As I thought about this week’s remarkable series of electoral and civic revolutions, it got me thinking that between now and Obama’s inauguration on January 20, 2009 offers us a unique opportunity.
Each day I am going to post one specific reason, observation, analysis about how the new political powers in Congress and the White House should think about government information. In particular I want to push back against the nearly ten years of rhetorical tide that swamped the way we talk about the distribution and preservation of information produced by our government.
In particular, I hope we can recapture the conceptual high ground of the whys and hows of the civic conversation about government information. Technology is important. Market forces are compelling. Political partisanship demands committment. But I remember a time when the phrase “documents to the people” actually spoke to a civic form of rhetorical community organizing. Our collections and public services were our store front headquarters in this struggle.
So, here is my first thought of the day: any depository library program’s purpose transcends both format or its distribution mechanism. The programs long-standing purpose is to sustain the free and permanent access to government information. This can and must happen regardless of how the depository libraries, or their host institutions, arrange their services or materials.
Let the conversation begin and see you tomorrow.
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