RESOLUTION COMMENDING THE EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES INFORMATION CENTER (ERIC) CLEARINGHOUSES FOR THEIR SERVICE TO THE EDUCATION COMMUNITY, THE LIBRARY COMMUNITY, AND THE PUBLIC
Whereas the Clearinghouses of the Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC) have provided invaluable support for the work of educators and information professionals in schools and libraries around the world for more than three decades; and
Whereas the professional staff members of the ERIC Clearinghouses have actively sought to provide extensive information services to every constituency for education information, including teachers, administrators, students, parents, scholars, and policymakers, through print, telephone, and electronic research assistance services; and
Whereas the ERIC Clearinghouses have consistently been early adopters of emergent technologies, providing information awareness and full-text documents through print, electronic, and microfiche formats; and
Whereas the professional staff members of the ERIC Clearinghouses have provided vital leadership in the development of innovative electronic resources and publications in the field of education; and
Whereas the Clearinghouse Web sites have offered parents, professionals, scholars, and policymakers a wide variety of ways to obtain information designed to meet their needs; and
Whereas the ERIC Clearinghouses were formally dissolved as part of the ongoing reconstruction of the Educational Resources Information Center by the United States Department of Education on December 19, 2003;
Therefore be it
Resolved that the American Library Association (ALA) acknowledges the significant contributions made to the creation and dissemination of education information by the Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC) Clearinghouses:
- Adult, Career, and Vocational Education
- Assessment and Evaluation
- Community Colleges
- Counseling and Student Services
- Disabilities and Gifted Education
- Educational Management
- Elementary and Early Childhood Education
- Higher Education
- Information & Technology
- Languages and Linguistics
- Reading, English, and Communication
- Rural Education and Small Schools
- Science, Mathematics, and Environmental Education
- Social Studies/Social Science Education
- Teaching and Teacher Education
- Urban Education
Adjunct ERIC Clearinghouses
- Child Care
- Clinical Schools
- Early Intervention and Early Childhood Special Education
- Educational Opportunity
- Entrepreneurship Education
- ESL Literacy Education
- Homeless Education
- International Civic Education
- Rural Mathematics Education
- U.S.-Japan Studies
- National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities
and be it further
Resolved that ALA thanks and commends the staff members of the ERIC Clearinghouses for their decades of leadership, dedication, and superior service to education professionals, information professionals, and others interested in education information.
Endorsed in principle, GODORT Legislation Committee, 1-10-04
Endorsed in principle, COL-Government Information Subcommittee, 1-10-04
RESOLUTION COMMENDING GPO AND NARA
WHEREAS, the American Library Association has been a longtime advocate for permanent public access to and preservation of electronic government information; and
WHEREAS, through GPO Access the Government Printing Office provides access to the Congressional Record, the Federal Register, and over 250,000 Federal Government publications; and
WHEREAS, as of August 12, 2003, the Government Printing Office and the National Archives and Records Administration have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding ensuring the preservation of and permanent public access to the content of GPO Access; and
WHEREAS, this agreement establishes an important partnership in the continued access to electronic government information; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the American Library Association commend the Government Printing Office and the National Archives and Records Administration for this Memorandum of Understanding and their ongoing commitment to the preservation of and provision of permanent public access to government information.
