DLC Vision: Future Scenarios

"2021: A Depository Odyssey"

Dream up the future. What does government information look like?

Is HAL in charge of your depository library? Why, why not? Are you Dave, out in the cold? What does your service look like? Your collections? What do you do in a typical day?

For the final session of the Spring 2006 meeting of the Depository Library Council in Seattle we’d like to hear from you. What’s your “future scenario” for the Federal Depository Library Program, for government information?

Some elements to include:

  • collections - physical and electronic
  • services
  • collaboration
  • relationship with federal government - governance
  • structure of "system" (FDLP)
  • metadata - cataloging - invisible (virtual) finding aids - whatever you want to call it

Any others you can think of, or want to include.
Duncan Aldrich and Bill Sudduth have dreamed up their versions of the FDLP in 2015 or 2021. Does it look like your vision?

Please email your Future Scenarios to bselby@virginia.edu.
You can also read and comment on any Future Scenarios that have been posted.

We'll collect the future scenario's posted and discuss them at the final session of DLC, Wednesday, 10:30am, in Seattle.

So, take charge, BE HAL! Let us know what you'd like the future to be. Let us know what you think the future will be.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Future Scenario (anonymous)

With the advent of P.L.116-66, the Web, Internet, and Media Publishing Savings Act – WIMPS Act in 2019 much less information is available to the U.S. citizen than formerly. This act instructs agencies to post only the barest minimum of information about their activities. In addition, it drastically restricts the public’s rights under FOIA to request additional information.

The climate of fear and paranoia engendered by years of terrorist bombings, together with the fact that the average American sees only about 5 minutes of hard news per day (both newspaper and radio audiences have drastically declined since the turn of the century) has produced a climate in which Americans support, or at least, don’t oppose, censorship by their government. The tight job market, and continual lose of jobs to China mean that many Americans hold two jobs to make ends meet, and simply don’t care about anything other than their day to day existence, and getting the lowest price on jeans.

Wexis still makes a fair amount of information available – but only to paying customers. The non-profit, Abbott Hoduski Foundation among others, uses FOIA requests regularly to obtain information which it then posts to the internet and delivers to libraries wishing to store it locally. However, P.L.116-66 will squeeze this flow of information even further.

Government Information Centers, primarily at libraries, operate in a collaborative arrangement to obtain and web post information about U.S. government activities. This collaborative network is very loosely coordinated by the Government Web Office (GWO, formerly called the Government Printing Office), in conjunction with the Government Information Centers Library Association (GICLA).

Local storage of electronic files became very important when one of the “dark electronic archives” was attacked by terrorists in 2013 and about 60% of the files were destroyed. Since electronic government information is still free, when its available at all, research institutions see the value in hosting it locally. Many researchers have exploited government data sets to demonstrate, among other things, that the earth has warmed an average of 2° Fahrenheit since the turn of the century. Locally housing this digital information allows researchers to access it without additional barriers that the government is now imposing.

The two tangible dark archives of government information, maintained by the GWO have been used several times to re-digitize digital files that somehow vanished from the Internet. With sea level rising, the 2009 decision move the Washington, D.C. dark archive to Culpepper, Virginia proved to be a good one. Additionally, the 15 distributed full government information collections of printed materials are proving their value. While most users of government information are happy with electronic access, the printed documents are more trusted by historical researchers than the internet versions.

Access to locally stored as well as agency posted government information is primarily via the Franklin Digital System which is contracted out by the GWO to Moogle (the merged Microsoft/Google empire). No additional metadata is added because the fingerprint recognition built into computers is able to deduce what the searcher needs after analyzing the present search and correlating it with his or her previous searches. Individual Government Information Centers have either written software to search locally stored files, or use Moogle to access local files. Those concerned with antiquated privacy issues have usually written local search software that doesn’t work as well as Moogle.

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