Submitted by jrjacobs on Wed, 2013-04-03 15:01.
There's a new digital archive in town, from the Wilson Center's Cold War International History Project and its new Digital Archive of declassified official documents called www.digitalarchive.org.
Digital collections include: the Berlin Wall, Chinese nuclear history, Cuban foreign relations, Geneva Conference of 1954, Mitrokhin archive, and much more.
From the Wilson Center Web Site:
The Wilson Center [recently] launched a new Digital Archive of declassified official documents from nearly 100 different archives in dozens of different countries that provide fresh, unprecedented insights into the history of international relations and diplomacy.
The new website – www.digitalarchive.org – features uniquely powerful new search tools, an intuitive user-interface, and new educational resources such as timelines, analysis from leading experts, and biographies of significant historical figures. The Digital Archive will continually expand with new documents, translations, and analysis as they become available.
The new Digital Archive has been designed from the ground-up to make these historical document collections available to the broadest possible audience, from high school students through world-renowned scholars. Thousands of official documents from dozens of governments are now accessible through intuitive searching with filters such as location, date, subject, or language. Users can also browse topics by exploring themes or collections like the Database on Inter-Korea Relations and popular subjects such as the Warsaw Pact or the Cuban Missile Crisis.
[HT to InfoDocket!]
Submitted by jrjacobs on Wed, 2013-04-03 07:55.
Congratulations to Greta Bever, Roberta Brooker, Elizabeth Cowell, Kate Irwin-Smiler, and Hallie Pritchett for being named as this year's cohort to the Depository Library Council to the Public Printer! Looking forward to seeing you all on the dais at the fall 2013 DLC conference.
The five new DLC members for the June 1, 2013 – May 31, 2016 term are:
Greta Bever is the Assistant Commissioner for Central Library Services at the Chicago Public Library, which has been a Federal depository library since 1876. In that capacity, she oversees the Government Publications department. From 2003 to 2008, Ms. Bever served as a member of the Illinois State Historical Records Advisory Board/Illinois State Archive Advisory Board that makes recommendations to the State Archivist and provides advice and assistance to the Illinois State Archives. She has been a member of the Cook County Local Records Board from 2003 to the present.
Roberta Brooker is the State Librarian at the Indiana State Library, a regional Federal depository library that began collecting Federal laws and other Federal materials when it was established in 1824. She brings to Council a government documents background as well as experience as a coordinator for the Indiana State Data Center. Ms. Brooker has an extensive background in training, including teaching government information courses at the Indiana University, School of Library and Information Science. She is a member of the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA) and the Indiana Library Foundation.
Elizabeth Cowell is the Associate University Librarian for Public Services at the University of California, Santa Cruz where she provides strategic leadership for public service activities locally and UC systemwide. She has extensive government documents experience in several academic libraries and was an active participant in the LOCKSS Alliance. Ms. Cowell also served as one of two regional librarians at the Wisconsin Historical Society. She has contributed numerous presentations and publications to the field and actively participates in professional associations.
Kate Irwin-Smiler is a reference librarian at the Wake Forest University School of Law’s Professional Center Library in Winston-Salem, N.C., where she also serves as coordinator of the depository library collection. She brings to Council expertise on legal information and legal training. Ms. Irwin-Smiler is a member of the American???? ?Association of Law Libraries (AALL) and serves on the association’s Federal Depository Library Program Task Force. She is also a member of AALL’s Academic Law Libraries, Government Document and Social Responsibility Special Interest Sections.
Hallie Pritchett is head of the Map and Government Information Library at the University of Georgia, the state’s regional Federal depository library. Ms. Pritchett participates in numerous library associations, including the American Library Association (ALA) and the Georgia Library Association (GLA). She is permanent executive secretary of GLA's Government Information Interest Group (GIIG), immediate past chair of ALA’s Map and Geospatial Information Round Table (MAGIRT), and current chair of the Regional Government Information Librarians (REGIL).
Submitted by dcornwall on Sun, 2013-03-31 09:16.
It's been a very busy two weeks at the State Agency Databases project at http://wikis.ala.org/godort/index.php/State_Agency_Databases. For a blow-by-blow list of everything that happened, see http://tinyurl.com/statedbs14d. Here are some highlights:
The following searchable databases appear to have disappeared from their state web presence.
Illinois Facts - Search for business and quality of life information about Illinois. Areas that can be searched include agriculture, energy and recycling, film, industry, taxes, technology, and transportation. Formerly at http://www2.illinoisbiz.biz/ilfacts/.
