NEWS FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY
SEPTEMBER 1998

Table of Contents

  1. Washington DC in June ... Ahh :
    GODORT Activities at ALA Annual Conference, June 26-30, 1998
  2. CRL Disposal of State Documents
  3. Title 44 Reform (S. Bill 2288)
  4. S. 2288 Analysis
  5. IAWG Action Alert (July 31, 1998)
  6. Agencies Ignore Information Access Law
  7. CRS Reports Update
  8. Cosponsors Needed for S. 2288; Markup Postponed
  9. Starr Report
  10. Worst Case Scenario for S.2288
  11. Census 2000 Updates


(1) Washington DC in June ... Ahh :
GODORT Activities at ALA Annual Conference, June 26-30, 1998
A Report by Susan Tulis

Much of the discussion at the various GODORT meetings centered on the proposed merger with ASCLA and revisions to Title 44 of the US Code. The merger hasn't happen - look for a ballot in July to vote on this issue. Nor has a bill been formally introduced to revise Title 44 - yet. (I know, we have heard that before!)

Fran Buckley, Superintendent of Documents, covered three topics at the Federal Documents Task Force Update session on Saturday morning - program operations and appropriations, the Sales program, and the Booz Allen management audit.

In terms of operations, Buckley feels the staff is doing a good job. The appropriations process has not been as confrontational as other years. The Senate is recommending $29.6M - about 1/2 M above GPO's current funding but about $600,000 less than what GPO requested and a reduction in the GPO staffing level by 200 employees. The House recommended $29,234,000 - an increase of only $107,000 and a staff cut of 130. The Senate report asks GPO to provide the appropriations committee with quarterly reports on actions taken to implement the Booz Allen recommendations; the House has asked for an annual report on this activity.

In case you have forgotten, the Booz Allen Management Audit was requested by the Appropriations Committee last year. The committee directed GPO to provide $1.5M out of the revolving fund to perform this audit. GAO contracted with Booz Allen to do the audit and Booz Allen only had 4 months to perform the audit. Buckley feels that the recommendations were based on a cursory review of GPO's operations and incomplete information since there wasn't enough time to do an in-depth analysis.

The Booz Allen report says good things about the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP). The report did affirm a continued positive role for GPO in the federal government in the production, procurement, and dissemination of government information products. Report says that GPO's FDLP is well managed, provides a valuable public service and is respected by the library community. Booz Allen also found strong support for GPO making increasing amounts of government information available electronically free of charge over the Internet and praised the success of GPO Access. GPO Access is one of the federal government's largest and most active web sites and they suggested GPO seek additional funds from Congress for the program.

Recommendations specific to the FDLP include: refine the goals of the program to include target dates for completing the transition to more electronic program, develop additional depository partnerships, expand marketing efforts to all potential stakeholders, pursue changes to Title 44, which would require agencies to provide all documents especially those in electronic formats to the FDLP, and develop an information campaign to make agencies aware of their compliance responsibilities.

The report agrees that dissemination of government information to the public is an inherent government responsibility and Booz Allen found no evidence that people believe otherwise. It is GPO's opinion that this applies equally to the Sales program. GPO sees the FDLP and the Sales programs as complementary: Booz Allen finds them contradictory. In addition, Booz Allen feels that the Sales program should be outsourced, privatized, etc. GPO feels that Sales Program is an essential competent of its information dissemination program and that it is a program that has a legislative mandate to perform and a user public who would like to see it continue.

Other information on the Sales program - there hasn't been much improvement of the bottom line since the losses sustained in 1996. Buckley has reorganized some activities, and has asked Jay Young to resume total responsibility for the Sales operation, including the implementation of IPS (Integrated Processing System) - now scheduled for cut over to begin August 17, 1998.

