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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.

Federal courts adopt uniform rules for judicial discipline

The Judicial Conference of the United States has announced the adoption of uniform standards for the first nationally binding judicial discipline rules among the federal Circuit courts. The standards curtail the decentralized self-regulatory system that let individual circuit’s set their own standards and closed “jurisdictional gaps,” according to Judge Ralph K. Winter of the 2d U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and chair of the Conduct Committee that compiled the reforms. The changes were made in response to recommendations by a special committee chaired by Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer and pressure from some in Congress to improve implementation of the Judicial Conduct and Disability Act of 1980, the basis of federal judicial discipline.

LOC budget request for FY 2009

The Open House Project has a report on the March 5 testimony of Dr. James Billington, the Librarian of Congress. His prepared statement (see attached) presented information on on current LoC initiatives, and described funding priorities. The testimony repeatedly mentions 2008's "deep and painful cuts to the Library’s budget", and the Librarian adds "I feel obligated to say that if we are stretched much farther, we may soon reach a breaking point." Furthermore, the statement adds,
"Demand for online services, increased pressure on web services operations to enhance THOMAS, the World Digital Library (WDL), and the Legal Information Services (LIS) databases, and the need to develop new configurations and applications have severely strained technical assistance and infrastructure support provided by the Office of Strategic Initiatives (OSI) and Information Technology Services (ITS). Since 1995, THOMAS has provided free legislative information on the web. Our congressional and public constituencies have for several years been requesting upgrades to both THOMAS and LIS to enhance content and searchability. ... However, the IT and digital demands on the Library will need support from the Congress in fiscal 2010 to sustain the Library’s ability to provide services to the Congress and its constituents. "

New UN statistical database

A posting in Slashdot has information about the new UN data access system called UNdata that contains information from all major UN databases and those of several other international organizations. UNdata will improve the dissemination of statistics by UN’s Statistics Division (UNSD) to the widest possible audience. It is an easy to use data access system that was developed to meet UNSD’s vision of providing an integrated information resource with current, relevant and reliable statistics free of charge to the global community. The design allows a user to access a large number of UN databases either by browsing the data series or through a keyword search.

New Online Legal Database: information about the rights of internally displaced persons

A new online database has been launched today: the Global Database on the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement .  This database is geared towards helping the more than 25 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in 50 countries around the world who have been forcibly uprooted from their own homes as a result of armed conflict and human rights violation and need protection and assistance. Meant to assist policy makers and legal advocates in the development of  national legal and policy frameworks for the protection of IDPs, the database provides instant access to official documents, including recommendations of United Nations treaty-monitoring bodies, reports of UN charter bodies, and UN General Assembly resolutions about the rights of these IDPs.  A joint effort of Georgetown University’s Institute for the Study of International Migration (ISIM) and the Brookings-Bern Project on Internal Displacement, it is a  resource for scholars, policymakers, legislators, and humanitarian activists to research, develop, monitor and enforce implementation of IDP policies.
The website is available in English, French and Spanish.

Happy February 29th!

Yes, it’s Leap Year day, or whatever it’s called.  Those folks who were born on Feb. 29th get to have a real birthday party this year. 
You can read about leap year and other "timely" matters on the rather wonderful website of  the National Institute of Standards and Technology Time and Frequency Division, an operating unit of the Physics Laboratory of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce that is  located in Boulder, Colorado at the NIST Boulder Laboratories.  While you’re there you can check out their online exhibits about timekeeping and calendars through the ages, and you can also set your watch and be sure it’s the right time!