Press Release from GPO:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 30, 2012
GPO SUPPORTS NATIONAL ARCHIVES ON PUBLIC ACCESS TO PRESIDENT KENNEDY ASSASSINATION TAPE RECORDING
First Audio Content on FDsys
WASHINGTON-The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is providing public access to the newly discovered audio tape recording of conversations between various individuals in Washington and Air Force One pilots and officials on board during the flight from Dallas to Andrews Air Force Base following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. The tape recording is available on the U.S. Government Printing Office's (GPO) Federal Digital System (FDsys). This is the first time audio content is available on the system, which is a one-stop site for authentic, published Government information. GPO and NARA have a long-standing collaborative relationship in publishing the Federal Register and recently worked together to provide the public with electronic access to the Nixon grand jury testimony.
Link to FDsys: www.fdsys.gov
This digitized version of the two hour and twenty-two minute recording was donated to the National Archives by the Raab Collection. The tapes were found among other papers and memorabilia of Army Gen. Chester "Ted" Clifton, Jr., who served as senior military aide to President Kennedy. The White House Communications Agency (WHCA) provided the tapes to Gen. Clifton. The conversations were captured by WHCA, which routed all phone calls and radio traffic. The recording includes references to new code names and incidents, among them are a private conversation by head of the Secret Service Jerry Behn about the disposition of the President's body; an expanded conversation about how to remove the body from the plane and where to take it; an urgent effort by an aide to Air Force Chief of Staff Curtis LeMay to reach General Clifton; and attempts to locate various Congressmen from Texas. For more information go to: http://www.archives.gov/
"GPO is pleased to provide our digital services in partnering with NARA to make this important historical find available to the public," said Acting Public Printer Davita Vance-Cooks. "This collection marks the first time GPO is providing audio content on the site. We look forward to continuing our long-standing relationship with NARA and other Federal agencies in providing digital access to authentic Government information through FDsys."
Readers of Slashdot asked Carl Malamud about his experiences and hopes in his project to prod the U.S. government into scanning archived documents. They asked questions about metadata, digitizing rare books, what he thinks about corporate partnerships in the process to get public data released, other projects like Ancestry.com and PACER, and even "Which government agency is the worst to get information from?"
Malamud's answers are posted at the link below "with a mix of heartening and disheartening information about how the vast project is progressing."
- Carl Malamud Answers: Goading the Government To Make Public Data Public, Slashdot, Your Rights Online section, Posted by timothy on Monday January 23, 2012.
Earlier this month, we posted about the "Open letter and petition to President Obama to create a federal scanning commission and digitize all .gov publications". The petition closed on 1/20 and now David Ferriero, the Archivist of the US at the National Archives, has given the official NARA response. I'd say this is a positive first step, but much discussion is still needed. Please join the conversation over at the NARA Blog. I think documents librarians will be invaluable to this effort going forward!
Digitizing Federal Public Records
By David Ferriero
Thank you for signing a petition asking the Obama Administration to digitize all public records.
The Obama Administration believes increasing access to our collections by digitizing our records is a great idea. Our most recent efforts to do this ourselves as part of our OpenGov initiative, include the Citizen Archivist project, a Wikipedian in Residence, Tag it Tuesdays, and Scanathons. We are also moving forward on implementing the President’s recent Memorandum on Managing Government Records, which focuses on the need to update policies and practices for the digital age.
But all those things aren’t enough. Your petition, and the Yes We Scan effort broadly, calls for a national strategy, and even a Federal Scanning Commission, to figure out what it would take to digitize the holdings of many federal entities, from the Library of Congress to the Government Printing Office to the Smithsonian Institution.
These ideas bring up a host of questions that still need to be answered: What should the National Archives’ priorities be? Do we focus on preserving deteriorating paper records, still bound with red ribbons from two centuries ago? Do we make digital copies of Vietnam Era film footage? Should we focus on preserving those older paper records while citizens volunteer to digitize more recent, and better preserved, records?
