013-05-22 08:11.
In a letter to the Acting Public Printer of the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) the House Committee on Administration has rejected a recent recommendation by the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) to charge the public for access to GPO’s congressional documents. The response is to the NAPA report Rebooting the Government Printing Office: Keeping America Informed, which recommended that GPO consider charging for access to its Federal Digital System (FDsys).
- House Administration Rejects NAPA Recommendation to Charge Public for Access to Legislative Documents, Committee on House Administration (May 22, 2013).
- Letter to Vance-Cooks, [PDF] Chairman Candice Miller (R-Mich.), Ranking Member Robert Brady (D-Pa) (May 21, 2013)
President Obama Announces Intent To Nominate Davita Vance-Cooks As Public Printer
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 9, 2013 No. 13-21
PRESIDENT OBAMA ANNOUNCES INTENT TO NOMINATE DAVITA VANCE-COOKS AS PUBLIC PRINTER
WASHINGTON - The White House has released the following announcement:
Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individual to a key Administration post:
Davita Vance-Cooks, Nominee for Public Printer, Government Printing Office
Davita Vance-Cooks is currently Deputy Public Printer of the Government Printing Office (GPO), a position she has held since December 2011. Ms. Vance-Cooks has served in a number of other roles at GPO since 2004, including Chief of Staff, Managing Director of the Publications and Information Sales Business Unit, and Deputy Managing Director of Customer Services. Prior to joining GPO, she was the General Manager at HTH Worldwide Insurance Services from 2001 to 2004. Previously, she served as the Vice President of Consumer Services at Digital Insurance from 2000 to 2001. From 1993 to 2000, Ms. Vance-Cooks served in several roles with NYLCare Health Plans of the Mid-Atlantic, which was purchased by Aetna during her tenure. Ms. Vance-Cooks received her B.S. from Tufts University and an M.B.A. from Columbia University.
Link to White House announcement: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/05/08/president-obama-an...
Link to Davita Vance-Cooks' bio: http://gpo.gov/pdfs/about/Vance-Cooksbio.pdf
Congratulations to Greta Bever, Roberta Brooker, Elizabeth Cowell, Kate Irwin-Smiler, and Hallie Pritchett for being named as this year's cohort to the Depository Library Council to the Public Printer! Looking forward to seeing you all on the dais at the fall 2013 DLC conference.
The five new DLC members for the June 1, 2013 – May 31, 2016 term are:
Greta Bever is the Assistant Commissioner for Central Library Services at the Chicago Public Library, which has been a Federal depository library since 1876. In that capacity, she oversees the Government Publications department. From 2003 to 2008, Ms. Bever served as a member of the Illinois State Historical Records Advisory Board/Illinois State Archive Advisory Board that makes recommendations to the State Archivist and provides advice and assistance to the Illinois State Archives. She has been a member of the Cook County Local Records Board from 2003 to the present.
Roberta Brooker is the State Librarian at the Indiana State Library, a regional Federal depository library that began collecting Federal laws and other Federal materials when it was established in 1824. She brings to Council a government documents background as well as experience as a coordinator for the Indiana State Data Center. Ms. Brooker has an extensive background in training, including teaching government information courses at the Indiana University, School of Library and Information Science. She is a member of the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA) and the Indiana Library Foundation.
Elizabeth Cowell is the Associate University Librarian for Public Services at the University of California, Santa Cruz where she provides strategic leadership for public service activities locally and UC systemwide. She has extensive government documents experience in several academic libraries and was an active participant in the LOCKSS Alliance. Ms. Cowell also served as one of two regional librarians at the Wisconsin Historical Society. She has contributed numerous presentations and publications to the field and actively participates in professional associations.
Kate Irwin-Smiler is a reference librarian at the Wake Forest University School of Law’s Professional Center Library in Winston-Salem, N.C., where she also serves as coordinator of the depository library collection. She brings to Council expertise on legal information and legal training. Ms. Irwin-Smiler is a member of the American???? ?Association of Law Libraries (AALL) and serves on the association’s Federal Depository Library Program Task Force. She is also a member of AALL’s Academic Law Libraries, Government Document and Social Responsibility Special Interest Sections.
