government documents - statistics from STAT-USA

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  • Our library regularly uses the STAT USA database for student research. Recently we saw the note that the STAT-USA Office is ceasing operations on September 30, 2010.

    This caused a bit of panic. Our proposed solution to the problem is to download the information we know our students will be asking for and add it to our institutional repository. We believe, I hope correctly, that government statistics are copyright-free and open for public use and distribution.

    I'm concerned, though, because STAT-USA is a subscription database, and the U.S. Census site does also offer historic statistics of this type, but for a fee. Am I wrong in thinking that this information is free of copyright, or am I right, and the government is just charging because they can? Does anyone foresee any problems with our university making some of this information freely available on the web?

    I think I'm just being paranoid, but some outside feedback would be very useful. Thanks!

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