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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.

538’s Gerrymandering Project takes a deep dive into redistricting and US politics

Check out 538’s Gerrymandering Project. It’s an exploration into the history, complex issues, and reform ideas surrounding the process of redistricting of the US political map (Constitutionally mandated to be done every 10 years) and gerrymandering, or redrawing political district lines in a partisan, political way. The site includes an amazingly thorough Atlas of Redistricting, several articles, and a six-part audio documentary series that examines how four states — Wisconsin, North Carolina, Arizona and California — are dealing with very different districting challenges. And if you want the Cliffs Notes version, check out the 99% Invisible podcast episode which interviewed the 538 creators and explained the project and the issues surrounding gerrymandering.

GPO Catalogs Declassified CIA CAESAR Series. Preservation still needed.

Good on GPO for cataloging this important declassified CAESAR series of 54 online titles from the CIA. These working papers are a collection of “declassified analytic monographs and reference aids, designated within the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Directorate of Intelligence (DI) as the CAESAR, ESAU, and POLO series, highlights the CIA’s efforts from the 1950s through the mid-1970s to pursue in-depth research on Soviet and Chinese internal politics and Sino-Soviet relations.”

And what’s even better is that the Permanent url or PURL in their Catalog of Govt Publications (CGP) (https://purl.fdlp.gov/GPO/LPS87177) points not to the CIA’s site but to GPO’s permanent.access.gpo.gov server — which means that GPO actually captured a copy for local storage and control. And I just confirmed with Marcive that the bibliographic records will soon be pushed out through their Documents without shelves service! Now if GPO would just move all the content they have on permanent.access.gpo.gov into their govinfo.gov digital repository — which, unlike permanent.access, is going through the Trustworthy Digital Repository Audit and Certification — then all would be right with the world 🙂

Series summary: GPO has cataloged 54 online titles from a declassified CIA numbered series known as the CAESAR series. The Director of the CIA established Project CAESAR in 1952; and this series of working papers was published from 1953-1972. The purpose of Project CAESAR was to study the members of, and events affecting the Soviet leadership hierarchy. The collection focuses on internal policies and politics.

via GPO Catalogs Declassified CIA CAESAR Series.

FDLP Modernization Act of 2018 introduced. Take action now to improve the bill!

[UPDATE 3/21/2018: The CHA’s business meeting has been postponed to Thursday, April 12, 2018 at 11:00 am eastern. JRJ]

On March 15th, a bill to “modernize” the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) was finally introduced. There is good news and bad news.

H.R.5305 – FDLP Modernization Act of 2018

The good news is that the bill does provide much-needed improvement of the current law in the areas of privacy, preservation, and free access to government information. It also has very strong language that attempts to address the problem of fugitive documents (those documents that are within scope of the FDLP but do not make it into the program. For more on this issue, see “‘Issued for Gratuitous Distribution’ The History of Fugitive Documents and the FDLP”). It even allows digital deposit into Federal Depository Libraries (FDLs).

The bad news is, first, that the improvements noted above do not go far enough. They have loopholes that could easily make those good features little more than halfway solutions or empty promises. Second, (and this is a fatal flaw in the digital age) the bill not only fails to create a digital FDLP, it actually writes that failure into law.

Small changes to the text of the bill can correct most of these problems. But to get those changes into the bill, librarians will have to let Congress (and their lobbyists in the ALA Washington Office, ARL and AALL!) know that they want them. These improvements are essential because this law will affect both the free access to and the preservation of government information for the coming decades.

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Hot off the presses. Read AtG special issue: “Ensuring Access to Government Information”

Thanks to Shari Laster and Lynda Kellam (our fearless editors!) we’ve now got all of the articles (or soon to be all) conveniently posted to the Open Science Framework (OSF) wiki. So please enjoy this special issue of Against the Grain (v29 #6 December 2017/January 2018). These are all pre-prints for which the authors have permission to post to their institutions’ digital repositories.

This table of contents links to preprints from “Ensuring Access to Government Information,” a special issue of Against the Grain (v29 #6 December 2017/January 2018). The issue was guest edited by Lynda Kellam and Shari Laster.

via OSF | Against the Grain special issue: “Ensuring Access to Government Information” Wiki.

Republicans Seek to Force a Census Undercount

We’ve been hearing about problems with the 2020 census for quite some time. For those interested, the Census Project, an organization that “supports a fair and accurate 2020 Census and comprehensive American Community Survey,” has a ton of good information. This latest article by DCReport “Republicans Seek to Force a Census Undercount” has a goodly number of links all in one place to what is happening with the census. And they recommend calling or writing Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to tell him we want a census that counts everyone. Ross’ contact info is:

202-482-2000

U.S. Department of Commerce

1401 Constitution Ave. NW

Washington, D.C. 20230

Trump and the Republicans have sabotaged how ready our country is for the 2020 U.S. Census. They want to intimidate undocumented immigrants and other people who aren’t citizens from participating in the once-a-decade count that is used to assign seats in the House of Representatives and to determine who gets more than $675 billion in federal funds each year.

Trump’s Justice Department has proposed asking about citizenship on the census, a question that hasn’t been asked on the census in seven decades. Democrats fear this will lead to immigrants who are afraid of deportation not being counted and Democratic states like California losing representatives.

“It’s pretty obvious to me that the Trump administration intends to politicize this process,” said Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin. “Everything I see here suggests to me that they don’t really want a good count in states like ours.”

via Republicans Seek to Force a Census Undercount – DCReport.org.

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