Good news and bad news for government publications

The Good: In my original post on this topic, When Government Publications Disappear, I mentioned that Senator McCain had introduced a bill to prevent the GPO from printing any copies of the Congressional Record.  On Wednesday, March 30th, Senators Coburn and Kohl introduced a competing bill, the Congressional Record Printing Savings Act of 2011.  This bill would allow print copies of the Congressional Record to be printed for archival use, but would discontinue the rest of the copies in favor of digital versions placed on the GPO website.  Senator Coburn estimates that this would save the government approximately $8 million (more than enough to save the Statistical Abstract!).  Government Document librarians are wondering if the archival copies would include copies for FDLP libraries. See, e.g., Susan Lyons, Re: legislation to eliminate the printing of many of the paper copies of the Congressional Record by Senators Coburn and Kohl, GovDoc-L listserv (Mar. 31, 2011, 1:59 PM), http://lists.psu.edu/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind1103E&L=GOVDOC-L&T=0&F=&S=&P=12673.

The Bad: According to a blog post yesterday from Sunlight Foundation staff member Daniel Schuman, many of the government websites that have been created to increase transparency are also having their funding cut and may start disappearing soon.  Websites that are running out of money as early as April 20th are: Data.gov, paymentaccuracy.gov, IT Dashboard, and internal government websites Performance.gov, FedSpace and sites related to FEDRamp.  Funding for USASpending.gov and Apps.gov/now runs out July 30th.

Is anyone else worried about all of the data that is about to disappear? Oh, and how backward is the argument that the Statistical Abstract is no longer needed because sites such as Data.gov will provide the same data, but Data.gov may disappear before the final edition of Statistical Abstract is released!

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