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Introducing @POTUS: President Obama’s Twitter Account. Alex Wall, The White House Blog (May 18, 2015).

Today, with a tweet from the Oval Office, President Obama launched @POTUS, the official Twitter account of the President of the United States.

Other Twitter accounts you might want to know about:

The White House: @WhiteHouse
Vice President Joe Biden: @VP
First Lady Michelle Obama: @FLOTUS
Dr. Jill Biden: @DrBiden
Live coverage from the White House: @WHLive
Press Secretary Josh Earnest: @PressSec
Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett: @VJ44
Communications Director Jen Psaki: @Psaki44
White House updates in Spanish: @LaCasaBlanca
Chief Official White House Photographer: @PeteSouza

Full list of White House Twitter accounts at twitter.com/WhiteHouse/lists/whitehouseaccounts/members.

Appeals court ruling on the NSA collection of phone records

UPDATED (5/8/2015) Concurring opinion added. News of the recent ruling by a federal appeals court that the National Security Agency’s collection of millions of Americans’ phone records violates the Patriot Act is widely available. Below are the links to a couple of good accounts of the ruling and the ruling itself.

  • N.S.A. Phone Data Collection Is Illegal, Appeals Court Rules, By CHARLIE SAVAGE and JONATHAN WEISMAN, New York Times (May 7, 2015).
  • NSA program on phone records is illegal, court rules By Ellen Nakashima, Washington Post (May 7, 2015).
  • Case 14-42, Document 168-1, 05/07/2015, 1503586 United States Court Of Appeals For The Second Circuit August Term, 2014 (Argued: September 2, 2014 Decided: May 7, 2015) Docket No. 14‐42‐cv American Civil Liberties Union, American Civil Liberties Union Foundation, New York Civil Liberties Union, New York Civil Liberties Union Foundation, Plaintiffs‐Appellants, v. JAMES R. CLAPPER, in his official capacity as Director of National Intelligence, MICHAEL S. ROGERS, in his official capacity as Director of the National Security Agency and Chief of the Central Security Service, ASHTON B. CARTER, in his official capacity as Secretary of Defense, LORETTA E. LYNCH, in her official capacity as Attorney General of the United States, and JAMES B. COMEY, in his official capacity as Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Defendants‐Appellees. SACK and LYNCH , Circuit Judges, and BRODERICK, District Judge.
  • SACK, Circuit Judge, concurring.

Not Your Grandmother’s Librarian


The Cover story of The Nation this weeks is about librarians battling for privacy.

Amy Sonnie, a librarian and activist in Oakland, told me that there’s a debate within the profession about whether librarianship is, or should be, politically neutral. “I can and should be an advocate around issues that impact our ability to fulfill our mission, and privacy is one of those issues,” she said. Sonnie and Macrina both see privacy as not just an issue of intellectual freedom, but also of social justice. “We serve members of communities who have been historically under greater surveillance than the rest of the population: immigrants, Muslim-Americans, people of color, political dissidents,” Macrina explained.

The article recounts some recent history of how individual librarians and libraries and the ALA have advocated for privacy for readers — one of ALA’s core values since 1939 — and gives examples of recent battles against the NSA and Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act.

Survey says most Americans not yet keen on e-government services

A new survey says that less than half of American adults who use the Internet at least once a week want the federal government to dive deeper into digital service delivery.

The survey, by Forrester Research, also notes that most respondents preferred using postal mail or a phone to interact with agencies and that Facebook, mobile apps and Twitter were less popular. Respondents also evoked privacy concerns with only 35 percent trusting government agencies to keep their personal information private. Respondents also did not find federal websites user friendly: less than half said that they tend to get what they came for when visiting agency websites.

Some of this may be due to unfamiliarity. The report says: “Our data shows that many people don’t want new digital channels because they don’t understand the advantages.” But 40 percent of respondents said they are overwhelmed by the plethora of agency websites and a majority said they are in favor of the government creating a single Web portal that would allow a user to log in to all federal accounts in one place.

See also:
E-Gov: are we citizens or customers?
Information is not a Service, Service is not Information

What Are We To Keep? (FAQ)

This document is meant to accompany the article, “What are we to Keep?” by James R. Jacobs, Documents to the People (Spring 2015) p 13-19.


  • What is a Preservation Copy?

    Research that was prompted by JSTOR’s desire to determine how to guarantee that all of the printed material within its journals would remain available defined preservation copies as “clean copies that retain full information accuracy from the vantage point of the researcher” (Yano). Thus when we think about “preservation copies” we are looking to be able to ensure that copies are available for the long-term and that those copies are complete and accurate. “Informational Accuracy” a “perfect copy” — a copy that is as good as new. A preservation copy is, therefore, a “clean” copy that is quality-checked and repaired, if necessary, on a page by page basis.

  • Why do we need Preservation Copies?

    Even if we had perfect digital copies of paper documents, we still need preservation paper copies for two reasons. First, there is evidence that digital documents degrade more rapidly than print material (Rosenthal), so it is necessary to have a paper copy that could be used to re-digitize. Second, Digitization does not magically preserve paper; or, to put it another way, digital copies are not the same as print copies and may inherently lose information by the very dint of reformatting to a new presentation.

  • Why do we need Access-Copies?
  • Unless we have perfect, page-verified digitizations that are as complete, as accurate, and as easily usable as the original paper copies (Jacobs and Jacobs), users will inevitably need to go back to the original paper copy in order to get either the complete and accurate content or the functional usability of the original paper medium. Some libraries have already reported that digitization of paper copies has increased the demand for access to the paper copies. Additionally, some users/uses will require access to physical copies via Interlibrary Borrowing. ILL can only happen if there is a surplus of copies. As the # of copies goes toward 0 (scarcity), libraries will no longer be willing to lend to ILL. Therefore, it is imperative that there not be a dearth of geographically distributed copies.

  • Why do we need re-digitization copies?

    Unless we create perfect copies that adequately anticipate the future needs of users, we will need to create new digitizations in order to meet those future needs. (See “An alarmingly casual indifference to accuracy and authenticity” What we know about digital surrogates.)

What should I think about before discarding government documents?


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