Hallie Pritchett is head of the Map and Government Information Library at the University of Georgia, the state’s regional Federal depository library. Ms. Pritchett participates in numerous library associations, including the American Library Association (ALA) and the Georgia Library Association (GLA). She is permanent executive secretary of GLA's Government Information Interest Group (GIIG), immediate past chair of ALA’s Map and Geospatial Information Round Table (MAGIRT), and current chair of the Regional Government Information Librarians (REGIL).
[UPDATE 4/2/13: We've had some questions about the meaning of "ALL." Please read the comment thread for clarification. We don't mean "records" (which fall under FOIA) and we don't mean classified information. We mean public domain documents, publications, reports, data, statistics and the like. JRJ]
A convergence of several things -- the White House's new policy on Open Access to federally funded scientific information, the NAPA Report on the GPO, the CASSANDRA Letter to the Public Printer, and Sunshine Week among them -- has led us to create a petition on the White House's We the People petition site. If you believe in free permanent public access to authentic government information, we hope you'll sign the petition and forward on to all your friends and social networks to help us reach our goal of 100,000 signatures by April 11, 2013! Thanks in advance!!
WE PETITION THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO:
Require free online permanent public access to ALL federal government information and publications.
1. Assure that GPO has the funds to continue to maintain and develop the Federal Digital System (FDsys).
2. Raise ALL Congressional, Executive & Judicial branch information, publications & data to the level of federally funded scientific information & publish ALL government information as "Open Access."
3. Mandate the free permanent public access to other Federal information currently maintained in fee-based databases - including the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER), the National Technical Reports Library (NTRL), & USA Trade Online.
4. Establish an interagency, govt-wide strategy to manage the entire lifecycle of digital government information w/ FDLP Libraries - publication, access, usability, bulk download, long-term preservation, standards & metadata.
The National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) completed an operational review of the Government Printing Office (GPO) mandated under the 2012 Consolidated Appropriations Act (Public Law 112-74). The NAPA report, “Rebooting the Government Printing Office: Keeping America Informed in the Digital Age,” acknowledged the obligation Congress has to establish an interagency government-wide strategy to manage the lifecycle of digital government information. The report also acknowledged the vital role GPO plays in providing free permanent public access to authentic government information in tangible formats through its Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) and to authentic government information in electronic formats via GPO’s Federal Digital System (FDSys).
However, Recommendation 4 states: “GPO and Congress should explore alternative funding models for the Federal Digital System in order to ensure a stable and sufficient funding source.” Among the models recommended are “…reimbursement for services; fees for end users; dedicated appropriations; and/or an automatic charge to agencies, depending on size, to encourage agencies to take advantage of GPO’s existing infrastructure and cover the cost of the services being provided by GPO.”
Just as the Obama Administration supports the public’s right to “free access over the Internet to scientific journal articles arising from taxpayer-funded research,” the Administration must support the creation of “stable and sufficient funding” to ensure free permanent public access to authentic government information arising from the work of taxpayer-funded Executive, Congressional, and Judicial Branch agencies.
- NAPA report, “Rebooting the Government Printing Office: Keeping America Informed in the Digital Age.”
- CASSANDRA Letter to US Public Printer in response to the NAPA Report.
- Expanding Public Access to the Results of Federally Funded Research. John P. Holdren, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).
- White House response to "We The People" petition "Increasing Public Access to the Results of Scientific Research"
- Government Accountability Office (GAO), Information Management: National Technical Information Service's Dissemination of Technical Reports Needs Congressional Attention. GAO-13-99, November 19, 2012. Context on the GAO report from FGI.
