The Federal Depository Library Program in 2023: One Perspective on the Transition to the Future Peter Hernon and Laura Saunders The Government Printing Office (GPO) administers a depository library program that provides the public with access to government publications, including digital ones. For years, the GPO, its Depository Library Coun- cil, and documents librarians have discussed the future role of member libraries. This article explores a different, but critical, perspective: that of directors of university libraries within the Association of Research Librar- ies. Thirty directors reviewed different scenarios and selected the one they envision their university assuming. The findings have implications for librarians in any depository library program and others interested in the future role of libraries as collection and service centers for government information resources. n an analysis of how the na- function and a few editors volun- tional government informs, tarily recorded the congressional communicates with, and shares debate, thus relieving Congress of information with the Ameri- this duty.1 can citizenry, historian Culver H. Smith writes: In addition to the role newspapers played, there were other venues to pro- Beginning in 1789, the new govern- mote public access to news about what ment turned to newspapers to sup- the national government is doing and to ply some needed services. Selected information generated by it. Among these newspapers were employed by the were libraries, most of which became Department of State to publish the depository libraries. laws, orders, and resolutions of Congress. By this means the federal Background government established contacts The depository library program, which with the citizenry in the growing the Government Printing Office (GPO), a nation… . In addition, certain Wash- legislative agency, now administers, dates ington newspaper proprietors were from 1813, when Congress first authorized elected publishers for Congress to legislation to ensure that one copy of perform a large and responsible congressionally distributed publications Peter Hernon is a Professor in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Simmons Col- lege, Boston; e-mail: email@example.com. Laura Saunders is Adjunct Faculty and Ph.D. student at Simmons College; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 351 352 College & Research Libraries July 2009 (the Serial Set) be provided to certain ment information resources:4 print and universities, historical societies, and state digital publications, unpublished records, libraries. Later, executive branch publi- datasets, photographic and graphic im- cations were distributed independent of ages, interactive maps and games, vid- the Serial Set. Legislation enacted toward eos, simulations and animations, films, the end of the nineteenth century as well PowerPoint slide sets, and so on. Some as in the twentieth century resulted in a of these resources might be historical marked increase in the number of member and require the use of special software, libraries. The 1962 Depository Library Act which a government body might make (76 Stat. 352) created regional depositories available on its homepage. Additional (libraries that, among other things, are content is available through e-services expected to develop comprehensive col- such as e-mail alerts, blogs, podcasts, lections) and selective depositories (able RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds, to determine item categories they want to Webcasts, and wikis. receive), and as a result of that public law The GPO, which now considers the the number of member libraries increased Web as its primary means of disseminat- more than two-fold. The prevailing view- ing government publications, provides a point reflected in the legislative history of high percentage of publications digitally that act is that the public is best served by (more than 90%) to the approximately having access to depository collections 1,250 depository libraries. Publications in that are located near where they live or GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publica- work. Expressed another way, they should tions are increasingly preserved as a PURL not have to travel vast distances to visit a (Persistent Uniform Resource Locator). depository collection.2 Furthermore, depository libraries, as well In the early 1990s, as use of the Internet as the private and not-for-profit sectors, became widespread, government added are digitizing government resources and a new component, e-government, whose making them available. antecedents date back at least to initia- tives of the 1960s. According to Jeffrey Problem Statement W. Seifert of the Congressional Research In such a digital environment, the na- Service (CRS): tional government continues to expand its Internet services and to disseminate One of the overarching themes of more information resources in a wide e-government is to realize fully variety of formats directly to all segments the capabilities of available IT [in- of society (including, for instance, the formation technology] in an effort nation’s youth, elderly, and those seek- to transform government from an ing materials in languages other than agency-centric, limited service op- English). Given this environment, how eration into an automated, citizen- many libraries want to remain in the centric operation capable of deliver- depository library program and what ing government services to citizens, role do they intend to play? No study has businesses, and other government investigated that role from the perspective agencies twenty-four hours a day, of library directors—the individuals who seven days a week.3 shape a library’s strategic direction and have formed an overarching picture of the As part of e-government, each execu- organization and how the various parts tive branch department or agency; inde- of the library fit together. The purpose of pendent agency; congressional chamber, this study is to fill that void by examin- committee, member, or agency; or judicial ing the viewpoints of directors whose court or agency maintains a Web site libraries are members of the Association that disseminates a variety of govern- of Research Libraries (ARL). The Federal Depository Library Program in 2023 353 Although the focus of this study is on government programs, on the Internet, research-intensive universities, the find- a number of them want to continue to ings have implications for other members receive print government publications by of the depository library program, for mail or by visiting government offices and similar programs in the United States public libraries.6 Still, to lower printing and in other countries, and for libraries and distribution costs, the government likely to benefit from the creation of new is reducing the number of print publica- services. This study reflects the extent tions, preferring the public to depend on to which ARL libraries view govern- the digital environment. ment information resources as critical to In comparison to the previously achieving their strategic directions. It also mentioned work, a study conducted in reminds those involved in administering New Zealand for its national govern- depository programs and overseeing ment indicates that many segments of depository collections that directors de- the public, including the business com- termine the role that libraries play in the munity, prefer Internet access to govern- program. That determination takes into ment information. They seldom consult account faculty and other interests as well (or are aware of) government portals and as competing and shifting priorities and search engines, and they continue to rely fiscal and space constraints. Further, the extensively on Google™ to locate relevant study reminds directors about depository information contained on government collections and services and affords an homepages.7 opportunity to consider such collections Over the years, government docu- and services in terms of future strategic ments librarians writing about the tran- directions. sition to a more electronic depository program have emphasized a network of Literature Review partnerships with depository libraries, the Since the 1970s, various conceptualiza- GPO, and perhaps the National Archives tions of a restructured depository library and Records Administration (NARA) and program have been advanced; however, other government bodies. That network, these works do not consider depository for instance, included the partnership collections and services from the perspec- between the Department of State and tive of the entire organization.5 Studies the University of Chicago at Illinois to on users and uses of government infor- guarantee permanent public access to mation date back to the early 1970s, but departmental publications created dur- little research has addressed information- ing the Clinton administration. Another seeking patterns in the present digital partnership, one between the GPO and environment. An exception, funded by the National Renewable Energy Labora- the Institute of Museum and Library tory, assures “permanent public access to Services (IMLS) and conducted by the publications from 1977 to the present on Pew Internet and American Life Project subjects related to renewable energy and and the University of Illinois-Urbana, energy-efficient technologies” (see www. suggests how 2,796 American adults use fdlp.gov/partnerships/about.html).8 the Internet, public libraries, and govern- At a conference sponsored by ARL on ment agencies. One finding is that, “in the future of the depository program in general, more people turn to the [I]nternet 2002, Judy Russell, then GPO’s Superin- (at home, work, libraries or other places) tendent of Documents, notes that, “within than any other source of information and a few years, perhaps as few as five, there support, including experts and family will be very few tangible products dis- members.” Although a majority of the tributed to depository libraries, other respondents prefer access to government than those that we collectively decide publications, as well as information about to preserve in paper.” 