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Association of Research Libraries (ARL®)

  Influencing Public Policies Contact:
Prue Adler

Public Access Policies

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The Federal Government is the largest producer of information.  Numerous federal statutes, executive orders and OMB Circulars provide agencies with guidance concerning the creation, collection, maintenance, dissemination and preservation of government information.  Ensuring effective and long-term access to government information is a priority for the library community, and in particular, striving to achieve the delicate balance between responding to concerns about homeland security while enabling public access to government information.  Updating laws, such as the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to better achieve this balance, is ongoing.

The US Government funds research with the expectation that new ideas and discoveries from the research will propel science, stimulate the economy, and improve the lives and welfare of Americans.  Legislation and selected agency initiatives would make federally funded research publicly available under certain circumstances.  Enhancing access to federally funded research is a priority for the library community as such initiatives improve access by the public, provide for effective archiving strategies for these resources, and ensure accountability of the federal investment.

The Federal Depository Library Program is a key program that enables public access to federal government information.  ARL and others in the library community are engaged in re-examining the role of the Federal Depository Library Program in the networked environment.