- How future historians will use the Twitter archives, By Christopher Beam, Slate (April 20, 2010).
- 21st Century Public History, Part I, Sharon Leon at the Center for History and New Media (April 21st, 2010).
- The Tea Party Challenge, By Erik Christiansen and Jeremy Sullivan, Inside Higher Ed (April 23, 2010).
There is more. Be sure to check out the complete list.
The Sunlight Foundation is starting an experiment that they are calling "the day in transparency." Every day, they will post a selection of transparency-related news stories, upcoming hearings on the hill, and related legislation introduced in Congress.
They are currently posting the stories at http://www.theopenhouseproject.com/, but may move these announcements to their own blog home soon.
- The Day in Transparency 4/27/2010 by Eric Naing.
Printable Congressional District Maps: Behind The Scenes, Joshua Tauberer, February 26th, 2010.
I missed this when it came out a couple of months ago, so this may be old news to some of you. Seems worth mentioning for those who missed it.
Today I’m releasing print-quality maps of congressional districts, with street-level detail and county border lines. This has been one of the most sought-after resources based on emails I’ve received over the last some four years and I don’t think you can find this anywhere else. (At least not comprehensively for the whole nation. Local state clerk’s offices may have them. NationalAtlas.gov has maps but not with very much detail.)
This was a solid 2-day project with less than 300 lines of code and it’s something that only recently became this easy to do.
The White House unleashes AdWords against Wall Street, by Patricio Robles, Econsultancy (22 April 2010).
When you do a search on Google for 'goldman sachs sec' or 'goldman sachs fraud' and even 'goldman sachs' itself, you're likely to be greeted with an ad from the president himself: "Help Change Wall Street."
Hat tip to Kevin Taglang!
In addition to the recent GPO Inspector General's report on FDsys (see The State of FDsys and the Future of the FDLP), there is another new report on FDsys.
- FDsys Program Review. Bob Tapella, Ric Davis, Mike Wash,Scott Stovall, Selene Dalecky, John Shuler, Suzanne Sears, Mike White. Government Printing Office (April 7, 2010)
Summary: On Wednesday, April 7, 2010, Bob Tapella, Public Printer, United States Government Printing Office (GPO), convened a public meeting to review the status of GPO’s Federal Digital System (FDsys) program. The objective of the meeting was to receive a program status update and to discuss program successes, issues, and opportunities with key stakeholders including GPO’s Library Services and Content Management (LSCM) business unit, the Office of the Federal Register (OFR), and representatives from the Federal Depository Library Council. The meeting was also attended by observers from GPO, the House Administration Committee, and the House Committee on Appropriations.
This report gives a much more sanguine view of the state of FDsys than the Inspector General report gives. It does, indeed, step through "program successes, issues, and opportunities." As I noted in my coverage of the IG report, there are successes and there is lots to hope for when all the system requirements are met. This report notes that "The estimated cost to complete Release 1 was reduced from $62 million to $42 million, saving $20 million" while the IG report focuses on the fact that the original cost estimate for the first phase of FDsys implementation was $16 million and the fact that GPO has redefined "Release 1" (which originally was slated to include "basic, additional, and final features") to include only "basic" features and now calls "additional and final features" "Release 2."
Nevertheless, it does a good job of pointing out what GPO has accomplished, which is significant.
The new report also identifies one critical risk to FDsys:
[T]here is risk associated with a delayed completion of the core system. Mitigation steps include maintaining sufficient investment to complete the core system and preventing loss of key resources resulting in more cost and time.
It also includes this statement of purpose:
The purpose of FDsys is not to serve as a portal, but instead to provide access to official and authentic content from all three branches of the U.S. government on our site, and through links to official agency and partnering web sites. Our main system functions encompass publishing information, enabling searching for information, preserving the information, and providing version control.