9 She highlights 354 College & Research Libraries July 2009 GPO initiatives, such as becoming an as the primary network through which archival affiliate of NARA and preserv- the public gains access to government ing all digital publications entering the information.… The public increasingly program, and inserting digital signatures favors direct access to Web-based fed- on congressional bills, Federal Register eral information over the alternative of documents, and all files in GPO Access visiting a local FDL.” The authors of the (www.gpoaccess.gov). document specify that: Prudence S. Adler of ARL points out that, in 2003, the Public Printer of the Since its inception in 1994, GPO United States, the head of the GPO, facili- Access retrievals have exceeded 2.2 tated a discussion about the future direc- billion. The average number of re- tions of the depository program as part trievals from GPO Access in FY 2004 of the effort to “address the fundamental was 1.1 million per day. March 2005 question that we have been asking each was the busiest month ever, with other since 1995. Why be a depository almost 39 million retrievals. This library when you can obtain ‘everything’ count does not include the millions (or virtually everything) free on the Inter- of visits Web users made monthly net without being part of the program?” to executive agencies. Past efforts ARL depositories, she notes, “invest far to estimate use of materials in FDLs more resources in the… [p]rogram than suggest a far more modest number GPO does—some estimates suggest that of users and uses, something in the each of your libraries spends $10 for each vicinity of 712,000 per month in $1 worth of publications you receive and public and academic FDLs.15 that may be conservative.”10 At the spring 2006 meeting of the It merits mention that GPO Access Depository Library Council to the Public does not focus exclusively on depository Printer (DLC), members of the deposi- libraries; except for titles in GPO’s sales tory community were asked to reflect program, it is the portal for free access on the future of the program and gov- to those information resources that the ernment information. They were asked legislative agency publicly disseminates. to address variables such as physical The same authors believe that there and electronic collections, services, col- is still a role for the FDL program in a laboration, relationship with federal “Web-dominated information environ- government (governance), structure of ment,” but, to accomplish that role, indi- program, and metadata (cataloging and vidual depositories will have to change invisible (virtual) finding aids).11 The au- “what they do, how they collaborate as a thors of those personal scenarios assume community, and how they partner with a terrorist attack in 2013; the passage of government and private sector entities to a Web, Internet, and Media Publishing maximize collections and services and op- Savings Act (PL 116-66) in 2019; and timally incorporate the opportunities the other fictitious developments. They even Web offers.” Moreover, “upon completion project that sixty libraries will participate of… [GPO’s proposed national digital col- in CLOCKSS (Controlled Lots of Copies lection], every library with Internet access Keep Stuff Safe), which is a reliable and can offer a large current and retrospective secure system for preserving online, collection of federal publications. Librar- scholarly journal content.12 ies and their users will clearly benefit The DLC has advanced a vision of what from this treasure trove of content.” The the depository program might become.13 GPO, the authors suggest, might offer: In a companion publication,14 the Council acknowledges that “The [W]eb has super- various levels of participation in the seded FDLs [federal depository libraries] depository program. This is more The Federal Depository Library Program in 2023 355 than simply a matter of increasing to support their local clientele. A few or decreasing one’s item selection libraries—possibly only light archives— rate. GPO could investigate offering continue to manage full collections of value-added access or services to tangible publications. Libraries are active depository libraries as one method collaborators in leveraging the opportu- of retaining membership in the nities of the Web to extend and enhance program. Having no-fee access public access to government information. to services such as the National It is likely in this scenario that the status Weather Service data could be a of designated [depositories] becomes powerful incentive for depositories increasingly moot; in effect, all libraries either to stay in the program or join function to some extent as government it in the future. information access centers.” In June 2008, the GPO, at the request of With regard to this study, the authors the Joint Committee on Printing (JCP), the outline three possible futures for the congressional committee that oversees the program: GPO and general printing procedures of 1. “Fold: [Depository libraries]… the government, published Regional De- conclude that the Web carries most of pository Libraries in the 21st Century: A Time what their users need, that the obliga- for Change?, which addresses the extent tions of being part of the program are to which public access via the depository too demanding to bother with staying, program is “impaired by current or pro- that they can purchase the handful of jected organizational, financial, technolog- government publications they feel they ical, or other conditions affecting regional need in tangible format, and… that they depository libraries.”17 One of the findings can effectively assist their clientele in their is, “depository operations are competing quests for government information.”16 for limited funds and space that are also 2. “Status Quo: [Depository librar- needed for users, staff, computers, and ies]… continue to collect the small other collections. Multiple service desks number of essential titles distributed in within a library are disappearing in favor tangible format and provide local public of one centralized service point.”18 services for these collections and on Web- In summary, the literature represents based federal information resources.… various viewpoints about the depository [I]n this… scenario the library role in library program and its future. Over the government information dissemination years, some of the library directors serv- will substantially contract and ultimately ing as members of the DLC and those wither away.… [L]ibrarians continue to participating in a venue organized by the treat information as though it is a scarcity, ARL have commented about the role of although our patrons are living in a world the program in a digital environment.19 of information abundance.” Nonetheless, there has been no concerted 3. “Proactive: [Depository librar- effort to involve ARL university library ies] and the library community pull directors in the development of scenarios together in collaboration with the GPO, that reflect their views on the program’s federal agencies, and other Web-based future and to see which of those scenarios stakeholders to service the virtual FDLP are the most institutionally viable. This [federal depository library program] study, as noted in the problem statement, collection on the Web. Some… [deposi- fills that void. tory libraries] build digital collections as light archives…. Most… [depositories] Procedures contribute their government information Scenarios expertise in a collaborative online user Using the alternative futures identified assistance program as well as continue in the DLC’s discussion document,20 the 356 College & Research Libraries July 2009 authors developed four scenarios as alter- The following assumptions were made natives to the status quo. These scenarios in the construction of the scenarios. First, project different visions of the role that the perspective of the director shapes ARL libraries might play by the year 2023; strategic directions and the types of op- a fifteen-year limit was selected based on tions that might be selected. Second, while the recommendation of forecaster Joseph university research libraries comprise a P. Martino, who indicates that the accu- subset of libraries in the depository pro- racy in predicting what will likely occur gram, they have more resources that, in declines dramatically with a longer time principle, might be targeted to depository frame.21 They developed the scenarios collection and services. Third, the time after reviewing the ones that Duane E. frame is 15 years hence, which is suffi- Webster, then ARL’s executive director, cient to influence the strategic directions conceived for member libraries.22 that might emerge. Fourth, by then, most According to Dana Mietzner and likely, not all government information Guido Reger: resources will be digitized and not all of the content of all government homepages scenarios, as a prime technique will be captured. And, last, any option of future studies, have long been involves basic concerns such as financial used by government planners, prospects, internal resource allocation, corporate managers and military philosophy, and relationships with user analysts as powerful tools to aid communities, in particular, faculty. in decision making in the face of The first scenario, which covers both uncertainty. The