- GPO's Federal Digital System (FDsys): http://fdsys.gov
- PACER: http://www.pacer.gov
- National Technical Reports Library (NTRL): http://ntrl.ntis.gov
- USAtrade: https://www.usatradeonline.gov
- Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP). http://fdlp.gov
Acting Public Printer Davita Vance-Cooks testified before the House Subcommittee on Legislative Branch Appropriations on Feb 26, 2013. She discussed the potential impact of the upcoming sequester scheduled for March 1, the results of the recent National Academy of Public Administration study of GPO, and GPO's appropriations request for FY 2014, which will be submitted to the House and Senate later this week. The GPO press release about the testimony does not mention the NAPA recommendation to charge fees for access to FDsys (see NAPA releases report on GPO).
Excerpt from press release, emphasis added:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 26, 2013
ACTING PUBLIC PRINTER TESTIFIES BEFORE HOUSE LEGISLATIVE BRANCH APPROPRIATIONS SUBCOMMITTEE
WASHINGTON - Acting Public Printer Davita Vance-Cooks testified before the House Subcommittee on Legislative Branch Appropriations today, discussing the potential impact of the upcoming sequester scheduled for March 1, the results of the recent National Academy of Public Administration study of GPO, and GPO's appropriations request for FY 2014, which will be submitted to the House and Senate later this week.
Under the sequester, GPO will see its appropriations cut by 5.3%, or approximately $6.7 million, which will affect the agency's statutory and essential functions. To offset the cut, GPO's plan is to freeze hiring, overtime, performance awards, outside training, administrative travel, and nonessential maintenance and repairs. GPO may also face a decrease in revenue from Federal agency customers who order less printing and other information services due to the impact of sequester on their budget. The extent of this revenue impact is unknown at this time. To offset it, GPO will cut back on technology and other investments, which would delay the development of digital products and services, such as mobile apps for Congress and Federal agencies, as well as other technology upgrades and projects to improve public access to Government information. If necessary, a furlough of GPO's workforce may also be implemented.
The recent study of GPO by the National Academy of Public Administration underscores the value of GPO's products and services in Keeping America Informed, and makes useful recommendations to better position the Federal Government in the digital era, strengthen GPO's business model, and build the GPO of the future. Vance-Cooks voiced support for the recommendations and said the agency is already at work on them. For FY 2014, GPO plans to request $128.5 million, a 1.2% increase over the funding currently provided for FY 2013. The request includes a decrease of $11.5 million in congressional printing costs and an increase of $12.4 million in investments for continued growth for GPO's digital systems and investments.
"Regardless of budget constraints, GPO is committed to serving as the digital information platform and provider of secure credentials for the Federal Government," said Acting Public Printer Davita Vance-Cooks. "GPO is prepared to make the necessary cutbacks in order to continue to carry out its mission of Keeping America Informed."
The Government Printing Office has joined the social networking site Pinterest that "lets you organize and share all the beautiful things."
The GPO press release says:
The U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) expands its social media presence by joining Pinterest. Connecting people through 'things' they find interesting is the founding principle of Pinterest and a natural fit with GPO's core mission of Keeping America Informed on the three branches of the Federal Government. GPO will use Pinterest to share historic photos, videos, products, and Government publications with the public. Pinterest joins GPO's other social media platforms of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Government Book Talk blog.
Link to GPO's Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/usgpo/
"GPO is constantly evolving and keeping up-to-date on public trends and the popular ways to access and share information," said Acting Public Printer Davita Vance-Cooks. "GPO's expansion of social media supports our mission of Keeping America Informed. Joining Pinterest is one more way GPO can engage the public and continue to serve as the official link between the Federal Government and public."
The National Academy Of Public Administration has released its report on the Government Printing Office.
- Rebooting The Government Printing Office: Keeping America Informed in the Digital Age, A Report by a Panel of the National Academy Of Public Administration for the U.S. Congress, Congressional Research Service, and the Government Printing Office. National Academy Of Public Administration, Washington, DC (January 2013).
Congress mandated that the National Academy of Public Administration (the Academy) conduct a broad operational review of GPO. The Academy formed a five-member Panel of Fellows to conduct a ten-month study of the agency’s current role, its operations, and its future direction.
