Our mission

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.

History, People & Culture at State Agency Databases Project

This week’s State Agency Databases Project subject highlight is History, People & Culture, featuring 49 states that project volunteers know to have publicly searchable databases in this subject area. Three examples from this compilation are:

 

ALABAMA

Alabama 1867 Voter Registration Database – Search the 131 volumes of the 1867 Voter Registration Records, which was one of the first statewide government documents that record African-American males living in Alabama. Search by name, race, county, or comments.

 

KANSAS

Death Notices of Members of Fraternal Orders – Database includes over 50,000 individuals for whom a notice of death was published in the proceedings of a fraternal order. Fraternal orders included and dates of coverage are: Ancient Order of United Workmen, 1879-1908; Knights of Pythias, 1877-1918; Independent Order of Odd Fellows, 1873-1970; Rebekah Assembly of the IOOF, 1891-1953

 

WYOMING

Wyoming Newspapers – Wyoming State Library – Available through this website are newspapers printed in Wyoming beginning with the 1849 Chugg Water Journal, in an easily searchable format. Browse or search the more than 900,000 newspaper pages converted from microfilm to a digital format. All text is searchable, including news articles, news briefs, obituaries and other items of interest.

 

For more, see http://godort.libguides.com/historydbs. If you know of state agency produced databases in this area, either comment here or use the “Email me” link on the guide to report a database, which will be forwarded to the appropriate project volunteer.

Montana Library Association passes Resolution to fund US govt publications preservation

Bernadine Abbott Hoduski, the grande dame of government documents — she’s got a GODORT award named after her for gosh sakes! — sent me this announcement. The Montana library Association, at its annual membership meeting in March, 2017, passed a packet of resolutions including their Resolution on Funding the Preservation of Federal Government Publications (text below). The resolution calls on the US Congress to “fully fund preservation of Federal government publications housed in federal depository libraries.”

The resolution has been sent to Montana’s US Senator Jon Tester, who happens to sit on the Senate Appropriations Committee. Please consider taking this text and passing the resolution at other state library associations, especially if your state’s senator sits on the Appropriations Committee. I’ve sent the text of this resolution to CA Senator Diane Feinstein.

Thanks bernadine for all your hard work on this and through the many years!

Resolution on Funding the Preservation of Federal Government Publications

Whereas, Democracy depends upon the public’s access to information from and about the United States federal government; and

Whereas, to preserve the historic record of our country, the United States Congress established a distributed system of Federal depository libraries to safeguard government information from dangers ranging from bit-rot to fire; and

Whereas, the United States Federal depository libraries provide public access to federal government publications and information without charge; and

Whereas, Federal depository libraries spend millions of dollars collecting, housing, cataloging, and providing public access to federal government information, and

Whereas, Federal depository libraries lack enough money to preserve millions of federal government publications in paper, microform, and digital formats; and

Whereas, the U. S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) established FIPNet (Federal Information Preservation Network) as part of the “National Plan for Access to U. S. Government Information” – a strategy for a collaborative network of information professionals working in various partner roles to ensure access to the national collection of government information for future generations. FIPNet contributes to the preservation of both tangible and digital government information, and elevates the public awareness and prestige of local initiatives, specific collections of government information, and the institutions and agencies that have stewardship over them; and

Whereas, GPO is not authorized to provide funding directly to depository libraries that agree to preserve federal government publications; and

Whereas, the United States Congress can authorize GPO to provide funding to depository libraries; and Whereas, GPO needs additional funding and staff to provide on-site support for libraries in the building of an inventory and catalog of all their federal government publications in order to plan for preservation;

Therefore, be it resolved that:

The Montana Library Association urges the U. S. Congress to fully fund preservation of Federal government publications housed in federal depository libraries; and

The Montana Library Association urges the U. S. Congress to authorize the U. S. Government Publishing Office to provide funds directly to libraries for the preservation of the federal government publications (paper, microform, and digital) housed in their libraries; and

The Montana Library Association urges Congress to provide funding to the Superintendent of Documents (GPO) so agency librarians can travel to depository libraries to advise librarians in preservation activities, including inventorying, cataloging, and planning for preservation of government publications.

Adopted by the Montana Library Association Membership March 31, 2017

Carl Malamud conducting audit of public domain in scholarly literature

Carl Malamud of Public.Resource.Org has long done yeoman’s work in furtherance of the public domain. Who can forget that it was he who forced the SEC to build and maintain the EDGAR database for public access to company filings? And he’s long been on the side of open law (“Law is the operating system of our society … So show me the manual!”).

Now he’s working on a little side project to find out — and more importantly make publicly accessible! — how much of the scholarly journal literature is actually in the public domain:

“Our audit has determined that 1,264,429 journal articles authored by federal employees or officers are potentially void of copyright…In addition, 2,031,359 of the articles in my possession are dated 1923 or earlier. These 2 categories represent 4.92% of scihub.”

This represents only a small chunk of the 63+ million articles estimated to be available in SciHub, the rebel search engine that bypasses publisher paywalls to give free access to over 62,000,000 academic papers (one could, if one were intrigued, access SciHub via onion link in the Tor browser). After his analysis is done, he’ll be making it publicly available. Way to go Carl!

Read Carl’s entire tweet thread below:

Health, Medicine & Safety at State Agency Databases Project

This week’s State Agency Databases Project subject highlight is Health, Medicine & Safety, featuring 43 states that project volunteers know to have publicly searchable databases in this subject area. Three examples from this compilation are:

 

ARIZONA

Arizona Board of Nursing Online Verification – Search by license number or name; records will include information about actions taken by the Board

 

NORTH CAROLINA

Drug License Search – Searchable database of licensed prescription drug distributors in the state of North Carolina. May be searched online by company name or license number. Or download the entire database in MS Excel format.

 

TENNESSEE

Restaurant inspection scores

 

For more, see http://godort.libguides.com/healthdbs. If you know of state agency produced databases in this area, either comment here or use the “Email me” link on the guide to report a database, which will be forwarded to the appropriate project volunteer.

Government Finances & Contracts at State Agency Databases Project

This week’s State Agency Databases Project subject highlight is Government Finances & Contracts, featuring 46 states that project volunteers know to have publicly searchable databases in this subject area. Three examples from this compilation are:

 

ALASKA

Financial Documents Delivery System – Provides “access to every municipal budget and year-end financial statement submitted” to the Division of Community & Regional Affairs.

OHIO

Audit Search – Review the financial information of units of state and local government such as schools, cities, counties, etc., to see how Ohioans’ tax dollars are being spent.

UTAH

Transparency database – This site allows you to search for expenses, revenues, and employee compensation for most levels of Utah government including school districts.

 

For more, see http://godort.libguides.com/govfinancedbs. If you know of state agency produced databases in this area, either comment here or use the “Email me” link on the guide to report a database, which will be forwarded to the appropriate project volunteer.

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