Month of September, 2011
An increase in the electronic public access (EPA) fee, from eight cents to 10 cents per page, will take effect on April 1, 2012.
Earlier this month, the Judicial Conference of the United States authorized an increase in the federal judiciary’s electronic public access fee in response to increasing costs for maintaining and enhancing the electronic public access system.
Local, state and federal government agencies will be exempted from the increase for three years. Moreover, PACER users who do not accrue charges of more than $15 in a quarterly billing cycle would not be charged a fee. (The current exemption is $10 per quarter.) The expanded exemption means that 75 to 80 percent of all users will still pay no fee.
The National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) has signed a cooperative agreement with the University of Virginia and its Virginia Foundation for the Humanities to provide pre-publication access to 68,000 historical papers of John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington that have not yet been published in authoritative documentary editions.
- Online Access To The Founding Fathers Papers, "Press Release," The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (September 29, 2011).
David S. Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, notes, "These documentary editions provide a treasure trove of information about the founding of our nation. The historical documents contain fascinating details about the thoughts, deeds, and lives of these seminal figures. This agreement ensures that we leverage the latest technology and processes to ensure that all Americans can access and use these papers."
- National Historical Publications and Records Commission
C-SPAN will feature 3 hours on the topic of Poverty in America Sunday, October 2, 2011 on C-SPAN 1 from 7am - 10am (EDT).
Announcement from C-SPAN:
Poverty in America
This Sunday, October 2, C-SPAN's Washington Journal program presents "Poverty in America", looking at the face of poverty and the Federal, State, and community programs aimed at reducing poverty.
Poverty by the Numbers
7:45am - 8:30am ET on C-SPAN
A look at the recent Census data showing a record 42.6 [sic, 46.2] million people are now living in poverty in America. We’ll look at the demographics of who is living in poverty, how the face of poverty has changed since the economic downturn and how poverty is measured.
Federal Programs & Poverty
8:30am - 9:30am ET on C-SPAN
A discussion on federal poverty-related programs: what they are, how much they cost, and their efficacy in reducing poverty.
Programs to Fight Poverty
8:30am - 9:30am ET on C-SPAN
A look at one of the many community programs to help fight poverty and how they partner with the federal government. We feature the "Half in Ten" campaign, which aims to cut poverty in half in ten years.
Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2010 (Sept 13, 2011)
Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2010 Current Population Reports, P60-239, Issued September 2011.
Proposed cuts to Congress's investigative arm spark protest, By Alexander Bolton, The Hill (09/29/11).
Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) and Republican, Sen. John Hoeven (N.D.), have crafted legislation to cut Congress's budget by 5.2 percent, or $200 million. Nearly $42 million in savings would come from the GAO budget.
Hat tip to Benton.
Hello From DC.
Here are some catchup items from the past couple of weeks that I was unable to get to when the stories were first posted over the past 10 days.
I've culled a selection of items from our INFOdocket.com site that we update seven days a week.
We hope you find them useful.
4. Canada: Government Documents: Library and Archives Canada Digitizes Past Issues of the Canada Gazette (1841-1997)
More than 150 years of content.
5. Privacy: Social Media: U.S. Congress Members Want FTC To Investigate Facebook Tracking
Includes link to full text of a letter sent to FTC.
Eight of 10 members of Congress are tweeting and using Facebook, but only a handful use the social media sites to reach out to one of their most elusive constituent groups – Millennials, according to some experts.
Despite the fact that more than 80 percent of Congress is on Facebook and Twitter, only a handful communicate with Millennials in a meaningful way.
“I think there is room for improvement with everyone across the board, no matter where you are ideologically, in talking to young people,” said Ron Meyer of Young America’s Foundation, a conservative youth advocacy group.
The article includes two sidebar with statistics. Here are a couple of examples:
* Rep. Darrell Issa — @DarrellIssa — , R-San Diego, is the most frequent tweeter, averaging 13.6 tweets per day.
* Two-thirds of congressional tweeters predominately use Twitter.com directly. The other third uses Twitter applications. The most commonly used application is TweetDeck, with 12.7 percent of congressional offices using the application more often than not.
* The most popular day of the week to tweet on Capitol Hill is Wednesday. One member, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher — @DanaRohrabacher — R-Huntington Beach, tweets most on Sundays. He also replies the most often: 56.4 percent of his tweets are replies.
More than 160,000 new accounts in the federal judiciary’s Public Access to Electronic Court Records (PACER) service were established in fiscal year 2011. That’s an average of more than 3,000 new accounts each week.
The PACER service center, located in San Antonio, responded to about 165,000 telephone calls and about 42,000 emails in FY 2011. More than one-third of the existing 1.3 million PACER accounts were active over the course of the fiscal year that ends September 30, 2011.
I’ve enjoyed my time as a guest blogger for FGI. To wrap up, I’d like to share a story.