idea behind them the DLC’s fold or status quo scenarios, is to establish thinking about pos- focuses on the library withdrawing from sible futures which can minimi[z]e the program due to the need to convert surprises and broaden the span of collection space to other purposes or managers’ thinking about different retaining the historical collection with possibilities.23 minimal acquisition of new titles (either digital or print). In the next scenario, They recommend that the number of which expands on the status quo scenar- scenarios not exceed four and that any io, the library provides a digital feed of scenario should meet criteria such as government information resources to its plausibility (each is capable of happen- Web site, becoming a digital depository, ing), differentiation (each differs from the albeit one with a historical print collec- others and together they offer multiple tion. The third scenario, which builds futures), decision-making utility (each on the concept of a digital depository, offers insights into the future that help sees the library entering into a formal in planning and decision making), chal- partnership with the GPO, such as the lenging (each challenges conventional one advanced in the proactive scenario wisdom about the future). The goal of developed by the DLC. In the final sce- this study of university library directors nario, which expands on the previous is to produce a set of scenarios that meets one, the library digitizes information these criteria and a final one: they cover resources, including images, and cre- all likely situations. By adhering to such ates content. The library functions as criteria, those engaged in the develop- a center for gaining access to govern- ment of scenarios assist organizations in ment information, but there might be planning for future events and ensuring limitations on the use of some digitized that an important area (for instance, a li- collections the library archived. The brary’s collection of government publica- official designation as a member of the tions and involvement in e-government) GPO depository library program could is not neglected. become moot. The Federal Depository Library Program in 2023 357 Webster and Robert E. Dugan of Suf- doctoral program in managerial leader- folk University, a former member of ship, individually reviewed the initial, the DLC, reviewed the draft scenarios. additional, and revised sets of scenarios. Based on their comments, the authors Based on their suggestions, the revised revised the introduction to the scenarios, scenarios were further modified and reworked the content of some scenarios, then considered by another ten library and expanded the primary motivations directors (phase two). Once that phase (see the appendix for the initial set of was completed, the investigators shared scenarios). They do not see the set of a draft of the paper, containing the com- scenarios as applying to all members of plete set of scenarios, with all participat- the depository library program—only ing directors in case they wanted to make to the ARL subset—and through 2023. additional comments. (No additional In devising the scenarios, the authors comments were received.) tried to avoid making assumptions for which there is no scholarly and research Findings literature related to managing depository Of the thirty participants, five oversee collections and services as well as to the regional depository collections. Table effectiveness and economic efficiency of 1 indicates which scenarios all of the the program on which to draw.24 respondents favor; directors of regional collections tend to favor scenario 3 (pro- Study Population and Data-collection gram partners with GPO). Sixteen of the Process twenty directors participating in phase The January 2008 roster of ARL member one selected scenarios 2 (digital deposi- libraries identifies 93 universities in the tory), 3, and 4 (expanded content partner United States as depositories, whose without GPO involvement). Viewed from directors are neither interim nor acting. another perspective, seven directors favor Of these, 20 are regional depositories and a partnership with the GPO (scenario 73 are selective depositories. From March 3), and six prefer a digital depository through July 2008, 30 ARL directors (scenario 2). (32.3% of the population) were arbitrarily In phase two, three directors choose selected to review the scenarios; they the third scenario and two support the come from different parts of the country, fourth one. Of the two not favoring any represent public and private universities, of the four scenarios, one believes that all and are responsible for either regional publications will be digitized well before or selective depository collections. In- the 15-year limit is reached, and he offers terviewed in person or by telephone, a different scenario (see the Discussion they were asked to make suggestions for section, alternative scenarios). One direc- clarifying content and the driving forces tor has little interest in the program as a for each scenario. Additionally, they were regional depository is nearby, other librar- asked to either choose the scenario that ies are investing in the program, and his most closely mirrors their vision for their institution is moving in a different stra- institution or craft a vision of a preferred tegic direction—identifying the Web sites future (by the year 2023) by identifying of relevant human rights organizations in the most important factors to include, selected countries in Africa and Latin and if they do not favor one of the existing South America; gathering and preserving scenarios. their “fragile, vulnerable content”; and Once the first twenty participants pro- disclosing that content to various search vided their commentary (phase one of the engines (such as Google™). He envisions study), Dugan and Joan Giesecke, dean more ARL libraries playing a similar role of libraries at the University of Nebraska for other areas and not focusing narrowly and professor of practice at Simmons on the depository library program unless 358 College & Research Libraries July 2009 Table 1 Favored Scenarios Scenarios Number Selecting It Number Selecting It (phase one)* (phase two) One (Shifting Priorities) 2 2 Two (Digital Depository) 6 1 Three (Program Partner with the GPO) 7 3 Four (Expanded Content Partner without 3 2 GPO Involvement) Other 2 2** Five (Global Digital Collector) Six (Multitype/Regional Partnership) Total 20 10 *Some directors like features of other scenarios but selected the one highlighted here as providing the primary framework. **See the section of Discussion offering alternative scenarios. its resources match the university’s stra- tain a very limited role, one that enables tegic directions. the library to retain the resources in that Although there are differences in the collection. (If the library withdraws from wording between both sets of scenarios, the program, it covers the cost of deselec- it is possible to compile totals for the tion and returning the publications to the scenarios. In doing so, ten (33.3%) sup- GPO.) Either way, the collection, which port scenario 3 (program partner with will not add any more paper copy to it, the GPO), whereas five (16.7%) express might be moved to another location in interest in scenario 4 (expanded content the library, and the freed-up space could partner without GPO involvement). be used for other purposes. The general Seven directors (23.3%) endorse scenario public service staff will provide any ser- 2 (digital depository), and four (13.3%) vices needed for government information. favor scenario one (shifting priorities). When such services are inadequate, the The remaining four (13.3%) either offer university’s community will be referred a new scenario or see their institutions to another depository library, probably going in a different direction. the nearest regional or whatever replaces the present regional system (for instance, Finalization of the Scenarios a few super-regionals that collect print and After completion of the second phase of digital publications on a comprehensive basis interviews, the six scenarios were final- and serve an entire census region or division; ized. The nonitalicized content results www.census.gov/geo/www/us_regdiv.pdf). In from completion of the first phase and summary, the library serves as a steward the review by the two outside experts. for the publications it already has or de- The italicized content, on the other hand, clines that role by removing itself from was suggested during the second phase the depository program. of scenario development. The primary motivations for pursuing One (Shifting Priorities). The library this scenario are economics, a space short- no longer considers the resources in the age, staffing, technology constraints, and depository collection as critical to meeting the availability of government resources its strategic directions. It is likely either to readily through the GPO’s portal, agency withdraw from the program or to main- homepages, and depository library Web The Federal Depository Library Program in 2023 359 sites. Increasingly, a number of library Three (Program Partner with the users prefer e-resources, so their use of GPO). Building on the concept of a physical collections is declining. Cost-ef- digital depository, the library enters into fective use of central campus space makes a formal partnership with the GPO; typi- storage of physical collections increasingly cally, partnerships have been formed to impractical. Operating costs, especially provide either permanent public access those relating to staff, continue to be evalu- to electronic content unavailable on GPO ated for savings and efficiencies. Access (current or historical content) or Two (Digital