Endorsed by GODORT Legislation Committee, 1-10-04 Endorsed by COL-Government Information Subcommittee, 1-10-04
Memorial Resolution for Paul Simon
WHEREAS, former U.S. Senator Paul Simon tirelessly and effectively championed libraries and library services throughout his forty years as a public official and thereafter until his recent death; and
WHEREAS, he considered libraries integral and critical to the nation’s educational system, to government and to society at large; and
WHEREAS, he successfully advanced the cause of libraries while serving in the Illinois General Assembly as a representative and senator from 1955 to 1968, as Illinois lieutenant governor from 1969 to 1973, and in the U.S. Congress as a representative from 1975 to 1984, and as a senator from 1985 to 1997; and
WHEREAS, he supported a wide range of education reforms, and he was an original cosponsor of the Library Services and Construction Act, a cosponsor of the resolution that established the second White House Conference on Library and Information Services, later appearing at the conference as a keynote speaker; and
WHEREAS, he authored the National Literacy Act; and
WHEREAS, he vigorously advocated for libraries while a member of the Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources, Subcommittee on Education, Arts and Humanities; and
WHEREAS, he worked for open government and public access to government information, as demonstrated by holding regular town meetings, insuring passage of the Illinois Open Meetings Act and facilitating Senate use of the Internet; and
WHEREAS, he was one of the first senators to recognize and promote the central role of libraries and information professionals in the development and use of the Internet and related information networks; and
WHEREAS, he sponsored a series of bills that resulted in the GPO Access Act of 1993; and
WHEREAS, he served as chairperson of the Fund for America’s libraries; and
WHEREAS, his faith in and support for libraries and education, lifelong learning and scholarship have been recognized by the library field, educators and the public, in the form of a life membership in the Illinois Library Association and also over fifty-five honorary degrees; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the American Library Association lauds the late Paul Simon’s outstanding leadership and significant contributions to the nation’s libraries, its readers and the educational system, and to the library and information science and education professions throughout his political career; and, be it further
RESOLVED, that the American Library Association communicate its gratitude and appreciation to his family, friends and associates, in honor of his vision for the nation’s libraries; and, be it further
RESOLVED, that the American Library Association extend its deepest sympathy to his family, friends and associates in regard to his death on December 9, 2003; and, be it further
RESOLVED, that the American Library Association transmit this resolution to Patti Simon, his wife, Sheila Simon and Martin Simon, his daughter and son, and other family members; Michael Lawrence, Associate Director of the Public Policy Institute, Southern Illinois University Carbondale; Senator Richard Durbin; Governor Rod R. Blagojevich; and, other individuals as appropriate.
Endorsed GODORT Legislation Committee, 1-11-04
RESOLUTION ON PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO THE USA PATRIOT ACT
WHEREAS, at its 2003 Midwinter Meeting, the American Library Association passed a Resolution On The USA PATRIOT Act And Related Measures That Infringe On The Rights Of Library Users; and
WHEREAS, the American Library Association holds that, in a library, the subjects of users’ interests should not be examined or scrutinized by others; and
WHEREAS, the American Library Association affirms that privacy is essential to the exercise of free speech, free thought, and free association, the foundation of our democracy; and
WHEREAS, all the states and the District of Columbia protect the confidentiality of library records; and
WHEREAS, several bills have been introduced in Congress (such as H.R. 1157, H.R. 3352, S. 1158, S.1507, S. 1552, and S. 1709) that would amend sections of the USA PATRIOT Act to address concerns of librarians and library users; and
WHEREAS, legislation has been introduced in Congress (such as H.R. 3037, The Antiterrorism Tools Enhancement Act of 2003) that would further erode the civil liberties of the public, the privacy of library users, and congressional and judicial oversight of the implementation of the USA PATRIOT Act; and
WHEREAS, legislation that further expands administrative authorities to obtain records without a court order was included in the 2004 Intelligence Authorization legislation, without due deliberation; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the American Library Association supports legislation currently in Congress that will amend sections of the USA PATRIOT Act that abridge historic rights of library users so that those rights will be restored in full; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the American Library Association opposes any further initiatives on the part of the United States government to constrain the free expression of ideas or to inhibit the use of libraries; and, be it further
RESOLVED, that the American Library Association urges the United States Congress to oppose legislation, regulations, or other initiatives that threaten or further abridge the rights of inquiry and free expression.
Endorsed in principle by GODORT, 1-12-04
KEY PRINCIPLES ON GOVERNMENT INFORMATION
1. Access to government information is a public right that must not be restricted by administrative barriers, geography, ability to pay, or format.
An informed citizenry is a prerequisite to maintaining the social contract between the established government and those governed by it. The people who constitute nations, states, or localities require unimpeded access to information to continually assess and evaluate their governments. Government must accept the responsibility to provide to its citizens unrestricted access to public information on government activities. This responsibility includes providing information regardless of geographic location or mobility of those who require it. Public information must be made available to the public without impediment through deliberate policies, charging fees which intentionally or unintentionally limit access by those unable to pay, or by limiting access through the use of format(s) which are not equally accessible to all citizens.
2. The government has a responsibility to collect, maintain, and disseminate information to the public.
The free flow of information between the government and the public which it serves is essential to maintaining an informed citizenry. The public’s right to know about government operations and functions is essential in holding government accountable to its citizenry. To facilitate accountability, it is the government’s responsibility to collect and maintain all information on its policies, program, debates, deliberations, and legislative, judicial, or executive activities, limit classification, regularly review for declassification, and disseminate unclassified information to the public.
3. Government information regardless of form or format should be disseminated in a manner that promotes its usefulness to the public.