The National Archives – which houses the Nation’s permanent records – is looking for your input to help answer these important questions on how we move forward. What are your thoughts on how the National Archives and other agencies should proceed? What questions should we be asking ourselves?
You can add your thoughts over on the National Archives blog, and I’m looking forward to having a longer discussion with the creators and signers of this petition on this important issue in the coming weeks– more details on that will follow.
Thank you again for your interest in this important issue. I’m looking forward to your ideas on how we can proceed with digitizing federal public records.
David Ferriero is the Archivist of the United States
Time once again for a selection of news and new resources that we hope will be an interest to the FGI community. The following posts are from INFOdocket.com (@infofodocket) where we compile and post new items daily.
10. Full Text Reference Resource: Trade & Development: UNCTAD Handbook of Statistics 2011
From the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
Many of us in the government documents world woke up to 2012 with the following message posted on the Web site of the National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) and distributed around to various library listservs:
In the 2012 President's Budget Request, the National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) is terminated. As a result, all resources, databases, tools, and applications within this web site will be removed on January 15, 2012.
NBII has been a critical program since 1994 (See Bill Clinton's Executive Order 12906 which created the "National Spatial Data Infrastructure" ("NSDI")). NBII was set up to coordinate a broad array of information at the federal level about biodiversity and ecosystems.
What is particularly sad about NBII shutting down is it's precisely the thing we need MORE of not less=>trusted data repositories #opendata
Well have no fear, the Library of Congress, Internet Archive and Stanford Libraries have all harvested (separately) the NBII Website -- Stanford harvested twice between January 5 and January 13, 2012for its Fugitive US Agencies collection.
Daniel Schuman describes a House commitment to openness that resulted in action!
- House Launches Transparency Portal, by Daniel Schuman, Sunlight Foundation (Jan. 13, 2012).
Making good on part of the House of Representative's commitment to increase congressional transparency, today the House Clerk's office launched http://docs.house.gov/, a one stop website where the public can access all House bills, amendments, resolutions for floor consideration, and conference reports in XML, as well as information on floor proceedings and more. Information will ultimately be published online in real time and archived for perpetuity.
...the ongoing process of releasing documents online, in real-time, and in machine-readable manner is a tremendous sea change from the slow and ponderous paper publications that are often late, fairly difficult to use, and unfriendly to computers.
Daniel rightly emphasizes the availability of XML, but the site does make PDFs available as well. It also has as RSS feed:
The HathiTrust announced that it will be adding a new field to its inventory files that will indicate volumes that have been identified as U.S. federal government documents.
- Update on December 2011 Activities, HathiTrust (January 13, 2012).
Changes to Tab-delimited Files
On February 1, HathiTrust will be adding three additional columns to the tab-delimited inventory files (“hathifiles”) available at http://www.hathitrust.org/hathifiles. The files are frequently used by partners and non-partners as a means to obtain full bibliographic records for HathiTrust items to load into local catalogs (see HathiTrust Data Availability and APIs). The additional columns will identify the publication date and publication location of volumes in HathiTrust, as well as volumes that have been identified as U.S. federal government documents.
The Federal Reserve has released transcripts of meetings of the Federal Open Market Committee from 2006, after a standard five-year delay.
As the New York Times notes, the transcripts...
... clearly show some of the nation's pre-eminent economic minds did not fully understand the basic mechanics of the economy that they were charged with shepherding. The problem was not a lack of information; it was a lack of comprehension, born in part of their deep confidence in economic forecasting models that turned out to be broken.
- Inside the Fed in 2006: A Coming Crisis, and Banter, By Binyamin Appelbaum, New York Times (January 12, 2012).
