JUNE 1997

Table of Contents

  1. Public Printer Testifies that FDLP Continues to Be Needed
  2. Warner Warns of a Growing Crisis in Public Access to Government Information
  3. GOVNEWS Project Takes Democracy into Cyberspace
  4. CENSTATS Update
  5. CENSTATS Available Free to Depository Libraries
  6. Legislative Hotline Directory
  7. Law Library of Congress and the National Digital Library Program
  8. Government Secrecy Report Released
  9. It Could Be Worse!
  10. 2000 Census News
  11. Next Census May Count Mixed-Race Americans
  12. Supreme Court Refuses To Hear "Course Pack" Copyright Case
  13. Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress
    Officially Reopens on May 1
  14. Five Small Colleges Create A Cooperative
    Government Documents Web Site
  15. NARA's Digital Classroom Expands
  16. Gore Plugs Libraries as Internet Access Points
  17. 1997 DCL and FDC Meeting Summary
  18. AALL Government Relations Committee Report
  19. Vigdor Schriebman Comments on Title 44 Revision


In prepared statements before the Joint Committee on Printing on Oversight of the Government Printing Office on March 13, GPO's Michael F. Dimario, Public Printer; Wayne Kelley, Superintendent of Documents and T.C. Evans, Acting Director of the Office of Electronic Information Dissemination Service, spoke of the wide array of product and dissemination services that GPO provides. (The statements can be found at

DiMario asserted that the Federal Depository Library Program continues to be needed even if federal agencies are putting information on the Internet. "The FDLP is not a library program; e.g., it does not function like the Library of Congress, although one small component, the Cataloging and Indexing Program, carries out a library-related function pursuant to law. The majority of the FDLP, however, is dedicated to the dissemination of publications and information products to the public through depository libraries, he said."

He stressed the issue of fugitive documents publications produced by the government that belong in the FDLP but fail to be included. "Their absence from depository library collections impairs effective public access to Government information."

DiMario also addressed GPO's progress to date in providing "about 50 percent of FDLP information electronically" by the end of FY98, as outlined in the final report, Study to Identify Measures Necessary for a Successful Transition to a More Electronic Federal Depository Library Program, submitted to Congress in June 1996.

"At the bottom line, our programs reduce the need for duplicative and costly production facilities throughout the Government, achieve significant taxpayer savings through a centralized procurement system, and enhance public access to Government information, an increasingly vital resource in the Information Age," he said.

During an organizational meeting before the hearing, Sen. John Warner (R-VA) and Rep. William Thomas (R-CA) were elected, respectively, Chair and Vice Chair of the Joint Committee on Printing.

Source: ALAWON, Vol. 6, no. 24, April 7, 1997.


In a speech on the Senate floor, Sen. John Warner (R-VA), chair of the Joint Committee on Printing, said that chief among JCP's priorities are reform of Title 44 of the United States Code, and retention of public access to information created by the Federal Government at taxpayer expense (see February 27 Congressional Record, pp. S1730-1).

Warner said that currently, the Government Printing Office is charged under Title 44 with the management of the federal government's procurement of information products and with the maintenance of the public's access to these products through the Federal Depository Library System, the GPO Bookstore Program, and GPO Access. He then went on to point out a major problem in the way many federal agencies are meeting their obligations to disseminate government information to the public.

He announced two days of hearings in the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration on legislation to correct this situation and to reform other areas of Title 44. He also placed in the Congressional Record the remarks made by Superintendent of Documents Wayne Kelley on February 15 to ALA's Government Documents Round Table at ALA's Midwinter Meeting.

Kelley provided specific details of the growing trend to transfer federal government information from the public domain to private ownership and the detrimental effect on the American public. Kelley concluded his remarks by urging a debate on these issues. In addition to the Congressional Record, Kelley's remarks can be found on GPO Access

Source: ALAWON, Vol. 6, no. 24, April 7, 1997.


The International GovNews Project has announced a special government category on the Internet's Usenet news system. The creation of this new category lays the groundwork for the wide, cost-effective electronic dissemination and discussion by topic of large amounts of public government information.

Through the Usenet system, GovNews will be distributed through thousands of linked Internet servers throughout the U.S. and the world. Millions of people will now be able to follow and comment on government activity in selected areas of interest without extensive surfing on the Web. Schools, businesses and households, without powerful computers and high-speed connections, will now be able to use less complex systems to get rapid access to federal agency information through newsgroup servers located right in their own communities.

The project is the result of a collaborative effort between international public and private sector volunteers seeking to make government more open and accessible to the people.

"The U.S. government is taking a leadership role in providing a technology that could change the face of democracy around the world," said Vice President Al Gore in a letter about the effort.

Usenet news is a broadcast technology somewhat analogous to the Associated Press (AP) newswire service. Reporters from the AP or from newspapers supply information to the AP network which is in turn redistributed by newspapers across the country. Likewise, messages sent to Usenet from authorized sources or from individual users are broadcast to more than 200,000 servers worldwide which in turn supply messages to tens of millions of individual users.

"If the World Wide Web is the Internet's library, Usenet is its newspaper," said Preston Rich, NSF's FinanceNet Executive Director and leader of the International GovNews Project sponsored by the U.S. Chief Financial Officers Council. "For the first time, the GovNews newsgroups on Usenet will facilitate the delivery of government information to your cyberspace doorstep."

According to Rich, official notices, news, announcements, reports and publications from government agencies will be sent to a beginning set of more than 200 new specialized newsgroups.

"The newsgroups are logically organized by topic from privatization, procurements and emergency alerts to toxic waste and marine resources, and include the capability to discuss such information," he said. "GovNews is just keystrokes away."

While active on the World Wide Web for some time, governments have not until now been able to use the special advantages of the Usenet system. The strength of Usenet has been its capability to rapidly deliver important new information, news and announcements, organized by topic, direct to users through a wide network of Internet servers. Usenet also provides an efficient forum for public discussions on topics of interest.

In addition to the efficient dissemination of government news by topic, GovNews also opens new opportunities for developing public participation and discussion of government news by topic, while providing for important citizen feedback to government administrators.

"GovNews can be today's
town meeting,' where it is easy for anyone to participate," Rich said.

For more information, see: Also see for a list of major US Government serial publications now being broadcast in the new government newsgroups.

Source : Beth Gaston, (E-mail:, Telephone: (703) 306-1070), National Science Foundation News, NSF PR 97-22, March 17, 1997.


In the September 1996 issue of RED TAPE, in the Odds and Ends Section, it was reported that the U.S. Bureau of the Census would be offering for a limited time free access to many of its published statistical series through CENSTATS (

According to Bruce Maxwell, author of How to Access the Federal Government on the Internet "it's my understanding that contrary to earlier plans, the Census Bureau will not charge fees for access to the more than 1,000 full-text documents located in the CenStats section of the site. However, it will charge for accessing some online CD-ROMs. A single-user account to access the CD-ROMs will cost $40 for three months or $125 for a full year. Site licenses also are available.