Depository without Con- new services to enhance the depository tent Creation). Because depository and program. Partnerships generally fall into other government information resources three categories and might lead to the for- are critical in meeting the university’s mal creation of shared collections among strategic initiatives, the library provides regionals in a state: a digital feed of government information 1. Content partnerships. Participants resources to its Web site, thereby becom- agree to assist the GPO by taking content, ing a portal for access to e-government storing it, and providing public access information resources. The library re- without any restrictions on redissemina- ceives, but does not create, digital content. tion. Content might be a certain type of Characterized as a digital depository, publication or the information resources albeit one perhaps with a historical print of defunct agencies. “In the event the collection (meaning it no longer selects partner is no longer able to provide free, any print or microfiche publications), the public access to this electronic informa- library purchases digitized collections tion, the partnership requires the agency and index search tools developed by the or library to transfer a copy of the content private sector. As a depository, it gains no to the GPO. The GPO will then make the fee access to selected services that federal content available either through GPO agencies offer, such as data from the Na- Access or in cooperation with another tional Weather Service. partner.” The primary motivations for pursuing 2. “Service partnerships. Partici- this scenario are a desire to expand the pants assist the GPO to provide enhanced investment in government information services… [to users through] depository resources (assuming that the investment libraries. These partnerships focus on has been quantified) beyond the equiva- repurposing GPO-provided informa- lent of print publications; to advance re- tion or on providing other services to search, teaching, and learning; to continue depository libraries and the public. These making an investment in information services may provide assistance to librar- technologies, ones that will enable the ians with administering their depository community served to take full advantage collections.” of e-government offerings; and to offer 3. “Hybrid partnerships. These partner- more resources through the library’s ships are a mixture of content and service homepage for remote access. There is partnerships. For example, providing recognition that knowledge creation may permanent public access to electronic require an infusion of varied offerings government information and offering a from government; thus, government service important to the administration information, mostly in digital form, is a of the depository collection or program.” strategic resource for the library. Further- Given the extent of document avail- more, given e-government and the extent ability through e-government, the library to which the GPO disseminates titles to wants to capture digital resources for depository libraries digitally, the library its community, to assist other libraries wants to capture digital resources critical in introducing new services, and to be to the community it serves. involved in a formal partnership rela- 360 College & Research Libraries July 2009 tionship. A content partnership includes tion, mostly in digital form, is a strategic the creation and maintenance of a dark resource for the library. Furthermore, given archive, which serves as a repository for e-government and the extent to which the fugitive government publications. Such GPO disseminates titles to depository libraries an archive can be used as a failsafe to digitally, the library wants to capture digital ensure that a permanent copy always ex- resources critical to the community it serves. ists. Anytime that a document is sought, If hub sites, or some other equivalent, however, the repository system duplicates a copy. are to emerge, Title 44, United States Code, (Note that if the dark archive exists with- chapter 19, will require revision. out any GPO involvement, the archive Four (Expanded Content Partner belongs in the next scenario.) without GPO Being a Partner). The li- A different type of content partnership brary collaborates with its (or the campus) involves the library as one of the few libraries center for digital initiatives on projects to in the nation willing to develop and preserve digitize current and historical collections a comprehensive, historical collection of print of government information resources government publications. Serving the entire in varied print and nonprint formats. geographical area, each hub conducts an in- Content is preserved and offered to the ventory of its collection and fills in gaps from communities served by more than the the holdings of other libraries in the region. local institution. Through the center, the Whenever there is a request, the library lends library digitizes government information the print copy so that the public can verify resources for faculty use in their classes the accuracy of content. As a consequence, the (placing content on course management library preserves, but does not create, content. software) and for student research, and Perhaps as part of the National Digital perhaps creates fee-based services for Information Infrastructure and Preserva- its clientele outside the institution. Thus, tion Program (NDIIPP), whose goal “is to this scenario involves extensive efforts to develop a national strategy to collect, archive raise the necessary resources to create col- and preserve the growing amounts of digital laborative projects that benefit the institu- content, especially materials that are created tion’s faculty and improve public access to only in digital formats, for current and future government information resources. As one generations” (www.digitalpreservation.gov/ value-added service, the library manipulates library/), the library—together with other government datasets through geographic in- partners—captures, manages, preserves, and formation systems (GISs) to create new data disseminates Web-based content of agreed-on and information for the university’s faculty government homepages on a recurring basis. and students as well as outside communities. The primary motivations for pursuing The library digitizes government infor- this scenario are a desire to expand the mation resources, contributes information investment in government information about digitizing projects to a clearinghouse resources (assuming that the investment on government information, participates in a has been quantified) beyond the equiva- consortium of libraries, and creates an equiva- lent of print publications; to advance re- lent of JSTOR, an archive of digital resources search, teaching, and learning; to continue in sequential order for which the library offers making an investment in information the entire set. The library, either alone or with technologies, ones that will enable the other libraries, might work with for-profit community served to take full advantage companies (such as Google™) in providing of e-government offerings; and to offer access to digitized documents. more resources through the library’s The library’s official designation as a homepage for remote access. There is rec- member of the GPO depository library ognition that knowledge creation may re- program becomes moot; in effect, the quire an infusion of varied offerings from library functions as a nonduplicative, government; thus, government informa- digital government information archive, The Federal Depository Library Program in 2023 361 access, and service center and does such technologies, ones that will enable the in collaboration with other libraries and community served to take full advantage perhaps providers existing outside the of e-government offerings; and to offer library community. Most likely those more resources through the library’s libraries pursuing this scenario would homepage for remote access. There is want to discuss the creation of a formal recognition that knowledge creation may partnership and cooperative venture to require an infusion of varied offerings ensure adequate bibliographic control from government; thus, government and public access. information, mostly in digital form, is a The primary motivations for pursuing strategic resource for the library. Further- this scenario are a desire to expand the more, given e-government and the extent investment in government information to which the GPO disseminates titles to resources (assuming that the investment depository libraries digitally, the library has been quantified) beyond the equiva- wants to capture digital resources critical lent of print publications; to advance re- to the university community. search, teaching, and learning; to continue Six (Multitype/Regional Partner- making an investment in information ships). A depository library—one par- technologies, ones that will enable the ticipating in scenario 3—functions as a community served to take full advantage service partner or node for other libraries of e-government offerings; and to offer in the area (such as public and school) to more resources through the library’s train staff to locate and retrieve govern- homepage for remote access. There is ment information—be it from the federal, recognition that knowledge creation may state, or local level—that their communi- require an infusion of varied offerings ties need. The library develops self-help from government; thus, government and educational services and materials, information, mostly in digital form, is a and it shares its resources with its node strategic resource for the library. partners. In signing