Check it out: www.whitehouse.gov.
Does it go without saying, there is a blog? And, there are a number of feeds (though some are still empty as i write this):
- Agenda Articles Feed
- Press Office Feed
- OMB News Article Feed
- Blog Feed
- Photo Gallery Feed
- Video Feed
And, just to be sure:
Pursuant to federal law, government-produced materials appearing on this site are not copyright protected. The United States Government may receive and hold copyrights transferred to it by assignment, bequest, or otherwise.
Except where otherwise noted, third-party content on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Visitors to this website agree to grant a non-exclusive, irrevocable, royalty-free license to the rest of the world for their submissions to Whitehouse.gov under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
In keeping with President-elect Obama's pledge to run the most open and transparent transition in history, the Obama-Biden Transition Project has voluntarily chosen to release the names of its donors on a monthly basis.
Change.gov is using Blist.com, a nascent Web application from a Seattle-based start-up, to display the information. See story: Obama embraces Web-based list sharing program, CongressDaily, 01/05/2009.
[thanks for the heads-up Peggy Garvin!]
Carl Malamud is at it again, this time shaking things up with the Obama transition team over at change.gov. He's submitted a letter to the "Department of Transparency" with 5 proposals for making government information more accessible to the public, thereby making government processes and workings more transparent. His proposals can be boiled down to: 1) make GPO "products" like the Congressional Record, Federal Register, US Code, etc immediately available online in bulk and with historical coverage; 2) create a .gov cloud; 3) wire for video all US Government hearing rooms; 4) train people in the art of both traditional and digital publishing and 5) get rural America access to broadband aka "internetification."
That takes care of the creation of and access to digital government information -- the bulk of the issues with which FGI is concerned. There's just one piece missing in Malamud's ingenious plan: preservation. The Library of the USA needs to include actual libraries in the process.
I'm not faulting the plan, because I really think it's far-reaching and radically elegant in its simplicity -- not to mention that malamud's M.O. has always been about access, "open sourcing America's operating system." And since the Obama transition team is increasingly talking about a "21st century New Deal" that includes a call for a huge job training program combined with an agenda of ethical and transparent government, this is a plan with real legs.
For the plan to work though, libraries and librarians will need to step up to the challenge. We'll need to work closely with GPO and each other and collaborate on the building of digital infrastructures.
Stay tuned. This is getting interesting!
The Honorable Office of the President-Elect
Attn: Department of Transparency
Washington, D.C. 20270
Pre the procedures and policies propounded by the Office of the President-Elect, Public.Resource.Org is pleased to provide for publication and posting the following policy papers and proposals which we have previously shared with your staff:
REBOOTING .GOV. How the Government Printing Office can spearhead a revolution in governmental affairs.
FEDFLIX. Government videos are an essential national resource for vocational and safety training and can also help form a public domain stock footage library, a common resource for the YouTube and remix era.
THE LIBRARY OF THE U.S.A. A book series and public works job program to create an archival series of curated documents drawn from our cultural institutions, with full-quality masters of the books and research materials made available for other publishers to draw on. The program would employ the GPO master printers and would recruit writers, archivists, artists, and other creative workers through a national call for participation.
THE UNITED STATES PUBLISHING ACADEMY. GPO should expand current training programs such as the Institute for Federal Printing and combine them with current workforce development efforts to create a national academy similar to the National Mine Academy and the National Fire Academy, training its own workforce, the government, and the local schools in the art, craft, and science of publishing.
THE RURAL INTERNETIFICATION ADMINISTRATION. Repurposing the Amateur Radio League, modifying spectrum policy, and injecting capital into rural coops can bring high-speed broadband to 98% of rural Americans just as the Rural Electrification Administration did in the last century.
All submissions are in the public domain and you may feel free to remix or mashup the ideas as you so wish.
President & CEO
[Thanks for the tweet John Wonderlich!]
We've been following the Obama transition team's change.gov site for a few weeks now and were dismayed that the change.gov site had been copyrighted -- remember, government documents, including Web sites in the .gov domain, are in the public domain according to copyright law.
I was just alerted by a tweet from John Wonderlich, that change.gov has changed their copyright statement to a Creative Commons attribution license -- meaning visitors are 1) free to Share — to copy, distribute and transmit the work; and 2) to Remix/adapt the work as long as they "attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor." That CC license is "approved for free cultural works."
