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Our mission

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.

Updated Guides to Government Info Access Laws

Catching up with some updates released in August:

CRS has updated its Access to Government Information in the United States report. The latest edition is dated August 31, 2009 (via OpenCRS.com).

The Justice Department released its 2009 edition of Department of Justice Guide to the Freedom of Information Act on August 10. The announcement says the “2009 edition contains a newly updated and revised discussion of all aspects of the Freedom of Information Act, as amended by the OPEN Government Act, including the Act’s procedural requirements, its exemptions and exclusions, as well as considerations applicable to FOIA litigation.”

Gov 2.0 Expo Showcase: Govies Represent

Last week’s Gov 2.0 Expo conference, run by O’Reilly Media and TechWeb, featured over 25 five-minute presentations by people who have managed government projects — at all levels of government — that involve Web 2.0 methods. For the summaries and presentation links related to each speaker, see the full Gov 2.0 Expo schedule; each session title is linked to the relevant information.

In 2.0 participatory fashion, attendees texted to vote for the best presentation in each program segment. The winners were:

City of Santa Cruz Offers Blueprint for Solving CA Budget Crisis with Social Media – Peter Koht (City of Santa Cruz)
txts 4 africa – Merrick Schaefer (UNICEF)
Transit 2.0 at BART.gov – Melissa Jordan (Bay Area Rapid Transit)
Utah Department of Public Safety Media Portal – Jeff Nigbur (State of Utah, Department of Public Safety)
Digital Diplomacy: Understanding Islam through Virtual Worlds – Rita King (Dancing Ink Productions)

Of special interest to the FGI audience, Steve Schultze of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard discussed RECAP in his presentation, Crowdsourcing Federal Court Transparency. Also of interest, the presentation on EPA’s MyEnvironment, MyEnvironment: Environmental Information for Your Community, generated lots of approving noises from the audience.

Tim O’Reilly was everywhere at the conference, quickly and respectfully responding to tweets and blog posts critiquing his “Government as a Platform” catch phrase/vision/conversation-starter.

His keynote:
Opening Keynote: Tim O’Reilly, O’Reilly Media (video, blip.tv)
And his “Government as a Platform” talk recorded prior to the conference:
The Platform for Change (video, blip.tv)

O’Reilly Media must view the Expo Showcase as a success; another has been announced for 2010.

The Expo preceded the main event, the Gov 2.0 Summit. I’ll have more on that in a later post.

Related post: Gov 2.0 Expo and the Apps for America 2 Challenge Winners

AP reports on Cyber Cemetery

The Associated Press (AP) has a story out today covering the Cyber Cemetery project at the University of North Texas Libraries. I came across a version at the Federal News Radio website, but I imagine it has been picked up elsewhere:

Government Web sites kept alive at Cyber Cemetery, 14 September 2009.

W3C Draft: Publishing Open Government Data

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has posted a first draft of their eGovernment Working Group’s guidelines for governments putting data on the Web, Publishing Open Government Data. (And hey! It’s not in PDF format.)

The W3C posted this notice on their website on September 9:

Today, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) announces a draft work plan for the eGovernment Interest Group, whose mission is to document, advocate, coordinate and communicate best practices, solutions and approaches to improve the interface between citizens and government through effective use of Web standards. The draft charter, in review by the W3C community until the end of September, focuses on two topics: Open Government Data (OGD), and Education and Outreach. In line with its anticipated focus on Open Government Data, the group also announces today a first draft of Publishing Open Government Data, which provides step-by-step guidelines for putting government data on the Web. Sharing data according to these guidelines enables greater transparency; delivers more efficient public services; and encourages greater public and commercial use and re-use of government information. Learn more about the W3C eGovernment Activity.

[hat tip DB/eCitizen]

September 11 Remembrance, Day of Service, Patriot Day

USA.gov has assembled links to information on the September 11, 2001 memorials, ceremonies, and history at 9/11 Commemorations and Information.

President Obama has issued a proclamation, Patriot Day and National Day of Service Remembrance, 2009. Also from the White House, to Congress: notice of continuation of the national emergency with respect to the terrorist threat, and a message from the President regarding the emergency declared with respect to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

By remembering, we honor those who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.