Andy Sherman, Director of Congressional Affairs at GPO, addressed GPO's concerns with revisions to Title 44. A bill has been in development to revise all of the printing and publications chapters of Title 44, including Chapter 19 which deals with the FDLP. The bill comes out of hearings that were held in summer 1996 and Spring 1997 on problems with public access to government information - problems caused by fugitive documents, problems caused by changes in technology and the inability of libraries to gain access to a lot of information in a rational and comprehensive way, problems caused by lack of agency compliance with T44 requirements to print and publish through GPO, and problems caused by the Chadha issue which many constitutional experts seem to think also affects the role JCP plays in its oversight of GPO. As long as JCP continues to exercise a direct role over GPO operations, some people conclude that GPO is unconstitutional. Since early 1997, Eric Peterson and Kennie Gill have been working to have a bipartisan bill which would be introduced in the Senate, sponsored by both Sen. Warner and Sen. Ford.

GPO submitted its proposal for T44 reform to deal with all these issues to the Senate Rules Committee in May 1997. [Available at http://www.access.gpo.gov] Other parties have submitted legislative proposals as well - IAWG for instance.

On June 10th, GPO was given a draft bill, 110 pages long, prepared by Peterson and Gill. The bill is quite complicated, but it seems to resolve all the issues that were identified by the hearings. GPO has reviewed the bill and differs from the Congressional staff on 4 main issues:

  1. Printing waivers - what the bill proposes to do is authorize GPO to say to the agencies that you can do your own printing and printing procurement as long as you comply with the FDLP requirements. GPO doesn't have a problem with that in concept, but they want clearer language in the law authorizing GPO to exercise discretion in granting waivers so that GPO can hold together the body of publications that are coming through GPO to make sure they get to depository libraries. GPO has that discretion now under the law and would like to see it retained.

    Proponents of the bill feel there are provisions, backup measures, to ensure that even publications printed elsewhere will still get into the FDLP. GPO is not willing to agree to anything that takes apart the system that is already getting a substantial number of publications into the program in favor of something unknown.

  2. Structural issue - the bill proposed to take GPO's revolving fund and split it between the printing and publishing side and the dissemination side. While GPO can see a rationale for doing that they have problems with the mechanics. Presently the revolving fund is heavily capitalized - used to buy equipment for GPO, to modernize GPO, to absorb any losses GPO might sustain. If the revolving fund was split apart there are virtually no retained earnings that would go to the Superintendent of Documents (SuDocs) since the Sales Program itself doesn't have any retained earnings. So any capital improvements for SuDocs would require an appropriations request.

    The bill also shifts all GPO Access activities from Production to SuDocs - again, any improvements or enhancements to GPO Access would require going to Congress and requesting appropriations.

    GPO wants the revolving fund to remain intact, to have all the retained earnings available for whatever capital investment projects they think are important.

  3. Presidential appointees - the bill envisions GPO functionally split with Publications, Production and Procurement on one side, and Dissemination on the other side, each headed by a new presidential appointee. Above these would be another Presidential appointee, called the Administrator. On the dissemination side you would have the Superintendent of Government Publications Access Program, on the printing is the Superintendent of Government Publications, Printing and Procurement. GPO is concerned that this would politicize the agency and add costs, as well as having a Presidential appointee, with Career Service Deputy under him/her overseeing 2 Presidential appointees. Under Civil Service law you can't operate that way.

    Also, each of the 2 Presidentially appointed superintendents would have fixed terms of 5 years each, while the Administrator at the top would not - creating the prospect of one administration appointing the operational authority and another administration appointing the leadership authority. GPO sees this as a recipe for all kinds of political mischief. GPO does not want that kind of thing getting in the way of its ability to get information out to the public which is its core mission.

  4. Questions about enforcement - the bill proposes to set up a system of accounts in the Treasury Department so that if there are fugitive publications SuDocs can reprint, reproduce, or republish them and that cost will be billed to the Treasury account. The Treasury will dun (charge) the agency's appropriation. This activity will not only provide a system of funding and get fugitives into the program, but also provide an incentive to the agencies to cooperate with the FDLP. GPO questions whether anyone has talked to the Treasury Department about this, since GPO deals with approximately 6000 billed addresses. For this to work successfully, GPO needs to know that the Treasury is committed to making this work, and if, under Title 31, the Treasury can actually bill agencies and the money without the agencies having obligated the funds first.

    Sherman concluded that if these issues can be worked out, then we would have something that everyone can get on board with.