Montana Statewide business directory. Formerly at http://www.b2bmt.com/.
West Virginia inpatient condensed database - Searchable databases of patient discharges. There is a separate database for every year since 2000 which can be searched by many criteria, including sex, age, diagnosis, procedure, provider type and payor group. Database includes this disclaimer, "Data elements which alone are not sufficient to identify an individual, but which in combination raise unacceptable possibilities that patients could be identified, are classified as protected. All data will be released only in cell sizes greater than thirty. Data with cells with thirty or fewer cases will be suppressed" Formerly at http://www.hcawv.org/DataAndPublic/data.htm. Some static data appears to be available at http://www.hca.wv.gov/data/Pages/default.aspx.
ALABAMA (Paula Webb)
Local Government Records Microfilm Database - contains records from local, county and municipal offices, such as the probate office, tax assessor, and orphan's court. Most of the original records remain in the originating office.
ILLINOIS (Blaine Redemer)
District/Official Search - Using either a mobile version or the desk top version one can enter an address or district number and find the Congressional and Legislative information superimposed on a map and detailed in a box to the side. There is also a drop down box to find contact information by County. One may also choose between road, aerial or both types of maps.
MASSACHUSETTS(Ellen Richardson and Jennifer Ekblaw)
Massachusetts Archives, 1629-1799 - 18 digitized volumes of documents from the Massachusetts Archives, ranging from international affairs to local concerns. A range of documents covers the early statehood period, religious affairs, tax records, judicial actions, legislative activities, and relations with London, other British colonies, the French colonial government, and Indian Nations, and many other things. See the http://www.sec.state.ma.us/arc/arccol/colmac.htm volume descriptions for more information.
MONTANA (Susanne Caro)
Traveler Information Map-Search for directions and road conditions.
NEW JERSEY (Qraig de Groot)
New Jersey Mayors Directory Search - Searchable by county, municipality, or name of mayor. Provides basic contact information as well as start and end dates for each mayoral term. (Note: Added by a GODORT wiki user)
SOUTH DAKOTA (Brenda Hemmelman)
South Dakota State Parks Directory - From the website: Home to breathtaking scenery, abundant wildlife, and exciting geological wonders, South Dakota offers visitors a range of things to do and see!
ADDITIONS TO SUBJECT-BASED PAGES
OFFICIAL RECORDS DATABASES
Alabama Church and Synagogue Records Collection Database] - This is an index to the Alabama Church and Synagogue Records Collection.
Passenger Manifest, 1848-1891 - Record of immigrants who arrived by ship in Boston, MA from 1848-1891. Search by first or last name, name of ship, or date.
Vital Records 1841-1910 - Birth, death, and marriage records for all of Massachusetts from 1841-1910. Search by first or last name and/or town. Note: searching alternate spellings, e.g., Smith and Smythe recommended.
Submitted by jrjacobs on Thu, 2013-03-28 08:40.
Daniel Schuman, Policy Counsel and Director, Advisory Committee on Transparency of the Sunlight Foundation, writes that Reps. Mike Quigley and Leonard Lance are leading the charge in the House of Representatives to make CRS Reports publicly accessible. They've introduced (or RE-introduced) H.Res.110 - Congressional Research Service Electronic Accessibility Resolution of 2013. Hopefully this will be the year that Congress decides to share.
Former Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously said that "everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts." In 1914, an uncharacteristically foresighted Congress spent $25,000 to establish a fact-finding arm whose mission was to gather "data ... bearing upon legislation, and to render such data serviceable to Congress." A century later, the Congressional Research Service generates hundreds of analytical non-partisan reports on legislative issues each year.
CRS reports often inform public debate. A recent analysis, which found no correlation between economic growth and cutting tax rates for the wealthy, set off a re-appraisal of long-held orthodoxy about tax policy. A 2006 analysis questioning the legal rationale supporting the Bush administration's warrantless wiretapping policy caused many to look at the issue with fresh eyes. CRS analyses are routinely cited in news reports, by the courts, in congressional debate, and by government watchdogs.
However, unlike its sister agencies that investigate federal spending and analyze the budgetary effects of legislation, CRS does not release its reports to the public on a regular basis. This was not always so, and even now CRS routinely shares its reports with officials in the executive and judicial branches and with the press upon request. Congressional offices also act to disseminate the reports, publishing some on their websites, frequently sending others to constituents in response to requests, and giving them to reporters (often to help push a political narrative.)
