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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.

37 Days to Government Information Liberation

2. Seek to establish the most effective techniques individual bibliographic institutions can contribute to a national system of government information access, preservation and organization.

Since one refers to Hoduski/McKnelly and Malamud as bookends, let’s take a look at some of the vast literature written about federal government printing and the depository library system over the last 40 years or so.

Think of this a primer for those library school students who plan on taking a government information course next spring. The past is but a prologue, as they say over in the Smithsonian…..

First up, let’s go back to the 1980s — when three of the most comprehensive studies of the federal depository library system were completed —

Charles McClure and Peter Hernon, Users of Academic and Public GPO Depository Libraries. U.S. Government Printing Office, 1989. p ix. (GP 3.2:US 2).

GPO’s depository library program : a descriptive analysis / Peter Hernon, Charles R. McClure, Gary R. Purcell. Norwood, N.J. : Ablex Pub. Corp., 1985;

Improving the quality of reference service for government publications By Charles R. McClure, Peter Hernon, American Library Association
American Library Association, 1983

and this general assessment of information policies —

Public access to government information : issues, trends, and strategies / Peter Hernon, Charles R. McClure. Norwood, N.J. : Ablex Pub. Corp., c1984

I would submit that many of the issues we currently debate over the future and purpose of the depository library system were framed best by these studies. They hit upon the essential problems of purpose that plague the program to this day; problems only slightly changed by the barriers and opportunities of today’s technology.

We do not need to reinvent this research — It’s there waiting for us return to its home truths.

The next stop will be those crazy years in the 1990s. Much policy and purpose to be rediscovered during this time as well.

See you on Day 36.