Month of March, 2009
According to Secrecy News, the Army has pulled the unclassified Military Intelligence Professional Bulletin from the open web:
The former MIPB website states that “The MIPB is now being hosted on the Intelligence Knowledge Network (IKN). (AKO account required).” AKO (Army Knowledge Online) accounts can only be obtained by military and contractor personnel.
The MIPB, which is unclassified, has long been available on the world wide web and has even been sold commercially. Back issues from 1995 to 2005 are available online from the FAS website, though no longer from the Army.
In addition to being sold commercially, this journal was also distributed through the Federal Depository Library Program until 2006, according to its entry in GPO's Catalog of Government Publications at http://catalog.gpo.gov. After 2006, it went online only and access was through a PURL.
As of today, that PURL directed folks to the takedown page. Libraries that depended on the "official repository" of the Army for post-2005 issues were out of luck. If these digital copies had been instead deposited to depository libraries, access might have gone on unhindered. Unless the Army had asked GPO to have depositories destroy their electronic archives of MIPB. But even then, the fact that multiple digital copies of MIPB existed would have triggered GPO's public process laid out in ID 72: Withdrawal of Federal Information Products from GPO’s Information Dissemination (ID) Programs. With that public process and the fact that prior issues were widely available, I think that the MPIB archive would have been safe. Instead, the Army as "The Official Repository" has made the online archives go away until FAS gets its FOIA request responded to.
Or maybe it will come sooner. The fact that MPIB had a PURL indicates that GPO may have been archiving it. But can they now post their copy of the archive? Do they need to consult the Army first? What if the Army says no?
Has anyone contacted GPO Help on this issue yet? What kind of a response have you gotten? Be sure to be kind to GPO as the decision on documents withdrawals rests with the agency. In this case, the Army. Don't blame Ric Davis if the Army nixes an FDLP restoration of the 2005-2009 MIPB archive.
It's cases like these where decisions are made with a flip of the switch without a public process that makes us wary of the Official Single Repository of Federal Publications, no matter who the federal agency is. Sunlight and good decision making require digital deposit outside the federal government.
Heads up loyal readers, FGI now has a social media posse in the form of a Facebook fan page. So go on over and become an FGI fan, you may even win a trip to Hawaii (ok that last bit was a lie :-) ). But please do become a fan and tell all your friends. We're all govt information librarians now!
Air Force Blocking the Military's Own Video Site By Noah Shachtman, Wired, March 27, 2009.
trooptube.tv is the "online video site designed to help military families connect and keep in touch while miles apart" maintained by "Military OneSource" which is an authorized Department of Defense program for Active Duty, Guard, Reserve and their families. As Wired describes it, trooptube is the "military's taxpayer-funded, security-scrubbed, low-bandwidth-optimized video sharing site."
But now, Wired says that military bases, especially Air Force bases, are blocking TroopTube as part of a larger, Air Force-wide decision to cut off access to it.
This isn't the first time the military has sent mixed signals. See Pentagon promotes itself on YouTube, but prohibits troops from using it.
The rise and fall (and rise again) of Grants.gov, By ELISE CASTELLI, Federal Times, March 30, 2009.
Since December, Grants.gov has seen a doubling of applications. In the second week of March, more than 8,000 applications were filed. On at least two days that week, more than 2,000 users were on the site, dangerously close to its 3,000-user limit. As the numbers swelled, performance buckled, prompting howls of anger from users.
...HHS is scrambling to give the Web site a boost over the next 100 days to accommodate the anticipated 60 percent increase in use over the next few months, Conley said. The department will add servers, bandwidth and storage to allow more people onto the system at one time.
Selling the Law: The Business of Public Access to Court Records, by Stephen Schultze and Shubham Mukherjee, presentation [video and slides] Center for Information Technology Policy, Princeton University, February 5, 2009.
As government documents are increasingly digitized and put online, two orthogonal approaches to distributing these documents have developed. Under one approach, the documents are made easily and freely accessible. In others, the government retains or introduces barriers to access that are inspired by traditional physical access. When these barriers are fee-based, the government can inadvertently create downstream monopolies or architectures of control over public information. This problem is especially severe in the case of federal district court documents, which are available only via an outdated, fee-based, court-run system or from expensive aggregators like Lexis or Westlaw. Indeed, evidence indicates that the courts are using public access fees to subsidize other activities. If we are to be a nation of laws, citizens must have access to the law. The upfront cost of making court documents freely available is far outweighed by the long-term benefits to society. Widespread digitization combined with Internet connectivity has placed these benefits within reach. The courts must now address the task of revamping outmoded policies and funding structures in order to align their practice with this reality.
Library Of Congress On YouTube, iTunes, National Journal, TechDailyDose, March 30, 2009.
New channels on video-sharing Web site YouTube and the Apple iTunes service will allow the Library of Congress to begin sharing content from its vast video and audio collections. The channels ... will be rolled out in the coming weeks....
Technemag.com just published "Techné Interviews Public Printer Candidate Carl Malamud". The interview focuses on online access to government information, of course, but I found this portion of the interview enlightening:
Techné: It seems that many of your proposals for the GPO can be put together under the headings of ‘increasing transparency’ and ‘updating the system for the 21st century.’ A great deal of both of these will involve the use of the internet and other new media platforms. How much printing do you envision as part of the GPO in the middle to long term? Is the title of ‘Public Printer’ any longer an accurate one—or would Chief Information Officer be more fitting?
Malamud: Publisher would be better than CIO. I’m a strong believe that there is a role, and will continue to be a role, for print. You’ll note in some of my proposals I’ve suggested that moving towards the “high end” is a way to continue to maintain jobs at GPO, which has some of the best printers and craftsmen in the world. Some things, such as “commodity printing” may go online or may get distributed, but remember that of the $1 billion in print business GPO does, about $800 million of that is already farmed out to private industry.
If you want a quick way to find International Government Organizations or their publications, start with today's Guide of the Week from the ALA GODORT Handout Exchange Wiki:
International Documents Collection (Northwestern University Library, for the GODORT International Documents Task Force, 2008)
Northwestern is attempting to keep a comprehensive list of International Government Organizations (IGO) that maintain a web presence.
They currently list many IGOs from the African Development Bank to the World Tourism Organization (WTO). To facilitate access to the publications and other IGO information, the guide maintains a Google Custom Search Engine.
Northwestern staff use the following criteria to add IGOs to their list:
Criteria used to maintain the Northwestern University Library IGO list:
- The primary audience for the site is the Northwestern University community.
- The international organizations included in the list are intergovernmental organizations (IGOs).
- International Documents staff intend the list to be comprehensive. They include all the IGOs of which they are aware. However, an IGO must have a web page to be included in the list. If any person recommends an IGO to add to the list, staff add it to the list.
- The list links to sites in English, when available.
- In general, the list links only to the main page (i.e. welcome or home page) of the IGO's web site. The list links to web pages that are located within an IGOs web site if:
- it is the web page of the IGO's statistical division or statistical publications.
- it is the web page of the IGO's publications, if there are a substantial number of full-text publications available there.
- it is a web page that is often used.
- it is a web page which had been used by staff or a patron as a source of information, but which is extremely difficult to locate using the site's navigation functions.
- If you have any questions or suggestions please email them to mailto:email@example.com.
While I think this guide would be even stronger with either a one or two sentence annotation next to each organization or a link to the organization's about page, the comprehensiveness of the list makes it worth visiting. Check it out. And if you're a librarian with a handout or guide of your own, please post it to the Handout Exchange!
Here's an interesting segment from CBS Sunday Morning from March 1, 2009 in which NY Times Technology writer David Pogue talks about data preservation. There are some great pictures from the Computer History Museum in Silicon Valley -- and don't miss Pogue's interview with the museum's curator Dag Spicer. One of the most memorable quotes is from Don Menerick (sp?), Archivist @ NY Public Library:
"...there's a consensus that as the ability to store more and more data, the data itself has become less and less reliable."
Review of the Homeland Security Digital Library, by Mary Kate Boyd-Byrnes, The Charleston Advisor, Volume 10, Issue 3, pages 44-46. [subscription required]