Gil Baldwin, Chief, Library Division, gave an update on the activities of the Library Programs Service (LPS). He began by talking about finding tools and bibliographic control. LPS has developed an integrated process for providing bibliographic control to Internet resources. LPS' various tools are working together in a consistent manner, and their use of PURLs, or Permanent Uniform Resource Locators, should reduce the record maintenance burden for libraries which include GPO's cataloging records in their OPACs.

Baldwin addressed the recent thread of GOVDOC-L messages concerning LPS' use of PURLs and what they are good for. There was an apparent misunderstanding of what the so-called Deadlinks page is and how this page is used. When LPS' link-checking software is run, and errors are detected, LPS takes action to relocate the product. If they are unsuccessful, LPS attempts to identify a responsible party in the originating agency and inquire about the location of the publication. If it is determined that the product is no longer available, a note is made on Browse Electronic Titles page to the effect that the title is "No longer available." LPS hypertext links this to the Deadlinks page. The last known link for the title is left intact so users are still able to see the last known site of the product. The Deadlinks page also provides a way to contact LPS in case you have a lead on the whereabouts of the missing title.

The Deadlinks page is not a substitute for the URL for the missing title. But it provides an avenue to alert users to the fact that LPS is aware that a product is missing, that LPS has attempted to locate the title, and a point of contact if the user has any information about the title.

GPO's internal review of "Managing the FDLP Electronic Collection: A Policy and Planning Document" has been completed, and the paper has been forwarded to Depository Library Council for review and comment.

A new series of pages will bring the FDLP Electronic Collection to the Web. Developed by Cynthia Etkin of the Depository Services staff, the site is "Bringing Government Information to You," and is based on components of the Collection. The new pages include full text resources from GPO, FDLP partner sites, and other Government agencies. A collection of finding tools will assist users in locating tangible electronic products in depository libraries, as well as products published on other agency Internet sites.

NCLIS Assessment - We have established a firm project time line, and expect to have a preliminary report of findings presented at the October Council meeting.

The Depository Library Council's Statistical Measurement Committee has identified two tasks. One sub-committee will develop questions to elicit basic cost data of being a depository including salaries, computer equipment, storage cabinets, purchases of supplementary indexes, databases, cataloging and shipping list services, etc. LPS anticipates these cost-related questions being incorporated into the 1999 Biennial Survey. A second sub-committee will recommend changes in the other questions for the 1999 Biennial Survey. Volunteers from the depository community will be working with Council members and GPO on these issues. Preliminary reports will be presented at the fall Depository Library Council meeting in San Diego. LPS hopes to get a draft Biennial Survey out late this year, so you'll have advance notice of any new data collection requirements.

Each library has been assigned a new, unique password for internal FDLP administrative functions. The new internal password was mailed to each library in late May as part of the 1999 Update Cycle information packet. If you have lost your password, or did not receive the new password, please contact LPS. Your previously assigned password is not valid for the "Amendments to Item Selections" process. But do not destroy the old password. This is now your library's external password, to be used to access databases and services provided by agencies and FDLP partnerships. LPS has gone to the two password system to address concerns about using the same password for public service applications and FDLP administrative activities.

LPS plans to publish a new depository library directory this fall, so it's important that you advise them of any changes in address, personnel, and telephone and fax numbers, no matter how small. When the address information is unclear, the package delivery service charges an additional fee per package to verify the correct street address before the shipment can be delivered. When telephone area codes change, it is difficult for patrons using the "Locate Libraries" function on GPO's Web site, or other resources such as U.S. Fax Watch and Federal Depository Library Directory, to contact the depository library.

In late May through early June most of the services associated with the label program of the Enhanced Shipping List Service were unavailable for use because of a computer virus on a University of Texas--Arlington computer. The service again became available, on June 15, 1998. LPS continues to work with the State University of New York, Buffalo and the University of Texas-Arlington to improve the processes for this extremely helpful and popular service. This service was the first service partnership, and as such wasn't created using the more rigorous contractual partnership agreement LPS uses today. LPS will be taking the necessary steps to establish a formal partnership agreement for the shipping list service.

