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Then and Now: Economic Information from the Government

As Jim mentioned, GPO has posted presentation materials from the recently concluded Depository Library Conference.

One of the files worthy of your attention is the presentation slides from:

A Tale of Two Economies: Government Information from the New Deal and Now by Marianne Ryan, Associate University Librarian for Public Services, Northwestern University Library and Catherine Jervey, Director, Market Planning Legislative and Historical Services, LexisNexis Academic and Library Solutions

The slides give a govdocs powered, side by side comparison of the reactions of FDR and President Obama to their respective economic crises. It makes for interesting reading and puts today’s economic troubles in perspective.

It’s not touched on in the presentation slides, but I’m interested in a big difference between the 1930s and today. For the most part, regular people didn’t have access to the New Deal legislation before it was passed. Today, whether or not it’s taken advantage of, people around the country have access to proposed legislation in their own homes.

Would the wide-ranging legislation of the New Deal have been passed if there had been wide public access to the proposed legislation? It’s an interesting “What If” scenario.

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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