Month of March, 2011
This is just too depressing!
OMB prepares for open gov sites to go dark in May
By Jason Miller
Federal News Radio
Many of the Obama administration's top open government initiatives are set to be turned off by May 31.
Government sources confirm that the Office of Management and Budget is planning to take seven websites dark in two months because of a lack of funding.
One government official, who requested anonymity because they didn't get permission to discuss the topic, said funding will begin to run out on April 20 for public sites IT Dashboard, Data.gov and paymentaccuracy.gov. The source said OMB also is planning on shutting down internal government sites, including Performance.gov, FedSpace and many of the efforts related the FEDRamp cloud computing cybersecurity effort.
The official said two other sites, USASpending.gov and Apps.gov/now, will run through July 30 but go dark soon after.
[HT to John Wonderlich at Sunlight Foundation!]
The 10 most segregated urban areas in America, By Daniel Denvir, Salon (Mar 29, 2011). "Slide show: The new census numbers provide a sobering reminder of how separate white and black America still are."
Decades after the end of Jim Crow, and three years after the election of America's first black president, the United States remains a profoundly segregated country.
That reality has been reinforced by the release of Census Bureau data last week that shows black and white Americans still tend to live in their own neighborhoods, often far apart from each other. Segregation itself, the decennial census report indicates, is only decreasing slowly, although the dividing lines are shifting as middle-income blacks, Latinos and Asians move to once all-white suburbs -- whereupon whites often move away, turning older suburbs into new, if less distressed, ghettos.
Much fun: interactive 3D map of the West Wing.
- Closer Look: Inside Obama's West Wing, The National Journal (March 25, 2011)
An important milestone for digital preservation of government information: CRL has completed its audit of HathiTrust, which contains digital copies of many printed government publications, and certified it as a "trusted repository." The audit uses the Trustworthy Repositories Audit and Certification checklist (TRAC), which is based on the Reference Model for an Open Archival Information System (OAIS).
- HathiTrust Audit Report 2011, Executive Summary, Center for Research Libraries
The Center for Research Libraries (CRL) conducted a preservation audit of HathiTrust (www.HathiTrust.org) between November 2009 and December 2010, and on the basis of that audit certifies HathiTrust as a trustworthy digital repository. The CRL Certification Advisory Panel has concluded that the practices and services described in HathiTrust public communications and published documentation are generally sound and appropriate to the content being archived and the general needs of the CRL community. Moreover the Panel expects that in the future, HathiTrust will continue to be able to deliver content that is understandable and usable by its community.
- PDF of Full Report on HathiTrust Audit 2011.
(Full disclosure: I participated in the audit by providing technical support for the site visit and the assessment of HathiTrust repository systems and architecture.)
SPARC launches new e-forum for subject repository development and success, Association of Research Libraries. Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (March 30, 2011).
Washington, DC – SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) has announced it will host a new discussion forum dedicated to the unique needs of the subject-based digital repository community. As repositories continue to grow as an engine for driving Open Access worldwide, new challenges and opportunities emerge and the demand for more focused conversations grows.
The SPARC Subject Repositories Forum ("SPARC-SR") will enable subject repository managers, both inside and outside libraries, to share procedures and best practices, discuss possible joint projects, and support each other in providing access to an important realm of scholarly literature.
For details on how to join, visit http://www.arl.org/sparc/about/emailsignup.shtml .
Siva Vaidhyanathan, the author of The Googlization of Everything (And Why We Should Worry), is on C-SPAN's Book TV This weekend. Siva is a professor of media studies and law at the University of Virginia. He is the author of Copyrights and Copywrongs and The Anarchist in the Library. For more, visit: googlizationofeverything.com.
* Sunday, March 27th at 5:12pm (ET)
* Sunday, March 27th at 11:15pm (ET)
* Monday, March 28th at 5:12am (ET)
Although many media stories about the Google Book Settlement continue to refer to Google's project as a "library," the smart media and knowledgeable people, including Judge Chin, understand that Google's project is not and never was a library: "It is instead a complex and large-scale commercial enterprise in which Google -- and Google alone -- will obtain a license to sell millions of books for decades to come."
In the wake of the court decision, we are seeing calls and planning for establishing an actual public, digital library as an alternative to relying on Google.
Here are some key articles:
- Concept Note, Digital Library of America Project (as of March, 2011).
The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) will make the cultural and scientific heritage of humanity available, free of charge, to all.
...At the outset, its material is likely to remain hosted, as a primary matter, in a federated series of the existing digital repositories. The system would allow for broad and easy access to enormous existing collections, such as the Internet Archive, along with those in research libraries and other repositories and those to be created by future scanning.... [working] with the leading preservation technologies -- HathiTrust, DuraSpace, and LOCKSS, and potentially others -- to build out the nation's existing preservation architecture. [The project should] begin with works in the public domain that have already been digitized and are accessible through the Internet Archive, HathiTrust, [and] a broad range of government material...
- Thank You, Judge Chin, By Siva Vaidhyanathan, Chronicle of Higher Education (March 24, 2011).
