Wikileaks opens Public Library of US Diplomacy (PLUSD) with large cache of 1970s US diplomatic and intel documentsSubmitted by jrjacobs on Mon, 2013-04-08 14:18.
Wikileaks today announced the launch of the Public Library of US Diplomacy (PlusD), a searchable database with the release of Special Project K: the Kissinger cables -- ostensibly, PlusD will include other records in the future. WikiLeaks has published more than 1.7 million U.S. diplomatic records -- including cables from previously released Cablegate cables, intelligence reports, and congressional correspondence -- from January 1, 1973 to December 31, 1976, the period during which Henry Kissinger was secretary of state and national security advisor. The documents were formerly confidential, classified, or labeled "NODIS" ("no distribution") or "Eyes Only". The database can be accessed at http://search.wikileaks.org/plusd/.
According to Wikileaks:
...Most of the records were reviewed by the United States Department of State's systematic 25-year declassification process. At review, the records were assessed and either declassified or kept classified with some or all of the metadata records declassified. Both sets of records were then subject to an additional review by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). Once believed to be releasable, they were placed as individual PDFs at the National Archives as part of their Central Foreign Policy Files collection. Despite the review process supposedly assessing documents after 25 years there are no diplomatic records later than 1976. The formal declassification and review process of these extremely valuable historical documents is therefore currently running 12 years late.
The data, which has not been leaked, comprises diplomatic records from the beginning of 1973 to the end of 1976, covering a variety of diplomatic traffic including cables, intelligence reports and congressional correspondence.
Julian Assange said WikiLeaks had been working for the past year to analyse and assess a vast amount of data held at the US national archives before releasing it in a searchable form.
WikiLeaks has called the collection the Public Library of US Diplomacy (PlusD), describing it as the world's largest searchable collection of US confidential, or formerly confidential, diplomatic communications.
Assange told Press Association the information showed the vast range and scope of US diplomatic and intelligence activity around the world.
Henry Kissinger was US secretary of state and national security adviser during the period covered by the collection, and many of the reports were written by him or were sent to him. Thousands of the documents are marked NODIS (no distribution) or Eyes Only, as well as cables originally classed as secret or confidential.
Assange said WikiLeaks had undertaken a detailed analysis of the communications, adding that the information eclipsed Cablegate, a set of more than 250,000 US diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks from November 2010 and over the following year. He said WikiLeaks had developed sophisticated technical systems to deal with complex and voluminous data.
Top secret documents were not available, while some others were lost or irreversibly corrupted for periods including December 1975 and March and June 1976, said Assange.
As March link checking was completed, activity has slowed at the State Agency Databases project at http://wikis.ala.org/godort/index.php/State_Agency_Databases. But we reached a a major milestone as we once again have full coverage of the fifty states and the District of Columbia.
We started the year with six or seven "orphan" states but that was quickly whittled down to just Hawaii, Minnesota and Oklahoma. Those stayed in the orphanage for a couple of months and recruiting here and govdoc-l wasn't helping.
So three of our project volunteers stepped up and took on second states. I'd like to offer a loud round of applause to:
- Jenn Zuccaro, for taking on Hawaii in addition to West Virgina.
- Paul J McDonough, for taking on Minnesota in addition to Vermont
- April Sheppard, for taking on Oklahoma in addition to Arkansas.
Now, for this week's activity. You can find a full listing of all the week's changes by visiting http://tinyurl.com/statedbs. Here are some highlights:
MICHIGAN (Michael McDonnell)
GeoWebFace - GeoWebFace is a mapping service provided by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. It can be used to access all kinds of geologic information. Accessible layers are too numerous to list here but include; mine and quarry data, geologic and hydrological information, land ownership and leasing information, and the location and type of oil and gas wells. There are also links to USGS topographic maps.
