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Free Government Information (FGI) is a place for initiating dialogue and building consensus among the various players (libraries, government agencies, non-profit organizations, researchers, journalists, etc.) who have a stake in the preservation of and perpetual free access to government information. FGI promotes free government information through collaboration, education, advocacy and research.

NARA to offer digitized papers of Obama administration

In a press release today, The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) announced a “new model for the preservation and accessibility of Presidential records.” The Obama Foundation has announced its commitment to fund the digitization of all of the unclassified Presidential records created during the administration of President Barack Obama and NARA says that, “Instead of constructing a building to house the textual and artifact records, existing NARA facilities will house the original materials.”

In this new model, NARA will administer neither a museum nor a traditional “Presidential Library,” and will instead focus its resources and personnel on preserving and making accessible the Presidential records of the 44th President of the United States in digital format to the greatest extent possible.

…Once the records are digitized, NARA will store and preserve the original paper records, as well as the artifacts, in an existing facility that meets NARA’s high standards for archival storage.

… In addition to the paper records, NARA received more than 250 terabytes of electronic records, including approximately 300 million emails, from the Obama White House. Together, these “born digital” and the digitized materials will represent the largest digital archive of Presidential records.

Gary Price at InfoDocket has the complete text of the NARA announcement.

State of Mississippi Breaks All Its URLs

Carl Malamud noticed that the State of Mississippi relaunched their web site and INVALIDATED EVERY SINGLE URL!

The generic 404 error message delivered by the state’s website says:

The SOS site has recently been redesigned and relaunched and the addresses for most pages and files have now changed

Pointing to government websites is neither effective nor efficient. Selecting and Acquiring and Organizing digital government information into library Digital Collections is the best, most efficient and effective way to preserve that information and ensure long-term access to it for your Designated Communities.

We Have 24 Hours to Save Online Privacy Rules

We Have 24 Hours to Save Online Privacy Rules BY KATE TUMMARELLO, Electronic Frontier Foundation.

We are one vote away from a world where your ISP can track your every move online and sell that information to the highest bidder. Call your lawmakers now and tell them to protect federal online privacy rules.

The Senate voted last week 50-48 on a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to repeal the FCC’s privacy rules. Now the resolution heads over the House, where it’s scheduled to get a vote on Tuesday.

Activists Use FOIA to Ensure Availability of Thousands of Federal Datasets

The Center for Biological Diversity has announced an effort to prevent hundreds of environmental datasets on government websites from being removed by the Trump administration. Three separate Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for data sets have been submitted to eight federal agencies. Many (perhaps most) of the datasets requested are currently available on government websites. A provision (5 U.S.C. 552(a)(2)(D)) of the 2016 FOIA Amendments requires agencies to post online in the agency’s FOIA Reading Room documents that are requested "3 or more times."

The FOIA requests were filed by The Center for Biological Diversity, the Center for Media and Democracy, and conservation biologist Stuart Pimm.

The eight agencies are: the Army Corps of Engineers, the Council on Environmental Quality, the Environmental Protection Agency, NASA, and the departments of agriculture, commerce, energy and interior.

The FOIA requests seek hundreds of data sets on energy usage, renewables, oil and gas projections, coal reserves, climate data, sea-level rise, human population, environmental justice and the status of scores of endangered and threatened species and other wildlife.

Cuts to Environmental Monitoring “Willfully Blinding” the Nation

Scientific American reports that many science policy experts are "startled" by the Trump administration’s proposed budget for 2018 that envisions dramatic cuts in funds for monitoring air and water quality, climate change and more.

Pres. Donald Trump’s administration could be willfully blinding itself—and the nation—when it comes to the environment…

[T]he consequences of weakening U.S. environmental monitoring abilities would be serious for everyone, says Brenda Ekwurzel, director of climate science for the nonprofit Union of Concerned Scientists’ Climate and Energy Program, echoing other policy experts. “So many people need our environmental intelligence," she says. “It’s saving lives, saving businesses money and reducing harm.”

Noting that the budget proposes cutting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by 31 percent, which would eliminate 3,200 EPA positions, and would reduce its Office of Research and Development budget by almost half, Kei Koizumi, visiting scholar at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) says, “Even if the agency is able to get data about the environment, it wouldn’t have the scientists and research conditions to make sense of it.” The article also says that the EPA cuts would affect grants to outside groups that track the environment.

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