This is a sound, and probably sustainable, purpose. The report notes with satisfaction that the provision of XML formatted information has powered other, more user friendly, websites such as FedThread.org, GovPulse.us, and Regulations.gov. This vision of FDsys is, perhaps, close to view of those who say that the government should reimagine its role as an information provider to providing raw data and leave the fancy websites to others. (See The Federal Government Must Reimagine Its Role As An Information Provider.)
It is, however, probably not as close to the view that FDLP librarians have of easy access to government information. In light of the problems described in the IG report, it makes me wonder if there is a slight "re-imagining" of FDsys going on to make its vision fit closer with what GPO can do rather than what FDLP would like it to do. Time will tell.
Update. When asked about this issue at DLC meeting yesterday (Monday, April 26, 2010), the Supt. of Docs. responded (as reported by Shari Laster): "It's an advanced search system, a content management system, and a digital repository. Is GPO Access/etc. a portal? No. This is an official content repository."
The report also intriguingly notes that "FDsys content is available in all major search engines." I did a couple of quick Google searches of full text hearings that are in FDsys and got no hits. I would be interested to hear if GPO has more details about what is "available" in all major search engines and what is not. (If you have different results, please share them!)
Oh, yes. One other little thing. Ric Davis, Director of Library Services and Content Management and Acting Superintendent of Documents lists several "opportunities" afforded by FDsys. One is "Digital Dissemination"!
While having a repository of content available at GPO is critical, there are opportunities to facilitate the availability of digital collections in libraries. Some in the FDLP community have expressed strong interest in having Access and/or Preservation level files digitally deposited in FDLP libraries. This will further the model established for tangible collections of content by having dispersed collections of electronic content, and through partnerships better ensure access and preservation of content.
(FDsys Program Review, page 7)
We'll be live blogging the Spring 2010 Depository Library Conference from Buffalo, NY. the discussions at the 3 plenary sessions will be especially interesting and include discussions on preservation, access, FDsys and regional issues. Thanks to Shari Laster for volunteering to update the live blog. The twitter hashtag #dlc10s and #dlc10 will also show up in the live blog. We'll also archive the hashtags with twapper keeper.
The news about the World Bank opening up its data just gets better and better. I talked with Jose de Buerba at the World Bank yesterday. Jose confirmed the open access and also said that the site also includes a link to the World Bank Data API and that they encourage developers to create new applications with the data. It also has a link to DataFinder, the new World Bank iphone application. They're now in phase I of their data plan, the launch. Phase II will focus on improvements to the API. Very cool indeed! If anyone builds mashups with World Bank data, please leave a comment here and/or email Jose (email@example.com). They're very keen on understanding how researchers, developers, students and the public are using their data.
Don't forget that you can always see the latest items from Docuticker right here on FGI in the left column. You can also find Gary on twitter (@resourceshelf).
- Rhode Island School Librarian testifies in the House. His prepared statement is here.
- Online Privacy: U.S. Dept. of Commerce Plans to Look at Online Privacy; Public Meeting Scheduled for May 7th. Post includes Notice of Information from Fed Reg.
- nasaimages.org. NASA and Internet Archive working to put all NASA images, audio, video in a single location.
- New Database: Veterans Resources Search Engine Compiled in Indiana but has national resources
- Haiti: Legal Bibliography from Law Library of Congress
- Five Mapping Apps Reviewed for Upcoming UK Election
- Extremely Useful: NARA Releases List of Digitized Records (NARA Partners & Their Records.) What company has digitized what reel of microfilm, for example.
- Twitter Archives: an original post where we try to separate fact from fiction
- Wolfram|Alpha has added a bunch of historical tax statistics
- Information Security Oversight Office Releases 30th Annual Report to the President
- Transparency Data
Thanks and a hat tip to Gary!
World Bank Posts 2000 Data Sets Online, By Elizabeth Montalbano, InformationWeek (April 21, 2010).
In an effort to make its data more widely available, the World Bank this week released online more than 2,000 data sets documenting human development worldwide.
