Providing Access to Government Information: A Survey of the Federal Depository Library Community
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The mission of the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) is to provide free, permanent public access to federal government information now and for future generations. In the 20th century, depository libraries received tangible materials, in mostly print format, creating what is now often called the legacy collection. Currently the majority of government information is distributed in a born-digital format, sometimes with multiple avenues to online information through government agencies themselves and repositories collecting and digitizing materials. How are Federal Depository Libraries curating their government information collections, both tangible and digital? This study investigated what depository libraries are doing regarding collection development and how they are dealing with permanent access issues, weeding, and preservation. The goal of this article is to uncover issues that need to be addressed by the government information community as a whole, since libraries in the FDLP collaborate in order to provide citizens access to government information. Findings from this survey include a community focused on preserving born-digital information and a commitment to the FDLP mission of free, permanent public access to government information.
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