Here is an announcement from the Office of Law Revision Counsel of the United States House of Representatives of a new version of the United States Code.
From: Seep, Ralph, Office of Law Revision Counsel
Subject: OLRC website Beta 2 announcement
A little over a year ago, the Office of the Law Revision Counsel of the United States House of Representatives released beta version 1 of a new website for the Office and the United States Code. Beta version 2 is now being released for testing and feedback. It is available at http://uscodebeta.house.gov. You are invited to test version 2 and give us your comments about its features, content, and ease of use.
Version 2 includes the following new features:
Default searching and browsing in the most current version of the Code (formerly USCprelim) Ability to search and browse previous versions of the Code back to the 1994 main edition (either separately or concurrently) Internal links to referenced Code sections
External links to referenced Public Laws and Statutes at Large citations (back to 1951) will be included in the near future. Since the new release is a beta, there will be a period of testing for both new and existing features. Following this period, which is anticipated to last several months, beta version 2 will replace the existing US Code website at http://uscode.house.gov.
Your comments and questions about version 2 are welcome and can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your assistance.
Ralph V. Seep
Law Revision Counsel
Steven Aftergood comments on the recent withdrawal from the CRS internal website of a Congressional Research Service report, Taxes and the Economy: An Economic Analysis of the Top Tax Rates Since 1945, by Thomas L. Hungerford, Specialist in Public Finance, Congressional Research Service, report R42729 (September 14, 2012).
- Some Comments on the “Withdrawal” of a CRS Report, by Steven Aftergood, Secrecy News (November 5th, 2012).
But "withdrawn" here means withdrawn from the internal congressional website. CRS could not withdraw the report from public circulation because it never made the report publicly available. In fact, as things stand, the "withdrawn" CRS report is now more widely accessible than the large majority of other CRS products. Not only did the New York Times post it online, it is available on the congressional website of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee, as well as through FAS and elsewhere.
But neither congressional Republicans who were angered by the report nor Democrats who were offended by its withdrawal have seen fit to provide public access online to thousands of other CRS reports, which are effectively suppressed without being withdrawn.
Technology Review says that "Some states -- including swing states -- are more vulnerable to glitches that could tip the election. But the lack of a paper backup means such errors can go undetected."
- The States with the Riskiest Voting Technology, By Mike Orcutt, Technology Review (October 31, 2012).
Next Tuesday's presidential election will likely be extremely close, magnifying the potential impact of vote-counting errors. So it could be problematic that several states rely on computerized voting machines that don't print out a paper record that can be verified by voters and recounted by election officials if necessary.
Spammers Using Shortened .gov URLs, by Ravi Mandalia, Parity News (20 October 2012).
Cyber-scammers have started using the 1.usa.gov links in their spam campaigns in a bid to fool gullible users into thinking that the links they see on a website or have received in their mail or newsletter are legitimate US Government website.
Spammers have achieved these shortened URLs through a loophole in the URL shortening service provided by bit.ly. USA.gov and Bit.ly have collaborated thus enabling anyone to shorten a .gov or .mil URL into a trustworthy 1.USA.gov URL.
The Government Printing Office (GPO) and the National Archives' Office of the Federal Register (OFR) have released a mobile Web application (app) on the daily public activities of President of the United States. Here is the announcement:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 10, 2012 No. 12-40
GPO AND NATIONAL ARCHIVES RELEASE PRESIDENTIAL DOCUMENTS APP
WASHINGTON-The U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) and the National Archives' Office of the Federal Register (OFR) have released a mobile Web application (app) on the daily public activities of President of the United States. The app is part of both agencies efforts to support The White House digital strategy for the Federal Government by ensuring the American people have access to Government information on any device. The Presidential Documents app includes the President's:
* Executive orders
* Communications to Congress and Federal agencies
* Approved acts
* Nominations submitted to the Senate
* White House announcements
* White House press releases
The app has user-friendly search capabilities allowing users to access content about the President by searching by date, category, subject, or location, which includes a map feature. This is the first time GPO has enabled an app with a geolocation feature providing users with access to the most recent content near their location. The public can take advantage of the free mobile Web app on most major mobile device platforms. GPO and OFR also make available the Daily Compilation of Presidential Documents on GPO's Federal Digital System (FDsys).