WASHINGTON (Marilyn Von Seggern)
Fertilizer Product Database - Database of fertilizer products currently registered for distribution in Washington. Two major pieces of information in the database are the nutrient guarantees and the levels of nine heavy metals (arsenic, cadmium, cobalt, mercury, molybdenum, lead, nickel, selenium, and zinc) found in the product and for which the state has developed soil loading standards.
SUBJECT PAGE ACTIVITY
HEALTHCARE PRACTITIONER DATABASES (Lynn McClelland)
LPN Disciplinary Actions - Current disciplinary actions, by type
Historical LPN Disciplinary Actions] - Lists of disciplinary actions, back to November 1997.
David Rosenthal gave another fascinating talk about the state of the web and whether or not we can expect to preserve it by harvesting it. This talk was at the 2013 Spring CNI Membership Meeting in San Antonio, TX. David presents an edited text of his talk with links to the sources on his blog:
- Talk at Spring 2013 CNI, David Rosenthal, DSHR's Blog (April 4, 2013).
This presents problems for those wishing to preserve information. Among these problems:
- Database driven features & functions
- Complex/variable URI formats & inconsistent/variable link implementations
- Dynamically generated, ever changing, URIs
- Rich Media
- Scripted, incremental display & page loading mechanisms
- Scripted, HTML forms
- Multi-sourced, embedded material
- Dynamic login/auth services: captchas, cross-site/social authentication, & user-sensitive embeds
- Alternate display based on user agent or other parameters
- Exclusions by convention
- Exclusions by design
- Server side scripts & remote procedure calls
- HTML5 "web sockets"
- Mobile publishing
For more about these problems, see also: IIPC Future of the Web Workshop -- Introduction & Overview, International Internet Preservation Consortium (May 17, 2012).
Read David's complete post for a rich discussion of the issues.
We love our gov-docs, don't we? Enjoy:
- Twenty Awesome Covers From The US Space Program, Space Kinja.
The upcoming 2013 April 18 Space Exploration Signature Auction by Heritage Auctions brought us these fine document covers. Manuals, guidebooks, press kits, reports, brochures - all with cool artworks and typography. Enjoy!
There's a new digital archive in town, from the Wilson Center's Cold War International History Project and its new Digital Archive of declassified official documents called www.digitalarchive.org.
Digital collections include: the Berlin Wall, Chinese nuclear history, Cuban foreign relations, Geneva Conference of 1954, Mitrokhin archive, and much more.
From the Wilson Center Web Site:
The Wilson Center [recently] launched a new Digital Archive of declassified official documents from nearly 100 different archives in dozens of different countries that provide fresh, unprecedented insights into the history of international relations and diplomacy.
The new website – www.digitalarchive.org – features uniquely powerful new search tools, an intuitive user-interface, and new educational resources such as timelines, analysis from leading experts, and biographies of significant historical figures. The Digital Archive will continually expand with new documents, translations, and analysis as they become available.
The new Digital Archive has been designed from the ground-up to make these historical document collections available to the broadest possible audience, from high school students through world-renowned scholars. Thousands of official documents from dozens of governments are now accessible through intuitive searching with filters such as location, date, subject, or language. Users can also browse topics by exploring themes or collections like the Database on Inter-Korea Relations and popular subjects such as the Warsaw Pact or the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Congratulations to Greta Bever, Roberta Brooker, Elizabeth Cowell, Kate Irwin-Smiler, and Hallie Pritchett for being named as this year's cohort to the Depository Library Council to the Public Printer! Looking forward to seeing you all on the dais at the fall 2013 DLC conference.
The five new DLC members for the June 1, 2013 – May 31, 2016 term are:
Greta Bever is the Assistant Commissioner for Central Library Services at the Chicago Public Library, which has been a Federal depository library since 1876. In that capacity, she oversees the Government Publications department. From 2003 to 2008, Ms. Bever served as a member of the Illinois State Historical Records Advisory Board/Illinois State Archive Advisory Board that makes recommendations to the State Archivist and provides advice and assistance to the Illinois State Archives. She has been a member of the Cook County Local Records Board from 2003 to the present.
