Steven Aftergood over at the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) Project on Government Secrecy to (which you should all subscribe!) recently posted this CRS Report describing access to federal records over time as "increasingly complicated, costly, and potentially impossible.”
We really appreciate Mr Aftergood's work over the years to shake loose and make publicly accessible government documents and especially CRS reports which are in the public domain but not distributed to the public or to FDLP libraries. Here's more on CRS reports.
Thanks also to Sabrina Pacifici at the beSpacific blog for posting about it (and you should all subscribe to beSapcific too!).
Retaining and Preserving Federal Records in a Digital Environment: Background and Issues for Congress. Wendy Ginsberg, Analyst in American National Government. July 26, 2013
NARA releases its annual Records Management Self-Assessment and a reminder to report fugitive documentsSubmitted by jrjacobs on Mon, 2013-07-29 18:39.
It takes a village ... of government information librarians to make sure that government documents within scope of the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) are collected, described, and distributed to FDLP libraries around the country. Here's an example of how the FDLP safety net works for fugitive government documents -- those documents that *are* within scope, but have not made their way into the FDLP system.
- My friend Gary Price tweets about NARA's release of its 2012 annual "Records Management Self-Assessment" which tells the good, bad and ugly about whether or not Federal agencies are compliant with statutory and regulatory records management requirements.
- I retweeted it as I know lots of my followers are interested to know how federal agencies are doing in their archival responsibilities.
The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) will be permanently retiring its Archival Research Catalog (ARC) on August 15th.
NARA's other search engine, the Online Public Access search, contains all of the descriptions and digitized content that was in ARC. The Online Public Access search also searches the NARA web site, Archives.gov, and the web sites of the Presidential Libraries.
- Archival Research Catalog is Retiring on August 15th, by Rebecca, NARAtions (July 15, 2013).
Wikileaks opens Public Library of US Diplomacy (PLUSD) with large cache of 1970s US diplomatic and intel documentsSubmitted by jrjacobs on Mon, 2013-04-08 14:18.
Wikileaks today announced the launch of the Public Library of US Diplomacy (PlusD), a searchable database with the release of Special Project K: the Kissinger cables -- ostensibly, PlusD will include other records in the future. WikiLeaks has published more than 1.7 million U.S. diplomatic records -- including cables from previously released Cablegate cables, intelligence reports, and congressional correspondence -- from January 1, 1973 to December 31, 1976, the period during which Henry Kissinger was secretary of state and national security advisor. The documents were formerly confidential, classified, or labeled "NODIS" ("no distribution") or "Eyes Only". The database can be accessed at http://search.wikileaks.org/plusd/.
According to Wikileaks:
...Most of the records were reviewed by the United States Department of State's systematic 25-year declassification process. At review, the records were assessed and either declassified or kept classified with some or all of the metadata records declassified. Both sets of records were then subject to an additional review by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). Once believed to be releasable, they were placed as individual PDFs at the National Archives as part of their Central Foreign Policy Files collection. Despite the review process supposedly assessing documents after 25 years there are no diplomatic records later than 1976. The formal declassification and review process of these extremely valuable historical documents is therefore currently running 12 years late.
The data, which has not been leaked, comprises diplomatic records from the beginning of 1973 to the end of 1976, covering a variety of diplomatic traffic including cables, intelligence reports and congressional correspondence.
Julian Assange said WikiLeaks had been working for the past year to analyse and assess a vast amount of data held at the US national archives before releasing it in a searchable form.
WikiLeaks has called the collection the Public Library of US Diplomacy (PlusD), describing it as the world's largest searchable collection of US confidential, or formerly confidential, diplomatic communications.
Assange told Press Association the information showed the vast range and scope of US diplomatic and intelligence activity around the world.
Henry Kissinger was US secretary of state and national security adviser during the period covered by the collection, and many of the reports were written by him or were sent to him. Thousands of the documents are marked NODIS (no distribution) or Eyes Only, as well as cables originally classed as secret or confidential.
Assange said WikiLeaks had undertaken a detailed analysis of the communications, adding that the information eclipsed Cablegate, a set of more than 250,000 US diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks from November 2010 and over the following year. He said WikiLeaks had developed sophisticated technical systems to deal with complex and voluminous data.
Top secret documents were not available, while some others were lost or irreversibly corrupted for periods including December 1975 and March and June 1976, said Assange.
NARA and NOAA join Old Weather Project to crowdsource transcription of historic naval ship weather logsSubmitted by jrjacobs on Wed, 2012-10-24 10:45.
According to today's press release from NOAA, the National Archives (NARA) and NOAA are teaming up and joining the Old Weather Project hosted at Zoonivers.org to crowdsource the transcription of historic ships' logs in order to extract critical environmental data. The Old Weather Project began over 2 years ago with British Royal Navy log books -- 16,400 volunteers have transcribed 1.6 million weather observations so far! Transcribed data produced by Old Weather volunteers will be integrated into existing large-scale data sets, such as the International Comprehensive Ocean Atmosphere Data Set (ICOADS). Human volunteers are so important in this case because Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technologies cannot currently recognize hand-written text.
Before there were satellites, weather data transmitters, or computer databases, there were the ship’s logs of Arctic sea voyages, where sailors dutifully recording weather observations. Now, a new crowdsourcing effort could soon make of the weather data from these ship logs, some more than 150 years old, available to climate scientists worldwide.
