The Government Printing Office (GPO) and the National Archives' Office of the Federal Register (OFR) have released a mobile Web application (app) on the daily public activities of President of the United States. Here is the announcement:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 10, 2012 No. 12-40
GPO AND NATIONAL ARCHIVES RELEASE PRESIDENTIAL DOCUMENTS APP
WASHINGTON-The U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) and the National Archives' Office of the Federal Register (OFR) have released a mobile Web application (app) on the daily public activities of President of the United States. The app is part of both agencies efforts to support The White House digital strategy for the Federal Government by ensuring the American people have access to Government information on any device. The Presidential Documents app includes the President's:
* Executive orders
* Communications to Congress and Federal agencies
* Approved acts
* Nominations submitted to the Senate
* White House announcements
* White House press releases
The app has user-friendly search capabilities allowing users to access content about the President by searching by date, category, subject, or location, which includes a map feature. This is the first time GPO has enabled an app with a geolocation feature providing users with access to the most recent content near their location. The public can take advantage of the free mobile Web app on most major mobile device platforms. GPO and OFR also make available the Daily Compilation of Presidential Documents on GPO's Federal Digital System (FDsys).
Link to app: http://m.gpo.gov/dcpd
"GPO continues to build upon its reputation as the digital information platform for the Federal Government with the development and release of the Presidential Documents app," said Acting Public Printer Davita Vance-Cooks. "GPO and OFR have enjoyed a successful partnership for more than 75 years to make Federal Government information available in print, online and now on mobile devices."
"OFR continues to push the envelope on public access to critical government information. Innovation is a key component to the NARA strategy and providing access via mobile apps is a great example of how OFR is embracing technology. I am very excited and proud of NARA's relationship with GPO on this communication achievement," said Archivist David Ferriero.
The Presidential Documents app is the third app released by GPO; other apps include the FY 2013 Budget app and the Mobile Member Guide, which provides users with official biographical information about Members of the 112th Congress. GPO has also supported the Library of Congress in creating an iPad app for the Congressional Record. The Presidential Documents app represents the first app for the OFR and the third app for the National Archives....
In May 1975, the Watergate Special Prosecution Force (WSPF) decided that it was necessary to question former President Richard M. Nixon in connection with various investigations being conducted by the WSPF. Mr. Nixon was questioned over the period of two days, June 23 and June 24, 1975, and the testimony was taken as part of various investigations being conducted by the January 7, 1974, Grand Jury for the District of Columbia (the third Watergate Grand Jury). Chief Judge George Hart signed an order authorizing that the sworn deposition of Mr. Nixon be taken at the Coast Guard Station in San Mateo, California with two members of the grand jury present.
- press release, National Archives and Records Administration.
- Nixon Grand Jury Records, National Archives and Records Administration. Files from the National Archives' WSPF collection including the transcript of President Nixon's grand jury testimony and associated materials.
- Nixon Grand Jury Records at GPO, FDsys.
- Nixon Grand Jury Records at Scribd.
Well, already there is an information gap -- just two days into the new Administration. The first is constitutional, and stems from the stumbling exchange between Obama and Supreme Court Justice Roberts during the oath of office on Tuesday. Apparently the clumsy dialogue raised contstitutional questions of the legitmacy, and there was a do over Wednesday evening. Good to know the power of the mother of all goverenment information, the Constituion, still has its foundational mojo going -- especially after eight years were the practice and philosophy seemed to consider constitutional advantages in such a limited fashion.
What I find more curious (but not surprised, considering other news stories of the technological and transitional state of affairs in the White House) is how few (if any) of Obama's official words, statements, news releases, etc. actually appear on the White House web page. The other official sources, Weekly Compilation and the Federal Register are also behind.
I predict a robust life and purpose for government informationn librarians in the near future.
See you on Day 3
And so, Team Obama greets the first day of Government Information Liberation with, among many other things, the recision of G.W. Bush's infamous Presidential Records Executive Order. But a closer reading of the press release and the order itself proves to be more nuanced. As it states in the news release about the new executive order:
"This order ends the practice of having others besides the President assert executive privilege for records after an administration ends. Now, only the President will have that power, limiting its potential for abuse. And the order also requires the Attorney General and the White House Counsel to review claims of executive privilege about covered records to make sure those claims are fully warranted by the Constitution.”
So the new order consolidates the power of review back into the current White House, which we all hope is much more enlightened than other political powers. Is it a true revocation of the early Bush doctrine? Maybe yes, maybe no. It would be much better to have statutory language that makes clear which records are reviewable and which are not, otherwise each administration can change the intent of the law according to its own political whim.
Perhaps only a new law, such as the Presidential Records Act of 2009 can take this descision making power from the politics of executive and/or legislative will.
On another front, it will be very interesting to see how the policies and programs of Obama will be distinguished from those of Bush. Web pages may change, as demonstrated by the Obama White House web site; but so many other Bush decisions and laws he signed while in office will remain in effect that swapping out Secretaries or Cabinet level officers won't necessarily lift the yoke of Bush doctrine completely.
This will be a very, very good season to be a government information librarian.
As a reminder -- with government information liberation day now in the rear view mirror, I am shifting my focus on the next few months, calling these daily blog entries, "Won't Get Fooled Again" in honor of the wonderful 1971 song by the band The Who. We are in time frame of a few months when a series of critical discussions will take place at various national level librarian conferences. It starts with the ALA midwinter confab in Denver at the end of this week. followed by at least three other meetings before the gathering during July in Chicago for ALA's annual gig.
To this end, I am resetting (and renaming) the discussion time clock. 140 days to consensus on the future role of libraries in the fabric of our civic information exchange.
See you on Day 2.