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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.

Having a Plan “B”

KR-403-forbiddenIn early August, FGI reported  on FDLP.gov being hacked as evidenced by a large cat looming over a night time cityscape. Subsequently the FDLP published an explanation dated August 19th why several FDLP websites were unavailable due to an ongoing internal security review.  By unhappy coincidence, my library had just uploaded a digitization project description to the Digitization Projects Registry: http://registry.fdlp.gov/.   Over a month later, we are still waiting for the registry page to become available in order to publicize our digitization project of a historic series of water supply reports from Natural Resources Conservation Service.   While I empathize with the GPO web managers and realize that government agencies offer big targets to hackers, this incident has also been a personal reminder of the importance of libraries having a plan “B” to insure continued access to digital resources.

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1 Comment

  1. First, welcome Jim Kammerer from the Montana State Library. Jim has agreed to be our “Montana correspondent” and for that we’re thankful!

    Second, This is an incredibly important point that Jim makes. I’m currently in South Korea visiting family, and tried to go to fdlp.gov and the FDLP announcement about GPO’s PURL Referral Reporting Tool being temporarily unavailable and received a 403 error message “Your location (KR) has been blacklisted.” Now it could be that GPO has shut off all international access to fdlp.gov because of the Shellshock vulnerability, aka “Bash Bug” vulnerability going around now. But this is another reminder that if GPO is the only one who has the content, they can turn off access to that content at the flip of a switch (whether or not it’s for a good reason).

    BTW, I added a screen shot of my 403 error to Jim’s post.

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