As opposed to how some university libraries celebrated Google's announcement of its Book Search Project in 2004 because now they would not have to spend money to get digital files of their books, scientists who work on the Genome stood up and organized.
...We lack only one thing: the political will to fight for a great and noble information system -- a global digital library. I'm not talking about the haphazard rush we've seen to date to digitize the stacks of major research libraries. Nor a commercial venture like Google's. I'm proposing what I call the "Human Knowledge Project".... What I mean is a truly global digital library. To generate support for that, we need to identify the political and legal constraints, as well as articulate the payoffs.
- Creating a digital public library without Google's money, By Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times (March 25, 2011).
The Google books case now looks like a salvage operation for the dream of a digital library.
...Judge Chin's decision forces us -- or allows us-- to ponder the dream of a digital library without ceding our future to Google.
Carl Malamud was instrumental in getting more videos recorded by the Congressional committees themselves released to C-SPAN.
- Government-recorded Hearings Now Being Added to the Video Library C-SPAN Video Library Blog (March 18, 2011).
"The C-SPAN Video Library now contains committee hearings produced by House and Senate committees. C-SPAN can only record a limited number of committees every day. However, a number of House and Senate committees have installed their own equipment to webcast their committee proceedings. These webcasts are now scattered across House and Senate committee websites or not available at all. In order to enhance the offerings of the C-SPAN Video Library and to consolidate these hearings in one place, we are importing government produced committee video into the Video Library."
Hat tip to INFOdocket!
There is so much coming out about the Google Book Settlement court decision that it seems redundant now to repost links here on FGI. I did think it might be useful to weed through so many and post a few highlights here and that's what I have been trying to do (here and here and here and here).
Even though most of the GBS controversy is over copyrighted materials and most government information is not copyrighted, I believe that this issue is relevant to government information. That relevance relates to who will control information access and how we will build our digital libraries. The Settlement and the trends it was promoting were not good for the public, for privacy of reading, or for libraries. As google relentlessly blocked full access to most scanned government publications, the HathiTrust made most of those same publications publicly available. The press has repeatedly referred to what google was building as a "library" and continues to do so now, even though the judge explicitly said it was not ("The Google Book Search initiative envisioned in the [agreement] is not a library... It is instead a complex and large-scale commercial enterprise in which Google -- and Google alone -- will obtain a license to sell millions of books for decades to come.") Google transformed what it originally described as indexing (in the same way that it indexes web-pages) -- and therefore fair use, into a giant bookstore in which it would sell access to individuals and sell and limit access to libraries.
What happens next may turn those trends around and give us a better chance of going beyond google's avowed policy of making money without doing evil, to a more enlighted policy of actually doing good for our communities.
In that spirit, here are a few more links on the GBS decision.
- The Google Books Settlement: Where Things Stand, and Some Suggestions for What’s Next, by David Crotty, Scholarly Kitchen (Mar 24, 2011).
- Google Book Settlement -- Opponents 1, Google 0, by Rick Anderson, Scholarly Kitchen (Mar 23, 2011).
- Inside Judge Chin's Opinion, by James Grimmelmann, The Laboratorium (March 22, 2011).
- Google Book Settlement Rejected: Press Review, Comments, and Resources, By Gary Price, INFOdocket [updated link]
- Google Books Decision: "The Privacy Concerns are Real", by Cindy Cohn, EFF, (March 22, 2011).
A lot more good commentary and analysis is coming out about the recent Google Books Settlement decision. Here are a few not-to-be-missed items:
- Research Libraries See Google Decision as Just a Bump on the Road to Widespread Digital Access, By Jennifer Howard, Chronicle of Higher Education (March 23, 2011).
[T]he Association of Research Libraries ...did not take a pro or con stance on the proposed settlement. Along with the American Library Association and the Association of College and Research Libraries, it did raise privacy and antitrust concerns about it and questioned whether academic libraries' interests were adequately represented.
- A Copyright Expert Who Spoke Up for Academic Authors Offers Insights on the Google Books Ruling [interview with Pamela Samuelson] by Marc Parry, Chronicle of Higher Education (March 23, 2011).
The thing that surprised me about the opinion was that he took seriously the issues about whether the Authors Guild and some of its members had adequately represented the interests of all authors, including academic authors and foreign authors.... Academic authors, on average, would prefer open access. Whereas the guild and its members, understandably, want to do profit maximization.
...as we all know, Google basically also wants to know everything that we look at and everything that we read, and they would be engaged in profiling and serving up ads. There were virtually no privacy guarantees for users in the settlement agreement.
- Google Book Search rejected: why not try fair use instead?, by Cory Doctorow, BoingBoing (Mar 23, 2011).
...what Google had originally set out to do -- index all the books, in the same way that it indexes all the web-pages -- is arguably fair use, and Google could have mounted a fair use defense against the Authors Guild claim. A victory there would have paved the way for a competitive landscape of multiple search engines indexing books under the same legal theory.