While I applaud the change to a creative commons license as a step in the right direction, I still believe that change.gov -- and all .gov sites -- need to be explicitly in the public domain (which as you remember is a statutory requirement According to Copyright Law 17 U.S.C. § 105). If site administrators wanted the geek street cred that comes with creative commons, why didn't they choose the creative commons public domain dedication?
This is an open government issue; the public domain is critical to open and transparent government operations. If the Obama administration is serious about ethics and open government, then they will change their copyright statement on change.gov and donate the site's information to the public domain. Is that so much to ask? If you agree, please contact the change.gov administrator(s) and politely but strongly urge them to support the public domain. I just did.
--that is all.
Change.gov continues to change. Now they seem to be hosting citizen led discussions on selected topics.
They started a discussion on health care this week. The starting point was a video briefing from the health care team followed a few starter questions. As of this writing, there were 44 pages of comments.
Comments default to be sorted by user rating. It appears to be working. The comments I saw at the top of page seemed to be thoughtful posts engaging the questions asked. Posts may also be sorted by date or "last activity." In addition, for hard core policy wonks, there is an RSS feed for new comments.
Browsing around the first few pages, I didn't see comments back from the policy team, but that likely isn't feasible given the amount of comments. But I really appreciate them trying to have a constructive conversation among constituents. Check it out and let us know what you think.
Now if only they'd adjust their copyright policy to make it worthy of a dot gov.
The section of the Obama-Biden transition homepage detailing the president-elect’s policy proposals that was recently stripped from the site with little explanation, reappeared with some tweaks.
Call it the kinder, gentler Change.gov.
Gone are references needling the Bush administration for refusing to “tackle health care, education and housing in a manner that benefits the middle class” or for being “one of the most secretive, closed administrations in American history.”
Some pages in the “Agenda” portion of the site have been pared down, while others have been expanded. But the most obvious changes focus on weeding out the fiery campaign-style rhetoric of Mr. Obama and Vice President-elect Joseph R. Biden that initially appeared on the transition Web site.
And I especially like this portion of the article:
There was an almost instantaneous outcry from bloggers and other advocates of transparency in government who noticed disappearance.
Perhaps they stumbled upon our blog?
And apparently, this website notatypewriter.com contains the original agenda pages in PDF and HTML format.
As of 12:30pm Alaska time, 11/16/2008, Change.gov appears to have restored agenda pages to http://www.change.gov/agenda/. No explanation and still copyrighted. But progress.
Thanks to everybody who wrote in. If you haven't and care about copyright/public domain issue, please look over Rebecca's post and send the letter or one of your own.
You may have noticed some of our recent blog posts that discuss the copyright status of the President-elect's website, Change.gov, as well as the vanishing contents of the website, among other concerns. We here at FGI created a standard letter for you to use (see below) if you wish to contact Change.gov and let them know your concerns.
You can email the change.gov website by going to their Contact page at: http://www.change.gov/page/s/contact
If you do contact them, let us know in the comments of this post so that we have an idea on how many emails have been sent. Thanks!
I strongly urge you to change the copyright statement on your site to clearly state that all information on the site is in the public domain. According to Copyright Law 17 U.S.C. § 105, "Copyright protection under this title is not available for any work of the United States Government." Since the site is in the .gov domain, people expect the material on the site to have been produced by government employees and thus as being in the public domain.
If the bulk of material at change.gov was not created by federal employees, then I suggest that you post a blog entry explaining why your material is under copyright. You should also explore moving your content to a .org domain, which internet users understand can have copyrighted material. It would be ok to leave a redirect from change.gov to the new site as long as the new site was clearly labeled non-government.
There has been much discussion over this matter at the Free Government Information website, which you can read about here: http://freegovinfo.info/taxonomy/term/876.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.
Government Documents Librarian
UPDATE: Removed the portion of this template letter that asked for them to return the missing "Agenda" pages of the website. They've been restored!
In spite of the optimism about technology policy (See for example, Obama preparing comprehensive technology policy, By Hiawatha Bray The Boston Globe, International Herald Tribune, November 12, 2008), the site continues to disappoint me.
Today I was searching on the site and got this message when I composed my second search:
You are only allowed to search every 15 seconds.
Really? I continue to hope that they will fix problems and copyright claims. Maybe this isn't a harbinger of things to come but just one of many temporary transition problems.