agreements with Five (Global Digital Collector). Build- commercial vendors for their products ing from scenario 2, to meet the univer- and services, the library tries to represent sity’s strategic initiatives, the library re- the interests of its partners. In some cases, ceives digital content from more than the however, some resources may not be GPO. It purchases digitized collections shared. The purpose of this scenario is to covering resources of other countries, as link more people with appropriate content well as indexing and search tools devel- and not to digitize new content. oped by the private sector. On a selective The primary motivations for this sce- basis, the library obtains publications nario are political, legal, economic, civic, from the Web sites of government bod- and educational. The goal is to enable ies—be they from other governments or all libraries and any interested members international organizations. Most likely, of the public to learn about the role and the library provides a digital feed for gov- value of government information and to ernment digital resources to its depository be able to locate and retrieve needed in- Web site, thereby becoming a portal for formation. Because this scenario requires e-government information resources. congressional and presidential support, The primary motivations for pursuing passage of any legislation must compete this scenario are a desire to expand the with other national priorities and requires investment in government information broad support within Congress and the resources (assuming that the investment appropriate committees, including the has been quantified) beyond the equiva- appropriations committees. It may be lent of print publications; to advance re- that the participating and cooperating search, teaching, and learning; to continue libraries cannot fully underwrite the obli- making an investment in information gations that this scenario implies. Clearly, 362 College & Research Libraries July 2009 achievement of this scenario requires the state, she would not recognize an strong and effective leadership from the obligation to the selectives and would GPO and JCP. consider surrendering depository status and returning the collection to the GPO. Discussion Desire for Digital Access. The directors Analysis of Director Commentaries prefer digital access, which aligns with The commentaries group into the fol- user needs and expectations and reduces lowing categories: some imprecision in the amount of physical space required for deciding on a scenario; a desire for digital storage of print documents. Several direc- access; alternative scenarios; an emphasis tors look forward to a time when they on streamlining collections and services; can “dump the print.” Declaring “digital negative opinions of the GPO, JCP, and forward,” one director asks, “Why should documents librarians; an interest in cre- I treat government publications differ- ating or furthering partnerships among ent from other resources?” He notes the libraries; and an acknowledgement of library’s commitment to e-resources as a the burdens—in terms of space, budget, cost-effective effort (saving shelf space, pro- and workflow—created by participation cessing and other costs, and meeting user in the program. needs and preferences). He underscores Imprecision in Deciding on a Sce- that a print collection, be it in documents nario. Although the directors selected a or other, is “dying” given the shifting in- scenario (see Table 1), some are unable formation-seeking patterns of the constitu- to place their institution fully in it. The ency served. He points to the infrequent reasons are that they might like certain use of the print documents collection and features of another scenario, they might to the dramatic decline in statistics relating see their institution as falling between to amount of general titles borrowed and two scenarios, or they might question the the number of general reference questions ability of the institution to support the sce- asked. On the other hand, the number of nario they selected on a broad basis or the people in the building is at an all-time high. likelihood that Title 44, United States Code, There is a difference of opinion about Chapter 19, will be rewritten to make their whether all historical print documents choice realistic. For example, one director will be digitized by 2023 and whether would like to function fully within scenar- such an occurrence will remove the need io 4 (expanded content partner without to retain legacy print collections. Several GPO involvement). Unless Chapter 19 is participants question who would set the revised, he suspects that libraries may be standards for digitization and product unwilling to pursue content and service quality, and they note the heavy cost partnerships that do not involve the GPO. in terms of equipment, time, and staff The library, he foresees, will remain in the involved in creating a collection on par depository library program but is likely to with JSTOR. One director, in particular, seek additional partnerships on its own expresses a concern over whether host since so much government information libraries would have any input on the continues to elude capture by the GPO. preservation standards. While the move Such partnerships might emerge from to digital access is preferred overall, direc- developing relationships with federal tors also stress the importance of some agencies, which he is willing to do. libraries creating paper copy for backup Another director sees regional status and preservation purposes in case the as holding the library back from adopting accuracy of content is ever questioned. scenario 4, which she favors. The library Two directors emphasize the need to retains its regional status in an effort to archive a set of documents to be sure one assist the selective depositories in the permanent copy always exists, with one state. If there were another regional in referencing CLOCKSS. The Federal Depository Library Program in 2023 363 Related to concerns about the quality of to define the depository library program digital access are concerns of scope. Those by a finite number of libraries. Currently, interviewed note the growing difficulty of the vast majority of documents are issued creating comprehensive collections and electronically, meaning that any library capturing content as more government could and should become a portal for gov- agencies bypass the GPO and publish ernment information. Although historical documents directly to the Web. These collections are still largely available only directors wonder how they could cast in print, this director foresees the possi- a wide enough net to be sure that they bility of a JSTOR-like digitization project. were finding the necessary information While she believes such a project could be resources that are not being collected and developed, she underscores the need for distributed by the GPO, or whether, after stronger and more aggressive leadership years of narrowing coverage, the GPO from the government, in particular GPO, might try to expand its scope in the future. to support and initiate the project, and to If not, at least one director expressed con- set the standards for the collection. cern about “the level of effort required for Most important, however, this director access to a shrinking collection of docu- feels service is a more pressing concern ments.” Further, some directors worried than collection building or access. In- about the costs that could be associated stead of designating certain libraries as with having to procure government docu- portals, as has been done historically, all ments from a private entity. libraries should have access to govern- Alternative Scenarios. The directors ment documents. Additionally, libraries believe that the emerging set of scenarios should concentrate on developing “ser- offers a good foundation for discussing vice nodes,” with libraries of different key issues and for developing a dialogue types (academic, public, and school) with the GPO and other interested par- working together to maintain a trained ties. Three of them, however, request ad- staff who can assist patrons in finding ditional scenarios. The first director notes and accessing information without the that the university has a global presence need for referrals to dedicated libraries. with campuses in different countries that She envisioned a “hub of operators” or offer programs in such areas as business “triage of services.” This system would and foreign service. Given this situation, allow for service responsibilities to be she wants to remain in the depository shared across all types of libraries and program and to see a scenario that goes would focus on packaging self-help and beyond the GPO program and has global educational services and materials. Such dimensions. Her preference is for digital a system could link people to content and documents, and she points out that, upon “make services findable, deliverable,” request, the library uploads microfiche again without relying on limited numbers to the desktop for faculty and students. of institutions. The library is willing to acquire digital Instead of looking at a set of scenarios documents from government homepages that help make the transition to a new or packages offered by the private sector. future, the third director prefers to focus Thus, the scenario she envisions is similar on the “endgame” or what will result to the second one but with a global focus. from that transition. Within the next 10 The second director, who sees all of to 15 years, he (and some of the other the choices as too limited, refrained from directors concur) expects all government choosing one of the scenarios. While publications, both present and past, to