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Free Government Information (FGI) is a place for initiating dialogue and building consensus among the various players (libraries, government agencies, non-profit organizations, researchers, journalists, etc.) who have a stake in the preservation of and perpetual free access to government information. FGI promotes free government information through collaboration, education, advocacy and research.

Two new LOCKSS news items

If you’re trying to understand how LOCKSS works and why anyone would want their own copies of government data when GPO/Google/[Your Third Party Here] will keep it safe and free forever, check out these two recent news items from LOCKSS:

  • LOCKSS Team featured by Library of Congress (04/24/07) Pioneers of Digital Preservation on the Library of Congress’ web site features an overview of the LOCKSS program.
  • Presentation at CNI (04/17/07) Vicky Reich and David Rosenthal talked at the CNI meeting in Phoenix, AZ. Vicky gave an overview of the status of the CLOCKSS program, and David talked on Can We Afford To Preserve Large Databases?.

The LC page not only demonstrates that LOCKSS can be a trusted and TESTED partner in digital preservation, but also explains an excellent plain English explanation of how the system works.

David Rosenthal’s CNI powerpoint touches on the non-technology reasons why information solely in the hands of the government is at risk, especially his slide 18:

Example: Insider Attack

● Political interference (Hansen 2007):
– 2006 Earth Science budget retroactively reduced 20%
– ”One way to avoid bad news: stop the measurements!”
– Suppose the data itself turned out to be ”inconvenient” …

● Remove it (e.g. EPA pollution database)
● Alter it?

● Independent replicas essential
– Independently administered in different jurisdictions
– Mutually audited so they’re tamper evident

The rest of the presentation is a good though slightly technical primer on performance requirements for digital preservation and the need for further research. Also has some scary things to say about RAID.

More evidence that no ONE system, not even a Future Digital one, is enough to safeguard America’s government information. No system is safe from its parent – particularly when that parent is so reluctant to fully fund information access and preservation.

CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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