The fee-based portion of CenStats is supposed to go online Thursday, March 20.

Source : Bruce Maxwell,, GOVDOC-L, March 20, 1997.

(5) CENSTATS Available Free to Depository Libraries

The Census Bureau is providing free depository access to the new online paid database, Censtats. Temporary passwords have been set up to allow depository libraries access to this new system. Libraries may allow multiple users on the database as long as the users are accessing the database from the library. For libraries with more than one branch or unit in the system, the depository librarian must make a choice. Please contact your regional library for the temporary password for your library, or contact me by electronic mail at the address listed below. Remember this password is temporary; the permanent password registration information will be available shortly.

Federal Depository Libraries in Michigan should contact Charley Pelkey, Library of Michigan , (E-mail:; for their account number and password.

Source: Robin Haun-Mohamed, Library Programs Service (SLLA), U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20401; Email:; Telephone: (202) 512-1071; Fax: (202) 512-0877; GOVDOC-L, March 27, 1997 and Charley Pelkey, Library of Michigan, P. O. Box 30007, Lansing, MI 48909; E-mail:; Telephone : (517) 373-3033; Fax: (517) 373-9438; GOVDOC-M, March 27, 1997.


The "Legislative Hotline Directory" is an excerpt from a larger publication, the 1997 State Legislative Sourcebook, published by Government Research Service.

Provided below are the regular telephone numbers to call for legislative bill status information in each of the fifty states. In-state, toll-free "800" numbers are also listed for those states that have them. Toll-free numbers are generally active only during legislative sessions.

In North Dakota, bill status numbers change from session to session, so the number provided is the state switchboard, which can provide bill status numbers used during a session.

Alabama: (334) 242-7627 (House), (334) 242-7826 (Senate)
Alaska: (907) 465-4648
Arizona: (602) 542-4221 (House), (602) 542-3559 (Senate)
Arkansas: (501) 682-7771 (House), (501) 682-2902 (Senate)
California: (916) 445-3614 (House),(916) 445-4251 (Senate)
Colorado: (303) 866-3055 (sessions), (303) 866-3521 (between sessions)
Connecticut: (860) 566-5736
Delaware: (302) 739-4114, (800) 282-8545
Florida: (904) 488-4371, (800) 342-1827
Georgia: (404) 656-5015 (House), (800) 282-5800 (House), (404) 656-5040, (Senate), (800) 282-5803 (Senate)
Hawaii: (808) 587-0700
Idaho: (208) 334-3175
Illinois: (217) 782-3944
Indiana: (317) 232-9856
Iowa: (515) 281-5129
Kansas: (913) 296-3296, (800) 432-3924
Kentucky: (502) 564-8100
Louisiana: (504) 342-2456, (800) 256-3793
Maine: (207) 287-1692
Maryland: (410) 841-3810, (800) 492-7122 (ext. 3810)
Massachusetts: (617) 722-2356 (House), (617) 722-1276 (Senate)
Michigan: (517) 373-0170
Minnesota: (612) 296-6646 (House),(612) 296-0504 (Senate)
Mississippi: (601) 359-3719 (sessions), (601) 359-3358 (House between sessions), (601) 359-3229 (Senate between sessions)
Missouri: (573) 75l-4633
Montana: (406) 444-4800 (sessions), (406) 444-3064 (between sessions)
Nebraska: (402) 471-2709 (sessions), (800) 742-7456, (402) 471-2271 (between sessions)
Nevada: (702) 687-5545 (sessions), (800) 367-5057 (ext. 5545), (702) 687-6827 (between sessions)
New Hampshire: (603) 271-2239
New Jersey: (609) 292-4840, (800) 792-8630
New Mexico: (505) 986-4600
New York: (518) 455-7545, (800) 342-9860
North Carolina:(919) 733-7779
North Dakota: (701) 328-2900 (sessions), (701) 328-2916 (between sessions)
Ohio: (614) 466-8842, (800) 282-0253
Oklahoma: (405) 521-5642
Oregon: (503) 986-1180, (800) 332-2313
Pennsylvania: (717) 787-2342
Rhode Island: (401) 751-8833
South Carolina: (803) 734-2060, (800) 922-1539
South Dakota: (605) 773-4498
Tennessee: (615) 74l-3511
Texas: (512) 463-1251 (sessions), (800) 253-9693, (512) 463-1252 (between sessions)
Utah: (801) 538-1029 (House), (801) 538-1035 (Senate)
Vermont: (802) 828-2231
Virginia: (804) 786-6530
Washington: (360) 786-7573, (800) 562-6000
West Virginia: (304) 347-4836, (800) 642-8650
Wisconsin: (608) 266-9960, (800) 362-9472
Wyoming: (307) 777-6185 (sessions), (800) 342-9570, (307) 777-7881 (between sessions)

For more information about the annual State Legislative Sourcebook, a comprehensive guide to sources of legislative information in all fifty states from which the "Legislative Hotline Directory" is excerpted, call toll-free at (800) 346-6898 or fax us at (913) 232-1615 or send an e-mail to

Source : Lynn Helleburst, LAWSRC-L, March 21, 1997.


Several people have asked about plans to digitize the Congressional Record or other older materials.

The Law Library of Congress as part of the National Digital Library Program of the Library of Congress is planning to digitize historical documents of the first forty-two Congresses. The collection will extend from 1774 to 1873, from the Journals of the Continental Congress through the Congressional Globe. Titles in the collection will include the House and Senate Journals and Senate Executive Journal; the Annals of Congress, Register of Debates, and the Congressional Globe; the American State Papers; and the Statutes at Large. The House and Senate Journals will be fully machine-searchable and will provide the gateway to the Annals, Register, and Globe through a date link. The Annals, Register, and Globe, the American State Papers and the Statutes at Large will also have searchable headings and subheadings and indices.

In addition to the historical texts, the collection will offer a set of reference tools online. We hope to include the Biographical Directory of Congress, the Guides to Research Collections in the House and Senate, links to the National Archives' Guides to House and Senate papers, and Senator Robert C. Byrd's The Senate.

The Library expects to have materials from the first two Congresses available online sometime this year. Documents from 1774 to 1824 would be available in the following two years and the remaining documents within five years, as funding permits.

For questions, please email or call Emily Baker at 202-707-4523.

Source : David Rabasca, < a href="">;GOVDOC-L, March 24, 1997.


The bipartisan Commission on Protecting and Reducing Government Secrecy presented its report on March 4 to the President and Congress. The Commission, chaired by Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY), sharply criticized existing practices that keep too much information confidential but often fail to protect secrets critical to national security. According to the summary of findings and recommendations:

The Commission's report was unanimous. It contains recommendations for actions by the Executive Branch and the Legislative Branch, with the object of protecting and reducing secrecy "in an era when open sources make a plenitude of information available as never before in history." To improve the functioning of the secrecy system and the implementation of established rules, the Commission recommended a statute that sets forth the principles for what may be declared secret.

