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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.

3. Infrastructure – Discussion Questions

The Government Printing Office (GPO) document, Digital Distribution to Depository Libraries: Exploring the Issues (9/6/2006) asks these questions about infrastructure:

2. Infrastructure
a. Who determines sufficiency for local infrastructure to provide timely and effective public access?
i. What are the criteria?
ii. Should GPO develop guidelines as it did for workstations?


FGI Responses

Q: a. Who determines sufficiency for local infrastructure to provide timely and effective public access?

The same authorities who determine sufficiency in other areas of depository management.

Q: i. What are the criteria?
We would like to suggest a two tier criteria. A library accepting deposit of electronic government publications should be able to either:

A) Provide download times for government publications similar to that from GPO.

OR

B) Be able to provide documents by CD/DVD, or by in-library use only IF the library is located in a low bandwidth area. The Pew Internet & American Life Project found that 75% of rural residents lacked broadband access as recently as February 2006. People in such areas aren’t going to download documents easily from any web site.

Q: ii. Should GPO develop guidelines as it did for workstations?

We believe that GPO should develop guidelines for serving local digital documents like they have done so for workstations. GPO should focus on functional requirements rather than dictate specific systems, unless that hardware is required to receive automated distribution of digital publications.

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