The report contains 27 finding and 15 recommendations. Depository libraries will be particularly interested in three findings:
- III-3: Preservation of the Legacy (Tangible) Government Collection
- III-4: Preservation of the Digital Government Collection
- III-5: Government Information Dissemination and Access
The report repeats many of the tropes about the digital government information that have become familiar over the years. Some of these bear repeating and others are more questionable.
Perhaps the most troubling suggestion in the report is GPO should consider "cost recovery" for access to FDsys:
Now may be the time for GPO to revisit charging the public for access to FDsys content. The Academy convened a forum of experts on printing and publishing where this topic was discussed extensively. Participants noted that technologies for online payments have progressed to the point that they cost very little to administer. Also, the public is becoming accustomed to paying fees for government services that used to be free (such as admittance to National Parks). Rather than charge a publication price, GPO could explore charging a small user fee to recoup the cost of providing access to government information on FDsys, or allowing users to view documents for free, and charging for document downloads. Forum participants also discussed the possibility of GPO exploring opportunities for repackaging files and content in different ways and making them available for sale to the public.
This model (as the report notes) was tried before with GPO Access and failed. We would argue that it failed not because the "technologies of online payments" were inadequate at the time, but because attempting to charge fees for information that was also available without fees was a fundamentally flawed approach. (We have written about this issue many times. See for example: Government Information in the Digital Age: The Once and Future Federal Depository Library Program and Privatization of GPO, Defunding of FDsys, and the Future of the FDLP.)
There is much more in the report and it deserves careful scrutiny.
This is good news that GPO is going to go through the Trustworthy Digital Repositories (TDR) audit process for FDsys! The audit process looks at a repository to assure both its technical AND organizational infrastructure are in place for the long-term preservation of its digital objects and assets.
To my mind then, 2 of the most important pieces of the TDR audit process are "digital object management" -- including especially ingest of content -- AND "appropriate, formal succession plan, contingency plans, and/or escrow arrangements in place in case the repository ceases to operate or the governing or funding institution substantially changes its scope." I hope that the process looks at GPO's participation in the LOCKSS-USDOCS program as one of its key pieces in terms of "appropriate, formal succession plan, contingency plans, and/or escrow arrangements."
In January 2013, the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) will begin an audit process for GPO’s Federal Digital System (FDsys) to become a certified Trustworthy Digital Repository (TDR).
GPO completed an internal audit of FDsys in 2011. It is very imp>rtant to ensure FDsys stakeholders, including Federal depository libraries and the general public, that GPO’s official system of record provides permanent public access to Government information ingested into it. TDR certification from an external party offers such assurances, and other benefits as well.
The Center for Research Libraries (CRL) is conducting the audit. They will use metrics and criteria published by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Research Libraries Group (RLG), and CRL, which are the basis for ISO Standard 16363 for Trusted Digital Repositories.
During the audit CRL will examine elements such as organizational infrastructure, governance, policy framework, funding, digital object management, ingest, access, preservation, metadata, and technologies, technical infrastructure, and security. For more details about the elements and measures see Trustworthy Repositories Audit & Certification: Criteria and Checklist.
Completion of the CRL audit is expected by September 2013. GPO is the first Federal agency to seek external certification as a Trustworthy Digital Repository.
Read more about the audit and certification process from fdlp.gov.
Here's another benefit to being Federal Depository Library: GPO and the Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH) have just announced a collaborative effort to get better online access to Public Health Reports -- the official journal of the U.S. Public Health Service at http://www.publichealthreports.org/ -- for FDLP libraries. Depositories will now have the option of selecting IP access or the use of a username and password. For more information, please visit the FDLP Desktop.
A little bit of background: PHR has been published since 1878. The first volume, published under the title "Bulletins of the Public Health," was issued by the Supervising Surgeon-General under the National Quarantine Act of April 29, 1878. It became partially privatized and published for U.S. Public Health Service by Oxford University Press (2001-2003), then by Elsevier, in collaboration with the Association of Schools of Public Health (2004) and then by ASPH, 2005 - present.