The Commission was created under Title IX of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act (P.L. 103-236). Their investigation was the first authorized by statute to examine government secrecy in 40 years, and only the second ever. The Commission will cease to exist at the end of this month.

The Report of the Commission on Protecting and Reducing Government Secrecy can be found at The report will be distributed to Federal Depository Libraries that have requested it. It is also for sale by GPO, Superintendent of Documents, Mail Stop: SSOP, Washington, DC 20402-9328 (ISBN 0-16-054119-0). Until this Friday, March 28, copies of the report may be obtained from the Commission office by sending an e-mail to or by faxing your request to (202) 776-8773.

Source : ALAWON, Vol. 6, No. 20, March 24, 1997.

Disaster Strike University of Arkansas @ Little Rock

For all of you in documents collection who are having bad days, maybe my news will make you day look better.

Central Arkansas was just hit with a quick but nasty rain storm that compounded with a leak in a brand new roof, just saturated 300 feet of my federal documents collection.

Thankfully, a student heard the dripping early on and we had a team of lkibrary staff and students moving books out of the way when the first ceiling tile crashed down 10 minutes later. Another followed 5 minutes later. All of us are wet, some more than others, but no one was hurt. The insurance disaster recovery folks are on their way.

My cry for help is in replacing some of the materials that are beyond hope. The leak was primarily over the Departments of Defense and Education. Thanks to a gallant effort on the part of our library director (she got hit when the first tile came down), the Area Handbook series was rescued before too much was damamged, but the Deparment of Education is a mess. If anyone is weeding their Education documents or has duplicate copies, we would appreciate any donations. Of course we will reimburse you for postage. From what I am able to tell right now, the SuDoc stems with the most damage are ED 1.2:, ED 1.8:, and ED 1.302:. Our collection for this area was primarily paper, but we will gladly take fiche replacments.

Of course, I will spend the day tomorrow scanning the Needs and Offers list, but right now I am going home for some dry clothes and a hairdryer.

I hope everyone else has a better day than this and I appreciate any help forthcoming.

Source : Karen Russ, Documents Librarian,, University of Arkansas @ Little Rock; telephone: (501) 569-8444; fax: (510) 569 3017; GOVDOC-L, March 25, 1997.

(10) 2000 CENSUS NEWS

Uncle Sam no longer wants to know where you get your water or what you do with your sewage.

According to Martha Farnsworth Riche, Census Director, the 2000 Census will only ask questions required for federal program requirements.

Questions being dropped include the number of children a person has had, the last year an individual worked, source of water for a home, method of sewage disposal, and whether the person lives in a condominium.

In addition, five items will be moved from the short form that goes to every household to the long form that one household in six receives. They are marital status, number of housing units in the structure, value of the home, monthly rent, and number of rooms in the home.

That leaves just seven questions to be answered, the fewest since 1820. The short form will retain questions about name, age, sex, relationships within the household, race, whether the person is of Hispanic origin, and whether the home is owned or rented.

The long form will contain a total of 34 questions. One new item, mandated by Congress, will ask whether grandparents act as caregivers for children.

And the data collected will be more easily available. Instead of selling lengthy computer tapes, the bureau plans to make its 2000 results available through the Internet, so governments and other users can dial in and get the data they need.

Source : Detroit Free Press, April 1, 1997, p.4A.

(11) Next Census May Count Mixed-Race Americans

The bureau is considering counting people of mixed race as a separate category for the first time, an idea that is stirring an emotional debate.

Supporters say the move would help foster a sense of pride and self-affirmation among the swelling ranks of mixed-race Americans, many of whom feel ignored by the larger society.

But some civil rights advocates worry that the new category would reduce the numbers of blacks and Hispanics recorded in the census, imperiling minority voting districts and financing for minority aid programs.

A preliminary decision on whether the next census will include a new category for multiracial people is expected from the federal Office of Management and Budget in June or July.

Debate over the new category underscores what some demographers have called a silent explosion in the number of mixed-race people in the United States.

Between 1970 and 1994, the number of interracial married couples ballooned from 150,000 to more than 1.1 million, according to census figures.

The number of children born from interracial couples leaped from 460,300 to 1.9 million during the same period.

America's method for tracking race has always been fluid. The first census in 1790 gave just three choices: free white male, free white female or slave.

In 1890, the census included categories for octoroon and quadroon to measure those of one-eighth and one-fourth black ancestry. It also listed Chinese and Japanese as separate races.

The last census offered five options: black, white, American Indian or Alaskan Native, Asian or Pacific Islander, and other. It asked a follow-up question to get a separate count of Hispanics, who can be of any race.

Adding a new mixed-race category for the 2000 census is just one aim of the burgeoning multirace movement.

Other goals include an increase in transracial adoptions and more financing for medical research on how genetically related diseases such as sickle-cell anemia affect mixed-race people, according to Linda Mahdesian, founder of RIME, the Rhode Island Multiracial Exchange.

"Part of having a place on the census is that we can be tracked," said Mahdesian, who has a black father and white mother. "Politicians will count us. And we know government funds flow from those numbers."

Mahdesian grew up feeling black since she was raised in a black Chicago neighborhood. But she never felt completely at ease filling out forms at school or work identifying herself as black.

"We are fighting for our existence," Mahdesian said. "All my life, I could never truly identify myself. Now I will be able to."


Fighting the multirace question are some civil rights activists who worry that the new category could result in reduced government and private financing for minority programs affected by census figures. It also could affect the number and location of new minority voting districts, they say.

"We believe this could dilute the number of Latinos and African Americans counted," said Lisa Navarrate, a spokeswoman for the National Council of La Raza, a Latino advocacy group.

Navarrate also questioned the value of the information to be obtained from a multiracial category.

"It might be someone who is black and white or Asian and white or black and Asian," Navarrate said. "I'm sympathetic to the arguments I've heard for the new category, but what will it really mean?"

Harold McDougall, Washington legislative director for the NAACP, which also opposes the new category, said some people who choose the multiracial designation could inadvertently "disconnect" themselves from the larger and more powerful black coalition they now identify with.

"Will a new multiracial congressional district be set up out of this? No," McDougall said. "Now we are together as a large group, and to start to micro-define won't help."

Early results from sample census forms that included the multiracial category show some confusion among Americans.

For example, the child of Italian and Irish parents is not of mixed race. But a sizeable portion of white people completing the sample forms mistook multiracial for multiethnic, said Ruth B. McKay, a behavioral scientist for the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

"We get a surprise a day on this," she said.

Source : The Nando Times, April 2, 1997.

(12) Supreme Court Refuses To Hear
"Course Pack" Copyright Case

On March 31, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to consider the case of Princeton University Press, Macmillan and St Martin's Press v. Michigan Document Services, Inc, case No 94-1778 -- frequently called the "coursepack case." The three presses had brought a copyright infringement case against the Michigan Document Services, which has 5 small copy shops that serve the University of Michigan and other institutions in the Ann Arbor area and which reproduces course packs without securing copyright permissions from the authors or publishers. James Smith, the owner of Michigan Document Services, decided that the current process for obtaining permissions to reproduce copyrighted materials was prohibitively time-consuming and expensive. He thus prepared course packs for teachers and students without securing permissions operating on the basis that he was engaged in copying for educational purposes which comes under the fair-use provisions of the copyright law. However, Smith did secure from professors signed statements that they would not have assigned the original works, even if copied excerpts were not available.