The data -- available online at the World Bank's Open Data Web site -- includes worldwide information about health, business, finance, environment, and social welfare statistics that were previously available only to paying customers.
...In conjunction with the site, the World Bank released an iPhone application called DataFinder, which allows search of the Open Data site and the creation of charts or data visualizations from iPhones.
Data Catalog "The Data Catalog provides download access to over 2,000 indicators from World Bank data sources."
The World Bank's Open Data initiative is intended to provide all users with access to World Bank data.... These resources include databases, pre-formatted tables and reports. Each of the listings includes a description of the data source and a direct link to that source. Where possible, the databases are linked directly to a selection screen to allow users to select the countries, indicators, and years they would like to search. Those search results can be exported in different formats. Users can also choose to download the entire database directly from the catalog.
Well this is good news to anyone who remembers the great GPO purl crash of ought-9. GPO just announced the contract for upgrading their permanent URL architecture, migrating to PURLZ. I hope they'll build participation by depository libraries into their new architecture. It would be great to have a failsafe on non-.gov servers as well.
GPO is pleased to announce that a contract for upgrading the PURL Server architecture and hosting the new solution has been awarded to Zepheira. The new PURL architecture provides greater flexibility, new features, and the scalability to face an increased demand for PURLs. GPO is currently in the process of migrating to this new architecture (PURLS to PURLZ.)
This transition boasts many benefits, including:
* A more robust system architecture
* Immediate system back-up through synchronization
* Immediate system fail-over
* Enhanced statistical reporting
* Enhanced Web referral reporting
* Improved speed for resolution of redirects
The targeted date for the transition to this new architecture is summer 2010.
More information will be forthcoming at the Spring Depository Library Council Meeting in Buffalo, New York (April 26 - 28, 2010) and via the FDLP Desktop and fdlp-l.
[UPDATE 9/23/11: It's come to our attention that scribd, the site that hosts the document below, does not make it easy for users to download. In some instances it appears as if the user has to subscribe to scribd before they can download. So I've attached a copy of the document below for your free downloading pleasure. JRJ]
In early April, Michael Keller, Stanford University Librarian and my boss, had a phone conversation with Beth Simone Noveck, US deputy Chief Technology Officer for Open Government leading President Obama's Open Government Initiative. Noveck requested a short report outlining how the digital FDLP would work.
Below is that report outlining a distributed ecosystem, or publications.gov, that "would incorporate collaborative cataloging/metadata creation, as well as shared or Peer-to-Peer (P2P) technical infrastructure in which data and technological redundancy and collective and proactive action reign." As many of you already know, some of the pieces for a digital FDLP ecosystem are already in place. However, as our recent post, "The State of FDsys and the Future of the FDLP", showed, some of those critical pieces are on shaky ground to say the least.
The report was forwarded to Bob Tapella and Mike Wash at GPO as well as Aneesh Chopra, Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Vivek Kundra, Chief Information Officer (CIO), and US Archivist David Ferriero.
FDLP issues are now front and center to the movers and shakers in the Obama administration. But we'll need more libraries and librarians willing to step up and pitch in to make the digital FDLP ecosystem a reality.
Digital FDLP Ecosystem
The recent report on the state of the Government Printing Office's Federal Digital System (FDsys) should raise important questions for GPO and should be a wake up call for FDLP libraries. The report documents that the project is over budget, behind schedule, and lacks sufficient resources and planning to move forward successfully.
The report (Federal Digital System (FDsys) Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V) – Tenth Quarter Report on Risk Management, Issues, and Traceability Report Number 10-05, "IV&V Risk Management, Issues, And Traceability Report," January 14, 2010) was written by American Systems, under contract to the GPO Office of Inspector General and is attached to the following memo available from GPO:
- Federal Digital System (FDsys) Independent Verification And Validation – Tenth Quarter Report On Risk Management, Issues, And Traceability. Assessment Report 10-05, March 24, 2010.