TC Evans, OEIDS, gave an update on the current and future state of GPO Access. Once again, he thanked the group for the quality feedback that plays a vital role in the continuing development of GPO Access. As a result, GPO Access was selected as one of the "Best Feds on the Web" by Government Executive Magazine. This award was followed by a letter from Vice President Gore congratulating GPO "for the excellent customer service you are providing through your Web site."

There are now more than 800 official Government databases available on GPO Access. These databases contain over 81 gigabytes of data and the total is growing daily. In addition, thousands of other Government information products are accessible through GPO Access. In fact, a recent count designed to equate titles available electronically to paper titles distributed through the Federal Depository Library Program revealed more than 114,000 electronic titles are available through the FDLP Electronic Collection.

This total is dramatic evidence of the transition to a more electronic FDLP. The number of electronic titles has grown by more than 31,000 so far this year and will continue to expand as more content is added to our servers, additional partnerships are achieved, and more titles on other sites are bibliographically controlled and linked from our site.

GPO Access usage continues to be high, with over 153 million documents downloaded since it began operation in 1994, with more than 80.5 million downloaded in fiscal 1998 through May. At the current rate, almost 127 million documents will be downloaded in fiscal 98, compared to about 46 million for fiscal 97.

User support contacts have continued to be strong as well. The GPO Access User Support Team is now fully staffed, with eight specialists ready to answer questions and planning is underway to add more specialists as workload warrants. In mid-May the support hours expanded, running from 7:00 am to 5:30 pm, EST. While this increase has proven to be beneficial to users, volume during the extra half an hour has been light. This volume may increase as more users find out about the extension.

There are a number of recent changes to GPO Access that should be noted. The most important are:

As always, work is under way to add more content to GPO Access and to refine access to the materials already provided. Some key examples of current efforts are: Source; Susan Tulis, Carbondale, IL, Stulis@aol.com, via GOVDOC-L, July 10, 1998.

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(2) CRL Disposal of State Documents

The GODORT State and Local Documents Task force wants to inform the documents community that the Center for Research Libraries has announced the dispersal of their post 1951 documents collection. We encourage you to express your interest in obtaining any of the state collections as soon as possible.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 25, 1998

CENTER FOR RESEARCH LIBRARIES ANNOUNCES
DEACCESSIONING & DISPERSING OF 1951-1990 IMPRINTS
IN U.S. STATE DOCUMENTS COLLECTION

The Center for Research Libraries, an international not-for-profit consortium of colleges, universities, and libraries announces that, as of July 1, 1998, it is deaccessioning and dispersing 1951-1990 imprints in its collection of U.S. State Documents. These materials will be available to CRL members and other appropriate repositories for the cost of sorting, packing, and shipping, until January 1, 1999. The deaccessioning and dispersing will allow CRL to devote additional resources to improve the breadth and accessibility of pre-1951 imprints.

This action is being taken as a result of a State Document Task Force that convened for 7 years to review CRL's collections policy. The Task Force concluded that most of these collections materials are held by other libraries. CRL began comprehensive collecting of U.S. State Documents for all dates of publication in the 1950s. The collection was built through the deposit of materials by CRL members, including retrospective and 1950s + materials, and through direct acquisition by means of deposit programs from 27 states.

The retention of pre-1951 U.S. State Documents, coupled with a strong program of deposit by members of materials lacking to the collection, is built as a national retrospective collection of record. This collection will be more consistent with CRL's mission and collection policy. It would be a stronger The retention of pre-1951 U.S. State Documents, coupled with a strong program of deposit by members of materials lacking to the collection, is built as a national retrospective collection of record. This collection will be more consistent with CRL's mission and collection policy. It would be a stronger collection, more manageable, more efficient, more accessible, and more attractive for support from external funding agencies.

For more information about CRL's U.S. State Documents Collection, or other items, visit our website at http://wwwcrl.uchicago.edu. The Center for Research Libraries (CRL) makes available scholarly research resources to users everywhere. Its mission is to stimulate and enhance scholarship as an extension of local resources by providing members with access to its collection of unique and rarely held research materials.