The first ruling in this case was at the district court level in 1994 and was in favor of the publishers. Then in February, 1996, a three judge panel of the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in a 2 to 1 decision ruled in favor of Michigan Document Services and against the publishers. However, in April the Appeals Court effectively dissolved that decision and decided that the entire panel of judges would reconsider the case. Thirteen judges heard oral arguments in June and ruled in November, 1996, with eight judges siding with the majority to conclude that photocopying of coursepacks without permission is an infringement of copyright. Five judges registered a minority opinion stating that the Michigan Document Services had not in fringed on the "fair use" provision. Because of the divided opinion Smith had expected the case to be heard by the Supreme Court.

Susan M. Kornfield, who represented Michigan Document Services, said that James Smith would be returning to the district and appeals courts to seek to overturn the damages and lawyers' fees, which total $356,000. She also expressed disappointment that the Supreme Court had failed to address the copyright issues raised by this case because they have been the source of considerable confusion.

The publishers, who had asserted throughout this case that a commercial business was making profit at the expense of owners of intellectual property, were delighted with the outcome which, they noted, underscores the need for users to obtain copyright permission to use copyrighted material.

Source : Page Putnam Miller, Director of the National Coordinating Committee for the Promotion of History,, NCC Washington Update, vol. 3, #13, April 2, 1997.

(13) Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress
Officially Reopens on May 1

After more than a decade of restoration and modernization, the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress will officially reopen to the public on May 1. T he opening of a new exhibit, "Treasures of the Library of Congress," will be part of the celebration. When the Jefferson Building was completed one hundred years ago in 1897, James H. Billington, Librarian of Congress, has noted that it was called "the most beautiful public building in America." The renovated building includes a new Visitors' Center, an expanded Sales Shop, a 90-seat visitors' theater with a new film about the Library of Congress, and new exhibit areas. Especially notable is the cleaning of the marble and artwork. This has lightened and brightened the spaces of the Great Hall and the Main Reading Room that can seat 226 researchers.

Source : Page Putnam Miller, Director of the National Coordinating Committee for the Promotion of History,, NCC Washington Update, vol. 3, #13, April 2, 1997.

(14) Five Small Colleges Create A Cooperative
Government Documents Web Site

You don't have to be a major state university library to develop a federal depository library web site! Take a look at what five small colleges developed cooperatively in Ohio. The URL is

The Five Colleges of Ohio Consortium -- Denison University, Kenyon College, Oberlin College, Ohio Wesleyan University, and The College of Wooster -- each provide descriptions of their school's documents collection, links to the individual department home pages, information about the Federal Depository Library Program, and various subject guides/pathfinders to government information in traditional and electronic formats.

Source : Jennifer E. McMullen, Government Publications Associate, Andrews Library, The College of Wooster, Wooster, Ohio 44691: E-mail:; Telephone: (330) 263-2119; FAX: (330) 263-2253; GOVDOC-L, March 3,1997.

(15) NARA's Digital Classroom Expands

The National Archives and Records Administration announces the expansion of The Digital Classroom on its Web site. The Digital Classroom is designed for educators and students at all levels. Located in the Visitor's Gallery on NARA's home page, it features five sections: Primary Sources and Activities, Research and National History Day, Publications, Professional Development, and Limited Engagement. The URL is

The Digital Classroom offers online lessons developed by education specialists that feature archival documents and promote the development of critical thinking skills. Currently, these studies focus on the Zimmerman telegram transmitted during World War I, FDR's attempt to increase the number of justices on the Supreme Court during the 1930s, the civil rights activities of Jackie Robinson, and the Watergate scandal of the early 1970s. Accompanying the documents is historical background and a wide range of teaching activities that correlate to the National Standards for History and suggest cross-curricular connections. All aspects of the lessons, including the digitized images of the original documents, are designed for easy downloading, printing, and photocopying for classroom use.

In addition, step-by-step activities that help students learn about the holdings of the National Archives, offer instructions on how to conduct research, and introduce strategies for composing inquiries that can generate helpful responses from archivists have been added.

Visitors will also find valuable information on educational publications and professional development opportunities available through the National Archives.

As the Digital Classroom continues to evolve, it provides educators and students with online access to essential learning tools and teaching methodologies.

For additional information, please call Lee Ann Potter or the National Archives Educational and Museum Programs Division at (202) 501-6729.

Source: Lee Ann Potter leeann.potter@ARCH1.NARA.GOV, PSRT-L, April 15, 1997.

(16) Gore Plugs Libraries as Internet Access Points

At a cabinet meeting April 10, Vice President Al Gore provided yet another example of why Internet access at libraries is an important service to the public.

In response to a question about how people would find information on federal jobs that will hire people from welfare to work, Gore said that libraries were one place for Internet access and to locate the federal job bank web sites. [See]

Gore went beyond reciting the typical campaign call for access to the Internet in every library and classroom by the year 2000. It is exciting and gratifying to hear the Vice-President direct Americans to libraries as a primary location for tapping into vital telecommunication services to gain access to federal information.

Source: ALAWON, Vol. 6, No. 26, April 18, 1997.

(17) Springtime in Washington :
Summary Report on the 1997 DCL and FDC Meeting
by Susan Tulis

The joint meeting of the 1997 Depository Library Council (DLC) and Federal Depository Conference was held April 14-17, 1997 in Arlington, Virginia. As with previous years, after the updates session, there was always at least three things going on at the same time. There were demonstrations of GPO Access, Pathway Services, the National Digital Library, patent products on CD-ROM, STAT-USA, as well as numerous tours being conducted. Individuals representing Census, STAT-USA, SBA, Federal Information Center program, NASA and NCJRS gave updates on activities within their agency/program. The Federal Publishers Committee did a program on Moving from Print to Electronic Dissemination: Why, When and How to Do It. Other sessions included To Be or Not to Be a Depository: Answering the Questions and Envisioning a Brighter Future; OCLC's Electronic Archiving Initiatives; Managing the Depository Database: Some Opportunities with Shared Technology; Tell Someone Who Cares: Creating Opportunities to Inform the World (Outside of Libraries) About Government Documents; Innovative Use of the WWW; Bibliographic Access to Electronic Resources: National Standards; Bibliographic Control in an Electronic FDLP - Problems, Practices, and Policies; Digitizing Maps for Preservation; Designing Web Pages for Depositories, Building Library-Agency Partnerships; Preservation is Common Sense: Practical Tips for Government Document Collections; Preservation Planing for Permanent Public Access; and an informal session for new documents librarians. Since I couldn't be at all these places at the same time, this summary concentrates on Council activities.