NOAA, National Archives and Records Administration, Zooniverse — a citizen science web portal — and other partners are seeking volunteers to transcribe a newly digitized set of ship logs dating to 1850. The ship logs, preserved by NARA, are from U.S. Navy, Coast Guard and Revenue Cutter voyages in the Arctic between 1850 and the World War II era.
Organizers hope to enlist thousands of volunteers to transcribe scanned copies of logbook pages via the Old Weather project with an eye to Information recorded in these logbooks will also appeal to a wide array of scientists from other fields – and professionals from other fields, including historians, genealogists, as well as current members and veterans of the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard.
[HT to Gary Price at InfoDocket for calling our attention to this project!]
Steven Aftergood reviews a new National Archives portal for declassified information:
- New Declassification Portal at the National Archives, by Steven Aftergood, Secrecy News (October 4th, 2012).
The National Archives has set up a new online portal that provides an overview of declassification activity in and around the Arvhices, with input from the National Declassification Center, the Public Interest Declassification Board, the Presidential Libraries, and the Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel (ISCAP).
The new section on ISCAP declassification decisions is of particular interest, since it provides links to the documents that have been newly declassified at the direction of the ISCAP, which receives appeals from the public for release of documents that agencies have declined to declassify.
- NARA and Declassification, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).
Thanks to Gary for posting about this!
- View Online: National Archives Releases Restored Version of 3rd Film in John Huston’s WWII Documentary Trilogy, by Gary Price, InfoDocket (May 29, 2012).
The National Archives and Records Administration's restoration of Let There Be Light (1946), John Huston's controversial World War II documentary about the rehabilitation of psychologically scarred combat veterans can now be downloaded online.
The third in the World War II trilogy commissioned from Academy Award-winning director John Huston by the US Army Signal Corps, Let There Be Light follows the treatment of emotionally traumatized GIs from their admission at a racially integrated psychiatric hospital to their reentry into civilian life.
...The War Department pulled the film shortly before its premiere at the Museum of Modern Art and commissioned a replacement in which white actors took all the speaking roles and the GIs upbringing was blamed for their psychological condition instead of war trauma. Let There Be Light was first shown publicly in December 1980, after a chorus of Hollywood leaders, joined by Vice President Walter Mondale, persuaded the Secretary of the Army, Clifford Alexander, Jr., to authorize its release....
The film is hosted for download by The National Film Preservation Foundation, which is a nonprofit organization created by the U.S. Congress to help save America's film heritage. It supports activities to preserve American films and improve film access for study, education, and exhibition. It is affiliated with the Library of Congress's National Film Preservation Board, but depends on private contributions for support.
NARA, Sweden, ILO, Online Maps, Voting, Statistics, NASA, TOXNET, Transporation, DOT, Smithsonian, Federal Regulations, EnergySubmitted by garyprice on Wed, 2012-02-22 07:00.
Another in our series of roundups of news and new resources via INFOdocket.com. 15 items in all.
Additional Items That Might Be of Interest
Press Release from GPO:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 30, 2012
GPO SUPPORTS NATIONAL ARCHIVES ON PUBLIC ACCESS TO PRESIDENT KENNEDY ASSASSINATION TAPE RECORDING
First Audio Content on FDsys
WASHINGTON-The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is providing public access to the newly discovered audio tape recording of conversations between various individuals in Washington and Air Force One pilots and officials on board during the flight from Dallas to Andrews Air Force Base following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. The tape recording is available on the U.S. Government Printing Office's (GPO) Federal Digital System (FDsys). This is the first time audio content is available on the system, which is a one-stop site for authentic, published Government information. GPO and NARA have a long-standing collaborative relationship in publishing the Federal Register and recently worked together to provide the public with electronic access to the Nixon grand jury testimony.
Link to FDsys: www.fdsys.gov
This digitized version of the two hour and twenty-two minute recording was donated to the National Archives by the Raab Collection. The tapes were found among other papers and memorabilia of Army Gen. Chester "Ted" Clifton, Jr., who served as senior military aide to President Kennedy. The White House Communications Agency (WHCA) provided the tapes to Gen. Clifton. The conversations were captured by WHCA, which routed all phone calls and radio traffic. The recording includes references to new code names and incidents, among them are a private conversation by head of the Secret Service Jerry Behn about the disposition of the President's body; an expanded conversation about how to remove the body from the plane and where to take it; an urgent effort by an aide to Air Force Chief of Staff Curtis LeMay to reach General Clifton; and attempts to locate various Congressmen from Texas. For more information go to: http://www.archives.gov/
"GPO is pleased to provide our digital services in partnering with NARA to make this important historical find available to the public," said Acting Public Printer Davita Vance-Cooks. "This collection marks the first time GPO is providing audio content on the site. We look forward to continuing our long-standing relationship with NARA and other Federal agencies in providing digital access to authentic Government information through FDsys."
The Library of Congress Digital Preservation blog The Signal has a brief biographical portrait of Mike Wash who was chief technical officer at GPO and is now chief information officer of the National Archives and Record Administration.
- Digital Pioneer: Mike Wash, by Mike Ashenfelder, The Signal (December 21st, 2011).