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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.

State Agency Databases Activity Report 11/17/2013

The past two weeks have seen a burst of activity at the State Agency Databases Project at http://wikis.ala.org/godort/index.php/State_Agency_Databases. For a full list of activity, see http://tinyurl.com/statedbs14d. Here are some highlights:



Proposition 65 60-Day Notice Search – Proposition 65, more formally known as the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, is a California law passed by citizen initiative. The statute reads: “No person in the course of doing business shall knowingly discharge or release a chemical known to the state to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity into water or onto or into land where such chemical passes or probably will pass into any source of drinking water…” (CA Health and Safety Code, Section 25249.5) and “No person in the course of doing business shall knowingly and intentionally expose any individual to a chemical known to the state to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity without first giving a clear and reasonable warning…” (CA Health and Safety Code, Section 25249.6) Enforcement is carried out through civil lawsuits brought by the California Attorney General, by a district attorney or city attorney of a city with a population exceeding 750,000. However, private parties acting in the public interest can also bring Proposition 65 lawsuits, but only if they have provided at least 60 days notice of the alleged violation to the business, as well as to the Attorney General and the appropriate district attorney and city attorney, and the Attorney General, district attorney or city attorney has not taken action. If a business is found to be in violation of Proposition 65, a court may order the business to stop committing the violation or post warning signs. This database enables you to search for these notices, by year or date range, AG number, the names of plaintiff or defendant, and the product or chemical involved.

LOUISIANA (Rita Franks)

Commercial Database – The Commercial Database provides searches of registered corporations in the State of Louisiana, excluding state and national banks. Detailed listings feature the name of the head of the corporation, address, filing date, and other basic contact information. It also allows a search of registered trademark and service mark and you can check for name availability if you’re starting a new business.

MICHIGAN (Michael McDonnell)

Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration asbestos Program – Here you can find accredited individuals and companies licensed by the MIOSHA Asbestos Program, asbestos abatement projects scheduled in the state of Michigan, Michigan approved asbestos training course providers, and in-state training courses being offered by asbestos training course providers approved by the Michigan Program.

NEW JERSEY (Qraig de Groot)

New Jersey Writers’ Project Photograph Collection, ca. 1935 – 1942] – Indexes and displays nearly 4,000 images produced or collected by the Writer’s Project/Program for use as illustrations in their publications. They include original photography depicting New Jersey sites, people and activities in the 1930s-40s as well as copy work. Subjects include historic buildings, local industry (e.g., factory workers in Paterson; shipbuilding in Camden), recreation, famous New Jerseyans, etc. Some localities are more extensively documented than others depending upon the stories and articles published.”

SOUTH DAKOTA (Brenda Hemmelman)

Lobbyist Search – Searchable by keyword or browseable by lobbyist name or employer name. Records include contact information for lobbyist and employer.



Assessment Program (LEAP) Tutoring Lessons (Formerly at http://www.louisianaschools.net/topics/leap_tutoring_lessons.html Louisiana Education ) – The Louisiana Department of Education provides tutoring lessons online designed for grades 4 and 8 students who may need remediation in the standards and benchmarks covered on the LEAP. However, the lessons may also be appropriate for students in grades 3 and 7. The lessons offer someone who may have a limited formal educational background a means to teach specific concepts through step-by-step, scripted lessons. Teachers also may use the concepts presented in the lessons and individualize them to best suit their teaching styles and the learning styles of their students.

Good Roundup of NSA Activity and Lack of Effectiveness

In a post titled
How America’s Global Surveillance Empire made it a Helpless Giant
at Informed Comment, Tom Engelhardt provides an excellent summary of NSA activities brought to light by Edward Snowden:

The NSA, we now know, is everywhere, gobbling up emails, phone calls, texts, tweets, Facebook posts, credit card sales, communications and transactions of every conceivable sort.  The NSA and British intelligence are feeding off the fiber optic cables that carry Internet and phone activity.  The agency stores records (“metadata”) of every phone call made in the United States.  In various ways, legal and otherwise, its operatives long ago slipped through the conveniently ajar backdoors of media giants like Yahoo, Verizon, and Google — and also in conjunction with British intelligence they have been secretly collecting “records” from the “clouds” or private networks of Yahoo and Google to the tune of 181 million communications in a single month, or more than two billion a year. 

Meanwhile, their privately hired corporate hackers have systems that, among other things, can slip inside your computer to count and see every keystroke you make.  Thanks to that mobile phone of yours (even when off), those same hackers can also locate you just about anywhere on the planet.  And that’s just to begin to summarize what we know of their still developing global surveillance state.

