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4th edition of “On their own terms” govt information lexicon published

Susan Maret, professor in the School of Library & Information Science at San José State University and co-author of Government Secrecy: Classic and Contemporary Readings, gave us a heads up that the 4th edition of On Their Own Terms: A Lexicon with an Emphasis on Information-Related Terms Produced by the U.S. Federal Government lexicon has just been published. She kindly sent a PDF of the lexicon which we’ve attached below. Check it out, it’s amazing the breadth of govt information described in the lexicon which represents

…”a virtual seed catalog to federal informationally-driven procedures, policies, and practices involving among other matters, the information life cycle, record keeping, ownership over information, collection and analysis of intelligence information, security classification categories and markings, censorship, citizen right-to-know, deception, propaganda, secrecy, technology, surveillance, threat, national security, and forms of warfare.”

and the introduction is quite a good read too!! Thanks for the heads-up Susan! (btw, if you’re reading this, we’d love to invite you to be a guest blogger sometime on FGI. you know where to find us if you’re interested :-))

Since the first edition in 2005, On Their on Terms has reported language that reflects the scope of U.S. information policy. Now in its fourth edition, the Lexicon features new terms that further chronicle the federal narrative of information and its relationship to national security, intelligence operations, and freedom of information, privacy, technology, and surveillance as well as types of war, institutionalized secrecy, and censorship.

This fourth edition of the Lexicon emphasizes the historical aspects of U.S. information policy and associated programs in that it is a testament to the information politics of the Bush-Cheney years; there is also a look back to historical agency recordkeeping practices such as the U.S. Army’s computerized personalities database , serendipitously discovered in a 1972 congressional hearing on military surveillance of civilians1 and the 1970s DoD program Project Camelot , which has parallels with Project Minerva efforts to recruit academics.2 Including these programs alongside contemporary federal information initiatives and public policy critiques furthers the “history of ‘govermentality,’ ” an inquiry put forth by Michel Foucault (1994,1978: 219-222) that examines the “ensemble formed by the institutions, procedures, analyses, and reflections, the calculations and tactics that allow the exercise of this very specific albeit complex form of power.” This latter thought suggests an active, genealogical role for FOIA researchers, archivists, historians, information professionals, and public interest groups in not only rescuing lost histories but integrating findings into existing understanding of federal information practices.

Throughout the Lexicon , links have been verified and replaced. However, in certain instances, Web pages and documents have been removed by the issuing federal agency. Considering the historical and archival importance of this information, links to the original source at the Wayback Machine is included.

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1 Comment

  1. I think “On Their Own Terms” is a valuable resource, but wouldn’t it be much more useful as structured data, e.g., in a searchable database?

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