indicating a strong belief in the necessity be available digitally. He thinks that of disseminating government informa- Google™ and the commercial sector will tion to create an informed citizenry, she play a major role in achieving this goal. feels it is no longer necessary or useful For him, the endgame will be a virtual de- 364 College & Research Libraries July 2009 pository network in which libraries play a One option proposed for streamlining central role. The libraries at the forefront collections is for a depository serving an of the program (large public, state, and entire census division or region of the ARL libraries) will have comprehensive country to retain a comprehensive print collections; they will acquire digital collection, allowing others to borrow publications from government entities, needed titles. Instead of creating such de- preserve them, and make them available positories, there might be a dark archive for the general public. The public will that provides access to permanent copies. benefit from the access tools these service Increased digitization should also allow centers create. a move away from “individual, unique One director, who disagrees with collections” to a framework that enables the “endgame” scenario, believes that access to the same information from all it will take “many years” for everything locations. However, as different directors to be digitized and captured, organized, note, efficient solutions may require revi- prepared for general use, and preserved. sion of Chapter 19. She thinks that capturing the “vast” and Negative Opinion of the GPO, JCP, diverse content of agency homepages will and Documents Librarians. The direc- present a major challenge for scenarios tors selecting scenarios 3 and 4 tend to 3 (content partner with the GPO) and 4 characterize the GPO and the JCP as (expanded content partner not involving impediments to progress rather than as the GPO). She also questions digitiza- potential partners, pointing specifically to tion projects such as the one through the JCP’s refusal to support the memoran- Google™. She notes that they are only dum of understanding between Nebraska digitizing material of a standard size, and Kansas.25 The impression is that the whereas government publications appear GPO does not provide leadership and in a wide variety of sizes. Further, she no longer seeks to get to know member questions the preservation quality of the libraries and their strategic priorities. products and whether libraries will have Indeed, one director went so far as to adequate capability to view documents envision removing the GPO “from the and appendices printed in a very small equation” altogether. This feeling is espe- font size. cially strong among most of the directors Streamlining Collections and Ser- overseeing regional collections. vices. Many directors comment on the Although some directors believe they amount of space that government docu- have “forward-thinking” documents li- ments require in their print form. One brarians, others feel the opposite. As the of them, for instance, reports that the director of a regional depository explains, documents collection currently occu- “the more that directors know about the pies 15,600 feet of shelving space, with program and a library’s responsibilities, 12 new shelves of material added each the less likely documents librarians can year. Some report storage on compact bluff about the legal obligations and seek shelving, and one is planning on mov- to maintain the status quo.” ing the entire documents collection to Creating or Furthering Partnerships. a separate, though nearby, facility with Some directors speak of extending the robotic shelving. Recognizing that cut- idea of collection partnerships to service ting back on the size of the current col- partnerships such as those envisioned lection might require revision of current by the director recommending scenario statutory law, some directors would like 6 (multitype/regional partnerships). In to pursue cooperative collection devel- particular, such partnerships could take opment policies that would reduce the advantage of increased digital access and number of duplicate titles held among reduce referrals among depository librar- “cooperative partners.” ies by increasing and improving direct The Federal Depository Library Program in 2023 365 service to patrons. Some participants hint of reports, which create “a substantial that the GPO could become marginalized administrative cost to the institution.” if the program evolved in this direction, Another director stresses that regional de- unless it works to develop “the service positories must review publications that side.” selective depositories in the state want Given the issues associated with eco- to discard. The number of items subject nomics of scale for digital storage, two to review has dramatically increased as directors pledged a willingness to con- libraries prefer digital over print hold- tribute financially to a cooperative storage ings. As a result, many regionals face program. As they note, their universities significant backlogs as their staff struggle are not in a position to provide digital to keep up with the current demand. storage, including file backup. Despite widespread acknowledgement One director favoring the third sce- of these burdens, only four directors con- nario (content partner with the GPO) sider withdrawing from the program en- expresses a willingness for the library to tirely. They note other depository libraries serve the entire geographical region and in close proximity, infrequent use of the maintain a print copy (copy of last resort) collection, and a need to convert the space so that other libraries could become more to other purposes. One of these directors selective in their print holdings. She does mentions that only congressional reports not favor the copy of last resort residing receive heavy use. Once all of these pub- digitally and is willing to catalog all print lications are available digitally, he points publications so that other libraries know out, there will be no need to remain in what they have. The problem is that the the program. The library is willing to staff would have to conduct an inventory surrender any documents so requested to determine how many of the items, by the GPO. Access to digital documents including the historical ones, actually is an insufficient reason to stay in the reside in the collection and are in good program. He adds, “The directors I talk condition. Such an inventory, she projects, to all want to get rid of the [depository] could cost up to $4 million, which they do collection and drop out of the program as not have; the GPO is unlikely to provide soon as possible.” the necessary funding. By 2023, the director believes, the li- Burden of Membership in the Pro- brary will be able to obtain needed digital gram. The burden of participation in documents elsewhere without reliance the program, including that of cost, is a on membership in the program, such recurring theme. One director suggests as directly from departments, agencies, that the cost of being a regional varies and congressional committees, or from from $300,000 to $600,000 per year. The the private sector. He recognizes that collection contains approximately 200,000 government bodies do not preserve all volumes, and the per-volume cost ranges of their publications and that they might between $2.00 and $3.00; this amount withdraw or withhold titles from public includes space, staff, shelf maintenance, purview. Monitoring this situation and dusting, and other maintenance costs. She seeking remedies to offset such difficul- also reminds other institutions about the ties, however, “is not a role we see for cost of quitting the program: removing ourselves.” titles from the collection and returning Finally, several directors predict that, them to the GPO. within the next 15 years, they would Other concerns include the strain on cease to employ separate, dedicated budget and workload associated with government documents librarians. They occasional audits done by the GPO. Such assume the specialized knowledge will audits involve preparation, including be passed to reference librarians. If the the gathering of statistics and generating separate documents collection remains, 366 College & Research Libraries July 2009 it will be an open space that is unstaffed. or alteration. As several directors note, A few respondents, however, do see a such activities make it difficult, if not continuation of the separate collection impossible, to create a comprehensive that a documents staff oversees. collection. Other Opinions. The study does not Future scenarios might include a fuller probe the value that directors place on range of activities associated with e-gov- government information. Still, it is clear ernment, namely information access, ser- that a number of them consider such vice delivery, procurement, e-compliance, information invaluable in meeting their governance (citizen engagement and mission, want digitization to continue, participation), emergency response, and and are willing to support it through e-commerce.27 Those scenarios should digitization projects, provide financial address more than ARL academic librar- and technological support, contribute to ies (other academic libraries, including a dark archive for retaining print hold- accredited law school libraries; public, ings, and perhaps assist with cataloging federal, state, court of law, and other of documents. They see the value of Web member libraries), and they need to rec- 2.0 and having metadata that will enhance ognize the impact of operative law such public access in the future. as the cost for removing massive numbers of print documents from collections and The Scenarios