Magazine article Information Today

The Letterbox

Magazine article Information Today

The Letterbox

Article excerpt

Toward an Electronic FDLP

As a longtime government information librarian, I read Barbara Quint's column concerning WESTLAW, FLITE, and Jamie Love [Quint's Online, April 1996, p. 7] with quite some interest. The free public access issue is, of course, a central theme that the library community has addressed in its lobbying efforts for decades. I have been involved to some extent in those lobbying efforts as chair of the Government Documents Round Table (a unit of the American Library Association) and as a participant in the Dupont Circle Group, which met in April 1993 to discuss how the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) would function in an increasingly electronic environment.

One issue Barbara addresses is of particular interest to me: the question of how a program that was centralized in the print-on-paper world (the FDLP) will function in a more or less distributed system like the Web. What and why would the FDLP be and what role, if any, would the GPO have in the new environment? Like Barbara, I continue to struggle to sort these questions out.

But a question she raises that does have an answer is that of the government accepting the responsibility to build an electronic information service, "or at least a central electronic depository for its own material . …

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