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 (email@example.com)*** --------------- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org --------------------------------------------------------------------- EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 2 NOVEMBER 1993 CONFERENCE ON THE FUTURE OF FEDERAL GOVERNMENT INFORMATION 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. MISSION 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. FRAMEWORK FOR A NEW FEDERAL INFORMATION DISSEMINATION AND 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 evaluation Agencies: *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 statute *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 Program *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 REVITALIZATION OF THE FEDERAL DEPOSITORY LIBRARY PROGRAM 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 years: 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 expertise 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.