Submitted by dcornwall on Sun, 2013-11-03 07:18.
Here are some highlights of the past week's activity at the State Agency Databases Project at http://wikis.ala.org/godort/index.php/State_Agency_Databases:
CALIFORNIA (Joel Rane)
Toxicity Criteria - A database of toxic chemicals as defined by the OEHHA, browsable by chemical name and searchable by common name, CAS number, use or synonym.
NEW HAMPSHIRE (Linda Johnson)
OneStop Data and Information - More than 30 environmental databases covering air, water, asbestos, permits, and a variety of other topics are brought together here.
For a full listing of the past seven days of activity at our project, visit http://tinyurl.com/statedbs.
Submitted by jrjacobs on Mon, 2013-10-28 14:35.
It's hard to believe we're rapidly approaching FGI's 9 year anniversary(!). We'd like to ring in our 10th year with an invitation to the community to become citizen documents bloggers. We don't want to have news and information critical to the govt information community fall through the cracks -- fugitive news?! -- and so we need your help. Are you a news hound? Maybe you'd like to cover the "doc in the news" beat like the one we just posted. Passionate about fugitive documents? Freshen up the blog with periodic posts about interesting fugitives -- perhaps ones you've found on the lostdocs blog. Policy wonk? You could set up Govtrack.us alerts and write about legislation of interest to libraries and the docs community.
The possibilities are limitless, but we need your help to make them a reality. Contact us at freegovinfo AT gmail DOT com if you're intrigued.
Submitted by jrjacobs on Mon, 2013-10-28 13:59.
I ran across a story in the Guardian on Friday that sent me on a document hunt. Congressman Alan Grayson wrote a piece in which he referenced the Pike Committee investigation of the CIA:
"Congressional oversight of the NSA is a joke. I should know, I'm in Congress." Alan Grayson. The Guardian, Friday 25 October 2013.
In the 1970s, Congressman Otis Pike of New York chaired a special congressional committee to investigate abuses by the American so-called "intelligence community" – the spies. After the investigation, Pike commented:
'It took this investigation to convince me that I had always been told lies, to make me realize that I was tired of being told lies. I'm tired of the spies telling lies, too.'
Pike's investigation initiated one of the first congressional oversight debates for the vast and hidden collective of espionage agencies, including the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the National Security Agency (NSA). Before the Pike Commission, Congress was kept in the dark about them – a tactic designed to thwart congressional deterrence of the sometimes illegal and often shocking activities carried out by the "intelligence community". Today, we are seeing a repeat of this professional voyeurism by our nation's spies, on an unprecedented and pervasive scale.
Submitted by dcornwall on Sun, 2013-10-27 05:51.
My apologies for the long drought on updates for the State Agency Databases Project at http://wikis.ala.org/godort/index.php/State_Agency_Databases. Volunteers have been active, but among other things I've been taking an amazing online class called the Hyperlinked Library through San Jose State University. The course materials are open and available at http://mooc.hyperlib.sjsu.edu/ and I think that all of the modules could be of considerable benefit to government information librarians.
But I digress. For a listing of the last two weeks worth of activity, visit http://tinyurl.com/statedbs14d. Here are some highlights:
ALASKA (Daniel Cornwall)
ScholarWorks@UA - Institutional repository for theses, dissertations and other research by University of Alaska Students and Faculty. May be searched or browsed by campus, issue date, author, subject, titles or type of resource.
DELAWARE (John Stevenson)
Door-to-door Salesperson Search - Searchable by salesperson last name, business name, or license number.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA (Susan Paterson)
Search current job openings - DC Department of Human Resources (DCHR) helps District agencies meet their staffing requirements by ensuring the highest level of customer service to city residents.
MISSOURI (Annie Moots)
Consumer Confidence Reports - Search for and view public water supply system reports by county.
OHIO (Audrey Hall)
Submitted by jrjacobs on Thu, 2013-10-10 08:43.
I love the Freedom of Information Act (United States) (FOIA)! It's a vital tool to researchers, journalists and the public -- so much so that there are now several sites that try to help manage the sometimes long and arduous FOIA process (see MuckRock and FOIA Machine). So I'm constantly on the lookout for sites that post FOIA'd documents that I can add to my FOIA web harvesting archive.
One such site that has long had a place in my govt documents heart is the Government Attic. This is a truly amazing site in which to "rummage." The site has posted thousands of documents(!) from their many FOIA requests including:
- FOIA logs (FOIAs about FOIAs are really handy!)