More information about CRL's revised collection policy for U.S. state documents and about the deaccessioning of the post-1950 materials is on CRL's website at http://wwwcrl.uchicago.edu/info/USstatedocs/full.htm.

Source: Yvonne Wilson, Univ. of California, Irvine, S&LDTF rep to CRL U.S. State Doc. Task Force, ymwilson@uci.edu; distributed by Judy Horn, jkhorn@sun1.lib.uci.edu.

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(3) Title 44 Reform (S. Bill 2288)

Senator John Warner (R-VA) and Senator Wendell Ford (D-KY) have jointly introduced S. 2288, "The Wendell H. Ford Government Publications Reform Act of 1998." The 165-page bill includes major revisions to Title 44 of the United States Code, including revisions to Chapter 19 of Title 44, the law governing dissemination and public access to government publications and the Federal Depository Library Program.

The full-text of S. 2288 is available via GPO Access http://www.access.gpo.gov/congress/ in the Congressional Bills database. Chapter 19 revisions appear on pages 108-148 of the PDF version of the bill. The remarks of Senators Warner and Ford in the Senate upon introducing the bill also are available via GPO Access in the Congressional Record database (CR, July 10, 1998, pp. S7953-S7955).

The library community, working through the Inter-Association Working Group on Government Information Policy (IAWG), has had extensive discussions with Senate staff over the past several months on provisions to be included in the bill. Organizations represented on the IAWG include the American Library Association, American Association of Law Libraries, Association of Research Libraries, Chief Officers of State Library Agencies, Medical Library Association, Special Libraries Association, and the Urban Libraries Council.

The IAWG previously reviewed and endorsed a draft of the bill prior to introduction; the IAWG currently is examining S. 2288 and will provide additional comments and analysis on the bill as soon as possible. The Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, under the leadership of Chairman Warner and Senator Ford, the Ranking Minority Member, plans to hold a hearing on S. 2288 very soon, possibly the week of July 27. Members of the library community and others will be invited to testify on the bill at the hearing.

Source: Daniel P. O'Mahony, IAWG Chair, and Government Documents Coordinator, Brown University Library - Box A, Providence, RI 02912; Phone: (401) 863-2522; Fax: (401) 863-1272; E-mail: ap201159@brownvm.brown.edu, via GOVDOC-L, July 14, 1998.

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(4) S. 2288 Analysis

The Inter-Association Working Group on Government Information Policy (IAWG) has developed a detailed ANALYSIS of S.2288, the Wendell H. Ford Government Publications Reform Act of 1998. This analysis, along with a 2-page ISSUE BRIEF about the bill, and other information and links regarding S.2288 are available at the IAWG website: http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/IAWG/.

As many of you know, the IAWG is the group of library association representatives that has been working with Senate staff and others over the past 18+ months to develop this bill (primarily the section of the bill that revises Chapter 19 of Title 44). The IAWG recommends that associations and individuals support S.2288 and work to enact the bill before the end of this Congress.

Source: Daniel P. O'Mahony, IAWG Chair, and Government Documents Coordinator, Brown University Library - Box A, Providence, RI 02912; Phone: (401) 863-2522; Fax: (401) 863-1272; E-mail: ap201159@brownvm.brown.edu, via GOVDOC-L, July 20, 1998.

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(5) IAWG Action Alert (July 31, 1998)

S. 2288, the Wendell H. Ford Government Publications Reform Act of 1998, was introduced on July 10 by Senator John Warner (R-VA) and Senator Wendell Ford (D-KY). The bill revises Title 44 of the United States Code to improve public access to government publications and includes key provisions to strengthen the Federal Depository Library Program.

ACTION NEEDED: Phone or fax your Members of Congress immediately--urge your Senators to cosponsor S. 2288 and support its passage in the Senate. Urge your Representative to support S. 2288 when action on the bill is taken up by the House.

Take advantage of the August congressional recess to visit your Senators and Representative to follow up on your phone call and urge them to support S. 2288.

TALKING POINTS: Tell your Members of Congress that S. 2288 must be enacted before the end of this Congress because:

  1. the notification provisions in S. 2288 will make publications in all formats from all three branches of government easier to identify and locate;
  2. the enforcement mechanisms in S. 2288 will close the loopholes in the current law that lead to "fugitive documents," and will ensure agency compliance with Title 44; and
  3. the permanent public access provisions in S. 2288 will ensure continuous and permanent access to electronic government publications for future generations.

