You and some friends or colleagues decide to start a blog together. This is pretty common, but might there be some legal issues you haven't considered? Over at InformIT, Eric Goldman has written a 2 part series that examines this possiblity. Part I discusses the legal ramifications of blogging collaboratively, and in part 2 the author points out some possible solutions and recommendations for mitigating unwanted consequences of co-blogging.
The Washington Affairs Office of the American Association of Law Libraries has just announced the launch of its new blog. The blog, named AALL’s Washington Blawg, will highlight bills that the AALL is tracking in Congress, Action Alerts, news, resources, events and more. The blog will will cover legislative, judicial and regulatory activities on the state, national, and international levels and address important topics such as access to government information, digital authentication, copyright, and open government issues. The WAO is located at the Georgetown University Law Library in Washington, D.C., a location that allows them to work closely with the three branches of government. They are involved in several active coalitions, including the Library Copyright Alliance, OpenTheGovernment.org, and the Alliance for Taxpayer Access. You can keep receive regular updates by subscribing to the RSS feed, signing up for email updates, or by visiting the blog for the latest news.
Blake over at LIS News has published his "10 Non-librarian Blogs to read in 2008" which were nominated by his blog readers. On the list are many of our own favorites, including BoingBoing, Slashdot, Lifehacker, and Open Access News.
A belated shout out to Prof. Kip Currier and the terrific students in his Government Information Resources and Services class at the University of Pittsburgh School of Information Science. I spoke to the class this week about finding federal legislative information and they admitted to being followers of FGI blog - and they knew I'm a guest blogger this month! Keep reading, y'all, and please add your comments, we love to hear from you! Especially since you are learning how to be govdocs librarians in the 21st Century, you have a unique point of view that is valuable to all of us who work with government information.
The Citizen Media Law Project states that "knowing your legal rights and responsibilities is important for anyone who publishes online" in the its announcement about its Legal Guide project. The CMLP's legal guide addresses the legal issues you may encounter as you gather information and publish your work. The guide is intended for use by citizen media creators with or without formal legal training, as well as others with an interest in these issues. While a work-in-progress, the Legal Guide already provides useful information in its fairly detailed articles. You can browse the Legal Guide section-by-section or search it.
The same group has an online Legal Threats Database: which contains lawsuits, cease & desist letters, subpoenas, and other legal threats directed at those who engage in online speech. You can view, search, create, and comment on entries in the database.
Cheryl Napsha, the director of the William P. Faust Public Library in Westland Michigan, persuaded an Army Captain who is stationed in Baghdad to write a blog about his experiences and features it on the library's Web site, westland.lib.mi.us. Captain Adrian Massey, who is from Michigan, posts to the blog about twice a week. Massey is the author of a book of poems titled "A Soldier's Poetic Response: A Slice of his Life." The blog itself is at poetadrianmassey.blogspot.com/.
- Library shows another side of war in Iraq, By Cecil Angel, Detroit Free Press, February 13, 2008.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of AIDS Policy website AIDS.gov. has recently launched a blog blog.aids.gov for discussions of effective ways of using new media tools in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Each Tuesday morning they post information from an interview with leading new media and HIV/AIDS professionals, summarize the interview and reflect on ways AIDS.gov and others can implement new media. They invite comments!
Yes it's true. The Transportation Security Administration, those people who xray your suitcase and make you take your shoes off at the airport, has started a blog called Evolution of Security with the blog description "Terrorists Evolve. Threats Evolve. Security Must Stay Ahead. You Play A Part.
And it's (gasp) clever! Take for example the opening sentence of a Feb. 1 post: "Throughout the ages, there have been many unanswered questions that continue to baffle the human race. Who built Stonehenge? Is there life on other planets? Why does the TSA make me place my liquids in a clear sealable baggie?" There are even a couple of videos about why they do what they do, and they promise more. Transparency and humor from the government. Thank you. I'm so pleased that I won't even ask about the mascara they
stole appropriated from my toiletry bag last year.
Last week saw the launch of a new blog, the Ideas for Development blog. Authors include the Director General of the World Trade Organization, the President of the African Development Bank, the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, and other A-list types. A quick scan of the posts (why are there no dates on the landing page?) shows big chunks of text with no hyperlinks. This tells me that it's a one-way conversation. A blog is not a memo distribution system. A blog is an online conversation.
And speaking of conversations, James Jacobs responds to my World Library post.
Moving on in the blogosphere, Simon Johnson, Director of Research for the International Monetary Fund, launched a blog last week. Yes, this is the second blog launched by the IMF in the past month. "Strange days indeed".
Finally, a short requiem for the IFC's Innovations in Emerging Markets blog, which appears to have died over the summer. I am sad because these folks, along with the PSD blog, were the ones who introduced blogging to our IFI community. The fact that the IFC let this blog die tells me we still have a ways to go in convincing organizations of the benefits of blogging.
The International Monetary Fund launched its very first blog yesterday; the Public Financial Management blog. Some blurbage on this new blog:
The PFM blog aims at sharing the IMF staff's vast experience with PFM practitioners in Ministries of Finance and other fiscal agencies, academia, students, non-governmental organizations, as well as with the general public. It will also feature current news, resources and ideas about public financial management systems, their operation and improvement, and their contribution to economic growth and achieving national objectives, including economic and financial stability.
The folks that brought us usa.gov have established a blog of their own over at http://blog.usa.gov/roller/. The blog is called Gov Gab and is maintained by "a team of five bloggers with different backgrounds and interests, all experts on government information via their jobs at USA.gov, Pueblo.gsa.gov, or 1 (800) FED-INFO."
The blog is a week old and so far have had conversational, user-friendly postings on photo resources, gov't travel sites, apartment hunting and organic foods. If you're familar with Lori Smith's blog on MySpace, you have a sense of the tone of this blog. The sites featured are taken from federal, state and local web resources. If this week is an indicator of the quality, this will be a great resource. I hope it gets maximum promotion from librarians and other interested parts.
The blog accepts comments according to this reasonable sounding policy:
We welcome your comments and expect that our conversation will follow the general rules of respectful civil discourse. This is a moderated blog, and we will only post comments from bloggers over 12 years of age that relate to topics on Gov Gab: Your U.S. Government Blog. We will review comments for posting within one business day. You are fully responsible for everything that you submit in your comments, and all posted comments are in the public domain. We do not discriminate against any views, but we reserve the right not to post comments.
According to a reply to a comment I saw, the blogging team is very open to suggestions for future topics:
We would love to get ideas for future blog topics! You can email any of us by clicking our name above our posts and sending us a message.
Spread the word! The more the merrier around here.
Consider the word spread. Thanks much to Ray Matthews of the Utah State Library for pointing out this new blog to me. Now go and do the same for others!