- documents across a wide swath of government activity like Inspector Generals of various agencies
- internal agency Websites
- agencies' self-identified interesting documents
- FBI high visibility memos
- DoD resale activities border review (reviews which videos and magazines could be sold on military bases)
- a compilation of FBI documents concerning the security of telephone services, 1952-1995 (this one was so interesting that I have stored a local copy and had it cataloged for our library!).
They also have a Links page which includes information about FOIA, guides on how to submit FOIA requests, etc.
Submitted by jajacobs on Tue, 2013-10-08 07:35.
Government documents can contain the oddest things! The CIA declassified its U2 flight handbook in 2012. Graphic designer Jack Curry noticed something "delightful" about the manual: "little cartoons of an anthropomorphized U2 at the beginning of each section" and posted copies of them on his personal blog.
Submitted by jajacobs on Tue, 2013-10-08 06:11.
Freedom House, an independent watchdog organization dedicated to the expansion of freedom around the world, has released its fourth report in a series of comprehensive studies of internet freedom around the globe. It covers developments in 60 countries that occurred between May 2012 and April 2013.
- Freedom on the Net 2013: Despite Pushback, Internet Freedom Deteriorates. (press release, interactive maps, etc.).
This edition's findings indicate that internet freedom worldwide is in decline, with 34 out of 60 countries assessed in the report experiencing a negative trajectory during the coverage period. Broad surveillance, new laws controlling web content, and growing arrests of social-media users drove this overall decline in internet freedom in the past year.
- Freedom On The Net 2013: A Global Assessment of Internet and Digital Media ("summary of findings" 45pp PDF) edited by Sanja Kelly Mai Truong Madeline Earp Laura Reed Adrian Shahbaz Ashley Greco-Stoner. (October 3, 2013).
- U.S. ranks fourth in Internet freedom as surveillance grows worldwide, By Colin Neagle, Network World (October 04, 2013).
Internet freedom has declined in the United States over the past year as a result of its surveillance policies, reflecting a trend that appears to have caught on worldwide, according to a recently released study.
Submitted by jajacobs on Tue, 2013-10-08 05:56.
The 2013 edition of the Secrecy Report from OpenTheGoverment.org is now available.
- Secrecy Report 2013 --The Tip of the Iceberg (announcement) OpenTheGoverment.org (October 1, 2013)
Today's release of the 2013 Secrecy Report, the 9th annual review and analysis of indicators of secrecy in the federal government by OpenTheGovernment.org, comes amid shocking revelations that cast doubt on the accuracy and the meaningfulness of the government's statistics about surveillance.... [T]he government's insistence on keeping interpretations of the law secret and a lack of oversight by Congress and the Judicial Branch helped set the stage for a surveillance program that is much broader than previously believed.
- Secrecy Report 2013: Indicators of Secrecy in the Federal Government. by Patrice McDermott, Amy Bennett, Abby Paulson, and Shannon Alexander, OpenTheGoverment.org. (2013)
As a result of the disclosures [by Edward Snowden through the Guardian and the Washington Post], the intelligence community has been forced to declassify and release documents that, until recently, they (and the FISA Court) averred could not and should not be declassified. The misdirection in which our government has engaged and the use of secret law are, for us, as disturbing as the activities they have hidden.
- The Must Read 2013 Secrecy Report is Out, by Nate Jones, Unredacted: The National Security Archive (October 7, 2013).
Submitted by jajacobs on Tue, 2013-10-01 06:12.
Update #2 10pm PST 10/2/13 : Our friends over at the Sunlight Foundation have an interesting post, "What Happens to .gov in a Shutdown?" They explained the .gov shutdown matrix:
...drawn on an agency-by-agency basis, and the specific determination is based on the importance of the function and how illegal ceasing to do it might be. But aside from some obvious ones--national parks would be closed; the CO2 scrubber on the International Space Station would stay plugged in--it'll be agency leadership that makes the determinations.
(and love the unix joke!)
UPDATE #1 3pm PST 10/2/13: Arstechnica, checked 56 .gov sites and found 10 that went dark. See "Shutdown of US government websites appears bafflingly arbitrary."
A bunch of federal websites will shut down with the government, By Andrea Peterson, Washington Post, Published: September 30 at 5:28 pm.