But for a member of the public, it's difficult to access reports generated by the 600-person $100 million-a-year agency in any comprehensive way. Efforts by non-profit organizations to gather and re-publish the reports online have met with limited success. The private sector has stepped in, selling access to the reports at $20 a pop, but the premium accentuates the gap between the elites and everyone else.
Submitted by jajacobs on Sat, 2013-03-23 07:09.
NASA took its Technical Report Server (http://ntrs.nasa.gov/) offline this week, saying :
The NASA technical reports server will be unavailable for public access while the agency conducts a review of the site's content to ensure that it does not contain technical information that is subject to U.S. export control laws and regulations and that the appropriate reviews were performed. The site will return to service when the review is complete. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
As Steven Aftergood reported at Secrecy News [emphasis added]:
In other words, all NASA technical documents, no matter how voluminous and valuable they are, should cease to be publicly available in order to prevent the continued disclosure of any restricted documents, no matter how limited or insignificant they may be.
"There is a HUGE amount of material on NTRS," said space policy analyst Dwayne Day. "If NASA is forced to review it all, it will never go back online."
-- "NASA Technical Reports Database Goes Dark" by Steven Aftergood (March 21st, 2013).
Michael L. Nelson of the Department of Computer Science at Old Dominion University investigated the availability of some of the NASA reports at other archives and reports his findings on his blog:
Nelson found that some reports are available at http://naca.central.cranfield.ac.uk/ which is an archive of some NASA information that Nelson helped establish after NASA websites were taken down after September 11, 2001. He notes that the removal of information from NASA servers at that time "made it clear to me that NASA information was too important to be left on *.nasa.gov computers." He found more data at the Internet Archive's "NASA Technical Documents" collection: http://archive.org/details/nasa_techdocs and in Mark Phillips NACA collection at http://digital.library.unt.edu/explore/collections/NACA/ .
Nelson draws some conclusions from all this [emphasis added]:
...it is events like this that demonstrate the value of copying by-value and not just by-reference.
In other words, pointing to web sites is much less valuable and much more fragile than acquiring copies of digital information and building digital collections that you control. The OAIS reference model for long term preservation makes this a requirement, saying that an organization that intends to provide information to its user community for the long-term, must "Obtain sufficient control of the information provided to the level needed to ensure Long-Term Preservation." Pointing to a web page or PDF at nasa.gov is not obtaining any control.
He also makes a distinction between those things that are saved because of their popularity and things that will not be saved unless special care is taken to preserve them:
I'm not concerned about popular culture artifacts disappearing (e.g., see our TPDL 2011 paper about music redundancy in YouTube), but it is not clear that long tail content like NASA reports will enjoy that same level of uncoordinated refreshing and migration. The moral of the story: make copies of the content...
And he notes the importance of multiple copies:
...a 1994 NASA TM of mine is on at least six different hosts, none of which are *.nasa.gov.
...If NTRS was a LOCKSS participant then access would be uninterrupted...
And Aftergood concludes [emphasis added]:
The upshot is that the government is not an altogether reliable repository of official records. Members of the public who depend on access to such records should endeavor to make and preserve their own copies whenever possible.
Here at FGI, we have repeatedly argued that identifying important information that warrants explicit preservation is the age-old role of libraries in society and that it still is (or should be) the key value of libraries in the digital age. Many government agencies, including NASA and the Government Printing Office have good intentions and good programs for preservation and access, but those agencies cannot guarantee that they will always provide preservation and access. In the case of the NTRS web site, Aftergood and others speculate that the take down was a response to a demand by a single Congressman who said in a press conference on March 18 [emphasis added]:
NASA should immediately take down all publicly available technical data sources until all documents that have not been subjected to export control review have received such a review and all controlled documents are removed from the system.
The NTRS web site was taken offline on March 19.
Government agencies are subject to political activities like this and budgetary limitations. Very bad things can happen which, in cases like this can remove from access, "all NASA technical documents, no matter how voluminous and valuable they are" in a single moment.
Libraries should still be selecting, acquiring, organizing, and preserving information for their user-communities, and providing access to and services for those collections. Libraries do no one a long-term service by simply pointing to resources over which they have no control and which someone else can simply make unavailable literally at the flick of a switch.
FDLP libraries should demand digital deposit from GPO and should actively select and acquire that digital public government information that is of value to their user communities that GPO cannot deposit because it is outside the scope of Title 44.
Submitted by jajacobs on Thu, 2013-03-21 12:30.
