AALL Testifies on GPO Funding at House Legislative Branch Appropriations Hearing

On May 7, Acting Washington Affairs Representative Mary Alice Baish testified before the House Committee on Appropriations’ Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch in support of the FY 2009 Appropriations Request of the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO). Mary Alice’s testimony, endorsed by the American Library Association and the Special Libraries Association, strongly supports GPO’s Salaries & Expenses ($43.42 M), which funds the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP), and Congressional Printing and Binding ($97.92 M), which funds the print publication of bills, hearings, reports and other congressional materials.

Mary Alice’s testimony [written testimony; oral testimony] urges the Subcommittee to agree to GPO’s $21.2 million request for the Federal Digital System (FDsys), GPO’s new digital system to manage Government information online. FDsys would replace the clunky, obsolete technology of GPO Access. We believe FDsys is essential to GPO’s future because it will ensure that the Federal government’s electronic information will be permanently available, authenticated and versioned, and accessible through the Internet.

Mary Alice’s testimony also highlights GPO’s progress in several areas due to the new functionalities available through FDsys. GPO has asserted itself as the source of trusted government information by adding digital signatures to certain electronic documents on GPO Access, thus ensuring the documents’ authenticity. This year, GPO launched an online collection of authenticated Public and Private Laws of the 110th Congress. In February, GPO digitally signed the 2009 Budget of the United States Government and published it in print after the Office of Management and Budget announced that it would only publish the budget online.

In addition, GPO is continuing its progress in automated web harvesting through FDsys to discover and capture online publications from agency web sites, building on its 2006 pilot project with the Environmental Protection Agency. These web harvests increase public access to web-based agency information and ensure its preservation.

Mary Alice reminded Subcommittee members that managing the life cycle of online information is expensive and requires dedicated resources. “It’s a myth to think that utilizing the Web to provide public access to reliable government information doesn’t carry a hefty price tag,” she told the Subcommittee. She ended her oral testimony by asking the Subcommittee members to fully support GPO’s FY 2009 funding request. “This year, I ask that you champion FDsys and, at the same time, support GPO’s other funding needs that are crucial to a robust information dissemination program,” she said. “The FDLP is your program, and we are counting on your help to keep it relevant in the 21st Century.”

[Posted by Emily Feldman]

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