Link to app: http://m.gpo.gov/dcpd
"GPO continues to build upon its reputation as the digital information platform for the Federal Government with the development and release of the Presidential Documents app," said Acting Public Printer Davita Vance-Cooks. "GPO and OFR have enjoyed a successful partnership for more than 75 years to make Federal Government information available in print, online and now on mobile devices."
"OFR continues to push the envelope on public access to critical government information. Innovation is a key component to the NARA strategy and providing access via mobile apps is a great example of how OFR is embracing technology. I am very excited and proud of NARA's relationship with GPO on this communication achievement," said Archivist David Ferriero.
The Presidential Documents app is the third app released by GPO; other apps include the FY 2013 Budget app and the Mobile Member Guide, which provides users with official biographical information about Members of the 112th Congress. GPO has also supported the Library of Congress in creating an iPad app for the Congressional Record. The Presidential Documents app represents the first app for the OFR and the third app for the National Archives....
Eric Mill announced today on the openhouseproject mailing list that he and Josh Tauberer (of GovTrack.us) and Derek Willis have completed a milestone in their project to produce a public domain scraper and dataset from THOMAS.gov. Here is the text of his message with links:
I've been working for the last month or two with Josh Tauberer (of GovTrack.us http://govtrack.us/) and Derek Willis on a project to produce a public domain scraper and dataset from THOMAS.gov http://thomas.gov/, the official source for legislative information for the US Congress.
It's a reasonably well documented set of Python scripts, which you can find here: https://github.com/unitedstates/congress
We just hit a great milestone - it gets everything important that THOMAS has on bills, back to the year THOMAS starts (1973). We've published and documented https://github.com/unitedstates/congress/wiki all of this data in bulk, and I've worked it into Sunlight's pipeline, so that searches for bills in Scout https://scout.sunlightfoundation.com/search/federal_bills/freedom%20of%2... use data collected directly from this effort.
The data and code are all hosted on Github on a "unitedstates https://github.com/unitedstates/" organization, which is right now co-owned by me, Josh, and Derek - the intent is to have this all exist in a common space. To the extent that the code needs a license at all, I'm using a public domain "unlicense https://github.com/unitedstates/congress/blob/master/LICENSE" that should at least be sufficient for the US (other suggestions welcome).
There's other great stuff in this organization, too - Josh made an amazing donation of his legislator dataset https://github.com/unitedstates/congress-legislators, and converted it to YAML for easy reuse. I've worked that dataset into Sunlight's products already as well. I've also moved my legal citation extractor https://github.com/unitedstates/citation into this organization -- and my colleague Thom Neale has an in-progress parser for the US Code https://github.com/unitedstates/uscode, to convert it from binary typesetting codes into JSON.
Github's organization structure actually makes possible a very neat commons. I'm hoping this model proves useful, both for us and for the public.
-- Developer | sunlightfoundation.com
Steven Aftergood reviews a new National Archives portal for declassified information:
- New Declassification Portal at the National Archives, by Steven Aftergood, Secrecy News (October 4th, 2012).
The National Archives has set up a new online portal that provides an overview of declassification activity in and around the Arvhices, with input from the National Declassification Center, the Public Interest Declassification Board, the Presidential Libraries, and the Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel (ISCAP).
The new section on ISCAP declassification decisions is of particular interest, since it provides links to the documents that have been newly declassified at the direction of the ISCAP, which receives appeals from the public for release of documents that agencies have declined to declassify.
- NARA and Declassification, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has two new ("beta") tools for finding and visualizing statistical data:
The Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), the large social-sciences data archive at the University of Michigan, is hosting a series of webcasts on October 1 through 3 that feature election data held in ICPSR's archives. The webcasts will show how to use them for analysis and teaching.
- Welcome to the 2012 ICPSR Data Fair!, ICPSR.
The event is designed for the social sciences data community at large including researchers, librarians, teaching faculty, students, and policymakers from around the world who are interested in the use of social science data.
The first day will provide an orientation to ICPSR's services, including a tutorial on navigating our newly redesigned Web site. Other topics will include the American National Election Studies, minority voting behavior, and using election data in classroom instruction.
The event is open to everyone, and will be conducted using GoToWebinar technology; you can watch each presentation from your computer without the need to download any software.
A schedule of sessions is available, including links to the sessions themselves.