Acting Public Printer Davita Vance-Cooks has responded to the letter by the group CASSANDRA about the recent report Rebooting the Government Printing Office: Keeping America Informed in the Digital Age by the National Association of Public Administration (NAPA). .
The report recommends that GPO should consider "cost recovery" for access to FDsys (See NAPA releases report on GPO).
The Response from Vance-Cooks says that GPO has "no intention of charging public users a fee to access content available through FDsys. GPO remains committed to no-fee access to FDsys for the public as part of our mission of Keeping America Informed."
This is, of course, good news, but we have to temper our enthusiasm with the realization that GPO's ability to meet its intentions will inevitably be dictated by Congress and its budget.
The complete response is attached below:
Link to pdf copy at Internet Archive.
Submitted by jrjacobs on Wed, 2013-03-20 15:08.
The National Journal posted a story about the renovation of the White House in the years after WWII. See the photos from the National Archives via the Truman Library.
Experts called the third floor of the White House "an outstanding example of a firetrap." The result of a federally commissioned report found the mansion's plumbing "makeshift and unsanitary," while "the structural deterioration [was] in 'appalling degree,' and threatening complete collapse." The congressional commission on the matter was considering the option of abandoning the structure altogether in favor of a built-from-scratch mansion, but President Truman lobbied for the restoration.
"It perhaps would be more economical from a purely financial standpoint to raze the building and to rebuild completely," he testified to Congress in February 1949. "In doing so, however, there would be destroyed a building of tremendous historical significance in the growth of the nation."
So it had to be gutted. Completely. Every piece of the interior, including the walls, had to be removed and put in storage. The outside of the structure-reinforced by new concrete columns-was all that remained.
The Shell of the White House during the Renovation, 05/17/1950
Original Caption: The Shell of the White House during the Renovation, 05/17/1950
Created By: National Archives and Records Administration. Office of Presidential Libraries. Harry S. Truman Library. (04/01/1985 - )
From: Series: Photographs Relating to the Administration, Family, and Personal Life of Harry S. Truman, compiled 1957 - 2004, documenting the period 1849 - 2004
Contact: Harry S. Truman Library (NLHST), 500 West U.S. Highway 24, Independence, MO, 64050-1798. PHONE: 816-268-8272; FAX: 816-268-8295; EMAIL:email@example.com.
Production Dates: 05/17/1950
Scope and Content Note: Window openings provide bursts of light into the cavernous interior of the White House, supported only by a web of temporary steel supports. The exterior walls rest on new concrete underpinnings, which allow earth-moving equipment to dig a new basement.
Persistent URL: arcweb.archives.gov/arc/action/ExternalIdSearch?id=6982099
Truman Library URL: www.trumanlibrary.org/photographs/view.php?id=22
Access Restrictions: Unrestricted
Use Restrictions: Unrestricted
Submitted by jrjacobs on Sun, 2013-03-17 18:14.
99% Invisible is one of my favorite podcasts. Roman Mars talks about architecture and design in a really thoughtful and compelling way. He had a recent episode about razzle dazzle ships' camouflage in which he included images from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)'s Fleet Library (which is NOT connected to the Navy in any way :-)). Check out this fascinating listen about ships and camouflage.
(Erik Gould, courtesy of the Fleet Library at RISD, Providence, RI..)
(Erik Gould, courtesy of the Fleet Library at RISD, Providence, RI.)
Becoming invisible with your surroundings is only one type of camouflage. Camofleurs call this high similarity or blending camouflage. But camouflage can also take the opposite approach.
(Erik Gould, courtesy of the Fleet Library at RISD, Providence, RI.)
Submitted by dcornwall on Sun, 2013-03-17 07:09.
With the advent of the March updating season, the past two weeks have been very busy for volunteers at the State Agency Databases project at http://wikis.ala.org/godort/index.php/State_Agency_Databases.
That is, except for Hawaii, Minnesota and Oklahoma. These pages have languished for over a year without a volunteer documents specialist to care for them.
If you would like to brighten the day of one of these pages by adopting them, read through the project's volunteer guide, then contact Daniel Cornwall at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On to our extensive activities. For a full blow by blow report of updates and other activity for the past two weeks, visit http://tinyurl.com/statedbs14d. Here are the highlights:
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA (Susan Paterson)
Recreation Centers and Pools - Find swimming pools, basketball courts, before- and after-school care programs, and other programs at parks and recreation centers in the District of Columbia. Also can find status of projects improvements and permit facilities.