Public Printer MICHAEL DIMARIO began the meeting with some welcoming remarks and expressed appreciation for the input and information provided by attendees about the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP), how it ought to be operated, and what is in the best interest for our constituencies in terms of service.

A keynote address was given by ERIC PETERSON, Staff Director of the Joint Committee on Printing (JCP). He began with an overview of current activities taking place by the JCP under the leadership of Senator John Warner. Senator Warner's interest in both the dissemination of information and the guarantee that it remains permanent as well as the desire to help the GPO achieve its mission in a cost effective way are things that the Senator holds near and dear to his heart. Through the Senator's work as Administrator of the Bicentennial Commission (1976), he developed a keen awareness about the history of America and the role that public information plays in both the permanence of that history and the lessons Americans and others learn from our American experience. It is the Senator's intent of making the JCP a productive entity in this session of congress to achieve some very important public policy objectives. He is doing that on a bicameral, bipartisan basis and wherever possible seeking consensus not only from his colleagues on the committee but his colleagues throughout Congress and others in the executive branch as well.

The committee has on its agenda for this year to reform Title 44. The underlying goals of the revision are: 1) to resolve the constitutional issue of separation of powers (Chadha); 2) to establish an enforceable compliance mechanism; 3) to ensure public access to taxpayer funded government information; and 4) to preserve, protect and promote the FDLP. Finally, as part of the reform initiative, JCP wants to ensure that both Title 44 and the FDLP are fully able to operate in the dynamic environment of new technology, providing the wherewithal to be able to pursue the transition to the Internet or whatever electronic devices present themselves over the years to come. Flexibility is needed to be able to respond in a cost effective way to the changing dynamics of media and technology. Congressional hearings are scheduled for the 24 and 30th of April, and it is the committee's hope to have something passed this summer or early fall. It is important to get this done now for the preservation of the FDLP and for the good of the institution that DiMario has said served the nation so well for some 200 years.

While the legislative process is going forward, the JCP is trying to redress the problems of noncompliance that presently exist. Their first initiative was having the JCP unanimously sign a letter to the Directory of OMB in March asking that the guidance issued last year by OMB to executive agencies asking them to comply with Title 44 be reissued. As a second initiative, JCP is approaching major noncompliant parties to Title 44, most notably the National Cancer Institute and their CRADA (Cooperative Research and Development Agreement) with Oxford Press and the Department of Defense's automated printing service. On other fronts, JCP is serving as facilitator in the ongoing initiative between the House and Senate to integrate SGML into its process of drafting congressional publications. Another initiative is to reach an accommodation with House Appropriations with regard to language in this year's GPO appropriation - which directs GPO to undertake a study of which Congressional publications GPO is currently printing in-house could be procured outside GPO. It is JCP's perspective that this is not the time to do such a study, there are other important issues that need to be addressed, and the fact of the matter is that virtually everything except the Congressional Record, its Index and Congressional bills are printed outside GPO through the procurement mechanism. Also, it is JCP that is authorized to do such studies under its generic legislation, not the GPO.

A separate matter that is intertwined in all of this is that of government information policy, especially the relationship between the legislative, judicial and executive branches. JCP believes that it is the administration through OMB that is responsible for information policy management to the extent of determining what data the agencies will collect and analyze. It is the role of the executive branch through department heads and the role of the judicary to collect the data, perform the analysis, and write those public documents. Then it is the role of GPO to print those documents and to maintain permanent access to those documents.

The FDLP plays a constitutional role in public dissemination of government information. Congress is very sensitive to the cost of the transition of the printed page to a more electronic format, as well as the impact on various institutions. As we go through this legislative process we want to do it very carefully, very thoughtfully, and make certain that the process isn't one of just shifting costs from federal to state level or to individual institutions. The process must fully recognize what costs are involved, fully consider who's the most appropriate party to bear those costs, and then find a mechanism to ensure that the financial resources are there to do it in an appropriate fashion.

PETERSON concluded by stating how important librarians are in this process. Librarians serve and represent the cross-section of decision makers in society. Librarians have tremendous potential and ability to help society continue to be enlightened and energized. He urged, begged us to not "overlook the opportunity to be active lobbyists in your community, that your libraries help to ensure that the public is fully informed of the issues important to society's future, and that you are planning an active role advocating for the interests that are so important."

WAYNE KELLEY, Superintendent of Documents, commented that when he started at GPO in 1991 a key issue being discussed was the need for revision of Title 44. Six years later there seems to be some movement. KELLEY feels that this is just in time. There were a number of laws passed in the late 80s/early 90s that provide loopholes to agencies - such as joint ventures between the public and private sector, and CRADAs - used by the National Cancer Institute to turn its journal over to Oxford Press. These loopholes are becoming so large that they are larger than what is left of the publication. More and more agencies are saying they need to sell their publications to save them, save them to sell. And they need to privatize them to preserve the information.

Another reason KELLEY feels this is a good time to revise Title 44 is because many of the things being done ad hoc may become information policy if they are not addressed soon. In fact, new government information programs are currently developing - such as the example of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. The CRADA provides for further information products by Oxford. KELLEY sees a danger in this new type of federal information program - where an agency and another party (outside government review) begin to develop new information products which are not in the public domain, not within the oversight committees, and may not even be in keeping with agencies's missions.

The government needs to have a coordinated and overarching federal information policy - setting out what things must be done. One, make it mandatory that electronic information products in all formats be in the FDLP. Two, require that any joint ventures, CRADAs or other agreements signed between an agency and another party, indicate that all information covered by that agreement be available to FDLP whether copyrighted or not. Three, agencies should not sell their information to recover costs, rather they should seek an appropriation to cover the costs. It should not be that every time an agency chooses to sell a title, that title is then out of the FDLP.

KELLEY concluded by reminding us that in the current environment of reinventing government, to get a government that works better and costs less, we are told to act like a business - but, the government is *not* a business. A business operates on a bottom line, which is not to say that the government shouldn't operate in a business like way, but it should serve the public needs. Finally, keep in mind that public needs and market needs are different.

GIL BALDWIN, Chief of the Library Division, gave an overview of activities within the Library Programs Service (LPS) over the past eight weeks. Office renovation continues with the installation of network cable, an updated telephone system, and the gradual change of e-mail addresses. LPS is looking for two people to fill one-year appointments as Electronic Transition Specialists to work on projects directly involved in the creation, dissemination, bibliographic control, use or permanent public accessibility of electronic Government information products.

Talks continue with NARA on several issues, among them how GPO could work with NARA to provide permanent access to Government information products. Other issues being discussed with NARA involve standards for the long-term preservation of electronic content, and the possible recognition of GPO as a NARA "affiliated archive" for electronic content on GPO Access.

Work progresses on revising the "Recommended Minimum Specifications for Public Access Work Stations in Federal Depository Libraries." While some have commented that the draft specifications are far more than minimum, they are still not optimum or state-of-the-art. Once finalized, the specifications will drop the descriptor "minimum." Another issue concerns the electronic service requirement - every depository is expected to be able to offer public access to electronic information made available through the FDLP. It is a local determination as to what hardware and software your library selects to meet this requirement.