For a famously private institution known for its cryptic, formulaic statements, the meeting transcripts offer a rare glimpse of senior officials in relatively unguarded conversation, somewhat akin to the tapes that some presidents have made in the Oval Office. The Fed officials exchange jokes, gossip about people who are not present, and speak much more frankly about the economy and policy than they did in the public remarks that they made contemporaneously.
The results are unlikely to burnish any of their reputations, inasmuch as they could not see the widening cracks beneath their feet.
The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) is responsible for "open market operations" -- purchases and sales of U.S. Treasury and federal agency securities. These are the Federal Reserve's principal tools for implementing monetary policy. "Monetary policy" refers to actions undertaken by the Federal Reserve to influence the availability and cost of money and credit to help promote national economic goals. The FOMC consists of twelve members: seven members of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York; and four of the remaining eleven Reserve Bank presidents, who serve one-year terms on a rotating basis.
The most detailed record of FOMC meeting proceedings is the transcript. Beginning with the 1994 meetings, the FOMC Secretariat has produced the transcripts shortly after each meeting from an audio recording of the proceedings, lightly editing the speakers' original words, where necessary, to facilitate the reader's understanding. Meeting participants are given an opportunity within the subsequent several weeks to review the transcript for accuracy.
Transcripts of FOMC meetings are made available to the public with about a five-year lag.
EconomyWatch.com has a beta version of "Econ Stats," an economic statistics database service. They say that coverage is worldwide, by country, economic region and geographical region from 1980 to 2016 forecasts. It currently includes over 50 indicators. Its sources are IMF, World Bank, UN, OECD, CIA World Factbook, Internet World Statistics, The Heritage Foundation and Transparency International.
- Econ Stats: The Economic Statistics and Indicators Database
"You use this data by finding country, economic indicator or year that you are interested in, and then browse through the data from there. We have raw numerical data as well as some basic textual analysis and supporting notes."
Hat tip to beSpacific!
The Minnesota Historical Society has several papers on authenticating digital legal information. Here you will find white papers that address authentication issues as well as information on the Uniform Electronic Legal Materials Act. Links to additional resources are also provided.
- Preserving state government digital information
Project partners have identified authentication of digital material -- the process by which information is assured to be what it appears or claims to be -- as a common interest. The trustworthiness of online state statutes and session laws is of particular interest.
The newest paper discusses five methods of authentication and their associated costs pertaining to authenticating primary legal materials in electronic format:
Hat tip to INFOdocket!
This is from last year, in case you missed it. (I did.):
- Documerica Returns!, EPA blog (May 2nd, 2011).
Almost 40 years ago, EPA’s Documerica project captured thousands of images of environmental problems and everyday life. Now it’s your turn!
On Earth Day 2011, EPA put out a global call for current photos of life and our environment, PLUS a challenge to photograph the ‘now’ of places in Documerica. Your photo could be exhibited around the U.S. in 2012!
Sign up and submit photos through Flickr!
EPA wants your environment pictures, issues public photo challenge, by Michael Cooney, Network WorldBy (01/06/12).
Welcome to the first State Agency Databases activity report of 2012! We have a lot of activity to report from the State Agency Databases Across the Fifty States Project.
STATISTICS FOR 2011 - PARTIAL YEAR
We started making note of project statistics in May 2011. This enables us to report partial year statistics (May - Dec 31) for our project pages. Here are a few highlights for 2011:
Total visits to state database pages - 73,606
Total visits to subject based database listings - 10,325
Top five states by number of visits:
Bottom five states by number of visits:
New York 478
West Virginia 397
Most popular subject page - Prisoner Locaters - 6,239. This is also the most popular page in the entire project.
The full set of project statistics for our site can be found at http://tinyurl.com/StateAgencyDBstats2012 as a Google Spreadsheet.
NEW ORPHAN STATES FOR 2012
As a result of the yearly page review procedure put in place last year, the following states have become available for adoption:
If adopting any of the above states interests you, please review our Volunteer Guide. If you think you can fulfill the basic responsibilities listed AND can start modifying your page within two weeks of receiving a wiki login, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SUBJECT PAGE ACTIVITY
Prisoner Locater Tools - An offender lookup tool for Utah was added to the page.
