Information Management: Electronic Dissemination of Government Publications

GAO-01-428 Published: Mar 30, 2001. Publicly Released: Mar 30, 2001.
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Electronic dissemination of government documents can reduce distribution costs and make government information more usable and accessible. However, the transition to a paperless environment will require that several challenges be overcome. Transferring the depository library program to the Library of Congress entails both advantages and disadvantages. In studies done in 1993 and 1994, the Library concluded that the depository library program was not inconsistent with the mission and functions of the Library and that it might be appropriate for the Library to oversee this program. However, the Government Printing Office (GPO) believes that the Library is not an appropriate home for the depository library program because the Library's mission and operations are inconsistent with a large-scale information dissemination program. In addition, the studies and librarian organizations raised concerns about the potential negative effects of the transfer on public access to information and the availability of funds to maintain the current program. If a decision is made to transfer the depository library program, the concerns raised by library organizations and employee unions should be addressed. One option for addressing these issues is to form a GPO/Library transition team to develop appropriate strategies.

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