Lastly, BALDWIN outlined a new project currently under development called "Core Documents of Democracy." This basic electronic depository collection will provide American citizens direct online access to the essential federal Government documents that define our democratic society. It should include not only documents currently produced in digital format, but important older materials that will need to be digitized. It is assumed that development and implementation of the Collection will take several years. LPS welcomes our thoughts on either the concept or the specifics.

ROBIN HAUN-MOHAMED, Chief of the Depository Administration Branch (DAB), happily reported that as of Jan 1, 1997, shipping lists for all formats are routinely being posted to the Federal Bulletin Board in dBase format. Through GPO's partnership with SUNY Buffalo, and the University of Texas, Arlington, this same information is available in a web version. In February 1997, Item Lister, a service which allows users to view a library's item selection profile via the web, became a reality.

The CenStats database (a fee-based electronic subscription service to Census Bureau databases) became publicly available in March. Although the library registration site is not ready, Census provided temporary passwords for depository libraries to access this service at no charge to the library. Census is still working on the development of a registration site on the web where depository libraries can register and choose their own password to access the system. Depository access to the CenStats database differs from STAT-USA in that multiple users are allowed to access the database at the same time, but this access is limited to one physical location. The user must be in the library to access the database. In addition, for library systems with more than one library, only one library will be allowed access.

DAB continues to focus on finding new electronic publications on the Internet and notifying the community via the Browse Electronic Titles (BET) page. One project currently underway is the development of a permanent cumulative listing of all titles that have been placed on the BET page. Council was asked if they saw a need for this page to be available for use by the depository community? And if available to all, is there a problem with utilizing frame technology?

The Digital Rastor Graphic maps (DRGs) on CD-ROM have not been sent to GPO for replication and distribution since last fall. Because of budget limitations and low sales for the DRGs, staff at USGS made a decision to only produce DRGs on demand as requested. LPS is working with USGS to develop an experimental, on-demand pilot project to distribute the DRGs to depository libraries that request the discs as they are needed, at no cost to the requesting library, as a way to keep this information in the FDLP.

Depositories will continue to receive the Department of Treasury's Daily Treasury Statement in paper format until the end of this calendar year at which time only the electronic version on GPO Access will be available through the Program.

FBIS CD-ROM, no. 14 has been distributed to depository libraries. (No. 13 was distributed in January.) The April 15, 1997 Administrative Notes includes an article on the dissemination policy associated with FBIS on CD-ROM "Official Use Only" product. HAUN-MOHAMED asked that the article be reviewed for library responsibilities. The issuing agency indicated that CDS no.1-12 are not available to depository libraries. Brown University is working with LPS to make sure the microfiche collection is complete to bring the FBIS publications up-to-date with the CD-ROM product.

The 1995 edition of the Food Code will be distributed to depository libraries. The 1997 Tide Tables CD-ROM was just recently distributed.

Department of State Dispatch will no longer be a weekly product, rather it will be produced 10/year with 2 supplements. The first issue for 1997 is just going to press. Background Notes will continue to be available in paper format, but they will not be updated as often. Remember, Background Notes are also included on the State Department's DOSFAN site and on the quarterly Foreign Affairs CD-ROM.

CIA World Factbook - GPO still hasn't seen the CD-ROM and they were told the 1996 edition will not be in print. In February it was announced that the 1997 would also not be available in print, LPS recently heard that GPO may still be given the electronic files to do a print run.

Last but not least - libraries will be able to make changes for the annual update cycle via the WWW, beginning June 2 with an ending date of July 31. NO MORE GREEN CARDS! (For libraries without access to the web, you will need to contact DAB to get the traditional green cards - just don't do so until you get the update cycle package in the mail sometime in May.)

SANDY SCHWALB, Electronic Transition Specialist, quickly updated us on projects within ETS. The GPO Pathway Indexer has gone from indexing almost 50,000 items on 809 government Internet servers to indexing over 110,000 items from 1274 Internet servers and is indexing sites in much greater depth than previous gathers achieved. Council is working with ETS to establish its own web pages on GPO Access. Work continues in the areas of partnerships and permanent access.

NCLIS is talking with the National Research Council (NRC) to have them produce the statement of work which would lay out the framework for conducting the "Assessment of Standards for the Creation, Dissemination and Permanent Accessibility of Electronic Information Products." The assessment will be conducted in three steps: 1) production of the Statement of Work, that will focus on the nature of the issues and questions to be asked; 2) date and fact gathering to be done by an entity other than NRC; and 3) NRC will convene a panel of "experts" to examine and discuss the research data; offer recommendations; produce a report (NCLIS commissioners will be involved in this process as well; GPO and NCLIS will then publish, jointly, a final report.)

GPO and the Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) are talking about providing the material, previously distributed to depository libraries in microfiche, electronically on a DOE system called "Infobridge." In March, OSTI announced it was running a beta test of Infobridge that would link the bibliographic data of DOE reports to the full-text. The material will be fully searchable, user-friendly and will include both easy and advanced search capabilities. Barring any unforseen developments, the site could be available to the depository community by the end of these calendar year.

Louisiana State University has given GPO the go-ahead to use their Federal Agency List as a Browse Agency locator service. The thinking is that ETS will add this Browse Agency function to the "Locate Government Information Products" section on the SuDocs home page.

TAD DOWNING, Chief of the Cataloging Branch, updated attendees on the following:

TC EVANS, Office of Electronic Information Dissemination Services, highlighted those things underway to improve GPO Access and develop further applications. First, there is an ongoing effort to improve response time on GPO Access. A reconfiguration process has been underway that is basically complete in terms of equipment and software upgrades, which should have produced a dramatic improvement in terms of navigating around a site to various links. Work still needs to be done to improve the search and retrieval process, but efforts to date have paid off. Evidence of this improvement is apparent in the statistics for the month of March. Prior to March the GPO Access process had reached the 3 million mark of documents downloaded on a monthly basis; during March over 4 million were downloaded. More and more work must be done as more products are added to GPO Access. OEIDS is looking at the consulting process to bring in some outside expertise to continue to improve the process. The reconfiguring process has evidenced a need for an advance warning system, especially in terms of the GPO gateways, since the reconfiguration caused gateways to have trouble getting the information. A team from LPS and OEIDS will address this problem. Early concepts entail having a web page that has all current addresses available all the time as well as having an e-mail broadcast system so notification of changes can be disseminated to gateways. OEIDS will try to give as much advance notice as possible, but frequently some of these changes occur in a rapid mode.