The consultants were charged with assessing the state of FDsys implementation. Some of the findings of the report that will be of most interest to FDLP libraries are:
- FDsys as it exists today "bears only partial resemblance of the system that was envisioned."
- The program is significantly over budget. The original cost estimate for the first phase of FDsys implementation was $16 million. Through August 2009, GPO had spent more than twice that (approximately $33.6 million) and, by the end of FY 2010, the total costs for FDsys contractor support will be approximately $42 million.
- Even though the cost has more than doubled, the project is significantly behind schedule. "Release 1" of FDsys was slated to be accomplished in three phases ending in the Fall of 2009, but only the first phase has been deployed -- and even that phase is incomplete.
- GPO now says that only 42 Collections will be migrated to FDsys instead of the originally-planned 55.
- There is an on-going indexing problem within the FAST search product. The FDsys database was due to approach a critical threshold of 2.5 million records in December of 2009 and FAST will require changes to accomodate more records.
- The majority of the work on FDsys after the release of the first phase of Release 1 has been centered on fixing problems and dealing with emerging issues. GPO is focusing more on fixing and upgrading a deployed system than on building the final system.
- The FDsys Program has performed little to no analysis, planning, design, or development work for Release 2.
- The "large number  of deployments [production builds] over a ten month period reflects the obvious fact that the originally deployed system contained numerous deficiencies."
- The lack of clear definition of the system and the lack of a detailed implementation plan prevent GPO from determining realistic cost estimates for future development and endanger the ability of GPO to develop and deploy the final system.
- The consultants say that GPO does not have sufficient system engineering expertise to direct and oversee the development of FDsys and that this has resulted in a system with incomplete functionality, design problems, and numerous deficiencies. They recommend that GPO hire a senior system engineer and say that, without one, these problems will continue and future releases will likely take longer and cost more than anticipated. GPO management, however, completely disagrees with this recommendation.
There is more in the 38 page report, but the above gives you the gist of the problems.
The positive, the negative, and the risks.
There are some positive things. Much has been accomplished. Twenty-five of the most complex collections have been transferred from GPO Access to FDsys. The project managed to incorporate a significant design change during implementation to accomodate "Collections with numerous granules." The project also was able to create a new capability to support public access to FDsys information via the Data.gov website.
But these accomplishments are overshadowed by the numerous problems that the report documents. Even the already-deployed system is apparently overwhelmed with problems. The report documents 232 problems that adversely affect the accomplishment of an operational or mission-essential capability and notes that the many unresolved problems with the system create "a serious risk that the overall goals for FDsys ... will take much longer and require significantly more funding to achieve."
The failed "paradigm shift."
Since 1993, GPO has been championing a "paradigm shift" in responsibilities in which GPO arrogated to itself the responsibility for both access and preservation of government information and diminished the role of FDLP libraries. (See, for example, the discussion on GPO's draft regional libraries report and FGI comments.) We at FGI have been concerned about this shift from the beginning for a number of reasons. One of those reasons is the danger of entrusting all preservation and free access to any single organization. Any interruption or failure of that organization (financial, technological, political, etc.), could mean a catastrophic loss of access to government information for everyone.
We have been hopeful that interruptions would be small and short and failures would be in the future. But we have hoped to persuade the FDLP library community, including GPO, that it would be wiser and more prudent and more durable to build on the existing FDLP model of sharing responsibility for access and preservation across many institutions. These institutions with different infrastructures, governing bodies, technologies, and communities of users, would, we have argued, do a better job collectively than any one institution could do by itself.
We have feared the day when Congress would cut back GPO appropriations after we all were irreversibly dependent upon GPO -- a day when it would be too late to create a new system of free, permanent, public access to government information. With the release of this report, we worry that that day may be closer than we had imagined.
