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In November 2001, President Bush issued an executive order removing the power from the archivist of the United States to authorize access to presidential records. Later that month, a group of historians and public interest groups accused the Bush administration of violating the Presidential Records Act and filed suit. Their point was not simply that documents should be released but that the principle of openness governing access to presidential records had been replaced by one of closure. Why exactly is open access to information necessary to the democratic process? What specific kinds of information are we talking about? The author argues that information professionals and scholars who depend on reliable government information must understand theoretical issues and policy implications, and make a concerted effort to insure continued access to our recorded history.