Work on the utilization of OpenText or Phase 2 of GPO Access is proceeding. Even though production personnel are vigorously working on the effort, there is a huge amount of work to be done. Support efforts currently underway have produced some of the needed SGML data for the Congressional Record, Code of Federal Regulations, and Commerce Business Daily. Quite a bit of testing is needed before any of this data can be used for GPO Access applications. At this point, an authoritative date on the release of OpenText is not available. OEIDS hopes to be able to demonstrate some of the enhanced capabilities that will result from OpenText at the Fall DLC meeting. OpenText will provide a number of benefits to users - more targeted searches, pinpoint results, and more tailored results. It will also be easier to make use of the results that are returned from a search. Individual results that are important can be marked in advance so users can jump from one result to another without returning to the results list. Results will available in ASCII, PDF, HTML and SGML.

Another effort underway has been a joint effort by OCLC, GPO and RONDAC to increase the opportunities for training on GPO Access. Staff and funding constraints mean GPO can only do so much training. It was concluded that OCLC and RONDAC would benefit from doing GPO Access training.

EVANS ended with some quick notes on products and services. A new GPO Access homepage is about to be released, which hopefully will make it easier to get at things. Feedback has caused changes in the CBDNet pages. One improvement that was asked for and is now provided - in both search results and browse mode the posted date is now included with the title so you can see when something was posted. The GPO Access User Guide has been revised and is available on the homepage; a paper version will be out soon. The GILS application has recently changed - by using GPO's application, the default is to search all US Federal GILS sites that are WAIS-based. New specialized search pages have been added for the Congressional Record Index and the History of Bills. A final item of note - during House appropriations GPO was asked to allow users to be able to download a complete listing of all Federal Depository Libraries. An "ALL" button has been added to the "Locate Libraries" listing.

JOYCE PARSONS, Documents Technical Support Group, Sales Program, gave an overview of the new state-of-the-art order processing system that will go live in October 1997.

Summary of DLC Draft Recommendations
(Note - Not the final versions.)

Title 44 Revision - Council supports in principle the goals for reforming Title 44 as outlined by Eric Peterson. Council believes that any reform of Title 44 USC should include the August 1996 proposed revisions to Chapter 19 submitted by GPO to the Senate Rules Committee. The level of specificity articulated in the August 1996 revision is necessary to address the complex issued confronting the Program.

Endorsement of JCP Consultations with GPO and NARA - Council endorses JCP consulting with GPO and NARA to define their respective roles in the preservation of and permanent access to electronic government information.

Collection Management Office for Electronic Products - Council recommends that with the Office of Superintendent of Documents be created the position of collection management officer for electronic products whose primary responsibility would be the implementation of a collection management program for electronic products, whether stored on facilities operated by GPO, by GPO partner institutions, or in coordination with other Federal agencies. Collection management in this context should encompass selection, acquisition, organization, maintenance, and preservation activities for electronic products and services.

NTIS-GPO Pilot Project - Council recommends that GPO pursue with NTIS an expanded pilot project that will test the effectiveness of free distribution of federal government information products in the NTIS collection in electronic formation directly to a range of federal depository libraries. Ongoing evaluation of the project should address the issues of: expanding the range of material available; allowing the end user to receive and electronic copy of federal government information; and free depository access to the full range of NTIS bibliographic data.

GPO Web Site - Council recommends that a GPO Web Site Coordinator be appointed to facilitate consistent agency-wide web development, structure, and navigation and that GPO enhance its web-based resources by redesigning the web pages to be more intuitive to all user audiences.

Frame Technology - Council support the use of frame technology on the GPO We Site, as long as users accessing the pages using Lynx software have functionality comparable to those using graphical user interfaces.

Core Documents of Democracy - Council endorses the concept behind development of the Core Documents of Democracy: an Electronic Collection as originally presented. This collection "should be made available for free, permanent, public access via GPO Access service" and should include vital information beyond the scope of the original list. Council recommends that GPO develop a collection development policy in cooperation with the library community to ensure that issues such as criteria for inclusion, authenticity of information, and organization of this collection are defined.

Action Item: Biennial Survey - The Working Group on Statistical Measurement will continue to work with GPO to develop the 1997 and 1999 Biennial surveys. Council suggested that the depository community be alerted to the general nature of changes in the survey from the 1995 version as soon as possible. Council believes the survey should use standard library definitions, ask for basic information, provide for longitudinal analysis and result in a report of benchmark data for the library community.

Commendation to William W. Thompson, GPO Staff - for his professionalism and resourcefulness in support of Council's work.

Commendation on the GILS Application on GPO Access - commends GPO for creating the GILS application on GPO Access system which currently provides for a single point of access for users to search the GILS records of 26 executive branch agencies. A recent enhancement provides transparent remote access through this application to the GILS records of an additional 14 agencies. Encourage GPO to continue to develop the GILS application as a valuable service for libraries and the American public.

I should also note that this was the 50th meeting of the Depository Library Council. Former Council members were formally invited to attend in recognition of this event. I am not exactly sure how many members were in attendance, but it was nice to see those that did.

Lastly, I would be remiss if I did not mention that I was honored (and greatly surprised) by the Public Printer. Mr. DiMario presented me with a GPO Special Award for Exemplary Public Service. As it states on the certificate, it is "for demonstrating an exemplary record of dedication and support to the principle of providing public access to Government information through the Federal Depository Library Program." It is easy to be dedicated to a principle you truly believe in and you know you have the support of so many other depository librarians! Thanks to all of you.

Source: Susan E. Tulis, University of Virginia, Law School Library, 580 Massie Road, Charlottesville, VA 22903; Phone: 804/924-3504; Fax: 804/982-2232; E-mail:; GOVDOC-L, April 28, 1997.

(18) Government Relations Committee Update, April 24, 1997
AALL Government Relations Committee Report

1. On April 3, Bob Oakley, AALL Washington Affairs Representative, testified before the Committee on Automation and Technology of the Judicial Conference of the United States strongly urging the courts to adopt the medium-neutral citation system endorsed by the American Bar Association. In his closing remarks, Bob concluded that *as a result of the trend toward the electronic publishing of court and other legal information, it is inevitable that sooner or later there will have to be a system for reference to such information. The proposal before you is a reasonable first step in that direction that will make legal information more widely and less expensively available. The cost to the Courts is minimal, but the benefits to the bar and the public are significant. The American Association of Law Libraries urges its adoption. [Note: The full text of the testimony is available on AALLNET at]

2. The Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, under the leadership of Senator John Warner is holding hearings to discuss revisions to Title 44, relating to the operations of the Government Printing Office on April 24 and 30, 1997. Barbara Ford, President-elect of the American Library Association, will be testifying on behalf of the various library associations, including AALL, as well as the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies, and the Urban Libraries League. Her testimony will provide the Committee with the library community's comments on the draft "Government Printing Office Act of 1997." The underlying goals of the draft bill are as follows: 1) to solve the constitutional separation of powers issue; 2) to ensure that government information created at taxpayer expense remains in the public domain; 3) to ensure that agencies comply with the provisions of Title 44; and 4) to strengthen the Federal Depository Library Program. [Note: The full text of the testimony will be available soon on AALLNET. Check out the Washington Affairs Letter and Testimony page at].