Because many different social and commercial decisions depend on information generated by governments, it is vital that governments issue information in formats that promote access to and enhancement of the usefulness of government information. Public access to government information must not be thwarted by costs, use of proprietary software, nor by special knowledge required to use the media in which government information is maintained. In managing information resources, government must always consider the dual responsibility of maintaining public information in formats that are useful both to government agencies and to the public. Furthermore, information collected and/or maintained by or for the government must be consistent in content so as to facilitate geographic and/or chronological extrapolations, and be in formats which make it easily accessible to the public.
4. Depository library programs must be preserved to provide equitable, no-fee access to government information for the public.
Depository library programs are effective means for providing wide dispersal of and no fee public access to government information. As joint ventures between government and libraries, depository library programs are based on the principle that government information is a public resource that must be freely available to the people regardless of their location. The imposition of fees by libraries or by government to access government information would undermine the basic principle of free access to this rich public resource. Furthermore, use fees would deny access to government information by those unable to pay the fees. This would foster the creation of an information poor and an information elite. The introduction of such a convention should be abhorrent to governments dedicated to the principle of equal opportunity.
5. The cost of collecting, collating, storing, disseminating, and providing for permanent public access to government information should be supported by appropriation of public funds.
The collection, collation, storage, dissemination, and provision for permanent public access of public information are integral responsibilities of government. Government must allocate adequate financial resources from publicly appropriated funds to meet these responsibilities. The government cannot abrogate this obligation to ensure that government information is freely and equitably available to the public.
6. The role of private publishers should complement government responsibilities in the collection, storage, and dissemination of public information. Private sector involvement does not relieve the government of its information responsibilities.
Access to government information is essential to the maintenance of a responsible government, the health and well-being of society, and the continued economic growth and development of the nation. The obligation to guarantee full public access to valuable government information resources rests with the government. While the participation of the private sector in the collection, storage, and dissemination of government information is significant, this involvement does not relieve the government of its fundamental information responsibilities. Government must guarantee widespread, no fee, and equitable access to public information, regardless of whether the information is produced and disseminated by the government or through the services of the private sector. In its contracts with the private sector, government must carefully assess whether factors such as corporate stability, continuity of service, proprietary control, or fees required to assure profitability will impede public access to the product.
7. Government information policy must ensure the integrity of public information.
Just as the government has a responsibility to collect and disseminate information to the public, the government must also guarantee that information collected by the government is presented to the public in its entirety, without editing or omissions which may change content or interpretation.
8. It is essential to safeguard the right of the government information user to privacy and confidentiality.
It is essential to protect the individual’s right to privacy, therefore confidentiality must be maintained in all transactions wherein individuals access government information, whether through libraries, government agencies, or private vendors. Any mechanism that might identify users must be prohibited, except in instances where proper legal procedures are employed.
9. Government has an obligation to preserve public information from all eras of the country’s history, regardless of form or format.
Most information generated by government serves as the official public record of government. Government, as an agent of the people, has the responsibility to preserve public information, regardless of format, as official record.
10. Government has a responsibility to provide a comprehensive cumulative catalog of government information regardless of form or format.
Government information is a public resource collected at public expense. A comprehensive catalog describing all government information and information services, regardless of their format, is necessary to ensure that the public has knowledge of and access to this resource. The catalog must provide sufficient information to identify and access government information.
11. Copyright or copyright-like restrictions should not be applied to government information.
Copyright or copyright-like restrictions of government information would impede public access to that information. The underlying intent of copyright is to protect the intellectual property rights of private authors. However, property rights of government information reside with the people; therefore, copyright should not apply to information produced by government.
