Greetings from DC.
Here's a roundup with a bunch of recent postings from our INFOdocket site containing news and new resources of possible interest to the FGI community.
This is a small sample of what we post each day. Most of the following items were shared in the past week or so. We are also available on Twitter.
1. New From U.S. Census: 2008-2010 ACS 3-Year Estimates
5. New from U.S. Census: American Indians and Alaska Natives in the United States Wall Map
7. U.S. Census: USA Counties (New Stats)
12. Campaign Finance: OpenSecrets.org Unveils New Interactive Features To Monitor 2012 Presidential Money Race
14. New From the C-SPAN Video Library: MP3 Audio Files Available for All Programs
We hope you find these resources useful. We hope you stop by or follow.
Note: At the present time the app listed below is only available for iOS devices. However, a web version of the resource is also available.
From the iTunes App Store:
The AIRNow iPhone application will provide an increasingly mobile public with real-time air quality information that people can use to protect their health when planning their daily activities
The app will allow users to get location-specific reports on current air quality and air quality forecasts for both ozone and fine particle pollution (PM2.5). Air quality maps from the AIRNow website provide visual depictions of current and forecast air quality nationwide, and a page on air quality-related health effects explains what actions people can take to protect their health at different AQI levels, such as “code orange.”
The AIRNow app is free.
Direct to App Store
See Also: AIRNow is Also Available on the Web
See Also: U.S. Air Quality Summary (text)
See Also: EnviroFlash (Air Quality Alerts)
Air quality affects how you live and breathe. Like the weather, it can change from day to day, or even hour to hour. Up-to-date information allows you to make decisions based on air quality forecasts. EnviroFlash comes to you through a partnership between the US EPA and your state or local air quality agency - notifying you about air quality so you don't have to go searching for it!
From EPA HQ:
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is observing Pollution Prevention (P2) Week (September 19-25, 2011) by launching a new tool designed to provide Americans easy access to information about everyday products like home appliances, electronics and cleaning products that can save money, prevent pollution and protect people’s health. The new green products web portal is available at www.epa.gov/greenerproducts.
Using the new tool, consumers can find electronics and appliances that have earned EPA’s Energy Star label and can browse WaterSense products that help save energy and water. Additionally, consumers can find information about cleaning products that are safer for the environment and people’s health. These products bear the EPA Design for the Environment (DfE) label. The website will also help manufacturers and institutional purchasers with information on greener products.
We normally keep our focus on US government information, but this report on green jobs caught my eye coming through my feed reader (UN Pulse is a really good site to follow for UN-related news!). Since this issue is in the news and on the lips of our presidential candidates, I thought I'd give you the heads-up about "Green Jobs: Towards Decent Work in a Sustainable, Low-Carbon World", (press release / PDF). It was cooperatively published by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and the International Organisation of Employers (IOE). According to the press release, the study finds that "changing patterns of employment and investment resulting from efforts to reduce climate change and its effects are already generating new jobs in many sectors and economies, and could create millions more in both developed and developing countries. However, the report also finds that the process of climate change, already underway, will continue to have negative effects on workers and their families, especially those whose livelihoods depend on agriculture and tourism." Look for it soon in OCLC.
GPO’s Library Services and Content Management (LSCM) unit is committed to carrying out our mission of "Keeping America Informed" by producing and distributing a vast array of Federal government information products and has been doing so for over 140 years. LSCM is making strides to, not only keep and strengthen this commitment, but to do so in an eco-friendly manner. LSCM has looked for ways to improve existing services and practices while doing its part to preserve the earth for generations to come.
Reducing paper usage has been one major area of focus within LSCM. As many GPO resources are making an electronic transition, GPO is doing its part to save on paper waste. Some of the important resources that have gone electronic are:
- The Federal Depository Library Directory (FDLD): Through a new, dynamic online interface The FDLD provides important information on every depository library, such as mailing address, Web site, Director, Depository number and more. Additionally, depositories can edit their own library’s information online.
- The Federal Depository Library Handbook: Now online as a living document, the Handbook contains legal requirements, program requirements, and guidance for depository operations. Each chapter also includes best practices, tips, and resources for library administrators.
- At the recommendation of the Depository Library Council to the Public Printer, GPO requested of the Joint Committee on Printing that there be a waiver of the requirement of Title 44, Section 1711 to print the Monthly Catalog of U.S. Government Publications and the Congressional Serial Set Catalog. This was approved and GPO has instituted an online replacement using the OPAC module of our Aleph Integrated Library System. The Catalog of U.S. Government Publications with the searchable subsets of serial set, periodicals, and serials records online has proven to be a successful new online resource.
