Documents without Borders: Dear International Organizations: Please Don’t Delete Your Data

Jim Church


In the US government-information community, domestic issues dominate the conversation, as they arguably should. Yet at times I feel discouraged at how little traction international issues receive—the situation is just as serious, if not more so, than with the US Federal Depository Library Program. International organizations, including the United Nations, have been effectively ending depository programs and paywalling their publications, in spite of the UN Sustainable Development Goal 16, Target 10, to provide “access to information.”1 International government data is likewise under duress. While the proliferation of online international data has resulted in tremendous research gains, unless the data is deposited in trusted repositories and subjected to best practices, international organizations may alter or delete the data for a multitude of reasons. This is in fact what has happened.

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