Roberta Brooker is the State Librarian at the Indiana State Library, a regional Federal depository library that began collecting Federal laws and other Federal materials when it was established in 1824. She brings to Council a government documents background as well as experience as a coordinator for the Indiana State Data Center. Ms. Brooker has an extensive background in training, including teaching government information courses at the Indiana University, School of Library and Information Science. She is a member of the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA) and the Indiana Library Foundation.
Elizabeth Cowell is the Associate University Librarian for Public Services at the University of California, Santa Cruz where she provides strategic leadership for public service activities locally and UC systemwide. She has extensive government documents experience in several academic libraries and was an active participant in the LOCKSS Alliance. Ms. Cowell also served as one of two regional librarians at the Wisconsin Historical Society. She has contributed numerous presentations and publications to the field and actively participates in professional associations.
Kate Irwin-Smiler is a reference librarian at the Wake Forest University School of Law’s Professional Center Library in Winston-Salem, N.C., where she also serves as coordinator of the depository library collection. She brings to Council expertise on legal information and legal training. Ms. Irwin-Smiler is a member of the American???? ?Association of Law Libraries (AALL) and serves on the association’s Federal Depository Library Program Task Force. She is also a member of AALL’s Academic Law Libraries, Government Document and Social Responsibility Special Interest Sections.
Hallie Pritchett is head of the Map and Government Information Library at the University of Georgia, the state’s regional Federal depository library. Ms. Pritchett participates in numerous library associations, including the American Library Association (ALA) and the Georgia Library Association (GLA). She is permanent executive secretary of GLA's Government Information Interest Group (GIIG), immediate past chair of ALA’s Map and Geospatial Information Round Table (MAGIRT), and current chair of the Regional Government Information Librarians (REGIL).
It's been a very busy two weeks at the State Agency Databases project at http://wikis.ala.org/godort/index.php/State_Agency_Databases. For a blow-by-blow list of everything that happened, see http://tinyurl.com/statedbs14d. Here are some highlights:
The following searchable databases appear to have disappeared from their state web presence.
Illinois Facts - Search for business and quality of life information about Illinois. Areas that can be searched include agriculture, energy and recycling, film, industry, taxes, technology, and transportation. Formerly at http://www2.illinoisbiz.biz/ilfacts/.
Montana Statewide business directory. Formerly at http://www.b2bmt.com/.
West Virginia inpatient condensed database - Searchable databases of patient discharges. There is a separate database for every year since 2000 which can be searched by many criteria, including sex, age, diagnosis, procedure, provider type and payor group. Database includes this disclaimer, "Data elements which alone are not sufficient to identify an individual, but which in combination raise unacceptable possibilities that patients could be identified, are classified as protected. All data will be released only in cell sizes greater than thirty. Data with cells with thirty or fewer cases will be suppressed" Formerly at http://www.hcawv.org/DataAndPublic/data.htm. Some static data appears to be available at http://www.hca.wv.gov/data/Pages/default.aspx.
ALABAMA (Paula Webb)
Local Government Records Microfilm Database - contains records from local, county and municipal offices, such as the probate office, tax assessor, and orphan's court. Most of the original records remain in the originating office.
ILLINOIS (Blaine Redemer)
District/Official Search - Using either a mobile version or the desk top version one can enter an address or district number and find the Congressional and Legislative information superimposed on a map and detailed in a box to the side. There is also a drop down box to find contact information by County. One may also choose between road, aerial or both types of maps.
MASSACHUSETTS(Ellen Richardson and Jennifer Ekblaw)
Massachusetts Archives, 1629-1799 - 18 digitized volumes of documents from the Massachusetts Archives, ranging from international affairs to local concerns. A range of documents covers the early statehood period, religious affairs, tax records, judicial actions, legislative activities, and relations with London, other British colonies, the French colonial government, and Indian Nations, and many other things. See the http://www.sec.state.ma.us/arc/arccol/colmac.htm volume descriptions for more information.
