The National Science Foundation (NSF) website news.science360.gov gathers news "from wherever science is happening." This includes government sources that you might expect (National Science Foundation science and engineering centers, government agencies that fund scientific research) but also includes non-government sources such as individual scientists, college and university press offices, popular and peer-reviewed journals, dozens of not-for-profit organizations and private industry.
Hot off the presses from the National Academies is this prepublication version of a report Frontiers in Massive Data Analysis. This is a really nice survey of much of the state of the art and current issues involved in "big data." Govt information librarians owe it to themselves to become well-versed as more and more researchers across many disciplines will become interested in govt information as a corpus to do larger analysis (I'm already getting questions about corpus research!).
Migration Declassified is a product of the Mexico/Migration Project at the National Security Archive, an independent research center and repository of declassified documents based at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. It supports the rights of migrants in North America by increasing transparency around security and law enforcement institutions in Mexico and the United States. The site serves as a dissemination point for recently declassified documents that shed light on such issues as migration policy, border enforcement, migrant detention programs, and deportation policies. Its blog will feature commentary on migration-related news items and links to related resources.
This week the White House announced an early beta version of a revised data.gov web site (next.data.gov), promising many improvements. The improvements include examples from data communities of how data are used, a new powerful search engine, rotating data visualizations, a flexible design that displays well on tablets and smart phones, and more. It is all built with open source tools (WordPress, CKAN, SOLR) and meant to be easily scalable.
"The California Supreme Court ruled Monday that digital mapping files known as geographic information systems must be released under the state's public records law.
"The decision could make it easier for media organizations, advocacy groups and others to obtain government GIS databases, rich collections of data that can be used to display and analyze multiple layers of geographical information."
- Digital mapping files are public records, state Supreme Court rules, By Tony Barboza, Los Angeles Times (July 8, 2013).
Forty-seven of California's 58 counties already provide GIS parcel maps as public records for a nominal fee, said Dean Wallraff, an attorney for the Sierra Club. Los Angeles County charged the group less than $10 for a disk containing the files, he said. Monday's court ruling should compel Orange County to do the same.
Steven Aftergood describes Presidential Policy Directives and discusses how and why they are not usually posted to the White House website -- even when they are not classified and are available elsewhere.
- Presidential Directives Mostly Withheld by White House, by Steven Aftergood, Secrecy News (July 12, 2013).
The Obama Administration has issued more than 20 Presidential Policy Directives (PPDs), many of which are collected or listed on the Federation of American Scientists web site.
But with few exceptions (PPD 14, PPD 19) most of these cannot be obtained from the White House.
In October, the healthcare.gov website will be the site millions of Americans use to choose their health insurance. The new site has been built in public for months, iteratively created on Github using cutting edge open-source technologies. Healthcare.gov is the rarest of birds: a next-generation website that also happens to be a .gov. It will use Jekyll, which allows developers to build a static website from dynamic components. This will make the website faster and more efficient. A fascinating story!
While we haven't posted a report for awhile, activity has been buzzing at the State Agency Databases project at http://wikis.ala.org/godort/index.php/State_Agency_Databases.
For a full listing of the activity for the past two weeks, visit http://tinyurl.com/statedbs14d. Here are some highlights:
DELAWARE (John Stevenson)
Delaware Public Archives Collection Gateway - Search indexes of some of the public collections by name or keyword. Collection descriptions are added or updated quarterly.
GEORGIA (Chris Sharpe)
Wage and Salary Survey - Search the results of the most recent three years the DCA Wage and Salary Survey. Information includes the pay range, number of full time employees, and the number of hours worked each week for over 160 different local government jobs.
MASSACHUSETTS (Jennifer Ekblaw)
A recent battle in the California Legislature over public records has a lesson for all of us who work with government information. A story in the Los Angeles Times sums up the issue exactly: "In the end it wasn’t really about public records or the people’s right to see them. It was about money."
There are several draft ALA resolutions having to do with government information kicking around ALA 2013 annual conference. While there's still a way to go before these resolutions are passed by ALA Council, I thought folks might be interested enough in these to grab their nearest ALA Councilor and tell them to vote for these resolutions in support of free government information, open government and transparency. They're important to both libraries AND the public!!
I've heard that the Social Responsibilities Round Table (SRRT) has 2 resolutions dealing with Bradley Manning, Edward Snowden and the importance of whistleblowers to open government and the democratic process. But I haven't yet seen the text for these two.