returning them to the GPO if depository This study neither directly addresses status is surrendered. whether the depository program itself Finally, by 2023, there might be a new will exist fifteen years hence nor offers future that involves a decentralized net- a vision of what future will emerge after work of libraries. There might, however, 2023. To make such determinations, the be other futures. Alternatives might in- set of scenarios and the corresponding clude a centralized storage facility within interviews would have to be expanded government and decentralized service and include, for instance, participants outlets (such as libraries) or some other from the GPO and the JCP. Such discus- unforeseen option that addresses the full sions could identify major changes to the array of information resources now dis- depository program, ones that require seminated on government homepages. revision of statutory law as written in the 1962 Depository Library Act. Conclusion At this time the GPO would like to The type of research reported in this be known “as the trusted information article has value to strategic planning disseminator” and as the provider of for member and nonmember libraries electronic documents that have “not been in the program, as well as the GPO and altered since [the] GPO disseminated ... Congress, as the amount and types of [them].”26 As noted in the background government information resources (such section, the executive and legislative as photographic collections, datasets, branches and, to a lesser extent, the and unpublished records) and services judicial branch are placing more digital available through e-government, the resources—far more than the print pub- private sector, and the digitizing projects lications traditionally distributed to de- of the GPO and others increase. Because pository libraries—on their homepages. government Web sites comprise federal Such developments have implications for records, the content so deemed by NARA any partnership involving the NDIIPP, as needs to be preserved. Libraries can as- government entities often do not retain all sist in this endeavor through scenarios resources permanently on their homep- 3 and 4 by identifying, preserving, and ages, and content can be difficult to find making the content of those Web sites and can be subject to removal, redacting, available. The Federal Depository Library Program in 2023 367 Any further revisions of the scenarios currently reflects their situation to the presented here, however, might incor- one they prefer, there needs to be dis- porate print and digital resources avail- cussion of the “endgame.” What types able from different levels of government of services will libraries offer up to (including state, regional, and local, to and after 2023? Will libraries or other name three). Still, libraries might select providers—perhaps e-government—be- elements of different scenarios, thereby come the dominant service outlets for creating a hybrid. As libraries continue the public at large and local community their transition from the scenario that groups? Notes 1. Culver H. Smith, The Press, Politics, and Patronage: The American Government’s Use of News- papers, 1789–1875 (Athens, Ga.: The University of Georgia Press, 1977), xi. See also Peter Hernon and Harold C. Relyea, “Information Policy,” in Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science, ed. Miriam A. Drake (New York: Marcel Dekker, Inc., 2003), vol. 2, 1300–15. 2. See Peter Hernon, Charles R. McClure, and Gary R. Purcell, GPO’s Depository Library Program: A Descriptive Analysis (Norwood, N.J.: Ablex, 1985), chap. 1. 3. Jeffrey W. Seifert, “E-government in the United States,” in Comparative Perspectives on E-government: Serving Today and Building for Tomorrow, ed. Peter Hernon, Rowena Cullen, and Harold C. Relyea (Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 2006), 28. 4. The only major exception is the Bureau of Indian Affairs in the Department of Interior. Its homepage has been closed since December 2001 as part of a court order regarding mismanage- ment of funds owed to American Indians (see www.doi.gov/bia/). 5. See, for instance, Bernard M. Fry, Government Publications: Their Role in the National Program for Library and Information Services (Washington, D.C.: National Commission on Libraries and Information Science, 1978). 6. Leigh Estabrook, Evans Witt, and Lee Raine, How People Use the Internet, Libraries, and Govern- ment Agencies (Urbana, Ill.: University of Illinois Urbana, and the Pew Internet and American Life Project, December 2007). Available online at http://pewinternet.org/pdfs/Pew_UI_LibrariesReport. pdf. [Accessed 4 February 2008]. For discussions of the use of e-government services in public libraries, see Florida State University, College of Information, Information Use Management and Policy Institute, available online at www.ii.fsu.edu/ [accessed 14 February 2008]; Information Use Management and Policy Institute, E-government and Public Libraries: Current Status, Meeting Report, Findings, and Next Steps (Tallahassee, Fla.: Florida State University, 2007), available online at www.ii.fsu.edu/announcements/e-gov2006/egov_report.pdf [accessed 14 February 2008]. 7. Rowena Cullen and Peter Hernon, Wired for Well-being: Citizens’ Response to E-government (Wellington, New Zealand: State Services Commission, E-government Unit, 2004). Available online at www.e.govt.nz/resources/research/vuw-report-200406. [Accessed 4 February 2008]. 8. See “Symposium on Federal Depository Libraries: Challenges and Opportunities for the 21st Century,” eds. John A. Shuler and Gary Cornwell, Government Information Quarterly 15, no. 1 (1998): 1–86. 9. Judith Russell, “Future Directions of the Depository Library Program,” 142nd ARL Mem- bership Meeting Federal Relations Luncheon (May 15, 2003). Available online at www.arl.org/ resources/pubs/mmproceedings/142mmrussell~print.shtml. [Accessed 6 February 2008]. See also Ted Priebe, Amy Welch, Marian MacGilvray, “The U.S. Government Printing Office’s Initiatives for the Federal Depository Library Program to Set the Stage for the 21st Century,” Government Information Quarterly 25 (2008): 48–56. 10. Prudence S. Adler, “Rethinking the Federal Depository Library Program,” ARL: A Bimonthly Report, no. 229 (Aug. 2003): 8. Available online at www.arl.org/ressources/pubs/br/br229/br229fdlp. shtml. [Accessed 22 March 2008]. The mean cost of being a depository library is $345,000; see www.ala.org/ala/alonline/mwreports/mid2004.cfm [accessed March 22, 2008]. 11. Depository Library Council, “2021: A Depository Odyssey” (2006). Available online at http://dlcvisionoutline.blogspot.com/. [Accessed 1 August 2008]. 12. Amy Kohrman, “CLOCKSS Works,” Speaking of Computers: An E-newsletter for the Stanford Academic Community 77 (Apr. 15, 2008). Available online at http://speaking.stanford.edu/highlights/ CLOCKSS_Works.html. [Accessed 18 April 2008]. 13. Depository Library Council to the Public Printer, “Knowledge Will Forever Govern: A Vision Statement for Federal Depository Libraries in the 21st Century” (2006). Available online 368 College & Research Libraries July 2009 at www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/fdlp/council/dlcvision092906.pdf. [Accessed 6 February 6, 2008]. 14. Depository Library Council to the Public Printer, “The Federal Government Information Environment of the 21st Century: Towards a Vision Statement and Plan of Action for Federal Depository Libraries—Discussion Paper” (Sept. 2005). Available online at www.access.gpo.gov/ su_docs/fdlp/pubs/dlc_vision_09_02_2005.pdf. [Accessed 6 February 2008]. 15. Ibid. It should be noted that the estimate of 712,000 users does not correspond to the source cited. That source estimates the number of users of academic and public depository libraries at 167,000 for a typical week (defined as a choice of selected weeks in the fall). The research design does not permit conversion of a number into a monthly estimate. Therefore, the calculation that yielded 712,000 has never been explained. Furthermore, the data were compiled in 1989, before the introduction of e-government. See Charles McClure and Peter Hernon, Users of Academic and Public GPO Depository Libraries (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1989), ix. 16. The legal obligations of a depository library are specified in title 44, United States Code, chapter 19, and in the Federal Depository Handbook, available online at www.fdlp.gov/handbook/ index.html [accessed 21 October 2008]. 17. Government Printing Office, Regional Depository Libraries in the 21st Century: A Time for Change? (draft) (Washington, D.C.: GPO, 2008). Available online at www.fdlp.gov/regionals/study. html. [Accessed 16 October 2008]. It should be noted that the survey highlighted in this report took place at the same time we conducted the first set of interviews. Some directors mentioned that survey during their interviews. 18. Ibid., 10. 19. Their remarks are largely found in documents available from the DLC and summaries of ARL programs. 20. Depository Library Council to the Public Printer, “The Federal Government Information Environment of the 21st Century.” 21. Joseph P. Martino, “The Precision of Delphi Estimates,” Technological Forecasting 1, no. 3 (1970): 293–99. 22. Duane E. Webster, “Scenarios for Contemplating Research Library Futures,” reconceived in July for use in the UCLA Senior Fellows Program (unpublished). 23. Dana Mietzner and Guido Reger, “Advantages and Disadvantages of Scenario Approaches for Strategic Foresight,” International Journal of Technology Intelligence and Planning 1, no. 2 (2005), 233. Available online at www.lampsacus.com/documents/StragegicForesight.pdf. [Accessed 16 October 2008]. They also note the weaknesses in developing scenarios. 