Those of you with half-decent memories will recall that earlier this year I blogged on the parlous state of the U.S. Federal scientific collections, highlighted in a series of uncomplementary reports issued over the past few years. I'm pleased to report that the Government has now acted, in the form of a new policy for scientific collections issued by the Office of Science and Technology Policy, which you can read here. It's not a long document, but it says three very important things:
1) It's not appropriate for Federal agencies to appropriate money designated for collection support and spend it on research.
2) Different collection holding agencies need to pool their efforts to develop consistent standards and best practices for collections care.
3) These collections belong to the American people and they need to be made accessible. This means investing in on-line collections access.
You'll notice that these are three topics that PoH often bangs on about. Does this mean I have a direct line to the White House? Hah - I wish! Wouldn't have an office with no windows if I did, that's for certain. However, what it does show is that these are simple, commonsense measures for the care of collections that are so obvious that even the Federal Government recognizes them. So how come so many non-Federal institutions don't?