OTHER WIKI ACTIVITY
For a blow by blow list of changes to our project over the past 14 days, please see http://tinyurl.com/statedbs14d. Here are some highlights:
NEW MEXICO (Adrienne Walker)
The Judicial Branch of New Mexico - This online case lookup is maintained by The New Mexico Courts. This database gives access to the lower court cases of the New Mexico District Court, Magistrate Court and Municipal Court data. Municipal court data is limited to criminal Domestic Violence and DWI historic convictions from September 1, 1991 onwards. Searches can be conducted by name, case number or DWI.
NEW YORK (Orphan - Added while reformatting page)
New York State Kosher Food Registry Search - Registry is searchable by product (type or name, packaged or unpackaged), by food establishment name, by store (name or location), by name of certifier. Records for products include brand, name, size and certifying agency.
NORTH DAKOTA (Kathryn Thomas)
State Document Depository - State Documents can be searched in the library catalog. Lists of recent arrivals can be viewed by agency name and then by document title.
UTAH (Orphan - Added while reformatting page)
Utah Burials Search - Database of people buried in Utah. May be searched by deceased name, dates of birth and death, and burial place (any, county, city/town, cemetary). Records contain name, birth date, death date, burial date, place of birth (when available), place of death, grave location, source (when available), comments, when available.
Watching Them Watching: Issa Touts Video Archive of Oversight Hearings, by Nick Judd, TechPresident (January 6 2012).
As of today, the House Committee on Government Oversight under Rep. Darrell Issa has released 1,139 videos of hearings going back to the 103rd Congress of 1993-1994, committee staff announced today.
These videos, dusted off from the House committee's archives, join hundreds more going all the way back to 1987 on House.Resource.org, a repository for archived video and hearing transcripts gleaned from C-SPAN, the House and the Internet Archive as part of a collaboration between Carl Malamud's Public.Resource.org and House Speaker John Boehner. At the start of this Congress, Boehner asked Issa's Oversight committee — which had been recording its own video of hearings, doubling up on video already recorded by the House Broadcasting Studio, since the 2010-2011 session of Congress — to take on archiving and publicising video of committee hearings as a pilot project. The House this year also launched its own streaming of floor proceedings.
Last month Rep. Darrell E. Issa introduced legislation, the Research Works Act that would effectively prohibit the federal government from requiring open, free access to federally funded research.
The Association of American Publishers issued a statement in support of this legislation.
- Publishers Applaud “Research Works Act,” Bipartisan Legislation To End Government Mandates on Private-Sector Scholarly Publishing, Friday, 23 December 2011.
Peter Suber has been tracking this and Gary Price has links to Peter's posts and other information about this issue here.
Gary also has an interesting post about some members of the AAP that you would think might oppose the Research Work Act, but who have not yet spoken out against it or the AAP announcement.
- Why Is Open-Internet Champion Darrell Issa Supporting an Attack on Open Science?, by Rebecca J. Rosen, The Atlantic (Jan 5 2012).
[The] bill would prohibit all federal agencies from putting any privately published articles into an online database, even -- and this is the kicker -- those articles based on research funded by the public if they have received "any value-added contribution, including peer review or editing" from a private publisher. This is a direct attack on the National Institutes of Health's PubMed Central, the massive free online repository of articles resulting from research funded with NIH dollars. Similar bills have been introduced twice before, in 2008 and 2009, and have failed both times.
As the federal government attempts to consolidate its web presence and reduce the number of dot-gov web sites, it faces a huge task. When the British government did something similar, it reduced the government's 2,000 websites by more than 75 percent and shifted its online organizing structure from being based on the interests of agencies creating content to focusing on the interests of the citizens consuming that content. That effort took five years. The U.S. Government has 16,000 or more web sites. Currently it is hard for citizens to find the information they need because the sites are so badly done that typical web-wide searches often list government data well below less authoritative, outdated or recycled sources and the agencies themselves have clunky internal search engines.