MONTANA (Susanne Caro)
Traveler Information Map-Search for directions and road conditions.
NEW JERSEY (Qraig de Groot)
New Jersey Mayors Directory Search - Searchable by county, municipality, or name of mayor. Provides basic contact information as well as start and end dates for each mayoral term. (Note: Added by a GODORT wiki user)
SOUTH DAKOTA (Brenda Hemmelman)
South Dakota State Parks Directory - From the website: Home to breathtaking scenery, abundant wildlife, and exciting geological wonders, South Dakota offers visitors a range of things to do and see!
ADDITIONS TO SUBJECT-BASED PAGES
Alabama Church and Synagogue Records Collection Database] - This is an index to the Alabama Church and Synagogue Records Collection.
Passenger Manifest, 1848-1891 - Record of immigrants who arrived by ship in Boston, MA from 1848-1891. Search by first or last name, name of ship, or date.
Vital Records 1841-1910 - Birth, death, and marriage records for all of Massachusetts from 1841-1910. Search by first or last name and/or town. Note: searching alternate spellings, e.g., Smith and Smythe recommended.
Daniel Schuman, Policy Counsel and Director, Advisory Committee on Transparency of the Sunlight Foundation, writes that Reps. Mike Quigley and Leonard Lance are leading the charge in the House of Representatives to make CRS Reports publicly accessible. They've introduced (or RE-introduced) H.Res.110 - Congressional Research Service Electronic Accessibility Resolution of 2013. Hopefully this will be the year that Congress decides to share.
Former Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously said that "everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts." In 1914, an uncharacteristically foresighted Congress spent $25,000 to establish a fact-finding arm whose mission was to gather "data ... bearing upon legislation, and to render such data serviceable to Congress." A century later, the Congressional Research Service generates hundreds of analytical non-partisan reports on legislative issues each year.
CRS reports often inform public debate. A recent analysis, which found no correlation between economic growth and cutting tax rates for the wealthy, set off a re-appraisal of long-held orthodoxy about tax policy. A 2006 analysis questioning the legal rationale supporting the Bush administration's warrantless wiretapping policy caused many to look at the issue with fresh eyes. CRS analyses are routinely cited in news reports, by the courts, in congressional debate, and by government watchdogs.
However, unlike its sister agencies that investigate federal spending and analyze the budgetary effects of legislation, CRS does not release its reports to the public on a regular basis. This was not always so, and even now CRS routinely shares its reports with officials in the executive and judicial branches and with the press upon request. Congressional offices also act to disseminate the reports, publishing some on their websites, frequently sending others to constituents in response to requests, and giving them to reporters (often to help push a political narrative.)
But for a member of the public, it's difficult to access reports generated by the 600-person $100 million-a-year agency in any comprehensive way. Efforts by non-profit organizations to gather and re-publish the reports online have met with limited success. The private sector has stepped in, selling access to the reports at $20 a pop, but the premium accentuates the gap between the elites and everyone else.
NASA took its Technical Report Server (http://ntrs.nasa.gov/) offline this week, saying :
The NASA technical reports server will be unavailable for public access while the agency conducts a review of the site's content to ensure that it does not contain technical information that is subject to U.S. export control laws and regulations and that the appropriate reviews were performed. The site will return to service when the review is complete. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
As Steven Aftergood reported at Secrecy News [emphasis added]:
In other words, all NASA technical documents, no matter how voluminous and valuable they are, should cease to be publicly available in order to prevent the continued disclosure of any restricted documents, no matter how limited or insignificant they may be.
"There is a HUGE amount of material on NTRS," said space policy analyst Dwayne Day. "If NASA is forced to review it all, it will never go back online."
-- "NASA Technical Reports Database Goes Dark" by Steven Aftergood (March 21st, 2013).