- The List of Classes: Previously, this publication was published bi-monthly, and two copies were sent to each depository. In current practice, this publication is published twice per year and one copy is sent to each depository. Electronic files of data from the List of Classes are updated monthly and uploaded to GPO’s Federal Bulletin Board on the first Friday of each month.
- Administrative Notes: Now available in electronic form only.
- Item selection update cycle materials: Now online functions.
LSCM’s Depository Distribution business unit has undergone some eco-friendly changes as well. Process changes in invoice management have heavily minimized the number of photocopied pages that are produced in the packaging and preparing processes. Also, previous methods for preparing depository shipments formerly utilized upwards of 10 zone sheets per shipment. New processes utilize only one. In regard to box preparation, large boxes were formerly utilized, and filler was added if boxes were not at full capacity. Now, smaller boxes are being used, and fill has been eliminated.
LSCM’s use of the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system for answering customer inquiries has significantly reduced paper waste. The CRM provides an electronic record of customer transactions, which previously was recorded via paper logs.
In each of LSCM’s intricate processes in producing and distributing Federal government publications, all materials which can be recycled are recycled. Cardboard, microfiche, printer cartridges, and paper are recycled throughout each process in LSCM. Furthermore, LSCM management has undertaken a mission to educate staff with small tips to reduce waste, such as optimally utilizing paper, electricity conservation, and water conservation.
As we work to help GREEN the GPO, tell us what you think. Any suggestions? How are all of you doing this at your libraries?
Anyone who has ever had to teach about federal regulations is always thrilled to have good, hopefully entertaining, examples for this topic. And now that instructors have access to the Reg Map, we can actually give a step by step explanation of this once murky process (thank you, General Services Administration). As is the case with legislative process, our students' first question is frequently "How do regulations come about?" We reassuringly tell them that executive agencies produce regulations, frequently due to statutory mandate, and that the regs are published first in the Federal Reqister, now Regulations.gov as well, before being codified in the CFR. From the Reg Map, we learn that that there are other Initiating Events besides legislative mandate: such as recommendation from an external group.
Well, a recent news article offers a fine example of an external group directly petitioning the federal Executive Branch: environmental organizations are asking both the Environmental Protection Agency and the Consumer Product Safety Commission to more tightly regulate air fresheners. The groups don't need to approach Congress; they can go directly to those agencies whose mission it is to keep us safe. And since the air freshener industry, a $1.72 billion annual sales concern, is cranking out "sprays, gels and plug-in fresheners offer[ing] no public health benefits" but potentially causing "breathing difficulties, developmental problems in babies, and cancer in laboratory animals," I am glad the groups are taking action. The groups are asking for labeling of all ingredients in air fresheners and a banning of allergens or items appearing on California's Proposition 65 list of chemicals. Here's a report from the National Resources Defense Council, one of the groups involved.
This is my first blog entry ever, and I can't think of a better topic than Environmental Impact Statements (EIS's). We govdocs-loving, tree-hugging types are quite attached to EIS's, as in this fine example of an EIS regarding Columbia River water management, plucked from my library's online catalog.
The Northwestern University Transportation Library has a lovely page defining EIS's and providing a guide to their own extensive collections in this area. My library has its own internal cheat sheet as well. And you may wish to check out this list of impact statement announcements appearing in the Federal Register since 1994, some of the past few years with linking out to full text documents (thank you, Environmental Protection Agency).
Why do I have EIS's on the brain? I was reading my local Tacoma News Tribune last Monday, when I saw on page A5 a stunning color photo of an enormous vessel emblazoned with the words Hawaii Superferry, along with a surfer catching a wave in the foreground! I am no stranger to ferries. I grew up on Lake Champlain, vacationed in Maine, and now live in Puget Sound, home to some of the hardest-working ferries on the planet (my personal favorite is the
Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay ferry in nearby British Columbia). But I am used to the thought that one must take an inter-island flight to get around in Hawaii, not board a big honking ferry to get from Oahu to Maui to Kauai.
The article's author, Jaymes Song, notes that the Superferry's first attempt to dock in Kauai was blocked by a dozen surfboarding protesters in the water. What a sight this must have been, as the ferry with 500 passengers and 150 cars had to turn back. The protestors, joined by hundreds more on the shore, say that the ferry company failed to perform a full environmental analysis before beginning operation. Think of it: no EIS published, and our surfers will block your dock -- that Is seeing the real power of government information. There are many twists and turns to this tale, and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer ran an informative article on September 2.
The Superferry itself is maintaining a list of news articles about its own fate. Yes, people, EIS's matter.