24. One of the few relevant studies is Robert E. Dugan and Ellen M. Dodsworth, “Costing Out a Depository Library: What Free Government Information?” Government Information Quarterly 11, no. 3 (1994): 261–84. 25. The JCP based its decision not to support the memorandum of understanding based on an interpretation provided by the CRS’s American Law Division. For a copy of that interpretation, see Government Printing Office, Regional Depository Libraries in the 21st Century. 26. GPO Access, “Authentication.” Available online at www.gpoaccess.gov/authentication/ index.html. [Accessed 8 April 2008]. 27. Peter Hernon and Rowena Cullen, “E-government: Transforming Government,” in Com- parative Perspectives on E-government: Serving Today and Building for Tomorrow, ed. Peter Hernon, Rowena Cullen, and Harold C. Relyea (Lanham, MD: Scarecrow press, 2006), 6. The Federal Depository Library Program in 2023 369 Appendix: Initial Set of Scenarios One (Shifting Priorities) veloped by the private sector. As a depository, The library no longer considers the resources it gains no-fee access to such selected services in the depository collection as critical to meet- that federal agencies offer as data from the ing its strategic directions. It is likely either to National Weather Service. withdraw from the program or to maintain a The primary motivations for pursuing this very limited role, one that enables the library scenario are a desire to expand the investment to retain the resources in that collection (not in government information resources (assum- have to return them to the GPO). Either way, the ing that the investment has been quantified) collection, which will not add any more paper beyond the equivalent of print publications; copy to it, might be moved to another location to advance research, teaching, and learning; in the library and the freed-up space used for to continue making an investment in informa- other purposes. The general public service staff tion technologies, ones that will enable the will provide any needed information services community served to take full advantage of for government information. When such servic- e-government offerings; and to offer more es are inadequate, the university’s community resources through the library’s homepage will be referred to another depository library, for remote access. There is recognition that probably the nearest regional. In effect, the knowledge creation may require an infusion of library serves as a steward for the publications varied offerings from government; thus, gov- it already has or declines that role by removing ernment information, mostly in digital form, is itself from the depository program. a strategic resource for the library. Furthermore, The primary motivations for pursuing this given e-government and the extent to which the scenario are economics and space, staffing, GPO disseminates titles to depository libraries technology constraints, and the availability digitally, the library wants to capture digital of government resources readily through the resources critical to the community it serves. GPO’s portal, agency homepages, and deposi- tory library Web sites. Increasingly, a number of Three (Program Partner with the GPO) library users prefer e-resources, and their use of Building on the concept of a digital depository, physical collections is declining. Cost-effective the library enters into a formal partnership use of central campus space makes storage of with the GPO; typically, partnerships have physical collections increasingly impractical. been formed to provide either permanent Operating costs, especially those relating to public access to electronic content unavailable staff, continue to be evaluated for savings and on GPO Access (current or historical content) efficiencies. or new services to enhance the depository program. Partnerships generally fall into three Two (Digital Depository without categories: Content Creation) 1. “Content partnerships. Participants agree Because depository and other government to provide storage capacity and user access information resources are critical in meeting without restrictions on redissemination. In the the library’s strategic initiatives, the library event that partner is no longer able to provide provides a digital feed of government in- free, public access to this electronic informa- formation resources to its Web site, thereby tion, the partnership requires the agency or becoming a portal for access to e-government library to transfer a copy of the content to the information resources. The library receives, GPO. The GPO will then make the content but does not create, digital content. Character- available either through GPO Access or in ized as a digital depository, albeit one perhaps cooperation with another partner.” with a historical print collection—meaning 2. “Service partnerships. Participants assist it no longer selects any print or microfiche the GPO to provide enhanced services… [to publications, the library purchases digitized users through] depository libraries. These part- collections and indexing and search tools de- nerships focus on repurposing GPO-provided 370 College & Research Libraries July 2009 information or on providing other services to Four (Expanded Content Partner) depository libraries and the public. These ser- Building on the concept of a content partner, vices may provide assistance to librarians with the library collaborates with its (or the campus) administering their depository collections.” center for digital initiatives on projects to digitize 3. “Hybrid partnerships. These partnerships current and historical collections of government are a mixture of content and service partner- information resources in varied print and non- ships. For example, providing permanent print formats. Content is preserved and offered public access to electronic government infor- to the communities served by more than the mation and offering a service important to the local institution. Through the center, the library administration of the depository collection or digitizes government information resources for program” (see www.fdlp.gov/partnerships/ faculty use in their classes (placing content on about.html). course management software) and perhaps cre- The goal is to be of assistance to users of ates fee-based services for its clientele outside the your and other depository collections as well institution. Thus, this scenario involves extensive as users of nondepository collections. efforts to raise the necessary resources to create The documents staff, together with other collaborative projects that benefit the institution’s librarians engaged in the information literacy faculty and the depository program itself. As one program, assume an expanded instructional value-added service for its community of users role (full integration with the library’s informa- as well as those of other depositories, the library tion literacy program). Depository services, manipulates government datasets, perhaps on a as a result, are linked to the library’s general fee basis, through geographic information sys- effort to assess student learning outcomes at tems (GISs), to create new data and information. an institutional or program level. The purpose The library also creates an equivalent of is to measure changes in students themselves JSTOR, an archive of digital resources in se- brought about by their college experience and quential order for which the library offers the exposure to the library and its vast resources, entire set. The library’s official designation including those offered by government. as a member of the GPO depository library The primary motivations for pursuing this program becomes moot; in effect, the library scenario are a desire to expand the investment functions as a government information archive in government information resources (assum- and access center. ing that the investment has been quantified) The primary motivations for pursuing this beyond the equivalent of print publications; scenario are a desire to expand the investment to advance research, teaching, and learning; in government information resources (assuming to continue making an investment in infor- that the investment has been quantified) beyond mation technologies, ones that will enable the equivalent of print publications; to advance the community served to take full advantage research, teaching, and learning; to continue of e-government offerings; and to offer more making an investment in information tech- resources through the library’s homepage for nologies, ones that will enable the community remote access. There is recognition that knowl- served to take full advantage of e-government edge creation may require an infusion of varied offerings; and to offer more resources through offerings from government; thus, government the library’s homepage for remote access. There information, mostly in digital form, is a strate- is recognition that knowledge creation may gic resource for the library. require an infusion of varied offerings from gov- The library is a community repository and ernment; thus, government information, mostly digital archives for other libraries. In sum- in digital form, is a strategic resource for the mary, given the extent of document availability library. Given the application of e-government through e-government, the library wants to and the extent to which the GPO disseminates capture digital resources for its community, titles to depository libraries digitally, the library to assist other libraries in introducing new also wants to capture digital resources for its services, and to be involved in a formal partner- community and to assist other depository librar- ship relationship. ies in introducing new services.
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