An article in NextGov about the current state of dot-gov web sites has a number of interesting tidbits of information worth thinking about.
- Feds aim to serve citizens better by revamping Dot-Gov, by Joseph Marks, NextGov (Jan. 3, 2012).
- While the government is publishing more information than ever through about 18,000 websites, it's become increasingly difficult for agency information to reach the public.
- Much of the dot-gov reform effort has so far focused on eliminating excess government sites that sprouted up during the Web-crazed 1990s and now do little but diminish the dot-gov domain's gravitas.
- The federal Web presence is also pockmarked with stand-alone sites such as MLKday.gov, which are officially top-level domains but don't have much content and aren't regularly updated.
- an informal survey in October with a custom-built Web crawling tool showed at least 200 ... had likely been unofficially retired.
Library Journal has an article with information about GPO's budget, the status of FDSys, and discussions on regional library issues:
- GPO Names Acting Public Printer, Issues Assurances About FDLP, FDsys Despite Budget Cuts, By Michael Kelley, Library Journal (Jan 3, 2012).
Open letter and petition to President Obama to create a federal scanning commission and digitize all .gov publications #FDLPSubmitted by jrjacobs on Tue, 2012-01-03 11:11.
John Podesta and Carl Malamud have written an open letter to President Obama (text below) asking for the creation of a Federal Scanning Commission and to greatly increase the pace of digitization of federal resources. They need 25,000 signatures on their petition by January 20, so your help would be greatly appreciated!
While I have some reservations about wholesale digitization that are glossed over in the letter -- I worry for example about the process and how current digitization methods basically destroy documents, how current OCR software is less than perfect, and about only making a digital equivalent to a paper document, NOT the ability to extract and re-use data and statistics etc. (to read more, see "Achieving a collaborative FDLP future") -- as Malamud says:
"Just imagine ... what if we could scan the contents of the FDLP, back issues of the CFR, the briefs before the Supreme Court? We'll never know if we can scan .gov unless we start asking the questions. Please help us get started!"
For that, I'm asking readers to sign the petition and forward to your friends. A national effort is just what is needed. Librarians must advocate for and participate in this process!
December 21, 2011
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President:
Locked in our federal vaults is a tremendous storehouse of information that if digitized would form a core for our digital public libraries in America with huge benefit for our country: cutting costs in the Federal government, creating jobs throughout America, and revolutionizing how we educate our citizens, how we practice the law, and how we create news, art, and scholarly works.
Imagine if the riches contained in the National Archives, Library of Congress, Smithsonian Institution, Government Printing Office, National Library of Medicine, National Agricultural Library, National Technical Information Service, and scores of other federal organizations were made available, becoming the core of a national effort to make access to knowledge a right for all Americans. The dream is a big one, but if we do not begin the questions of what it would take to get there, we will never start down that road. Today, we don't know what it would take.
We are not necessarily suggesting that the federal government immediately undertake an ambitious effort to scan the holdings of .gov, but if we ever hope to begin even a small piece of making available our past for use by our future, we should at least begin to scope out the size of the problem. We believe it would require a decade-long commitment to digitization to make our nation's cultural, scientific, educational, and historical resources available, but we can't even begin that discussion unless we know how big the problem is. Such an effort is indeed ambitious to contemplate, but we can only ask if we were able to put a man on the moon, why can't we launch the Library of Congress into cyberspace?
Over the last year, a number of efforts have sprung up to create comprehensive digital libraries. The European Union has created Europeana with a goal to “make a large part of the world's cultural heritage available to a large part of the world's population.” In the United States, efforts have included Google Books, the Hathi Trust, the Internet Archive, and the recently announced Digital Public Library of America, a planning initiative with a goal of “creating a large-scale digital public library that will make the cultural and scientific record available to all.”
No matter what the eventual shape of these efforts, we know that the holdings of the U.S. government will play a crucial role, a central part of our public domain. While there have been many well-intentioned efforts to digitize federal holdings, those efforts have been preliminary and tentative. Our national cultural and scientific organizations have never worked together to develop a coherent digitization strategy to scan at scale.
The PCAST report on Designing a Digital Future hits the nail on the head on investing in Networking and Information Technology (NIT), but does not address squarely the question of what it would to take to digitize the holdings of our national institutions. The Presidential Memorandum on Managing Government Records discusses how to make record-keeping move into the modern age in the future, but does not address how to rescue the past and make it useful for Americans.
One way to begin is to convene governmental and non-governmental experts, perhaps in the form of a Presidential Commission, Interagency Task Force, or other mechanism. The “Federal Scanning Commission” would be tasked to answer 6 questions and deliver a report within a year:
- What are the holdings of our national institutions? How many images, documents, videos, and other objects are there?
- How long would it take to digitize these materials?
- How much would it cost given current technology? Is there directed research or are there economies of scale that would bring those costs down?
- What is the strategy for digital preservation of these materials? How will we avoid digital obsolescence?
- What is the strategy for identifying restrictions on use of the material? How does one identify and safeguard materials that have copyright restrictions, contain personally identifiable information, or contain classified materials?
- What are the economic and non-economic benefits of such an effort?
- What are the cost savings to government?
- What are the economic benefits? Would this effort enable industries that build on top of scientific and technical information, spur innovation in the legal marketplace, or enable our creative industries to create more effectively?
- What are the non-economic benefits? Will such an effort lead to better STEM and other educational efforts? Will it promote a more informed citizenry and better access to justice?
To date, thinking about digitization has been piecemeal. Individual agencies have thought about the problem in terms of prototypes and pilots. Only the White House can bring these efforts together under one roof and begin to think in terms of a national digitization strategy for our federal government.
Bringing government agencies together with outside experts to solve a common problem related to our federal holdings has a precedent. When R. D. W. Connor was appointed as the first Archivist of the United States, he faced a herculean task, getting all the agencies of government to come together with a common vision of “safeguarding and preserving the records of our Government.” The idea of safeguarding and preserving the records of government was a new one, and Archivist Connor found “records mingled higgledy-piggledy with empty whiskey bottles.”
Archivist Connor appealed for help to President Roosevelt, asking for his assistance in forging a common vision among the agencies and for their cooperation. President Roosevelt formed a National Archives Council and convened the first meeting in the Cabinet Room, asking Secretary of State Cordell Hull to serve as chairman. By bringing the agencies together in one room, President Roosevelt made the dream of archiving the records of government a shared vision, and then made that vision real.
When Thomas Jefferson donated his books to create the cornerstone of the Library of Congress, his library contained a wealth of useful information, from an extensive collection on the law to books on agriculture, chemistry, surgery, and medicine. With this contribution, Jefferson saw to it that the government of the United States would play a central role in the increase and diffusion of knowledge. It is time now for us to lay the cornerstone for our own era, to anchor our digital age with the vast holdings of our government so that we may promote the useful arts and the progress of science.
We ask your help to achieve this 21st century dream, making the vast resources of our federal government available to all on the global Internet, making access to knowledge a right for all Americans and a defining contribution for our future.
John D. Podesta, Chair
Center for American Progress
Carl Malamud, President
Press release from GPO:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 3, 2012
DAVITA VANCE-COOKS BECOMES ACTING PUBLIC PRINTER
FIRST WOMAN TO LEAD U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
WASHINGTON-Deputy Public Printer Davita Vance-Cooks becomes Acting Public Printer for the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO), the first woman to lead the agency. Vance-Cooks assumes her new role effective immediately, following the completion of Public Printer Bill Boarman's term. She will serve as the Chief Executive Officer and lead the 1,900 GPO employees in carrying out the agency's 150-year mission of Keeping America Informed on the three branches of the Federal Government.
