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.

John Oliver analyzes Gerrymandering. Hilarious and disturbing

John Oliver is at it again, deeply analyzing a boring political concept in a smart, interesting — and funny — way. This time, he explains Gerrymandering, the nefarious practice of manipulating district boundaries for political advantage, named after Massachusetts Governor Elbridge Gerry. If anyone is interested in delving deeper, you can read the new book by David Daley called “Ratf**ked: the true story behind the secret plan to steal America’s democracy.”


State Agency Databases Project: Agriculture & Food Sources

As a result of the State Agency Databases Project migration to GODORT LibGuides, the volunteers are able to offer more subject guides covering the fifty states. We plan to highlight one subject guide a week till we get through all of the guides.

This week’s highlight is Agriculture & Food Sources, featuring 35 states that project volunteers know to have publicly searchable databases in this subject area. Three examples from this compilation are:

ALASKA

Alaska Seafood Recipes – Searchable set of recipes utilizing salmon, halibut, crab and other Alaskan seafood. May be searched by type of dish (appetizer, salad, entree, etc), Seafood type, and consumer/food service.

CALIFORNIA

Weed Identification Key – Use this database of images to identify weed species, especially the most common weeds found in California lawns. Because flowering parts are often mowed and not seen in turf, this key was developed using vegetative characteristics. The key goes from general to specific images of the plants; work through the key until you get to a summary page of your weed. The summary pages include control methods. There are related keys for invasive ants, aphids and other pests.

MISSOURI

Licensed Grain Dealer/Warehouse Database – Searchable by company name, manager name, address, zip code, phone number, or county.

For more, see http://godort.libguides.com/agriculturedbs. 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.

Announcing the Preservation of Electronic Government Information (PEGI) project

Here at FGI, we have been raising concerns about the many issues surrounding the preservation of born-digital govt information for quite some time. Over the last year, there have been some fruitful discussions about digital preservation. Out of those discussions and meetings has grown a new collaborative project called the Preservation of Electronic Government Information (PEGI) project (pronounced PEGGY). Over the next 2 years, this group will hold public meetings and begin work to scope out the problems, do an environmental scan of the govt information landscape and explore possible solutions surrounding the preservation of electronic government information by cultural memory organizations for long term use by the citizens of the United States.

We are pleased to announce a new project: Preserving Electronic Government Information (PEGI). Librarians, technologists, and other information professionals from the Center for Research Libraries, the Government Publishing Office (GPO), the University of North Texas, the University of California at Santa Barbara, the University of Missouri, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and Stanford University are undertaking a two year project to address national concerns regarding the preservation of electronic government information (PEGI) by cultural memory organizations for long term use by the citizens of the United States.

The PEGI project has been informed by a series of meetings between university librarians, information professionals, and representatives of federal agencies, including the Government Publishing Office and the National Archives and Records Administration. The focus of the PEGI proposal is at-risk government digital information of long term historical significance which is not being adequately harvested from the Web or by other automated means. The project website is located at the Center for Research Libraries.

Public PEGI project meetings are being scheduled in conjunction with selected upcoming conferences, including the OA Symposium, ALA Annual, and the 2017 Federal Depository Library Conference in October. If you would like to contact the project team for more information, or to ask to attend one or more of the meetings, please post an inquiry on the project’s google group.

Participants

Dr. Martin Halbert, University of North Texas, Project Steering Committee Chair
Roberta Sittel, University of North Texas
Marie Concannon, University of Missouri
James R. Jacobs, Stanford University
Lynda Kellam, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Shari Laster, University of California, Santa Barbara
Scott Matheson, Yale University
Bernard Reilly, Center for Research Libraries
David E. Walls, Government Publishing Office (GPO)
Marie Waltz, Center for Research Libraries

State Agency Databases Project now on GODORT LibGuides

On behalf of the 40 volunteers who made it possible, I (Daniel) am pleased to announce that all content with working links from the State Agency Databases Project has been moved from the GODORT Wiki to GODORT LibGuides. See http://godort.libguides.com/statedatabases for lists of agency produced databases from the 50 states and  the District of Columbia. Questions about a particular page should be directed to the documents specialist in charge of that page. Use the “e-mail me” link on the page to contact them.

One of the benefits of moving to LibGuides is the capability to create self-updating subject guides – that is, whenever a volunteer updates a link on their state guide, the link in the subject guide changes automatically.

The following 50-State (Plus DC) subject guides are now fully functional:

 

Broad Subject Guides

Single Subject Guides

If a particular state does not appear on a subject guide, it means that no state agency produced databases from that state and in that subject are known to us.
ALL content on our project guides is free to be reused and remixed. Attribution is appreciated, permission is not required. We look forward to seeing these state government databases in guides and web pages wherever they are found to be useful.

What’s sauce for the gander: Congress’ trips to GovTrack.us made public IRT

Last week, Congress passed and sent a bill to the President that will greatly decrease individual privacy and cybersecurity (for more, see Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) “Five Ways Cybersecurity Will Suffer If Congress Repeals the FCC Privacy Rules”). S.J.Res. 34: A joint resolution providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, submitted by the FCC relating to “Protecting the Privacy of Customers of Broadband and Other Telecommunications Services” will roll back the FCC regulation passed last year that required Internet service providers (ISPs) — like Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, Time Warner, Cox, and CenturyLink — to hold all Internet browsing data, as well as data regarding app usage on mobile devices, to the same privacy requirements as sensitive or private personal information. The Republican-controlled Congress repealed those privacy-protecting rules, and the President is set to sign the bill any day now. BTW, none of the big ISPs have publicly supported the rule change, but a group of Small ISPs wrote a public letter to Congress opposing Congress’s Move to Abolish Privacy Protections — including, I’m happy to say, MY awesome local ISP called MonkeyBrains! So if you’re concerned about your Internet privacy rights, I’d definitely recommend getting off of Comcast et al and signing up with one of the ISPs that signed the letter. Do it ASAP!

While it’s unclear if this will be possible or even legal, there has been a crop of FundMe and Kickstarter projects springing up to collect $$ to purchase Congress’ browsing history and make it public in retaliation for Congress killing Internet privacy rules. And I just found that our friends at GovTrack.US have just made public a running tally in real time of “any time someone visits GovTrack.us from within the United States Senate, House of Representatives, or the White House, and their associated office buildings.” GovTrack is following the lead of the CongressEdits twitter feed, making a public record of Congress’ moves and actions across the Intertubes.

In March 2017 the U.S. Congress passed a bill that rolled back regulations prohibiting Internet service providers from selling subscribers’ browsing habits to advertisers. Since browsing history metadata is no big deal to Congress, we began publishing the browsing history of anyone visting GovTrack.us from Congress’s and the White House’s office buildings.

via Sousveillance – GovTrack.us.

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