National Plan for Access to U.S. Government Information

Keeping America Informed is the mission of the U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO). The Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) exists to ensure the public at large has free access to our Government’s information. A democratic society cannot exist without the free flow of Government information.

The National Plan for Access to U.S. Government Information provides a user-centered service approach to providing permanent public access to the Federal Government’s publications and information. Our mission is to provide readily discoverable and free public access to Federal Government information, now and for future generations. By achieving the mission and to better meet user needs, we have a vision to provide Government information when and where it is needed.

The mission, vision, and strategies contained in the National Plan are based upon the Principles of Government Information that were adopted in 1996 by GPO. The first principle is, “The public has the right of access to Government information.” The other four principles are Government obligations that ensure and support the public’s right:

  • Government has the obligation to disseminate and provide broad public access to its information.
  • Government has an obligation to guarantee the authenticity and integrity of its information.
  • Government has an obligation to preserve its information.
  • Government information created or compiled by Government employees or at Government expense should remain in the public domain.

Our desired outcomes can be achieved and our vision realized with the success of our action items:

Desired OutcomesActions
Federal depository libraries will meet the Government information needs of the communities they serve and become more engaged with those communities.
  • Implement outcomes-based assessments of depository libraries.
The public at large will have tools and services that will help facilitate efficiency and ease of access to Federal Government information.
  • Employ a user-centric participatory design approach to user interface and system development.
  • Conduct a public user survey of GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.Ÿ
  • Seek technological solutions toward expanding access to new user audiences.
Federal depository libraries will have Government information subject matter experts on staff to assist patrons in finding and using Government publications and information products.
  • Provide the depository library community with enriched continuing education opportunities through:
    • Implementation of a certificate program for depository library coordinators.
    • Development of CEU opportunities for depository library staff.
    • Development of Federal Government information/depository library competencies.
  • Support Government Information Online – Ask a Librarian (GIO), a national reference service
    • Promote GIO.
More online official Government content will be accessible to depository libraries and the public at large.
  • Transform LSCM from a print-centric operation to a content centric operation.
  • ŸExpand web harvesting activities.Ÿ
  • Digitize the historical collection of Government publications.
Depository libraries will have system tools and services that support workflow optimization.
  • Conduct an ethnographic study of depository library operations.
  • Establish methods for monitoring library technology to ensure GPO automated services stay current.Ÿ
  • Establish methods for continuous improvements for system services.
The FDLP will have a governance process and a sustainable network structure that facilitates efficient management of operations, collections, and services.
  • Seek Joint Committee on Printing approval to implement the draft regional depository discard policy.
  • Encourage collaboration, partnerships, and resource sharing among depository libraries.
  • Review and revise Legal Requirements and Program Regulations of the Federal Depository Library Program.
More depository libraries will provide access to digital Government information.
  • Increase the number of all digital depositories in the FDLP.
  • Implement the Access Affiliate Libraries designation.
GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications will be a comprehensive index to the corpus of Federal Government information.
  • Continue to add records for pre-1976 and current publications to the National Bibliographic Records Inventory.
  • Increase the number of depository libraries in the Cataloging Record Distribution Program.
  • Engage in record sharing opportunities.
  • Enter into more cataloging and metadata creation partnerships.
  • Explore implementation of linked data.
GPO’s Federal Digital System (FDsys) content will be available from more access points.
  • Make the full text of FDsys content available through discovery services.
  • Increase the amount of born digital and converted content available through FDsys.
  • Create a plan and develop requirements for deposit or pushing of FDsys content to depository libraries.
  • Investigate opportunities for a print-on-demand service for depository libraries.
LSCM staff will have system management support for a secure and stable suite of necessary tools.
  • Implement training programs for the tools.
  • Create a flexible technology environment.
Users will be confident that the digital Government information they use is official, authentic, and complete./td>
  • Authenticate digital content sourced from Federal depository libraries and other third parties for ingest into FDsys.
  • Achieve trusted digital repository (TDR) certification for FDsys.
  • Monitor advancements in authentication of digital content and implement as appropriate.
Tangible collections in Federal depository libraries will be maintained for access.
  • Conduct or facilitate collection care and preservation training for Federal depository library staff.
The National Collection of U.S. Government Information will be accessible to future generations.
  • Implement the Federal Information Preservation Network (FIPNet).
  • Develop a Preservation Program within the LSCM business unit of GPO.
  • Endeavor to have the preservation of Government publications and information products a national priority.
  • Digitize, through partnerships, the historical tangible collection of Government publications.
  • Maintain an inventory of preservation copies of record.
  • Continue to participate in the development of preservation guidelines and standards.
Federal agencies will have more awareness of and contribute their content to the Federal Depository Library Program, the Cataloging and Indexing Program, and the Federal Information Preservation Network.
  • Develop a proactive agency liaison program.
  • Increase the number of content partnerships with Federal agencies.
  • Work with agencies to identify and define their corpus of Government information.
  • Participate in Government-wide activities that relate to information lifecycle management.

Federal Information Preservation Network (FIPNet)

As noted above, one of the outcomes of the National Plan is, “The National Collection of U.S. Government Information will be accessible to future generations.” The National Collection is a distributed collection of the corpus of Federal Government information dissemination products, paid for with Federal funds, regardless of format or medium. Materials that are classified for reasons of national security, or that have privacy concerns, are not included within scope until such time as they are declassified or privacy considerations expire. The accessibility of the collection can be guaranteed only if it is preserved. It will be preserved through FIPNet, a strategy for a collaborative network of information professionals working in various partner roles to ensure access to the National Collection of U.S. Government Information for future generations.

FIPNet is open to participation from:

  • Federal depository libraries
  • The Library of Congress
  • National Archives and Records Administration
  • U.S. National libraries
  • Federal agencies
  • State libraries
  • Library consortia
  • Associations
  • Public and private sector enterprises
  • Others interested in Government information preservation

There are numerous opportunities for interested stakeholders to participate in and contribute to the preservation of Government information. These partners may elect to work with GPO on one or more of the following preservation activities:

  • Cataloging and metadata creation
  • Digitization and content conversion
  • Harvesting web content
  • Hosting digital content
  • Storing physical copies
  • Condition assessment
  • Conservation
  • Other innovative activities that support preservation

By design, FIPNet is flexible; it allows depository libraries to participate at whatever level they want, by taking on any of several possible roles. Or depositories may choose to not participate in FIPNet. It is, however, an opportunity for them to leverage what they are already doing and bring national recognition to their local institutions and efforts. Many of our current partnerships can be mapped to one or more of the preservation roles. If you are interested in becoming a FIPNet partner, contact us by email at: [email protected].

More information and discussion can be found in a recording of the National Plan session from the Spring Depository Library Council Virtual Meeting. Keep abreast of our progress from the National Plan page on FDLP.gov.

FDLP Connection Archive

We have sunsetted the FDLP Connection with the July / August 2018 issue and will not be publishing the Connection anymore. We’ve enjoyed bringing the FDLP Connection to the community over the years! You can still view past issues. View full archive (2011-2018).