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LII and Justia give “Oyez Project” a new home. Supreme Court audio to remain free!

This is great news. A few months ago, the news broke that Jerry Goldman, who ran the Oyez Project, was looking to retire and cash in his site for upwards of $1 million. I was afraid that some for-profit publisher like WestLaw of LexisNexis was going to scoop it up. But now it seems that there’s a new deal between Oyez, Cornell University’s Legal Information Institute (LII) and Justia, the online publisher of legal information, to keep Oyez alive and freely accessible. Public domain crisis averted!

Read more about it.

After months of uncertainty about its future, the Oyez Project, a free repository of more than 10,000 hours of U.S. Supreme Court oral-argument audio and other court resources, has found a new home.

The project’s founder, Jerry Goldman, who is retiring soon, told The National Law Journal on Tuesday that a newly minted arrangement with Cornell University’s Legal Information Institute and Justia, the online publisher of legal information, will keep Oyez alive.

“It’s a perfect match,” said Goldman, 71. “They will be great stewards.”

Launched in 1993, Oyez.org boasts nearly 9 million visits annually, ranging from students doing term papers to Supreme Court practitioners rehearsing upcoming arguments.

The Supreme Court has taped oral arguments for the last 60 years and deposited them with the National Archives. Oyez makes the audio available on its website with additional information, including searchable transcripts that are synchronized to the audio.

That makes it easy to hear the moment during arguments in the 2003 affirmative action case Grutter v. Bollinger when then-Chief Justice William Rehnquist addressed advocate Maureen Mahoney—a former law clerk of his—by her first name. Or, more recently, the time on March 27, 2012, when the late Justice Antonin Scalia compared the coverage mandate of the Affordable Care Act to an order that the public buy broccoli.

via ‘Oyez Project’ New Home Will Keep Supreme Court Audio Free to Public | National Law Journal.

2016 Legislative Data and Transparency Conference (#LDTC16), Tue, Jun 21, 2016

Sign up now for this year’s Legislative Data and Transparency Conference (#LDTC16) held in Washington DC. In years past, they’ve streamed the proceedings, so definitely sign up for free if you’re interested in open legislative data, even if you’re not in the DC area!

The 2016 Legislative Data and Transparency Conference (#LDTC16), hosted by the Committee on House Administration, will take place on Tuesday, June 21, 2016, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Capitol Visitor Center Congressional Auditorium.

The #LDTC16 brings individuals from Legislative Branch agencies together with data users and transparency advocates to foster a conversation about the use of legislative data – addressing how agencies use technology well and how they can use it better in the future.

WHEN
Tuesday, June 21, 2016 from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM (EDT) – Add to Calendar
WHERE
Capitol Visitor Center Congressional Auditorium

via 2016 Legislative Data and Transparency Conference Tickets, Tue, Jun 21, 2016 at 9:00 AM | Eventbrite.

ProPublica launches tool to track Congressional members, encourages data download!

I’ve had a tab open to this ProPublica post “A New Way to Keep an Eye on Who Represents You in Congress” for a couple of weeks and just now getting around to sharing. Their new project called “Represent” is a great way to track on lawmakers, the bills they consider and the votes they take (and miss). Search for your legislators by address, ZIP code or name. A very handy tool indeed. But 2 things stand out especially about this new effort: 1) “Represent” not only collates data from a variety of government resources (see below) but they also point out to other sites that offer valuable features like individual lawmaker and bill pages on GovTrack and C-SPAN; and 2) They’re making available all the data that they use through their API. Their data sources include:

Check it out, bookmark it, and let your library patrons know about it!

Today ProPublica is launching a new interactive database that will help you keep track of the officials who represent you in Congress.

The project is the continuation of two projects I worked on at The New York Times — the first is the Inside Congress database, which we are taking over at ProPublica starting today.

But we also have big plans for it. While the original interactive database at The Times focused on bills and votes, our new project adds pages for each elected official, where you can find their latest votes, legislation they support and statistics about their voting. As we move forward we want to add much more data to help you understand how your elected officials represent you, the incentives that drive them and the issues they care about.

In that way, it is also a continuation of another project I worked on at the Times. In late 2008, The New York Times launched an app called Represent that connected city residents with the officials who represented them at the local, state and federal levels. It was an experiment in trying to make it easier to keep track of what elected officials were doing.

Because ProPublica is rekindling that effort, we’re calling the new project Represent.

The new Represent will help you track members, votes and bills in the House of Representatives and Senate. We’re also launching a Congress API, or Application Programming Interface, so developers can get data about what Congress is doing, too.

via A New Way to Keep an Eye on Who Represents You in Congress – ProPublica.

CIA IG office “mistakenly” deletes Senate report on CIA torture

This is why US government information needs to be preserved off of .gov servers by FDLP libraries and other non-governmental organizations. It’s not enough that each agency has an Inspector General. Each agency should have one or more libraries collecting, preserving and giving access to its information *regardless* of political embarrassment or any other excuse for government information being deleted and lost.

The CIA inspector general’s office — the spy agency’s internal watchdog — has acknowledged it “mistakenly” destroyed its only copy of a mammoth Senate torture report at the same time lawyers for the Justice Department were assuring a federal judge that copies of the document were being preserved, Yahoo News has learned.Although other copies of the report exist, the erasure of the controversial document by the CIA office charged with policing agency conduct has alarmed the U.S. senator who oversaw the torture investigation and reignited a behind-the-scenes battle over whether the full unabridged report should ever be released, according to multiple intelligence community sources familiar with the incident.The deletion of the document has been portrayed by agency officials to Senate investigators as an “inadvertent” foul-up by the inspector general. In what one intelligence community source described as a series of errors straight “out of the Keystone Cops,” CIA inspector general officials deleted an uploaded computer file with the report and then accidentally destroyed a disk that also contained the document, filled with thousands of secret files about the CIA’s use of “enhanced” interrogation methods.

via Senate report on CIA torture is one step closer to disappearing.

Strategic Planning Part III: Building a Collaborative FDLP

In this part of our three-part series on strategic planning for the FDLP and GPO, we offer a vision of a collaborative FDLP that will greatly enhance preservation of government information, improve access for users, and increase the value of individual FDLP libraries to their communities and to the public.

Part I of this series suggested small changes to GPO’s strategic plan. Part II offered an informal SWOT analysis to give the strategic planning process some additional context.

(more…)

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