KANSAS (Pam Crawford)
Photo Library - From the web site: "The KGS Photo Library is a collection of photos of different subjects from around the state. These photos may be used for any non-commercial purpose; if you use a photo, please credit the Kansas Geological Survey. To select photos to view: (1) click on one of the terms under the Subjects menu, (2) enter a term (or terms) in the Keywords search, or (3) use one of the three maps to select photos by county, physiographic region, or highway."
NEVADA (Kathy Edwards)
Teacher Licensure - Search for the credentials of a public school teacher by entering the teacher's name or license number.
NEW HAMPSHIRE (Linda Johnson)
New Hampshire Vital Records Information Network Web Query] Search for birth, death, marriage, and divorce events. Data very current for most statistics. Password required.
OHIO (Audrey Hall)
Utility Information - Find utility information by street address.
NEW MATERIAL ON "NOT DATABASES" PAGE
In the course of searching for databases, our project volunteers come across interesting and/or useful resources that fall outside of our project scope. Rather than just forgetting these resources, we post them to our "not databases" page.
In the past two weeks, two resources have been added to this page:
Smart Consumer - From the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection, separate pages directed toward parents and children, teens, young adults, adults, and older adults raise awareness of potential scams. Recommendations about what to know and what to do are given for various scam topics.
New York State Vital Statistics - The tables listed here provide information on vital statistics in New York State, such as mortality, birth rate, marriage and population.
Submitted by jajacobs on Sat, 2013-03-16 12:20.
James and I are happy to announce that our new article appears in the current edition of D-Lib Magazine:
In the last few years, there have been a series of articles, reports and proposals that rely on the promises of digitization to address issues of physical space, cost control, access, and collection management for FDLP libraries. One of the reasons we created this Seal of Approval standard is to provide a clear, consistent way to help evaluate some of these promises of digitization.
There are those who continue to insist that we have too many copies of federal documents, that preserving those copies is too expensive, that GPO is being unreasonable when it does not allow libraries to discard materials, and so forth. Although proposals to digitize FDLP collections are often couched in terms of enhancing access, libraries can digitize and enhance access without discarding paper copies. The underlying motivation of such proposals is often explicitly to weed the paper collections and, when not explicit, it is always implied. These proposals raise many questions in our minds. For example:
- Will digitizations include digital text as well as images and will the text be accurate and complete and (re)usable?
- Will the digitizations be readable and usable on modern e-book devices?
- Will digitizations create digital objects that are as good as the originals, or worse, or better?
- Will digitizations be deposited into Trusted Digital Repositories to ensure their long-term preservation and access?
- Will the library that contributes the original be in control of the digital copy, or will control be ceded to large mega-libraries?
- Will the digitizations include adequate metadata for management, preservation, and discovery?
- Will libraries develop and maintain discovery and delivery mechanisms that address the special requirements of federal documents?
- Will libraries provide adequate digital services for the digital collections?
- Will any cost savings be applied to collection management and services for these collections or will the cost savings be redirected to other collections and services?
- Will there actually be cost savings if we adequately address the above questions?
But there is one other question that is more important than all of the above. The question we must ask first is: Are the digitizations accurate and complete? If they are not, the other questions become moot or irrelevant. The DS-SOA is intended to help us answer that question. The DS-SOA denotes that a digitization accurately and completely replicates the content and presentation of the original.
The standard is designed to be easily understood and usable, not just by digitization-specialists, but also by library administrators, collection managers, service providers, preservation officers, business managers, and others who are responsible for library collections and services. It is also meant to help communicate clearly to end users the accuracy and completeness of the digitizations libraries provide to them.
We believe that libraries fulfill a unique role in society, one that is different from that of producers, agencies, publishers, authors, and vendors. We believe that the value of libraries is dependent upon the collections we select, acquire, preserve, and maintain and the services that we provide for those collections. The FDLP collections are unique; they provide a primary-source, historical record of our democracy. The FDLP print collections are not "legacy collections" as they are often called by those who wish to discard them; (the use of the word "legacy" as an adjective means "outdated" and "unwanted"). They are, however, our legacy. The use of the word "legacy" as a noun means bequest, heritage, endowment, gift, and birthright. The DS-SOA is a simple tool that libraries can use to ensure the value of their digital collections and communicate that value to library users. We believe that failure to ensure completeness and accuracy of our digital collections will reduce the value of libraries. We believe that replacing paper-and-ink books with digital copies without first ensuring and documenting that those copies are complete and accurate representations of the original would be tantamount to redacting the historical record of our democracy.