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U.S. Budget FY 2017 coming Feb 9, 2016

[press release]

The U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will be releasing President Barack Obama’s Budget for the U.S. Government, FY 2017. Printed copies will be available through GPO’s retail and online bookstore. The Budget will also be available as a mobile web app and electronically on govinfo.gov

Tuesday, February 9, 2016
11:00 am EST

Note: The Historical Tables will be available only in digital format on govinfo.gov and OMB’s website www.budget.gov

complete press release [PDF]

Oyez Supreme Court Archive up for sale

This is a sad state of affairs IMHO. The gentleman who runs Oyez, the privately-run US Supreme Court audio archive, is set to retire. But it seems that he wants to sell the database for $1million dollars! He unironically doesn’t want to sell it to a private company because “They’ll put it behind a paywall and charge people to use it,” and “That’s against my values.” Harvard Law School has offered to take over the operating costs of the service. Here’s hoping that there’s a kickstarter campaign or some such that will assure that the public domain content remains in the public domain!

It’s not on Craigslist yet, but Jerry Goldman says options are narrowing for Oyez.org, the private online archive of Supreme Court materials he has been building since the early 1990s and providing free to the public. Mr. Goldman, 70 years old, retires from teaching in May, and when he goes so does Oyez, currently hosted at Chicago-Kent College of Law.

The project, which has two full-time staff members and several student employees, costs between $300,000 and $500,000 annually to operate, he says.

The sticking point, however, isn’t the annual budget; Harvard Law School, for one, has offered to pick up the operating cost. But Mr. Goldman also wants to be paid for the sweat he’s put into his baby–or at least the intellectual property it represents—something he estimates is worth well over $1 million.

via Future of Oyez Supreme Court Archive Hangs in the Balance – Law Blog – WSJ.

Looking Backward, Looking Forward

It is that time of year when we tend to look back at what has happened over the last 12 months and look forward to what we anticipate in the coming year. The urge to look back and see what has happened comes, usually, not so much from nostalgia as from a desire to evaluate recent activities: Have we accomplished something, or stood still, or regressed? And the urge to look forward is an opportunity to understand the challenges that are coming at us and imagine the opportunities to do better in the coming year.

It is a little late for a traditional end-of-year/beginning-of-year post, so, rather than looking at specific things that GPO, FDLP, and FDLP libraries have accomplished in the recent past or might accomplish in the near future, we’d like to twist the ritual a bit and take a slightly different tack. Today we will quickly examine how FDLP too often simply compares today to yesterday — and why this is a bad thing.



Today GPO announced the launch of the beta version of www.govinfo.gov. It is a new front end to the content of FDsys.gov, providing a mobile-friendly interface, An ABC list of collections, Quick Links to popular publications, Related Documents, a Browse by date option, a front-page link to the most recent issue of popular serial publications, Shareable social media content, and more.

See the overview for more details. There is also a link on that page to a survey so you can tell GPO what you think.

Since it is in beta, not all features are available yet and changes will be coming.

Govdocs are hard mkay?

I thought I’d recount an interesting little research question I had yesterday that took me down a rabbit hole trying to answer. This student was looking for an edition of a 1913 publication called the “Immigration Laws and Rules” (WorldCat helpfully notes the uniform titles of “Laws, etc.” and “Immigration Laws”!) but couldn’t find the right one in google books (go figure!).

Hi! I’m looking for copies of the “Immigration Laws and Rules,” published by the D.C. Government Printing Office. Specifically, I’m interested in finding editions printed in 1913, because I’m researching a change in immigration policy that happened when an immigration rule was amended on June 16, 1913. I’ve found one edition on Google Books that reflects amendments made March 10, 1913. Modifying my search on Google Books hasn’t produced the editions closest to that June date that I would be interested in. I’d really appreciate help finding those editions, either in print or online. Thanks!

My library unfortunately does not have this title (anyone want to send me their run? I’ll take good care of it!) I found other editions online (e.g. in the Internet Archive, Hathitrust, Harvard’s digital repository, and Proquest Congressional Publications, but not the specific edition that this student thought she wanted. The record is in WorldCat (but NOT in the CGP!), so the student could get the correct edition via Interlibrary borrowing.

But the best part of this was when I went to the Monthly Catalog to find the publishing history of this title. The July 1913 – June 1914 MoCat volume (btw, Internet Archive has a long run of the Monthly Catalogue online!) gave me a description of the publication along with this little gem of a quote on p.156:


Immigration laws, rules of Nov. 15, 1911, was issued in January, 1912. The same publication, with amendments, 2d edition, appeared in May, 1912. A 3d edition, with amended footnotes, was published in August, 1912. Another print of this last-named publication, with amendments, and designated as 2d edition, was issued under the printed date Mar. 10, 1913, and entered in the April Monthly catalogue. The same publication, without amendment, was reprinted later in May, 1913, as 4th edition. A fifth issue, dated Sept. 9, 1913, is called 1st edition. The reason for calling this a 1st edition instead of a 5th edition is stated to be that it is the first publication of the Immigration laws made by authority of the present Commissioner General of Immigration. This seems a natural enough reason, but when it comes to be considered it will be seen that it amounts to numbering the official instead of the publication.

President Wilson did not find it necessary to start a new set of numbers for his proclamations and Executive orders. He continued the same series that had been begun by Presidents Roosevelt and Taft. President Taft’s last proclamation is numbered 1236, President Wilson’s first, 1237. President Taft’s last Executive order is no. 1743, President Wilson’s first, 1744.

The various editions of the Immigration laws are sent, by requirement of law to nearly 500 official libraries, which must arrange the publications received in such order that they may be readily found when wanted. With two 1st editions, one published in 1912 and the other in 1913, and two 2d editions, showing the same discrepancy, with a 1st edition of a later date than the 4th edition, and a 2d edition following the 3d edition, it will be seen that the work of the librarian remote from Washington, and consequently from official explanation, is made needlessly hard and confusing.

This is the only reason why the Monthly catalogue thinks it necessary to print this note. The Catalogue is the official medium between the depository libraries and the Government publishing bureaus, and the libraries look to the Catalogue to straighten out for them those things in the public documents which on the surface appear tangled and troublesome.

Government documents are hard, mkay?!

That is all.


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