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Chicago Conference Press Release and Executive Summary AIMEE 07 Nov 1993 16:59 UTC

***The following are the Press Release and Executive Summary from the Chicago
Conference on the Future of Federal Government Information.  I am cross-posting
this to several lists so Please forgive any duplication.  These items will also
be part of the next issue of the Dupont Circle Reporter.

Thank you,
Aimee Piscitelli (***

PRESS RELEASE                                       5 NOVEMBER 1993

               Chicago Conference on the Future of
                 Federal Government Information

                  Chicago, October 29-31, 1993

Committed to the assumption that no-fee public access to government
produced information is fundamental to a democratic society,
160 government documents librarians and information specialists
met in Chicago to launch a grass-roots effort to ensure that
equitable public access to government information is a
cornerstone in the building of the national information
infrastructure.  For over 150 years the Federal Depository
Library Program, a cooperative network of more than 1,400
libraries serving every Congressional District in the United
States, has operated as an effective vehicle for the
dissemination of government information.  Shrinking Federal
resources coupled with a shift from paper to electronic
publishing have challenged this Program and the public's access
to government information, necessitating this critical
examination of the Future of Federal Government Information.

Drawing from their diverse backgrounds, representing every type
of depository library and all parts of the country, the
conference participants reaffirmed the American public as the
owner of government information.  They articulated the need for a
strong central authority to coordinate the information
dissemination responsibilities of the Federal government, and
emphasized the role of libraries in organizing, maintaining,
promoting, servicing, and preserving government information.
Further, the group underlined the growing role of librarians as
intermediaries in this complex information environment.

The results of the Chicago Conference, summarized in the
executive summary report which follows, present a framework for
the future that takes advantage of new technologies and forges
new relationships in the delivery of government information to
the American people.

For further information on the Chicago Conference, please contact:

Gary Cornwell            Julia Wallace            Jack Sulzer
U. of Florida            U. of Minnesota          Penn State U.
904-392-0366             612-626-7520             814-865-3819
garcorn@nervm.bitnet     j-wall@uminn1.bitnet


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY                                  2 NOVEMBER 1993

                     CONFERENCE ON THE FUTURE OF
                     Chicago, October 29-31, 1993

                          Executive Summary

Public access to government information is a basic right of the
American people.  Achieving the ideal of universal public access
requires cooperation on many levels.  Formal partnerships, with mutual
responsibilities and obligations, must be established between government
information producers, libraries and other information providers, and
a central coordinating government authority.  These ties must create a
flexible infrastructure that can incorporate changing technologies and
user needs, and acknowledge their interdependence.

Development of the emerging National Information Infrastructure
presents challenges to existing Federal information dissemination
programs.  It also offers new opportunities to improve public access to
government information and to strengthen information dissemination
programs supported by libraries, government agencies, and other
information providers.


The mission of a Federal Information Dissemination and Access
Program, offered through libraries, is to provide and ensure free and
equal access to government information in usable and multiple forms
for the people of the United States of America.

                         ACCESS PROGRAM

A Federal Information Dissemination and Access Program is a
cooperative network among agencies, a central coordinating
government authority, libraries, librarians, and the public.
In this partnership:

The Public:
*Owns government information and must always have access to it

*Determines the success of the Program through formal and informal

*Create information products and services with input from users

*Provide useful and timely government information products for
 dissemination through the Program and other channels

*Provide technical and product user support and training via the
 cooperative library network

Central Coordinating Government Authority:
*Disseminates or provides access to government information
 products, regardless of form, except those specifically excluded by
*Provides comprehensive catalogs or locators using standardized
 description of government information products in partnership with
 other government agencies

*Cooperates with other government agencies to establish appropriate
 standards and regulations and to assure compliance with the

*Cooperates with other government agencies, libraries, and other
 information providers to ensure that government information
 products within the program are archived

Libraries and Librarians:
*Organize, maintain, promote, and preserve collections of
 government information products and act as a conduit to resources
 available beyond the local library

*Serve as intermediaries in a complex information environment and
 assist patrons in the identification, use and access of government
 information products


The existing Depository Library Program is in a period of transition.
Fiscal, technological, and policy developments compel the depository
community to identify new directions for the Program.  In the next five

The Superintendent of Documents:
*Provides access to government information via electronic networks

*Improves communication with federal agencies, federal information
 centers, and depository libraries

*Assumes a proactive role in the development of new electronic
 products and services in the federal agencies

*Maximizes the resources of the Depository Library Program

Depository Libraries:
*Meet established minimum technical and service guidelines to
 support access to government information products

*Work to identify grants and other financial support to acquire
 network connections, equipment and technical expertise

*Create a depository library association that effectively represents the
 interests of participants and encourages and supports sharing of

Changes in a successful, long-running program like the Depository
Library Program should not be done in haste.  Change should take
place only after thoughtful input from the public, government
agencies, and librarians.