Home » post » Federal Computer Week story about DLC conference

Our mission

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.

Federal Computer Week story about DLC conference

Librarians air frustrations BY Aliya Sternstein Published on Apr. 27, 2005.

Federal depository librarians, who attended the meeting in Albuquerque, came away saying much has to be done before the FDLP can truly provide permanent public access in the digital age.

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


  1. The balance of the article suggested that librarians’ opposition was rooted in fear for their jobs. I felt like e-mailing the reporting and saying “It’s the preservation, not the jobs!” Maybe we need to sick Subliminal Man (“Multiple copies good”) on her.

    I’m confident that my skills in government information would be needed even if the FDLP coughed up and died tomorrow. It’s not about job security. It’s about how best to preserve permanent, no-fee access to fully functional government information. I would have like to have had Ms. Sternstein address that issue more fully.

    Saying that depository librarians are asking GPO to modify its plans because they’re clinging to their jobs is like saying NASA engineers are only thinking of their employment by pointing out shuttle safety issues.

    We need to work much harder to share our side of the story if this is how librarians are being perceived.

    “And besides all that, what we need is a decentralized, distributed system of depositing electronic files to local libraries willing to host them.”

  2. reflects his needs to talk with current depository librarians:

    “Charles McClure, a former depository librarian, now an editor at Government Information Quarterly and an information studies professor at Florida State University, said this turbulence will continue for the next couple of years.

    ‘Librarians have a good reason to feel threatened about their careers, about their future,’ he said.”

    I’m “old enough” to remember the first FDLP cd-rom [Census Test Disc, No. 2] as being the first CD to arrive in my library — ever! And as other reference librarians were upset that “patrons could do their *own* searches, we won’t have a job” — after all, only “librarians” could search Dialog and BRS [anyone remember BRS?].
    see: Proceedings of the 6th Annual Federal Depository Library Conference — http://ww1.access.gpo.gov/gpoaccess/fdlp/pubs/proceedings/97prot.html
    pp. 110-128

    Those of us in the government information world realized cool — we had *finally* had access to electronic databases [a push being made back in the ol’ days — see: Y4.G74/7:In3/22
    Federal Information Dissemination Policies and Practices
    Hearings before the Subcom on Government Information, Justice, and Agriculture to review policy issues involved in the dissemination of Government information, including the operation of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the use of new electronic technologies.]

    Folks say we don’t need “depositories” because all the government information is on the internet — well, with all the historical information, business information, policy information out there – then, do we need specialists in the library for those fields? yes. and as a government information specialist, I agree that I am not concerned about my job: I’m concerned about preservation, free access, etc.

    I would hope that Dr. McClure would do the research to develop any future comments regarding practicing librarians.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.