Michael L. Nelson of the Department of Computer Science at Old Dominion University investigated the availability of some of the NASA reports at other archives and reports his findings on his blog:
- NTRS, Web Archives, and Why We Should Build Collections, by Michael L. Nelson, Web Science and Digital Libraries (March 23, 2013).
Nelson found that some reports are available at http://naca.central.cranfield.ac.uk/ which is an archive of some NASA information that Nelson helped establish after NASA websites were taken down after September 11, 2001. He notes that the removal of information from NASA servers at that time "made it clear to me that NASA information was too important to be left on *.nasa.gov computers." He found more data at the Internet Archive's "NASA Technical Documents" collection: http://archive.org/details/nasa_techdocs and in Mark Phillips NACA collection at http://digital.library.unt.edu/explore/collections/NACA/ .
Nelson draws some conclusions from all this [emphasis added]:
...it is events like this that demonstrate the value of copying by-value and not just by-reference.
In other words, pointing to web sites is much less valuable and much more fragile than acquiring copies of digital information and building digital collections that you control. The OAIS reference model for long term preservation makes this a requirement, saying that an organization that intends to provide information to its user community for the long-term, must "Obtain sufficient control of the information provided to the level needed to ensure Long-Term Preservation." Pointing to a web page or PDF at nasa.gov is not obtaining any control.
He also makes a distinction between those things that are saved because of their popularity and things that will not be saved unless special care is taken to preserve them:
I'm not concerned about popular culture artifacts disappearing (e.g., see our TPDL 2011 paper about music redundancy in YouTube), but it is not clear that long tail content like NASA reports will enjoy that same level of uncoordinated refreshing and migration. The moral of the story: make copies of the content...
And he notes the importance of multiple copies:
...a 1994 NASA TM of mine is on at least six different hosts, none of which are *.nasa.gov.
...If NTRS was a LOCKSS participant then access would be uninterrupted...
And Aftergood concludes [emphasis added]:
The upshot is that the government is not an altogether reliable repository of official records. Members of the public who depend on access to such records should endeavor to make and preserve their own copies whenever possible.
Here at FGI, we have repeatedly argued that identifying important information that warrants explicit preservation is the age-old role of libraries in society and that it still is (or should be) the key value of libraries in the digital age. Many government agencies, including NASA and the Government Printing Office have good intentions and good programs for preservation and access, but those agencies cannot guarantee that they will always provide preservation and access. In the case of the NTRS web site, Aftergood and others speculate that the take down was a response to a demand by a single Congressman who said in a press conference on March 18 [emphasis added]:
NASA should immediately take down all publicly available technical data sources until all documents that have not been subjected to export control review have received such a review and all controlled documents are removed from the system.
The NTRS web site was taken offline on March 19.
Government agencies are subject to political activities like this and budgetary limitations. Very bad things can happen which, in cases like this can remove from access, "all NASA technical documents, no matter how voluminous and valuable they are" in a single moment.
Libraries should still be selecting, acquiring, organizing, and preserving information for their user-communities, and providing access to and services for those collections. Libraries do no one a long-term service by simply pointing to resources over which they have no control and which someone else can simply make unavailable literally at the flick of a switch.
FDLP libraries should demand digital deposit from GPO and should actively select and acquire that digital public government information that is of value to their user communities that GPO cannot deposit because it is outside the scope of Title 44.
Acting Public Printer Davita Vance-Cooks has responded to the letter by the group CASSANDRA about the recent report Rebooting the Government Printing Office: Keeping America Informed in the Digital Age by the National Association of Public Administration (NAPA). .
The report recommends that GPO should consider "cost recovery" for access to FDsys (See NAPA releases report on GPO).
The Response from Vance-Cooks says that GPO has "no intention of charging public users a fee to access content available through FDsys. GPO remains committed to no-fee access to FDsys for the public as part of our mission of Keeping America Informed."
This is, of course, good news, but we have to temper our enthusiasm with the realization that GPO's ability to meet its intentions will inevitably be dictated by Congress and its budget.
The complete response is attached below: