[UPDATE 4/2/13: We've had some questions about the meaning of "ALL." Please read the comment thread for clarification. We don't mean "records" (which fall under FOIA) and we don't mean classified information. We mean public domain documents, publications, reports, data, statistics and the like. JRJ]
A convergence of several things -- the White House's new policy on Open Access to federally funded scientific information, the NAPA Report on the GPO, the CASSANDRA Letter to the Public Printer, and Sunshine Week among them -- has led us to create a petition on the White House's We the People petition site. If you believe in free permanent public access to authentic government information, we hope you'll sign the petition and forward on to all your friends and social networks to help us reach our goal of 100,000 signatures by April 11, 2013! Thanks in advance!!
WE PETITION THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO:
Require free online permanent public access to ALL federal government information and publications.
1. Assure that GPO has the funds to continue to maintain and develop the Federal Digital System (FDsys).
2. Raise ALL Congressional, Executive & Judicial branch information, publications & data to the level of federally funded scientific information & publish ALL government information as "Open Access."
3. Mandate the free permanent public access to other Federal information currently maintained in fee-based databases - including the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER), the National Technical Reports Library (NTRL), & USA Trade Online.
4. Establish an interagency, govt-wide strategy to manage the entire lifecycle of digital government information w/ FDLP Libraries - publication, access, usability, bulk download, long-term preservation, standards & metadata.
The National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) completed an operational review of the Government Printing Office (GPO) mandated under the 2012 Consolidated Appropriations Act (Public Law 112-74). The NAPA report, “Rebooting the Government Printing Office: Keeping America Informed in the Digital Age,” acknowledged the obligation Congress has to establish an interagency government-wide strategy to manage the lifecycle of digital government information. The report also acknowledged the vital role GPO plays in providing free permanent public access to authentic government information in tangible formats through its Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) and to authentic government information in electronic formats via GPO’s Federal Digital System (FDSys).
However, Recommendation 4 states: “GPO and Congress should explore alternative funding models for the Federal Digital System in order to ensure a stable and sufficient funding source.” Among the models recommended are “…reimbursement for services; fees for end users; dedicated appropriations; and/or an automatic charge to agencies, depending on size, to encourage agencies to take advantage of GPO’s existing infrastructure and cover the cost of the services being provided by GPO.”
Just as the Obama Administration supports the public’s right to “free access over the Internet to scientific journal articles arising from taxpayer-funded research,” the Administration must support the creation of “stable and sufficient funding” to ensure free permanent public access to authentic government information arising from the work of taxpayer-funded Executive, Congressional, and Judicial Branch agencies.
- NAPA report, “Rebooting the Government Printing Office: Keeping America Informed in the Digital Age.”
- CASSANDRA Letter to US Public Printer in response to the NAPA Report.
- Expanding Public Access to the Results of Federally Funded Research. John P. Holdren, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).
- White House response to "We The People" petition "Increasing Public Access to the Results of Scientific Research"
- Government Accountability Office (GAO), Information Management: National Technical Information Service's Dissemination of Technical Reports Needs Congressional Attention. GAO-13-99, November 19, 2012. Context on the GAO report from FGI.
- GPO's Federal Digital System (FDsys): http://fdsys.gov
- PACER: http://www.pacer.gov
- National Technical Reports Library (NTRL): http://ntrl.ntis.gov
- USAtrade: https://www.usatradeonline.gov
- Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP). http://fdlp.gov
Unfortunately, there was a technological glitch and I didn't get to finish my presentation on digital preservation at the 2013 House Legislative Data and Transparency conference. I've attached my presentation notes (PDF) in case anyone is interested. I'd be interested to hear comments.
House Administration Rejects NAPA Recommendation to Charge Public for Access to Legislative DocumentsSubmitted by jajacobs on Wed, 2013-05-22 08:11.
In a letter to the Acting Public Printer of the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) the House Committee on Administration has rejected a recent recommendation by the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) to charge the public for access to GPO’s congressional documents. The response is to the NAPA report Rebooting the Government Printing Office: Keeping America Informed, which recommended that GPO consider charging for access to its Federal Digital System (FDsys).
- House Administration Rejects NAPA Recommendation to Charge Public for Access to Legislative Documents, Committee on House Administration (May 22, 2013).
- Letter to Vance-Cooks, [PDF] Chairman Candice Miller (R-Mich.), Ranking Member Robert Brady (D-Pa) (May 21, 2013)
The 2nd annual House Legislative Data and Transparency conference is now streaming live. Here's the agenda and speaker bios for the conference. Note that I'll be on a panel on digital preservation at 2pm eastern/11am pacific with Lisa LaPlant from GPO and Marc Levitt, Byrd Center for Legislative Studies. Should be fun :-)
Steven Aftergood reports that The Government Printing Office is blocking public access to some previously released records of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. PURLs may not link to the documents that the catalog record describes.
- GPO Suspends Public Access to Some NASA Records, by Steven Aftergood, Secrecy News (May 16, 2013).
The Government Printing Office is blocking public access to some previously released records of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, while the records are reviewed to see if they contain export-controlled information. The move follows the controversial disabling and partial restoration of the NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) (NASA Technical Report Database Partly Back Online, Secrecy News, May 9.)
- NASA Technical Reports Server Has Limited Content Availability Until Further Notice, FDLP (May 16, 2013).
Affected classes are:
NAS 1.15: 0830-D
NAS 1.26: 0830-H-14
NAS 1.2/2-2: 0830-H-26
NAS 1.60: 0830-H-15
See also our earlier comment on this issue.
The past two weeks have been active ones at the State Agency Databases Project (http://wikis.ala.org/godort/index.php/State_Agency_Databases). For a full listing of activity during the past two weeks, see http://tinyurl.com/statedbs14d. Here are some highlights:
ALASKA (Daniel Cornwall)
Alaska Geologic Data Index - From the website: “AGDI includes information about industry reports and maps, field notes, drill logs, and other unpublished geology-related data. The archived data are held and controlled by government agencies, institutions, and private companies; the index points to the physical location of the data, provides a basic description, and contains information on accessibility.” Data can be selected by clicking on a map or conducting a search. The "more options" search allows one to search by keyword, author, title, project, year range and location. The search may be limited by data source, data set type, themes or commodity.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA (Susan Paterson)
Legislation Information Management System - The Council’s Legislative Information Management System (LIMS) is available for the public to view the status of a Bill or Resolution, Legislation by Council Member, Legislation by Committee, Text of a Bill or Resolution, A Council Member’s Voting Record, Contract Summary, Legislation by Co-Sponsor, A List of Legislation, Text of an Act, Legislative Meeting Agendas. You can search for legislation by keyword.
MARYLAND (Siu Min Yu)
Attorney Listing - Search for attorneys admitted to practice in the State of Maryland by name.
MISSOURI (Annie Moots)
All Contributions & Expenditures Search - Search for campaign contributions, expenditures, and committee to committee contributions multiple ways back to 2002.
WEBINAR USING PROJECT PAGE POSTED
This past week project volunteers were happy to see a presentation on Alaska agency databases and other information resources that relied heavily on our Alaska project page. The webinar is titled Databases By Alaskans and the archived version is viewable at http://library.alaska.gov/is/video/databasesbyalaskans2013.html.
Not Your Grandfather's Web Any More, a project briefing from the Coalition for Networked Information (CNI) spring 2013 member meeting by David S.H. Rosenthal of LOCKSS and Kris Carpenter Negulescu of the Internet Archive, is now available on CNI's video channels:
What are the practical and theoretical archiving problems posed by the newer parts of the Web, like social media, scientific workflows and Web services? How can the challenges of these latest developments be met, if at all? This presentation reports on the results of a workshop held at the Library of Congress under the auspices of the International Internet Preservation Consortium, where practitioners of Web archiving reviewed these questions. More information about this talk, including presentation slides, is available on the CNI site.
Happening now: Webcast on Public Access to Federally-Supported Research and Development Data and PublicationsSubmitted by jrjacobs on Tue, 2013-05-14 10:10.
The webcast for public comments on Public Access to Federally Supported R&D is happening today and tomorrow (14 – 15 May 2013), starting at 9:00 a.m EST. Here's the agenda and already-submitted written statements. In a few days, the video archives from the webcast will also be available (same URL), and eventually the full transcript of the meeting will also be found on the same page. Check it out. It's heartening to hear so many scholars, academics, policy wonks etc coming out in support of open access to scientific information and data.
This message is just a reminder that the Public Comment meeting on Public Access to Federally Supported R&D: Publications will occur tomorrow and Wednesday (14 – 15 May 2013), starting at 9:00 a.m. The agenda is attached.
The link to the webcast is on the front page of the agenda, but here it is again: http://sites.nationalacademies.org/DBASSE/DBASSE_083052
If you are interested, the written statements that were received as part of the registration process can also be downloaded from a link on that page. In a few days, the video archives from the webcast will also be available (same URL), and eventually the full transcript of the meeting will also be found on the same page.
We look forward to seeing all of you who will attend in person, and hope that those who watch by webcast find it a useful meeting.
Meredith A Lane, PhD
Director, Board on Environmental Change and Society
Project Director, Committee on Population
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education
National Research Council
Keck Center, 500 Fifth St NW, Washington, DC 20001
Over the last several years, the US Census (including the American Community Survey and the Statistical Abstract of the US) have been under attack -- see "Fear, uncertainty, or doubt? Why the Census and ACS are critical to a well-functioning democracy" and "OMB Watch on Census Cuts" for more context. Budgets and funding, only part of the problem mind you, have been the cause of closing down the Census Bureau's Statistical Compendia unit and ostensibly of the Census Bureau's recent plan to drop the question on "number of times married" from the American Community Survey (see the single sentence at the end of an otherwise harmless Federal Register notice of request for comments).
Social conservatives and others on the right/libertarian political spectrum have long worried about -- if not outright feared -- the collection of demographic and other statistics by the US government. So it should come as no surprise that there's a new bill working its way through the US House of Representatives. H.R. 1638: Census Reform Act of 2013: The bill would eliminate the Census of Agriculture, the Economic Census, Census of Government, any mid-decade Census surveys, and any survey (including the American Community Survey) using survey sampling that does not tie directly to the decennial census of population. The Bill was introduced in the House by Jeff Duncan of South Carolina.
Great news: now there's a digital archive to access the historically important "Freedom Summer", a seminal moment in the US civil rights movement. The Wisconsin Historical Society has just released the 1964 Freedom Summer Project. Not only are there 25,000 manuscripts and key documents, but there are finding aids to help users access the information and instructional materials for teachers.
We've just released an online collection of 25,000 manuscripts related to the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer project. It's free and open to anyone for non-profit educational purposes at
Besides thousands of archival documents from COFO, CORE and SNCC and papers from dozens of individual activists, the site includes a downloadable Powerpoint about Freedom Summer and a PDF Sourcebook of key documents for teachers.
I'd be grateful if you'd forward this note to colleagues and educators who might be interested. As the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer approaches, we want teachers, students, historians, librarians, museum curators, the media, and anyone else to use these primary sources in their 50th anniversary programming.
We'll be adding a few thousand more pages this year, so please "like" us on Facebook and follow along:
Wisconsin Historical Society