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Free Government Information (FGI) is a place for initiating dialogue and building consensus among the various players (libraries, government agencies, non-profit organizations, researchers, journalists, etc.) who have a stake in the preservation of and perpetual free access to government information. FGI promotes free government information through collaboration, education, advocacy and research.

Strengthening the Discussions about Title 44

Since last week, when we posted Stanford Library Director Michael Keller’s letter to the Committee on House Administration (CHA) and the Joint Committee on Printing (JCP), there has been more activity around the efforts to modify Title 44 of the US Code. We understand that the ALA and its Committee on Legislation (COL), the Government Documents Round Table (GODORT), other ALA divisions and round tables, and The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) are all actively investigating the issues.

When we look at the last ten years of discussions of the FDLP, we can anticipate what some of the proposals will be. We anticipate proposals with high-sounding promises about access and preservation with details that propose changes to Title 44 that will weaken and diminish the role of libraries, promote the fragile model of centralizing control of government information with GPO, entrench GPO’s long-term efforts to replace FDLP with short-term "partners," and make it easier to discard and destroy the FDLP Historic Collections. We also anticipate proposals to promote digitizing the Historic Collections — which can already be done without changes to the law. We imagine that there will be proposals that will not enhance access or preservation or strengthen the role of libraries, but will be pitched as "saving" or "expanding" the FDLP.

This will be confusing! We hope that discussions will focus on changes that will actually strengthen long-term free public access.

With this in mind, we have written four new posts on FGI that explain in clear language the reasons behind and the effects of the six recommendations we have made in our earlier post “This is not a drill. The future of Title 44 and the depository library program hang in the balance.” Our specific proposals are based on 4 principles. We invite you to hold other proposals to the same standards.

Read and discuss!

Strengthening Title 44:

  1. Modernize the definition of "publications"
  2. Ensure Free Access
  3. Ensure Privacy
  4. Ensure Preservation

James and Jim

CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


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