Comments on the "Alternate Methods of Transmitting Machine-Readable Bibliographic Data:

A Feasibility Study"

LCD-79-116: Published: Jul 6, 1979. Publicly Released: Jul 6, 1979.

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The Library of Congress conducted a feasibility study of the alternatives available to accomplish an efficient exchange of bibliographic material with other libraries. GAO was consulted in regards to the methodology to be used in conducting the study and was asked to validate the study results.

The Library examined three basic alternatives and chose the last configuration, the Separate System, a modification of the Library's present Cataloging Distribution System to allow for online interactive processing. Although this system would cost more to implement, the Library determined that (1) the availability of the Library's automated resources to congressional and internal Library users would not be adversely affected, (2) the number of external online users would be controlled so that the existing Separate System processing unit would be adequate for at least 3 years, and (3) the security of the present congressional and Library databases would not be jeopardized. GAO agreed that the potential benefits as defined by the Library were significant. The Library plans to make additional studies before implementing the Separate System, if approved by Congress. GAO recommended that the Library evaluate costs, benefits, and revenues periodically to determine the need for management actions to improve system performance; make a thorough risk analysis before implementing the Separate System; and justify the cost of any new procurements.

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