The original design and specifications for FDsys were expansive and ambitious. That was a good thing. It would be wonderful if GPO could support FDsys and all of its almost three thousand system requirements and features. OAIS compliance, persistent naming, metadata management, and support for RSS are among the features we look forward to. And we hope for other features: maybe, someday, APIs and OAI-PMH support, for example. But what do we do if GPO does not have the resources or the expertise to fully develop FDsys? It is hard to read this new report without being concerned that this is exactly the reality we face today. We worry that this report is "the writing on the wall" that is telling us that "the paradigm shift" will not work and is not sustainable.
Many FDLP libraries (or at least the directors of those libraries, and, in many cases, the FDLP librarians as well) have been hoping for almost two decades that they could rely on GPO to provide the services that the FDLP libraries themselves used to provide. If this is proving to be a false hope what will happen next? Is it only a matter of time before Congress pulls the plug, or GPO throws in the towel, or the private sector raises a stink?
What are our options for the future?
Naturally, we hope GPO can continue to develop FDsys. It would best for access and preservation to have FDsys in place. But it would be better if FDsys was not our only resource for preservation and access. It would be better if we had more systems in place to complement FDsys. It would be better if we had a digital FDLP that shared responsibility for access and preservation.
What options do we face right now? The obvious status-quo next step is for GPO to get more resources. It needs more money and more expertise so that it can deal with existing problems and move forward faster and with better planning that will make it easier for it to succeed and do so in a reasonable time frame and on budget.
But FDLP needs a "Plan B" to deal with the real possibility of GPO not getting adequate resources to finish or maintain FDsys. What will happen if we don't have a plan in place? We can imagine at least three generic scenarios: One, GPO will scale back and provide less access, or less secure preservation, or fewer collections, or some combination of those. Two, preservation and access will remain government-provided, but will become completely fee-based (somewhat like NTIS and STAT-USA). Three, the private sector will move in and demand, perhaps under OMB regulations, that GPO shouldn't have undertaken this job in the first place and that the government shouldn't provide a system that the private sector could provide. It would argue that raw information should be given to private sector companies who will produce their own preservation and access systems that will be fee-based. (We almost certainly will see a proposal to replace GPO's single-entity model with a private-sector, fee-based, single-entity model. Ithaka is already laying the groundwork for such a proposal. [See: Ithaka report on the future of the FDLP.] To those of us at FGI, this seems the worst of both worlds: relying again on a single organization rather than a community of organizations and moving that model to a fee-based system.)
There is also the possibility that none of these will happen and we will simply lose access because no one will take responsibility.
A better option; a more durable future.
But there is one other possibility: a collaborative effort in which GPO deposits digital files with FDLP libraries and those libraries preserve those files and make them accessible. This would be a real digital depository system with shared, distributed responsibility. It would have many advantages but, in the context of the current report, it has one major advantage over the current system: it has no single-point of failure (which is what we have with the GPO, single-entity, paradigm-shift model).
Such a system will take planning and resources and will not be trivial to implement. But the time to start planning for such a system is now. It would be much worse to wait until FDsys is in technological or budgetary crisis. At that point it could be too late.
Vicki Tate is an active contributor to the Lost Docs Blog. She also independently tracks her own fugitive documents submissions to GPO.
She recently sent me her summary and supporting spreadsheet for her 2009 reports. Vicki gave FGI permission to publish her disappointing results:
I finished my summary of Lost Docs for 2009 and checked their status. There are two sheets--monographs and serials. The summary information for monographs is:
78 Monograph/individual titles submitted
8 Titles with records in CGP
5 Titles with PURLs
32 Titles with NO cataloging in OCLC
Serial titles fared even worse.
I have attached her spreadsheet to this blog post. Feel free to look it over and come to your own decisions.
Although 8/78 titles is only a 10.2% cataloging rate for reported items, it is important to remember that this is one librarian's experience. Other librarians may have had better luck. Without full data from GPO, it's hard to say. We are trying to fill in the gaps with the lost docs blog, but our data is only as complete as you make it. Plus we're never sure of what proportion of documents reported to GPO we're made aware of.