Vance-Cooks is a seasoned business executive with 30 years of private sector and Federal Government experience. She has held a succession of senior management positions at GPO for nearly eight years including: Chief of Staff, Managing Director of GPO's Customer Services and Procurement business unit and Managing Director of Publication and Information Sales. Before coming to GPO, Vance-Cooks held several private sector management positions. She was the Senior Vice-President of Operations for NYLCare MidAtlantic Health Plan where, among other duties, she was responsible for a digital print work center for production of variable data printing products. She also served as the Director of Customer Service and Claims, Director of Membership and Billing, and Director of Market Research and Product Development for Blue Cross Blue Shield Plans. She also served as the General Manager of HTH Worldwide Insurance Services. Vance-Cooks earned her Bachelors degree from Tufts University and her MBA from Columbia University.
"I am honored and humbled to serve as GPO's Acting Public Printer and I look forward to continue working with GPO employees as we serve the needs of Congress, Federal agencies, and the public," said Acting Public Printer Davita Vance-Cooks. "I want to thank Bill Boarman for the opportunity to serve as his deputy and Chief of Staff. I have enjoyed working everyday, side-by-side with Bill as we reinvented GPO into the digital information platform it is today."
"I have great confidence and trust in Davita and her ability to serve as the leader of GPO as the agency begins its 151st year if service to the Nation," said Bill Boarman, the 26th Public Printer of the United States. "Davita's institutional knowledge of GPO combined with her experience in the private sector makes her the ideal person to assume the position of Acting Public Printer."
Happy Public Domain Day! Welcome to the Public Domain Louis Brandeis, James Joyce, Jelly Roll Morton, Virginia Woolf and others. John Mark Ockerbloom has a list of 5 things that we can do in the US to improve access to public domain works.
It’s New Year’s Day again, and in much of the world, this means another year’s worth of works enter the public domain. That’s a cause for celebration, as Europe and many other countries that have “life+70 years” copyright terms welcome works by James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Jelly Roll Morton, and Elizabeth von Arnim into the public domain. The Communia Project’s Public Domain Day website focuses on works by these and many other authors that are entering (in many cases, re-entering) the public domain in “life+70 years” countries. Meanwhile, folks in Canada, New Zealand, and other countries that have held the line at the “life+50 years” terms of the Berne Convention can now freely enjoy the works of people like James Thurber, Ernest Hemingway, and H.D.
There’s not so much excitement about Public Domain Day in the US, where no published works are scheduled to enter the public domain for another 7 years, due to a 20-year copyright extension enacted in 1998.
In response to issues raised in an April 20, 2008, New York Times article, Behind TV Analysts, Pentagon's Hidden Hand, the Pentagon has issued a new report.
- Review of Matters Related to the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs) Retired Military Analyst Outreach Activities (PDF 1.69MB) (Redacted), U.S. Dept. of Defense. Inspector General. Office of Deputy Inspector General for Intelligence and Special Assessments. Report no. DODIG-2012-025.
We found that the OASD (PA) conducted the RMA outreach activities in compliance with policy and regulation; and, with the exception of two classified briefings to those with a security clearance, did not provide access for RMA participants to travel, classified information, and senior officials that was special or different relative to other outreach groups or the mainstream media. The exceptions we found did not, in our opinion, affect our conclusion or lead us to make recommendations to change or modify the DoD directives and regulations.
- Pentagon Finds No Fault in Ties to TV Analysts, By DAVID BARSTOW, The New York Times (December 24, 2011).
A Pentagon public relations program that sought to transform high-profile military analysts into "surrogates" and "message force multipliers" for the Bush administration complied with Defense Department regulations and directives, the Pentagon's inspector general has concluded after a two-year investigation.