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Documents for a Digital Democracy

Dear colleagues,

This week, Ithaka S+R has released "Documents for a Digital 
Democracy: A Model for the Federal Depository Library Program in 
the 21st Century" at http://bit.ly/6hk3b0. In a project 
commissioned by the Association of Research Libraries and the 
Chief Officers of State Library Agencies, we have examined the 
essential role of the Federal Depository Library Program in 
distributing, providing access to, and preserving government 
documents and how the transition of government information from 
print to digital impacts the Program's long-term approach and 
sustainability. In the course of this project, we interviewed 
nearly 90 individuals, including librarians from 40 institutions, 
in order to understand a broad range of perspectives on the 
pressures facing the FDLP.

The report offers a new vision for a system-wide framework that 
emphasizes the digitization of historical collections to enable 
dramatically expanded access to this material, greater 
flexibility in collection management, improved coordination of 
new government publications by the Government Printing Office 
(GPO) to ensure that access and preservation needs are adequately 
addressed, and an expanded role for librarians that emphasizes 
helping the public to locate, access, and use the wide range of 
information available.

We hope that the findings and framework in this report will 
catalyze vibrant discussion about the future of this important 
program, and we look forward to continuing to engage with the 
library community on this issue. We welcome your feedback, and 
encourage you to read and comment on the report on the Ithaka S+R 
website at http://bit.ly/6hk3b0.

Best regards,

Roger Schonfeld and Ross Housewright

Roger C. Schonfeld
Manager of Research
Ithaka S+R
Tel: 212-500-2338
Fax: 212-500-2366

Ithaka S+R (www.ithaka.org/ithaka-s-r) is the strategy and 
research arm of ITHAKA, a not-for-profit organization dedicated 
to helping the academic community use digital technologies to 
preserve the scholarly record and to advance research and 
teaching in sustainable ways. The Ithaka S+R team supports 
innovation in higher education by working with initiatives and 
organizations to develop sustainable business models and by 
conducting research and analysis on the impact of digital media 
on the academic community as a whole. Insights from these efforts 
are shared broadly, with more than a dozen reports freely 
available online. JSTOR, an accessible archive of more than 1,000 
scholarly journals and other content, and Portico, a service that 
preserves content published in electronic form for future 
generations, are also part of ITHAKA.