If you are treating your reports to GPO with the same level of tracking and supporting documentation, we'd like to hear from you. Please leave a comment or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
We at FGI salute Vicki Tate and other librarians like her trying their best to ensure a complete record of government publications.
President Obama just announced William J. Boarman as his nomination to be the 26th Public Printer of the United States. Boarman’s nomination will be referred to the Senate Rules Committee and must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
Mr. Boarman is a vice president of the Communications Workers of America and president of the union’s Printing, Publishing & Media Workers Sector. His career in the printing industry spans 40 years. A Practical Printer trained under the apprenticeship program of the International Typographical Union (ITU), Mr. Boarman served his apprenticeship at McArdle Printing Company in Washington, D.C. In 1974, he accepted an appointment as a Journeyman Printer at the Government Printing Office.
Active in the union from the start of his career, Mr. Boarman moved up in the union’s ranks as a local officer—he was elected President of his home Local 101-12, Columbia Typographical at age 30— and ultimately as a national officer with the ITU where he was a key architect of the merger between the ITU and the CWA in 1987. He was elected ITU president shortly before the merger and has been re-elected to seven successive terms since.
Mr. Boarman has served as an unpaid consultant to several Public Printers and has testified before various congressional committees regarding GPO programs and policies as well as in confirmation hearings before the Senate Rules Committee.
CWA President Larry Cohen praised Mr. Boarman’s experience and his service to printing sector members and workers in the industry. “Bill brings an outstanding reservoir of knowledge to this work. He will be an outstanding Public Printer.”
Mr. Boarman’s nomination was endorsed by House Majority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md) who said: “As a practiced and knowledgeable advocate for the GPO and its employees, Bill Boarman is an excellent choice to lead the GPO. I am pleased that the administration recognizes Bill’s talents and am confident he will attract bipartisan support in the Senate.”
Your Tweets, Archived for Eternity, By Emily Long, TechInsider (04/14/10).
In true Twitter fashion, the news came out via the @librarycongress feed: "Library to acquire ENTIRE Twitter archive -- ALL public tweets, ever, since March 2006! Details to follow.."
Library of Congress to archive public Tweets, By Emily Long, NextGov (04/14/2010).
According to Twitter, the Tweets will be available for internal library use, noncommercial research, public display and preservation after a six-months.
Library of Congress Unveils Redesigned Prints and Photographs Online Catalog, News from the Library of Congress, April 7, 2010.
PPOC offers access to 1.25 million digital images and to more than 600,000 records describing the collections in the Library’s Prints and Photographs Division (P&P). The improved catalog can be found at www.loc.gov/pictures/.
"The new features are wonderful," said Helena Zinkham, acting chief of P&P. "People seeking specific subjects, or just wanting to explore what’s available, can interact more easily with the picture collections. They now have the tools they’ve come to expect from other websites, like a variety of viewing options and simple sharing of what’s found, plus improved keyword access and more indexes to browse."
ArsTechnica reports today that a new GAO report debunks the many private industry- and govt agency reports on the economic impact estimates of information and industrial "piracy." GAO states that the "lack of data hinders efforts to quantify impacting of counterfeiting and piracy." They go on to highlight in particular 3 reports often linked to the government and commonly cited by industry groups that are bogus.
Three commonly cited estimates of U.S. industry losses due to counterfeiting have been sourced to U.S. agencies, but cannot be substantiated or traced back to an underlying data source or methodology.
First, a number of industry, media, and government publications have cited an FBI estimate that U.S. businesses lose $200-$250 billion to counterfeiting on an annual basis. This estimate was contained in a 2002 FBI press release, but FBI officials told us that it has no record of source data or methodology for generating the estimate and that it cannot be corroborated.
