University Libraries Joins Two-Year Project to Preserve Electronic Government Information

Lynda Kellam
University Libraries has joined a new project to preserve electronic government information. Preserving Electronic Government Information (PEGI) consists of librarians, technologists and other information professionals from the Center for Research Libraries, the Government Publishing Office (GPO), the University of North Texas, the University of California at Santa Barbara, the University of Missouri, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and Stanford University, who are undertaking a project to address national concerns regarding the PEGI project by cultural memory organizations for long term use by the citizens of the United States.

Representing University Libraries is Lynda Kellam, Librarian for Data, Government Information, History, Political Science and Peace & Conflict Studies. 

The core problem in the pre-digital production era, is that a clear workflow accounted for the preservation of most government records and information. Federal agencies created the content and when that content was ready to be disseminated or archived, appropriate print material was sent to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the Government Publishing Office (GPO) and depository libraries. These workflows were effective in the print era. However, today, most government information is produced and disseminated digitally. Digital workflows are neither as predictable nor systematic as print workflows; further, the number of publications has exploded.

There is now a growing awareness nationally of the serious ongoing loss of government information that is electronic in nature. This issue has loomed larger in recent years, reaching a critical point that drove intense discussions in recent meetings of information management thought leaders from across the United States. Summits held in April and December of 2016 sought to explore ways of undertaking urgently needed cross-sector activities to preserve and provide access to electronic government information.

The PEGI project has been informed by a series of meetings between university librarians, information professionals and representatives of federal agencies, including the GPO and the NARA. The focus of the PEGI proposal is at-risk government digital information of long-term historical significance which is not being adequately harvested from the web or by other automated means.  For more information visit http://www.crl.edu/preservation-electronic-government-information-pegi