3. On April 10, AALL issued an action alert urging all members to contact their Representative and Senators to ask Congress to reassess its actions last year and to continue funding the bound Congressional Record and Serial Set for all depository libraries. If you haven*t done so already, please call your representative now. [Note: The full text of the press release with the names and addresses of members of the committees considering this proposal is available on AALLNET at].

4. Mary Alice Baish, Assistant Washington Affairs Representative, posts her monthly column for Spectrum to AALLNET. To read the latest news before it gets into print, connect to Mary Alice was named by Public Printer Michael F. DiMario to a three-year term as a member of Depository Library Council. The fifteen-member Council advises GPO on improving access to government information through the Federal Depository Library Program.

5. The Government Relations Committee is sponsoring two programs at the AALL Annual Meeting in Baltimore. Mark your calendars now for the annual Legislative and Regulatory Update, Program E-5, scheduled for Tuesday, July 22, from 2:00-3:30. The Committee is delighted to announce that Eric Peterson, the new Staff Director of the Joint Committee on Printing, will be the featured at the Update. Bob Oakley, Mary Alice Baish and Jackie Wright will also speak.

A second program, A Sea Change in Access to Federal Government Information: Revising Title 44 and the Role of the Government Printing Office, will be offered on Wednesday, July 23, from 1:30 to 3:00. This year, the 105th Congress is considering significant changes to the law (44 U.S.C.) governing the way government information is distributed to the public. Bob Oakley will be moderating this program which features speakers from four key agencies: National Archives and Records Administration; Government Printing Office; Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts; and Office of Management and Budget. (See page 29 of the Preliminary Program.)

> Source: Meg Collins, Associate Law Librarian for Public Services, Georgetown University Law Center, Edward Bennett Williams Law Library, 111 G St., NW, Washington, DC 20001; Phone: (202) 662-9151; Fax: (202) 662-9202 and Susan E. Tulis, University of Virginia, Law School Library, 580 Massie Road, Charlottesville, VA 22903; Phone: (804) 924-3504; Fax: (804) 982-2232; E-mail:; GOVDOC-L, April 24, 1997.


A draft of the, "Government Printing Office Act of 1997," proposed by the US Congress, Joint Committee on Printing (JCP), was placed under review at a hearing held by the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, April 24, 1997. Senator John Warner (R-Va), self-proclaimed champion of the Jeffersonian ideal of an "informed citizenry" [Fins-NC4-14], is chairman of both Committees. This draft bill is the latest attempt by Congress to transform the structure of the public information systems of the United States through revisions to Title 44, US Code, originating legislation for the Government Printing Office (GPO), Superintendent of Documents (SOD), and Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP). [Note: E-text of the draft bill, linked to relevant parts of the US Code, is now available online at a website constructed by the University of Kentucky and Western Kentucky University. URL:]

The GPO was first inaugurated in 1861, under President Lincoln, and later included the SOD and FDLP. These institutions are now recognized as the "lifeblood of democracy" [Fins-PI-04]. It is expected that the draft bill will be "perfected" subsequent to hearings, before being formally introduced in Congress. Assuming passage by Congress and approval by the President, the Government Printing Office Act of 1997, would subsequently be further defined and clarified through regulations, which are required to be promulgated by the holdover Public Printer. A controversy about the legal effect of any such provisions would be decided by the US Courts though the usual chaotic process of statutory construction, narrow or liberal, leading to contrary outcomes depending mainly upon the ideology of judicial appointments.

Present attempts to divine the ultimate meaning and actual practical impact of the draft bill, encompassing centralized public information systems for the whole Federal Government of the United States, are likely to be futile. Moreover, there are evident dangers in large scale systems design of this character, which scholars have warned, almost always lead to "despicable outcomes" [Fins-NC1-17]. Consequently, an abundance of caution is warranted in judging the instant bill.

In its present form, the Government Printing Office Act of 1997, would likely:

What is proposed in the instant bill is the design of a structure and operations of the public information system, which from the inception has been guided by a largely chaotic political process. This has been motivated, in significant part, by a set of unseemly and contradictory opinions issued by the US Department of Justice, Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), concerning Constitutional defects in the existing structure of government, purportedly stemming from the landmark 1983 Supreme Court decision, INS vs. Chadha.

OLC claimed in their opinion letter issued May 1996 that the "separation of powers" doctrine was violated by the printing functions of the GOP and JCP. The same document sought to unilaterally organize defiance of those printing functions by all agencies of the Federal Government, without any Court judgement authorizing that extraordinary action. The OLC opinion letter of May 1966, was contradicted by an earlier OLC opinion letter dated Sept 1993 (reconsideration later also denied), in which it was found that the GPO printing function prescribed by Congress, "does not violate the separation of powers by delegating executive authority to the GPO." In response to questions by the Senate Rules Committee about this contradiction, OLC stated in an Apr 1997 memo that the Sept 1993 opinion letter was limited to, "statutory construction," despite the contrary shown upon the face of the document.

Moreover, the printing functions of the legislative branch, for all three branches of the Government, enable Congress to frame legislation and execute its exclusive legislative powers. These functions are of overriding significance compared to any bare claim of executive authority in the same field. This has been carried out since the beginning of the nation, as valid administrative actions, which were implicitly recognized by the Supreme Court in Chadha[Fins-NC2-17]. No law suit has ever challenged this practice, and no Court has ever upheld such a challenge. The attempt in the instant bill to radically revise the structure of governance, in response to uncertain Constitutional speculations has no justification.

Nevertheless, a call for changes in the structure of the public information system may be validly based on entirely different needs. The emerging Information Age has placed radical new demands upon the printing, and public information dissemination functions of the United States. This new age requires a consistent, coherent, and purposeful management structure. To meet that need a model of federal information access and dissemination was proposed by the American Library Association, based on a working document dated July 28, 1995.

The key to better government in this domain, articulated by the ALA model is the goal, "to involve all federal information producers, supporters, and disseminators; to better articulate their roles; [and] to achieve better coordination across branches of government." At the head of the new institution, would be two integrated structures described in the ALA model: first, a "Coordinating Council," comprising high-level representatives of Federal agencies with explicit information dissemination and overarching public policy missions; and second, a "Council Steering Committee," comprising one representative from each of the three branches of government. This structure could be further supported with the "people science" technique of group dialogue to facilitate interagency collaboration [Fins-PS-01].

What is proposed, instead, is the dismantling of the historical information role of the US Congress, and establishment of a species of Public Printer who would serve as the singular ruler of a new public information fiefdom, supported by a set of powerless advisory councils. Such a public information structure for the future is ill-conceived, lacking in legitimacy and without the likelihood of obtaining essential interagency cooperation. The bill should be resisted both by librarians and the honorable gentlemen from the Congressional Committee on Rules.

Source: Vigdor Schreibman, FINS: Communicating the Emerging Philosophy of The Information Age, Federal Information News Syndicate, Vol V, Issue No. 8, April 28, 1997; E-mail:; GOVDOC-L, April 28, 1997. [Note: An archive of the Fins Information Age Library is available on the inforM system of the University of Maryland HTTP://]

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