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Power and Influence and Authority

Here is an interesting series of interrelated posts in which there is a discussion a proposal that twitter should allow search filtering. Whether you twitter or not, whether this was a good idea or not, the ideas are interesting and pertain to government information as well.

Here we find reference to 3 kinds of power:

1. the ability to force you to do what you don’t want to do; 
2. the ability to stop you doing something that you want to do; and 
3. the ability to shape the way you think.

Number 2 has an obvious analogy to the no-distribution FDLP because without distribution of the raw information it is difficult for libraries — or anyone else — to do interesting things like build full text indexes and specialized collections that combine government and non-government information or build mash-ups. But Number 3 is just as suggestive, because the interfaces that GPO and other government agencies provide give them the power to shape what questions we can ask and what answers we get.

I’m not proposing a conspiracy of thought control, I am just saying that no one agency can provide all the possible views and interfaces and functionality that the richness of government information deserves.

GPO continues to insist that making information “publicly accessible [at an] Internet site” (SUPERINTENDENT OF DOCUMENTS POLICY STATEMENT 301) is adequate in the digital age. Distributing the raw data would do so much more and allow so much more extensive and better use of the data. Why not allow that? Is it about “power”…?

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