This summer, my household ran smack in to a preservation problem. It all started with fresh paint. My husband started to paint the living room and dining room. A color even, moving us away from 15 years of sensible beige. We were embracing the future. It seems like a good opportunity to have the drapes cleaned. They were old, came with the house, and had a vintage floral theme. They were perfect. But not perfectly preserved, as it turned out. The cleaner called, after testing one panel, to say the lining shredded. Too much sun damage (yes, even here in Seattle). We fussed a bit – considered and abandoned a variety of salvage schemes (for example, cutting the linings out, until we learned the hems shredded as well) – and eventually retrieved the drapes from the cleaner. They have been in the trunk of the car ever since. The rooms are painted now – and look lovely – but the windows are bare.
Our technical services librarian has an interest and expertise in preservation. She’s also a sister crafter, so I consulted her about my dilemma. After telling her the story, she laughed and said “this is just like our library.” And she’s right. The UW Gallagher Law Library has a rich print historical collection of legal and government information. Much of it is falling apart. We are a public institution with a shrinking materials budget. We don’t have the funds to preserve all of the collection, and we can’t afford most of the available digital collections as a substitute for print. So how do we decide? What parts of the collection do we preserve and what do we digitize? Can we salvage anything? Should we buy acid free boxes or just tie volumes? Can some of the fabric become throw pillows? What can we afford to license? Are we headed for a big box store purchase when our heart longs for something we truly cannot afford? Should we go the DIY route, if we can’t afford commercial services? Do we keep our old volumes on the shelves or do we need to empty the trunk of the car to make room for the next thing?
And what do the users want, and how does that impact our decision-making? Our household users (the dogs) didn’t like the disruption of the painting, but they really like looking out the unobstructed window. It’s great for them, actually, since they no longer have to wait for an intermediary with opposable thumbs to open the drapes. They can investigate the world of our street whenever they choose. The intermediaries are fretful, however. We pay the heating bills and know something needs to be done before the damp chill sets in. We think about the future, and the budget. Plus we liked the old drapes. We own them, and we know how to operate them. We don’t like this change, forced upon us by the passage of time.
I’m still wrestling with the drapery dilemma. As for the library dilemma, there is the global picture, which includes digital preservation and consortial arrangements such as LIPA: Legal Information Preservation Alliance, and has been well articulated here on FGI. But I’m interested in the local picture of our library.
I do like the idea that if each individual library works to serve our patron base, and shares what we have, it will, in the end, all work out. My hope is that libraries like ours will ask the right questions. That we’ll thoughtfully consider the answers. That we’ll be good stewards of our resources and try to preserve what’s unique in our collections. That we’ll think about today’s users, and tomorrow’s users, and our role as the largest public law library in the Northwest. Easier said than done, just like a household project. But in the end, it could work.
There are a lot of parallels between journalism and librarianship and between newspapers and libraries in the digital age. In a recent article, one journalist has suggestions for journalists that, I believe, have analogies for librarians. One useful idea: the need for mentors (with lots of experience) for the new generation of librarians.
- Why we need to separate our stories from our storytelling tools, By David Skok, Nieman Journalism Lab (Sept 28, 2011).
In the digital world, the tools we use to tell the world's stories -- Twitter, Google, Facebook -- control us as much as we control them. I am a digital journalist, and I’m enthusiastic about what our new platforms can provide us in terms of telling stories. But I also wonder whether we’re letting our tools define, rather than serve, the stories we tell.
...Twitter, Google, and Facebook -- to take the most prominent examples -- are wonderful tools that open up a whole new universe of communication, interaction, and reporting. But that's all that they are: tools. And they are tools, of course, that are provided by profit-driven companies whose interest lies as much in their own benefit as our own.
...And the onus is on digital journalists to welcome veteran reporters into the future’s fold -- to help them navigate the new tools that will inform, if not define, the shape journalism takes going forward.
But the onus is also on digital journalists to learn from the veterans -- to learn reporting methods and narrative techniques and skills that have nothing to do with Google or Facebook or Twitter, and everything to do with journalism as it's been practiced throughout its history. The veterans may not be able to show you how to create Fusion tables, but I can promise that, from them, you'll learn something new that will help your reporting more than the latest tools ever could.
As a companion piece on a different, but related, subject I like this article from the new blog at the Chronicle
- Curate for What Ails Ya, By Ben Yagoda, Chronicle of Higher Education Lingua Franca blog (September 28, 2011).
[The web] has developed in a such a way that raw data are sorted and organized not by human hands but by algorithms (number of page views, number of thumbs-up, Google's secret sauce, Wikipedia's universal access and veto power) that are certainly democratic and often useful, but just as often bring in too much noise and too much funk.
Curating the word and curating the phenomenon suggest a welcome recognition that some situations demand expert taste and judgment.
From the NARAtions Blog:
The National Archives just joined iTunes U, a dedicated area within the iTunes Store giving users public access to thousands of free lectures, videos, books and podcasts from learning institutions all over the world. If you already have iTunes on your iPhone, iPad, iPod, or computer, you can search for “National Archives” on iTunes U to find our channel, or visit us at http://itunes.apple.com/us/institution/national-archives-and-records/id4.... Our initial collections feature selected archival documents, lesson plan materials, podcasts by the Presidential Libraries, videos from our “Inside the Vaults” series and more.