GPO info gets saved

Two of the government's most popular sources for federal records reaffirmed their commitment to the preservation of electronic government information.

The Government Printing Office and the National Archives and Records Administration announced Aug. 12 an agreement that maintains GPO's responsibility for public access and preservation of the records available on its Web site, GPO Access, while granting NARA legal custody of the records in order to ensure their future availability.

The partnership makes GPO NARA's sixth official affiliated archive. Others include West Point and the Naval Academy, according to Lewis Bellardo, deputy archivist of the United States.

The affirmation of GPO's custody of the records means that NARA no longer needs to provide full copies of them and instead will allow "people to move between our catalogs straight into the more descriptive, detailed holdings of our partner," Bellardo said.

Immediate changes will not be visible on GPO Access, according to Judy Russell, the agency's superintendent of documents, but will be visible in "matters of perception. We are giving the public the assurance that the information they are getting is official and reliable."

The partnership saves both agencies the trouble of transferring copies of all GPO's electronic materials, such as the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations, into NARA's physical custody.

"The copy of paper materials is the copy of last resort," Russell said. "There isn't a need for NARA to offer that copy of last resort because it's being taken care of through the Internet in ways you can't really do in a paper environment."

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