Future Scenario (Duncan Aldrich)
I am intentionally ignoring the various names that other "scenarioists" have given for the future federal agency responsible for providing public access to federal government information - I like the creative thinking they've contributed along these lines but I'm just going to refer to it here as GPO regardless of how the agency might evolve or change.
What seems reasonable to me is that the nature of the library community's presence in the partnership will, on the one hand, expand significantly and, on the other, contract.
Contraction first. A possible future scenario is one in which there are approximately 12 full FDLP paper collections and 4 full digital collections. (We'll assume that fiche are no longer with us - yea!). All items distributed to these collections are authenticated, verified, and versioned -- and accepted as legal documents by the courts (and whomever). Ongoing authenticity of the transferred materials is assured by the LOCKSS like infrastructure supporting the digital component of these collections. These libraries (and folks, this is of course + or -) are backed up by the GPO/NARA paper and digital dark archives - hopefully two including the one that's moved from DC to Culpepper.
It is possible that 2 of the 12 full collections also serve as light archives, that 1 or 2 other institutions support light archives, or that there are no light archives.
As far as depository libraries having an obligation to the GPO/FDLP for managing collections - this is it, these are the program libraries.
And then Expansion. All other libraries have free, ready access to the full FDLP collections either through the GPO's FDSys or through their nearest Full collection. While many libraries depend on remote access to these resources - basically functioning as government information service centers - others build local collections, taking advantage of the program in which all libraries are welcome to establish a profile on the FDSys to have digital files pushed to their online collections replete with metadata, or similarly to select individual items for download. There are no ties for collecting these materials - they can add and delete them from their collections at will and need guarantee access to only their primary clientele. Libraries selecting materials from the FDSys may participate in the LOCKSS like infrastructure. Although many of these libraries will support government information specialists who have close ties to the FDLP and GPO, there will be no need for an official designation.
The large collections FDLs currently hold on deposit will be dealt with as follows:
1) a concerted effort will be made to transfer materials to complete the dark archives, light archives, and 12 Full tangible collections
2) legislation will provide for the transfer of ownership of remaining FDLP collection materials from the federal government to the libraries
3) OR remaining collection materials will be auctioned on EBAY to reduce the national debt.
Local reference services will be assisted through an online reference service coordinated by OCLC (or whomever). This reference service will be complemented by various user guides and tutorials, and a knowledgebase. A syndicate of subject experts in certain fields will be coordinated within the FDLP to assist reference librarians on "tough"questions. Training for information specialists providing reference service will be coordinated by the FDLP in collaboration with GICLA. This training will be freely available on the Web - live Webcasts will be recorded and made available on the Web for future access. Annual conferences may be held, a majority of attendees visiting virtually on Webcasts.