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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.

Discussing DLC’s Title 44 Recommendations. Thoughts and questions

Depository Library Council (DLC) released its recommendations for Title 44 reform yesterday.

  • Title 44 Reform Recommendations from the DLC (October 03 2017) [PDF file].

These recommendations will be at the center of discussions at the upcoming Fall 2017 Depository Library Conference. The entire Monday afternoon session (October 16) will be devoted to a discussion of Title 44 with Depository Library Council (DLC).

A context for discussion

When we proposed changes to Title 44, we suggest that any recommendation for such change should address at least one of the following four principles.

  1. privacy
  2. free access and use
  3. preservation
  4. modernizing the scope of the FDLP

As we head into discussions of Title 44 at the upcoming DLC meeting, we suggest that attendees evaluate any Title 44 changes being recommended by turning those principles into questions:

    Does this recommendation…

  • protect the privacy of users?
  • help ensure long-term, free public access and use of government information?
  • help ensure the long-term preservation of government information?
  • modernize the scope of the FDLP for the digital age?

Analysis of DLC recommendations

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Hearing on Title 44 and FDLP libraries now available for viewing

For all you documents nerds out there, the Committee on House Administration’s hearing on GPO and the FDLP is now available for your viewing pleasure. All of the witnesses’ written testimonies are now also available from the Committee’s repository. I’m glad that the FDLP community was able to represent. Enjoy!


CHA Hearing on tuesday about Title 44 and “Transforming GPO for the 21st Century and Beyond”

Be sure to tune in this coming Tuesday for the Committee on House Administration’s hearing on Title 44 and the FDLP. It looks like it’ll be streaming from CHA’s Website. And if you haven’t yet done so, please sign our petition “Protect the public right to government information: help preserve and expand Title 44.” We’re at 779 signatures, which is pretty amazing considering the wonky nature of this petition. Keep it going!!

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COMMITTEE HEARING

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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

10:15 a.m. (eastern)

1310 Longworth House Office Building

Transforming GPO for the 21st Century and Beyond: Part 3 – Federal Depository Library Program

First Panel:

  • Ms. Laurie Hall, Acting Superintendent of Documents, Government Publishing Office

Second Panel:

  • Mr. Mike Furlough, Executive Director, HathiTrust Digital Library
  • Ms. Celina McDonald, Government Documents & Criminology Librarian, University of Maryland
  • Ms. Beth Williams, Library Director, Stanford Law School
  • Mr. Stephen Parks, State Librarian of Mississippi

via Hearing: Transforming GPO for the 21st Century and Beyond: Part 3 – Federal Depository Library Program | Committee on House Administration.

Threats and opportunities re Title 44. FGI audio & DLF, Harvard, MIT libraries’ letters in support of FGI recommendations

The Digital Library Federation’s Records Transparency and Accountability Group hosted FGI’er Jim Jacobs on August 18, 2017 to present about the threats to Title 44. They just posted the audio of Jim’s session on the DLF blog. Jim outlines the issues clearly and concisely, and makes an outstanding case for positive substantive changes to Title 44 based on the following 4 principles:

  • The law should ensure the privacy of users of government info.
  • The law should address the long-term preservation challenges posed by born-digital government information.
  • The law should protect free access and free use.
  • The law should modernize the scope of government information covered by chapter 19 for the digital age.

I was also pleased to read that the DLF was about to send a letter in support of Title 44 based on Stanford UL Michael Keller’s letter. Along with Stanford, several other large academic libraries have now weighed in: The University librarians at the 11 University of California campuses, Harvard University and MIT Libraries are now on record in support of title 44 changes based on these same principles!

I hope these letters show how much the library community supports the FDLP and helps our library associations make the case for the need for better access to and preservation of govt information via a positive update of Title 44. We still need many more library directors to write letters in support to the Committee on house Administration and the Joint Committee on Printing.

BTW, our petition “Protect the public right to government information: help preserve and expand Title 44” is at 695 signatures and still climbing! Help us get to 1000 signatures!!

Sign the petition “Protect the public right to govt information: help preserve and expand Title 44”

As many of our readers know, there has recently been a lot of activity surrounding efforts to modify title 44 of the US Code. YOU can make your voice heard by signing the petition “Protect the public right to govt information: help preserve and expand Title 44”.

Signatures will go directly to staffers on the House Committee on Administration and Joint Committee on Printing, as well as to GPO and ALA Washington Office. Please share widely on your social media.

We need lots of support in order to assure that any changes to Title 44 support and expand preservation of and access to government information. For more background on what’s at stake, please see our post Strengthening the Discussions about Title 44.

The public’s right to information by and about its government is critical to the workings of a democracy. Title 44 of the US Code, which codifies the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) into law, is the *only* legal guarantee that the US government will provide its information for free to the General Public, the citizens of the USA. It also directly affects thousands of non-Federal Depository Library Program libraries by defining free public access to the essential information and records of our democracy.

A push to revise Title 44 is in the works led by the Government Publishing Office and the Committee on House Administration. Government Publishing Office Director Davita Vance-Cooks has asked the Depository Library Council (DLC) to gather recommendations from the depository community for changes to Chapter 19 of Title 44 of the U.S. Code.

We the undersigned write today to assure that any changes to the law strengthen the FDLP and free public access to and preservation of government information regardless of physical or digital format.

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