For years we’ve received paper copies of various government documents that were sent to us so that the public would have access to something that was out for comment. We still get those in print and you’ve all been great about remembering to return or recycle them at the end of the comment period. We don’t catalog review or draft documents.
But the 21st Century has arrived and many government offices and agencies are sending us electronic notification (links or the actual document) instead of paper. And that’s great! But how do we handle that? The Reference Services Committee has discussed this via email and we’ve come to the conclusion that the answer is pretty easy–we don’t do anything.
Any document made freely available on the Internet has been made as “available to the public” as putting a print copy in a public location, like a public library. For those that don’t have access to the Internet, it is the computers in the public library that provide “public access” to the content, not any listed link to the documentation. If a customer asks, we will find the information and we will print it, if requested.