Approved by GODORT Legislation Committee, 1-10-04
Approved by Government Information Subcommittee of the Committee on Legislation, 1-10-04
Approved by Committee on Legislation, 1-12-04
Endorsed in principle: ASCLA, FAFLRT, LITA Legislation and Regulation Committee and LITA Technology and Access Committee, ACRL Government Relations, PLA, GODORT, IFC
Endorsed by: GODORT 1-12-04
Resolution on Superintendent of Documents Salaries and Expenses Appropriation for FY2005
WHEREAS, broad based, no-fee public access to government information is fundamental to a democratic society and to the economic well-being of the Nation and the public; and
WHEREAS, government information is a strategic national resource owned by the people and held in joint trust for the public good by the Government Printing Office (GPO) and by Federal Depository libraries; and
WHEREAS, the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP), through its geographically dispersed system of over 1200 depository libraries, functions as the official source for no-fee public access to federal government information regardless of format; and
WHEREAS, GPO supports the information needs of business, industry, educators, local officials, researchers, students, and the general public through the FDLP and its services; and
WHEREAS, GPO Access total retrievals have exceeded two billion, current monthly retrievals average 34 million, over 270,000 titles are available through the FDLP Electronic Collection, and GPO hosts twenty federal Web sites, including the United States Supreme Court’s; and
WHEREAS, GPO provides multiple formats because exclusively electronic dissemination does not meet the needs of all users and is not an adequate format for all government information products; and
WHEREAS, GPO’s responsibility for digital government information includes content management, authentication, technological migration, permanent preservation, accessibility, and usability; and
WHEREAS, GPO is modernizing its operations and systems to better manage the life cycle of government information; and
WHEREAS, GPO has requested $1.5 million for FY2005 to establish a “Collection of Last Resort” that will acquire, preserve, and provide online access to copies of government publications through all GPO dissemination programs; and
WHEREAS, fugitive and disappearing publications are increasing, and GPO is investigating the use of Web-crawler and data-mining technologies to capture government information published on the Web; and
WHEREAS, the cost of collecting, authenticating, collating, storing, disseminating, and providing for secure, permanent public access to government information should be supported by the appropriation of public funds; and
WHEREAS, investments in GPO’s workforce and technology infrastructure are needed to effectively serve the public, Congress, Federal agencies, and the Courts; therefore be it
RESOLVED, that the American Library Association urges Congress to reaffirm the government’s responsibility to provide no-fee access to federal government information in formats most appropriate to the public’s needs; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the American Library Association urges Congress to ensure the preservation of, and permanent public access to, federal government information in all formats; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the American Library Association urges Congress to support improvement of critical functions such as gathering, producing, cataloging, indexing, distributing, and preserving government information, regardless of format, from all branches of government, and support the continuation of the International Exchange Program; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the American Library Association urges Congress to reaffirm its commitment to GPO Access and the Federal Depository Library Program; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the American Library Association urges Congress to fund fully the Government Printing Office Superintendent of Documents Salaries and Expenses Appropriation for FY2005 at or above the $33 million requested by the Public Printer.
Approved GODORT Legislation Committee, June 27, 2004 Approved by Government Information Subcommittee, ALA Committee on Legislation, June 28, 2004 Approved GODORT Membership, June 28, 2004 Approved by ALA Committee on Legislation, June 28, 2004
RESOLUTION ON GUIDELINES FOR “SENSITIVE” INFORMATION
WHEREAS, public access to government information is vital to maintaining a democratic and accountable government; and
WHEREAS, the American Library Association recognizes the federal government’s responsibility for protecting national security and public safety while at the same time preserving the public’s right to know; and
WHEREAS, the American Library Association has expressed its concern that some federal agencies have declared information “sensitive” without appropriate review or public comment; and
WHEREAS, unclassified government information deemed “sensitive” is being withheld from the public, often at the sole discretion of each agency, and some agencies assert that such information may be withheld from the Freedom of Information Act on that basis; and
WHEREAS, there are no provisions for judicial review of agency decisions to withhold information deemed “sensitive” from public access; and
WHEREAS, section 207 of the E-Government Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-347) requires agencies to categorize government information in order that the public can be aware of its existence; and
WHEREAS, there is no systematic review process for reassessing the status of information declared “sensitive;” now therefore be it
RESOLVED, that the American Library Association reaffirms its opposition to non-statutory restrictions to unclassified government information; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the American Library Association urges that agency decisions to designate information as “sensitive” be judicious, limited, and based on clearly-defined criteria that are made available for public review and comment; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the American Library Association urges all federal agencies to establish and adhere to guidelines for identifying information as “sensitive;” and be it further
RESOLVED, that the American Library Association urges that these guidelines include a process for systematic review of “sensitive” information; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the American Library Association urges that information deemed “sensitive” be categorized as provided by the E-Government Act of 2002 and information about its existence be made available to the public; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the American Library Association reaffirms its position that the public should have access to unclassified information unless it falls within a specific exemption of the Freedom of Information Act; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the American Library Association urges that information no longer deemed “sensitive” be made publicly available in a timely manner.