Tell your Members of Congress that S. 2288 will make it easier for their constituents to access government publications that the public already has paid for and has a right to access.

Tell your Members of Congress that S. 2288 will make it easier for you, as a librarian, to provide better services to the public in meeting their government information needs.

BACKGROUND: There is very little time remaining in this congressional session (Congress plans to adjourn the 105th Congress by October 9). It is extremely important that librarians let their Members of Congress know that enactment of S. 2288 must be a priority for their work in the time remaining.

S. 2288 is the culmination of 20 years of examination and discussion on the need to reform Title 44. Over the past 19 months, Senate staff have worked with the library community and other stakeholders to develop this bill, which includes important changes to Chapter 19 of Title 44, the law governing public access to government publications and the Federal Depository Library Program.

On July 29, three librarians--Barbara Ford, Daniel O'Mahony, and Robert Oakley--representing seven national library associations, testified before the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration in support of S. 2288. Copies of the librarians' testimony, along with other background information about the bill, are available from the Inter-Association Working Group on Government Information Policy website: http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/IAWG. All three library community witnesses reiterated the importance of enacting S. 2288 this year to close loopholes in the current law and to improve and enhance public access to publications in all formats from all three branches of government.

Others testifying at the hearing on July 29 in support of S. 2288 included representatives from the Government Printing Office, the Printing Industries of America, the Information Industry Association, OMB Watch, the Council of GPO Unions, and the Communications Workers of America. Statements from all witnesses are available at the Rules Committee website: http://www.senate.gov/~rules.

The Inter-Association Working Group on Government Information Policy (IAWG) is a cooperative team of representatives from seven national library associations that has been working closely with Senate staff and others since February 1997 to develop legislation to enhance public access to government information. IAWG members include representatives from the American Library Association and its divisions and roundtables, the American Association of Law Libraries, the Association of Research Libraries, the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies, the Medical Library Association, the Special Libraries Association, and the Urban Libraries Council.

For more information about the IAWG or S. 2288, please see the IAWG website at http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/IAWG or contact Daniel O'Mahony, IAWG chair, at IAWG@brown.edu or 401-863-2522. Source: Daniel P. O'Mahony, IAWG Chair, and Government Documents Coordinator, Brown University Library - Box A, Providence, RI 02912; Phone: (401) 863-2522; Fax: (401) 863-1272; E-mail: ap201159@brownvm.brown.edu, via GOVDOC-L, July 31, 1998.

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(6) Agencies Ignore Information Access Law

Federal agency efforts to implement the Government Information Locator Service (GILS) have been slow and in some cases nonexistent, according to a recent OMB Watch report.

In December 1994 the Office of Management and Budget gave agencies one year to compile an electronic inventory of agency information in both paper and electronic formats. The system, known as GILS, would include agencies' automated information systems, Privacy Act systems of records and locators covering all information dissemination products.

According to OMB Watch, a Washington-based watchdog group that promotes public access to government information, 33 agencies have not complied with the mandate and do not have any GILS records online in any format.

Culprits include the Justice Department, the Transportation Department, the Office of the Vice President, the U.S. Postal Service, the National Science Foundation and the National Security Counsel.

Of the 46 agencies that have GILS records online, only 18 have made updates to their records this year. Some agencies have not updated their GILS records since 1995, the report says.

"We were hopeful at its outset that, despite its obvious limitations, GILS could complement the use of the Internet by the federal government by providing a common metadata structure that could be utilized across the federal government. It has not become this, and it does not appear likely that it will," the report says.

Despite OMB Watch's findings, several agencies continue to be exemplary in providing access to government information. The Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Interior and the Defense Department offer the "most accessible," complete and convenient information from their Web sites, according to the report.

OMB Watch does not blame the agencies entirely for failing to comply with the GILS rule. OMB's lack of "commitment and vision" is causing GILS to fail, the report says.

OMB Watch recommends that OMB: