Month of April, 2010
- How future historians will use the Twitter archives, By Christopher Beam, Slate (April 20, 2010).
- 21st Century Public History, Part I, Sharon Leon at the Center for History and New Media (April 21st, 2010).
- The Tea Party Challenge, By Erik Christiansen and Jeremy Sullivan, Inside Higher Ed (April 23, 2010).
There is more. Be sure to check out the complete list.
The Sunlight Foundation is starting an experiment that they are calling "the day in transparency." Every day, they will post a selection of transparency-related news stories, upcoming hearings on the hill, and related legislation introduced in Congress.
They are currently posting the stories at http://www.theopenhouseproject.com/, but may move these announcements to their own blog home soon.
- The Day in Transparency 4/27/2010 by Eric Naing.
Printable Congressional District Maps: Behind The Scenes, Joshua Tauberer, February 26th, 2010.
I missed this when it came out a couple of months ago, so this may be old news to some of you. Seems worth mentioning for those who missed it.
Today I’m releasing print-quality maps of congressional districts, with street-level detail and county border lines. This has been one of the most sought-after resources based on emails I’ve received over the last some four years and I don’t think you can find this anywhere else. (At least not comprehensively for the whole nation. Local state clerk’s offices may have them. NationalAtlas.gov has maps but not with very much detail.)
This was a solid 2-day project with less than 300 lines of code and it’s something that only recently became this easy to do.
The White House unleashes AdWords against Wall Street, by Patricio Robles, Econsultancy (22 April 2010).
When you do a search on Google for 'goldman sachs sec' or 'goldman sachs fraud' and even 'goldman sachs' itself, you're likely to be greeted with an ad from the president himself: "Help Change Wall Street."
Hat tip to Kevin Taglang!
In addition to the recent GPO Inspector General's report on FDsys (see The State of FDsys and the Future of the FDLP), there is another new report on FDsys.
- FDsys Program Review. Bob Tapella, Ric Davis, Mike Wash,Scott Stovall, Selene Dalecky, John Shuler, Suzanne Sears, Mike White. Government Printing Office (April 7, 2010)
Summary: On Wednesday, April 7, 2010, Bob Tapella, Public Printer, United States Government Printing Office (GPO), convened a public meeting to review the status of GPO’s Federal Digital System (FDsys) program. The objective of the meeting was to receive a program status update and to discuss program successes, issues, and opportunities with key stakeholders including GPO’s Library Services and Content Management (LSCM) business unit, the Office of the Federal Register (OFR), and representatives from the Federal Depository Library Council. The meeting was also attended by observers from GPO, the House Administration Committee, and the House Committee on Appropriations.
This report gives a much more sanguine view of the state of FDsys than the Inspector General report gives. It does, indeed, step through "program successes, issues, and opportunities." As I noted in my coverage of the IG report, there are successes and there is lots to hope for when all the system requirements are met. This report notes that "The estimated cost to complete Release 1 was reduced from $62 million to $42 million, saving $20 million" while the IG report focuses on the fact that the original cost estimate for the first phase of FDsys implementation was $16 million and the fact that GPO has redefined "Release 1" (which originally was slated to include "basic, additional, and final features") to include only "basic" features and now calls "additional and final features" "Release 2."
Nevertheless, it does a good job of pointing out what GPO has accomplished, which is significant.
The new report also identifies one critical risk to FDsys:
[T]here is risk associated with a delayed completion of the core system. Mitigation steps include maintaining sufficient investment to complete the core system and preventing loss of key resources resulting in more cost and time.
It also includes this statement of purpose:
The purpose of FDsys is not to serve as a portal, but instead to provide access to official and authentic content from all three branches of the U.S. government on our site, and through links to official agency and partnering web sites. Our main system functions encompass publishing information, enabling searching for information, preserving the information, and providing version control.
This is a sound, and probably sustainable, purpose. The report notes with satisfaction that the provision of XML formatted information has powered other, more user friendly, websites such as FedThread.org, GovPulse.us, and Regulations.gov. This vision of FDsys is, perhaps, close to view of those who say that the government should reimagine its role as an information provider to providing raw data and leave the fancy websites to others. (See The Federal Government Must Reimagine Its Role As An Information Provider.)
It is, however, probably not as close to the view that FDLP librarians have of easy access to government information. In light of the problems described in the IG report, it makes me wonder if there is a slight "re-imagining" of FDsys going on to make its vision fit closer with what GPO can do rather than what FDLP would like it to do. Time will tell.
Update. When asked about this issue at DLC meeting yesterday (Monday, April 26, 2010), the Supt. of Docs. responded (as reported by Shari Laster): "It's an advanced search system, a content management system, and a digital repository. Is GPO Access/etc. a portal? No. This is an official content repository."
The report also intriguingly notes that "FDsys content is available in all major search engines." I did a couple of quick Google searches of full text hearings that are in FDsys and got no hits. I would be interested to hear if GPO has more details about what is "available" in all major search engines and what is not. (If you have different results, please share them!)
Oh, yes. One other little thing. Ric Davis, Director of Library Services and Content Management and Acting Superintendent of Documents lists several "opportunities" afforded by FDsys. One is "Digital Dissemination"!
While having a repository of content available at GPO is critical, there are opportunities to facilitate the availability of digital collections in libraries. Some in the FDLP community have expressed strong interest in having Access and/or Preservation level files digitally deposited in FDLP libraries. This will further the model established for tangible collections of content by having dispersed collections of electronic content, and through partnerships better ensure access and preservation of content.
(FDsys Program Review, page 7)
We'll be live blogging the Spring 2010 Depository Library Conference from Buffalo, NY. the discussions at the 3 plenary sessions will be especially interesting and include discussions on preservation, access, FDsys and regional issues. Thanks to Shari Laster for volunteering to update the live blog. The twitter hashtag #dlc10s and #dlc10 will also show up in the live blog. We'll also archive the hashtags with twapper keeper.
The news about the World Bank opening up its data just gets better and better. I talked with Jose de Buerba at the World Bank yesterday. Jose confirmed the open access and also said that the site also includes a link to the World Bank Data API and that they encourage developers to create new applications with the data. It also has a link to DataFinder, the new World Bank iphone application. They're now in phase I of their data plan, the launch. Phase II will focus on improvements to the API. Very cool indeed! If anyone builds mashups with World Bank data, please leave a comment here and/or email Jose (firstname.lastname@example.org). They're very keen on understanding how researchers, developers, students and the public are using their data.
Don't forget that you can always see the latest items from Docuticker right here on FGI in the left column. You can also find Gary on twitter (@resourceshelf).
- Rhode Island School Librarian testifies in the House. His prepared statement is here.
- Online Privacy: U.S. Dept. of Commerce Plans to Look at Online Privacy; Public Meeting Scheduled for May 7th. Post includes Notice of Information from Fed Reg.
- nasaimages.org. NASA and Internet Archive working to put all NASA images, audio, video in a single location.
- New Database: Veterans Resources Search Engine Compiled in Indiana but has national resources
- Haiti: Legal Bibliography from Law Library of Congress
- Five Mapping Apps Reviewed for Upcoming UK Election
- Extremely Useful: NARA Releases List of Digitized Records (NARA Partners & Their Records.) What company has digitized what reel of microfilm, for example.
- Twitter Archives: an original post where we try to separate fact from fiction
- Wolfram|Alpha has added a bunch of historical tax statistics
- Information Security Oversight Office Releases 30th Annual Report to the President
- Transparency Data
Thanks and a hat tip to Gary!
World Bank Posts 2000 Data Sets Online, By Elizabeth Montalbano, InformationWeek (April 21, 2010).
In an effort to make its data more widely available, the World Bank this week released online more than 2,000 data sets documenting human development worldwide.
The data -- available online at the World Bank's Open Data Web site -- includes worldwide information about health, business, finance, environment, and social welfare statistics that were previously available only to paying customers.
...In conjunction with the site, the World Bank released an iPhone application called DataFinder, which allows search of the Open Data site and the creation of charts or data visualizations from iPhones.
Data Catalog "The Data Catalog provides download access to over 2,000 indicators from World Bank data sources."
The World Bank's Open Data initiative is intended to provide all users with access to World Bank data.... These resources include databases, pre-formatted tables and reports. Each of the listings includes a description of the data source and a direct link to that source. Where possible, the databases are linked directly to a selection screen to allow users to select the countries, indicators, and years they would like to search. Those search results can be exported in different formats. Users can also choose to download the entire database directly from the catalog.