Approved by GODORT Legislation Committee, June 28, 2004 ADOPTED by Government Information Subcommittee, ALA Committee on Legislation, June 28, 2004 ENDORSED in principle by the GODORT Membership, June 28, 2004 ADOPTED by the ALA Committee on Legislation, June 28, 2004
RESOLUTION ON ACCESS TO AND OWNERSHIP OF GOVERNMENT INFORMATION
WHEREAS, open, unfettered, and no-fee access to information collected, compiled, or funded by government is a basic tenet of a democratic society; and
WHEREAS, authentication, verification, and ownership of government information in this era of increased security concerns are important functions that should remain in the control of the government; and
WHEREAS, proposals are being made to turn over control and ownership of distinct collections of government information to non-governmental entities for archiving, access, and maintenance; and
WHEREAS, copyright, “copyright-like,” or other access restrictions could be imposed on information no longer under government control; and
WHEREAS, current and future no-fee public access to government information collections could be diminished by loss of government control; NOW THEREFORE BE IT
RESOLVED, that the American Library Association urges Congress to reaffirm the Federal government’s responsibility to provide timely, unfettered, permanent, and no-fee access to unclassified information produced, compiled, or funded by the Federal government; AND BE IT FURTHER
RESOLVED, that the American Library Association urges Congress to strengthen or enact legislation that recognizes the importance of the ownership, archiving, and dissemination of government information for the well-being of its citizens.
ADOPTED by GODORT Legislation Committee, June 27, 2004 ADOPTED by GODORT Legislation Membership, June 28, 2004 ADOPTED by COL, Government Information Subcommittee, June 28, 2004 ADOPTED by Committee on Legislation, June 28, 2004
Securing Government Accountability through Whistleblower Protection
WHEREAS, the American Library Association has a long standing policy of supporting free speech by all, including government employees; and
WHEREAS, open and unfettered access to information by and about government is a basic tenet of a democratic society and crucial to the public’s ability to hold government accountable; and
WHEREAS, security concerns in today’s environment have resulted in increased restrictions on access to public, unclassified government information, and actions of whistleblowers may be the only means of exposing problems in government; and
WHEREAS, whistleblowers often have alerted Congress, government officials, and the public to abuse, fraud, and waste in governmental activities; and
WHEREAS, libraries and librarians have a long tradition of assisting the public in learning about the activities of their government; and
WHEREAS, government employees who have uncovered abuse, fraud, and waste and become whistleblowers have suffered intimidation, loss of security clearance, reduced benefits, or loss of employment; and
WHEREAS, legislative efforts to strengthen governmental accountability through enhanced protection for whistleblowers, such as the “Paul Revere Whistleblower Act,” are pending in Congress; THEREFORE BE IT
RESOLVED, that the American Library Association affirms its support for accountable government and the role of whistleblowers in reporting abuse, fraud, and waste in governmental activities; AND BE IT FURTHER
RESOLVED, that the American Library Association supports legislative efforts to provide increased support and protection for whistleblowers in the Federal government.
ENDORSED in Principle by FAFLERT, June 26, 2004 ENDORSED in Principle by GODORT Legislation Committee, June 27, 2004 ENDORSED in Principle by GODORT Membership, June 28, 2004 ADOPTED by COL, Government Information Subcommittee, June 28, 2004 ADOPTED by Committee on Legislation, June 28, 2004
Resolution on the Administrative Conference of the United States
WHEREAS, Congress voted on September 13, 1995 to terminate funding for the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS); and
WHEREAS, the ACUS was chartered to ensure that federal agency programs are administered in a fair, efficient and effective manner; and
WHEREAS, the primary role of the ACUS is to study administrative functions and make recommendations to Congress and federal agencies on improving administrative processes; and
WHEREAS, the ACUS is currently authorized but unfunded; and
WHEREAS, many of the recommendations made by the ACUS resulted in positive impacts on administrative activities and other government practices, such as rule-making, standards of conduct, and alternative dispute resolution techniques; and
WHEREAS, many of the ACUS recommendations resulted in fundamental change to federal law and practices; and
WHEREAS, the activities of ACUS received bipartisan support from members of Congress, members of the United States Supreme Court, government officials and public interest groups; therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the American Library Association support legislative efforts to fund and reconstitute the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS).
Initiated and endorsed in principle by FAFLRT, June 26,2004 ENDORSED in Principle by GODORT Legislation Committee June 27, 2004 ENDORSED in Principle by GODORT Membership, June 28, 2004 ADOPTED by COL, Government Information Subcommittee, June 28, 2004 ADOPTED by Committee on Legislation, June 28, 2004