Second, a 2002 CBP press release contained an estimate that U.S. businesses and industries lose $200 billion a year in revenue and 750,000 jobs due to counterfeits of merchandise. However, a CBP official stated that these figures are of uncertain origin, have been discredited, and are no longer used by CBP. A March 2009 CBP internal memo was circulated to inform staff not to use the figures. However, another entity within DHS continues to use them.
Third, the Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association reported an estimate that the U.S. automotive parts industry has lost $3 billion in sales due to counterfeit goods and attributed the figure to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The OECD has also referenced this estimate in its report on counterfeiting and piracy, citing the association report that is sourced to the FTC. However, when we contacted FTC officials to substantiate the estimate, they were unable to locate any record or source of this estimate within its reports or archives, and officials could not recall the agency ever developing or using this estimate. These estimates attributed to FBI, CBP, and FTC continue to be referenced by various industry and government sources as evidence of the significance of the counterfeiting and piracy problem to the U.S. economy.
Read on at:
The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is a proposed international trade agreement for establishing international standards on intellectual-property-rights enforcement throughout the participating countries. Many copyright activists are extremely worried about ACTA because it will have wide ranging impact on digital rights, is being negotiated in secret meetings with no transparency and will most likely include substantive provisions such as three strikes, anti-circumvention rules, and statutory damages.
Dr. Michael Geist, law professor at the University of Ottawa where he holds the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law, has been a leading voice on education about and advocacy vs ACTA. Geist gave a very interesting talk on ACTA entitled "The Truth About ACTA" at the PublicACTA conference in Wellington, New Zealand (the Wellington Declaration is a must-read and a must-sign!!). You can also follow his ongoing advocacy on his twitter account (@MichaelGeist).
Gary Price at ResourceShelf alerted us to this:
- C-SPAN Video Library Blog.
The C-SPAN Archives records, indexes, and archives all C-SPAN programming for historical, educational, research, and archival uses. Every C-SPAN program aired since 1987, now totaling over 157,000 hours, is contained in the C-SPAN Archives and immediately accessible through the database and electronic archival systems developed and maintained by the C-SPAN Archives.
The C-SPAN Video Archive is an incredible resource. Gary points out that the blog keeps you updated on new features and special content available in the video archive. "Recent posts include info about content featuring Justice Stevens, enhancements to the video player, and two new search features. One of them is a nickname search."
The Office of Management and Budget has issued an interpretation of the Paperwork Reduction Act and how it applies to government agency use of social media such as Twitter.
The Center for Democracy and Technology says, "Currently, there's a burdensome process for agencies who want to do something as simple as ask the users of their website whether they are pleased with their experience - and there has been widespread confusion about whether asking users on Twitter or other social networks amounted to the same thing. Luckily for those in agencies that want to use social media or blogs to engage the public, today's guidance makes it that much easier to do, clearly stating that most uses of interactive web tools are not, in fact, paperwork."
- It's official: Twitter isn't Government Paperwork, by Heather West, Center for Democracy and Technology (April 7, 2010).
- Social Media, Web-Based Interactive Technologies, and the Paperwork Reduction Act (Memorandum For The Heads Of Executive Departments And Agencies, And Independent Regulatory Agencies) Cass R. Sunstein, Administrator Office Of Information And Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget (April 7, 2010).
Are citizens who seek government information "busybodies on fishing expeditions"? Are they "persons seeking to embarrass government agencies"? Should each agency set its own fee for copying pages of public documents? Here is an account of one citizen in Oregon who calls attention to bad policies.
- An Oregon Story, By Darrell Flood, Sunlight Foundation Blog (04/08/10)
Across the country people are going to government meetings asking for better government. In Oregon the Attorney General is asking people for their input and Darrell Flood answered the call to make sure the elected officials in Oregon know that government information needs to be online and updated in real time. He has graciously shared his experience with us.
David S. Ferriero, the Archivist of the United States (AOTUS), has started a blog:
- AOTUS: Collector in Chief
We risk losing our memory as a country if we cannot meet the challenges of electronic records management. The fact is, without good records management, it is impossible for us to learn from the past and plan for the future.
