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4. Regional Responsibilities – Discussion Questions

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

3. Regional responsibilities
a. What are the responsibilities of regional depositories for the digital publications GPO distributes?
i. Should they be required to accept and maintain all digital publications that GPO distributes?
ii. Should regional depositories be allowed to accept digital content as an alternative to the print or microform version?


FGI Responses

We’re somewhat hampered here at FGI because none of us has worked at a regional library. All of us have a selective perspective. So while we have opinions on this section, we’re really hoping a Regional reader or two will come forth with feedback on these questions!

Q: a. What are the responsibilities of regional depositories for the digital publications GPO distributes?

We at FGI believe that regional depositories have the same responsibilities for digital materials as they do for all other formats.

Q: i. Should they be required to accept and maintain all digital publications that GPO distributes?

They should either be required to accept all digital publications or have selective housing agreements in place with selective depositories in their system.

We should note that when we say “digital publications”, we mean document-like objects. No one here is suggesting that any depository should be expected to be a full mirror for dynamic-database driven content. For example, we want to see deposit of Census publications and special reports, but American Factfinder would not be mirrored by any depository. Hosting databases usually requires software in addition to data. Even when the data is public domain, the software usually is not.

Q: ii. Should regional depositories be allowed to accept digital content as an alternative to the print or microform version?

As long as Regionals accept local storage of digital materials and have some kind of backup and/or preservation plan in place, they should be allowed to accept digital content as an alternative to print or microform version. Ideally such selection would take state bandwidth capabilities into account and be done in consultation with the local selective depositories.

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