In other words, there’s my email and your phone metadata, and his tweets and her texts, and the swept up records of billions of cell phone calls and other communications by French and Nigerians, Italians and Pakistanis, Germans and Yemenis, Egyptians and Spaniards (thank you, Spanish intelligence, for lending the NSA such a hand!), and don’t forget the Chinese, Vietnamese, Indonesians, and Burmese, among others (thank you, Australian intelligence, for lending the NSA such a hand!), and it would be a reasonable bet to include just about any other nationality you care to mention.  Then there are the NSA listening posts at all those U.S. embassies and consulates around the world, and the reports on the way the NSA listened in on the U.N., bugged European Union offices “on both sides of the Atlantic,” accessed computers inside the Indian embassy in Washington D.C. and that country’s U.N. mission in New York, hacked into the computer network of and spied on Brazil’s largest oil company, hacked into the Brazilian president’s emails and the emails of two Mexican presidents, monitored the German Chancellor’s mobile phone, not to speak of those of dozens, possibly hundreds, of other German leaders, monitored the phone calls of at least 35 global leaders, as well as U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, and — if you’re keeping score — that’s just a partial list of what we’ve learned so far about the NSA’s surveillance programs, knowing that, given the Snowden documents still to come, there has to be so much more.

The bulk of the blog post contrasts this near omniscience of the NSA with the United States seemingly decreasing ability to affect events worldwide.

Mr. Engelhardt also believes that future whistleblowers are inevitable and that the press will continue to cover future NSA outrages. This would require a reversal of recent trends towards self-censorship on the part of writers. Let’s hope that Mr. Engelhardt is right.

State Agency Databases Activity Report 11/3/2013

Here are some highlights of the past week’s activity at the State Agency Databases Project at http://wikis.ala.org/godort/index.php/State_Agency_Databases:



Toxicity Criteria – A database of toxic chemicals as defined by the OEHHA, browsable by chemical name and searchable by common name, CAS number, use or synonym.

NEW HAMPSHIRE (Linda Johnson)

OneStop Data and Information – More than 30 environmental databases covering air, water, asbestos, permits, and a variety of other topics are brought together here.

For a full listing of the past seven days of activity at our project, visit http://tinyurl.com/statedbs.

State Agency Databases Activity Report 10/27/2013

My apologies for the long drought on updates for the State Agency Databases Project at http://wikis.ala.org/godort/index.php/State_Agency_Databases. Volunteers have been active, but among other things I’ve been taking an amazing online class called the Hyperlinked Library through San Jose State University. The course materials are open and available at http://mooc.hyperlib.sjsu.edu/ and I think that all of the modules could be of considerable benefit to government information librarians.

But I digress. For a listing of the last two weeks worth of activity, visit http://tinyurl.com/statedbs14d. Here are some highlights:


ALASKA (Daniel Cornwall)

ScholarWorks@UA – Institutional repository for theses, dissertations and other research by University of Alaska Students and Faculty. May be searched or browsed by campus, issue date, author, subject, titles or type of resource.

DELAWARE (John Stevenson)

Door-to-door Salesperson Search – Searchable by salesperson last name, business name, or license number.


Search current job openings – DC Department of Human Resources (DCHR) helps District agencies meet their staffing requirements by ensuring the highest level of customer service to city residents.

MISSOURI (Annie Moots)

Consumer Confidence Reports – Search for and view public water supply system reports by county.

OHIO (Audrey Hall)

Lake Erie Shore Erosion Management Plan – The plan promotes a successful means of controlling erosion by developing erosion control recommendations that are based on regional site conditions. Link to a map and information for each region.


Aside from the updating above, Lynn McClelland has made extensive revisions to the Medical Practitioner Databases pages.

State Agency Databases Activity Report July 21, 2013

It’s been a slightly active two weeks at the State Agency Databases Project at http://wikis.ala.org/godort/index.php/State_Agency_Databases. For the full list of things that happened in the last 14 days, visit http://tinyurl.com/statedbs14d. Here are some highlights:


MONTANA (Susanne Caro)

Unclaimed Property at Montana Department of Revenue] – Search for Unclaimed Cash. Search by personal name or business.

WASHINGTON (Marilyn Von Seggern)

Project Search – Search for RCO projects (1964-present) from 5 organizations such as the Recreation and Conservation Funding Board and the Salmon Recovery Funding Board. Search criteria are name of organization, project type, status, number, or name, and keyword. Results include project details and description, worksites, milestones, and report attachments.

WYOMING (Karen Kitchens)

Wisdom – The Wyoming Interagency Spatial Database & Online Management (WISDOM) System is a user-friendly tool that will allow any interested individual to discover, consider, and assess Wyoming’s wildlife resources.


In addition to the above updates we recently added newspaper related Oregon resources to our Historical Media Databases page and our Historical Newspaper and Magazine Indexes pages.