...I expect the principles of transparency, participation, and collaboration to change the way we do things, the way we think about things, and the way we deliver services to the public.
In February 2010, we posted 25 "lost docs" e-mail receipts sent by GPO to the librarians who reported these missing documents. These civic minded librarians in turn e-mailed us their receipts. How many reports did GPO receive? Only they know, but the more people who send their fugitive docs e-mail receipts to email@example.com, the more accurate our count will be.
This month's count is particularly underreported. Owing to my attendance and blogging at the 2010 Public Library Association Conference and participating in an excellent distance delivered Museum Registration class, I was unable to post many lost documents receipts I got. They will be posted in April. My apologies to the librarians who sent me reports but failed to see them posted.
Of the 25 reported items that were posted to the blog in March, three items have been cataloged by GPO since the initial report. You can view this list by visiting lostdocs.freegovinfo.info/category/found/ and looking at the postings with March 2010 dates. We are appreciative of these new records.
In our view, three of the items reported to GPO and posted to the blog in January were either out of scope for the Catalog of Government Publications (CGP) or were already in the catalog. You can view these items by visiting lostdocs.freegovinfo.info/category/false/ and looking for items with March 2010 dates.
In two of these "false positive" cases, it looks like GPO had received the tangible item near the published date of the item and cataloged an electronic equivalent, but did not distribute the tangible item to the Federal Depository Library Program. This may or may not be in accordance with GPO SOD 301 which states that budget permitting, tangible documents will be offered when both tangible and online formats are available.
With the available information in these two CGP records, it is unclear whether GPO made a conscious, budget related decision to not offer these publication or just forgot to send them out. We encourage GPO to begin putting notes explaining why a given item was not distributed to the FDLP into the item's bibliographic record.
If you are interested in viewing this category of publication, visit http://lostdocs.freegovinfo.info/category/explain/ and look for items with March 2010 dates.
We strongly encourage people with instances of CGP cataloged but non-distributed federal documents to use GPO Help and not GPO's Lost Docs form.
If you like the concept of a public listing of fugitive documents reported to GPO, there are a number of easy ways to help us:
- If you report a fugitive document to GPO, send your e-mailed receipt to firstname.lastname@example.org. We welcome any item reported to GPO in the past month. It is best if you can send us the receipt the same day you get it from GPO. Some e-mail programs will support auto-forwarding. If so, please consider autoforwarding items where the subject contains "lostdocs submission."
- Visit the blog at lostdocs.freegovinfo.info and comment on the listed items. Comments can include -- Did your library receive the item? Did you find it in the CGP? Do you think the item is out of scope for the CGP? Did you report the item as well and so on.
- Post the blog link to your website or share it on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media.
- Subscribe to the blog feed at lostdocs.freegovinfo.info/feed/
or better yet incorporate the feed into your website or blog.
Our pal Gary Price runs both ResourceShelf and Docuticker, two must-read sites for docs geeks and great tools for library collection development. He just sent some highlights from the last week on ResourceShelf. Be sure to check out the Docuticker ticker in the left column. You can also find Gary on twitter (@resourceshelf).
- A New Blog From the GPO: Government Book Talk
- Online Databases: The New and Improved Prints and Photographs Online Catalog from Library of Congress What a difference! Awesome!!!
- Gov Docs: Public Printer of U.S. Tapella Visits and Does Some Research With Archivist of the U.S., David Ferriero at the National Archives (Even a Picture (-:)
- U.S. Gov Info: Banking Agencies Modernize Uniform Bank Performance Report (UBPR) New Way to Access Data
- CRS — Government Collection of Private Information: Background and Issues Related to the USA PATRIOT Act Reauthorization
- Local Government: California Interactive Map: California: Compliance With Water Quality Laws
- U.S. Government: A Searchable Database of Earmark Data and More Make sure to note the links at the bottom. One is a story from The Hill newspaper.