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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.

GPO releases digital Congressional Record for the 1960s

Bound Congressional RecordThe Government Publishing Office (GPO) just announced that GPO in concert with Library of Congress have released another decade of historic bound Congressional Record, this time covering 1961 – 1970. The CR is now available on govinfo.gov for 1961 – 2006.

This release covers debates and proceedings of the 87th through the 91st Congresses. Spanning approximately 380,000 Congressional Record pages, this era covers historical topics such as:

  • The Administrations of Presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and the first two years of the Administration of President Richard M. Nixon
  • The Civil Rights Era
  • The Vietnam War
  • The Space Program and Moon Landing
  • Legislation of the Great Society and the War on Poverty, including:
    • Civil Rights Act of 1964
    • Voting Rights Act of 1965
    • Fair Housing Act of 1968
    • Medicare and Medicaid
    • Economic Opportunity Act of 1964
    • Immigration Act of 1965
    • Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965
    • Endangered Species Act of 1966
    • Public Broadcasting Act of 1967

via GPO Issues Digital Release of Historical Congressional Record for the 1960s.

Check out Endangered Data Week – April 17-21, 2017

This week is Endangered Data Week, a new effort to raise awareness about publicly available data and the threats to its creation, sharing and retention. Follow along with the conversation at the Twitter hashtag #EndangeredData, check out the Endangered Data events near you, tune in on friday for the webinar hosted by the Digital Library Federation (DLF) “Endangered Accountability: A DLF-Sponsored Webinar on FOIA, Government Data, and Transparency” and definitely sign up for the new DLF Interest Group on Records Transparency/Accountability.

There’s never been such an open window of opportunity for govt information librarians to prove their metal and work together to assure the preservation of born-digital govt information in all its guises. So jump in and get involved today!

Political events in the United States have shed new light on the fragility of publicly administered data. In just the first few weeks of the Trump administration and 115th Congress, the Environmental Protection Agency was allegedly ordered to remove climate change information from its website, the USDA removed animal welfare data from its website, and the House passed H.Res.5, specifically excluding changes to the Affordable Care Act from mandatory long-term cost data analysis. The Senate and House of Representatives have both received proposed bills (S.103 and H.R.482) prohibiting funding from being used “to design, build, maintain, utilize, or provide access to a Federal database of geospatial information on community racial disparities or disparities in access to affordable housing.” While researchers, archivists, librarians, and watchdog groups work hard to create and preserve open data, there’s little guarantee that information under federal control will always survive changes to federal agencies.

via Endangered Data Week – April 17-21, 2017.

Depository Library Council class of 2017 named

Congratulations to the Depository Library Council class of 2017: Erik Beck, Jane Canfield, Mary Clark, Donna James, Celina McDonald.

These five new DLC members will serve from June 1, 2017 – May 31, 2020

Erik Beck: Digital Services Librarian, University of Colorado Law School, William A. Wise School of Law, Boulder, CO. Eric is the Digital Services Librarian and Depository Coordinator. He has been active in the AALL community and has led the development of digital collections of Government publications in his library. He has written many articles on digitization and the digital experience.

Jane Canfield: Depository Coordinator, Pontificia Universidad Católica, Biblioteca Encarnación Valdés, PR. Jane has many years’ experience as a depository coordinator and is responsible for reorganizing the collection at Puerto Rico’s Pontificia Universidad Católica from a small section of technical services to a new and thriving area which combines Federal documents with a learning commons.  She brings non-Continental U.S. geographic coverage and a primarily Spanish speaking patron base to Council.

Mary Clark: Director, Acquisitions and Access Management, Library of Virginia. Richmond, VA. She is a Charter member of the innovative Government Information Online chat references service (GPO is a partner with this service). Under her direction, the Library of Virginia has cataloged all of the state and Federal documents in the collection, and the Library has transitioned to an almost entirely digital program. Mary also has led an effort to catalog well over 250,000 pre-1976 Federal documents.

Donna James: Library Director/Federal Depository Coordinator, Valley City State University, Allen Memorial Library, Valley City, ND. Donna has been Library Director of Allen Memorial Library for over 10 years. She was instrumental in moving the VCSU collection to a mostly digital selective depository. Donna advocates for and regularly teaches workshops for school librarians encouraging the use of free Government resources in schools. Donna is a member and past President of the North Dakota Library Association and a member of the North Dakota-Manitoba Chapter of Association of College & Research Libraries.

Celina McDonald: Regional Depository Coordinator, University of Maryland, College Park, McKeldin Library, College Park, MD. Celina serves as the regional depository coordinator for Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia.  She belongs to a number of committees including Regional Government Information Librarians, Government Documents Round Table Nominating Committee, and is currently the chair of the American Library Association’s Committee on Legislation, Subcommittee on Government Information.

via GPO Director Names New Members to the Depository Library Council.

John Oliver analyzes Gerrymandering. Hilarious and disturbing

John Oliver is at it again, deeply analyzing a boring political concept in a smart, interesting — and funny — way. This time, he explains Gerrymandering, the nefarious practice of manipulating district boundaries for political advantage, named after Massachusetts Governor Elbridge Gerry. If anyone is interested in delving deeper, you can read the new book by David Daley called “Ratf**ked: the true story behind the secret plan to steal America’s democracy.”


Announcing the Preservation of Electronic Government Information (PEGI) project

Here at FGI, we have been raising concerns about the many issues surrounding the preservation of born-digital govt information for quite some time. Over the last year, there have been some fruitful discussions about digital preservation. Out of those discussions and meetings has grown a new collaborative project called the Preservation of Electronic Government Information (PEGI) project (pronounced PEGGY). Over the next 2 years, this group will hold public meetings and begin work to scope out the problems, do an environmental scan of the govt information landscape and explore possible solutions surrounding the preservation of electronic government information by cultural memory organizations for long term use by the citizens of the United States.

We are pleased to announce a new project: Preserving Electronic Government Information (PEGI). Librarians, technologists, and other information professionals from the Center for Research Libraries, the Government Publishing Office (GPO), the University of North Texas, the University of California at Santa Barbara, the University of Missouri, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and Stanford University are undertaking a two year project to address national concerns regarding the preservation of electronic government information (PEGI) by cultural memory organizations for long term use by the citizens of the United States.

The PEGI project has been informed by a series of meetings between university librarians, information professionals, and representatives of federal agencies, including the Government Publishing Office and the National Archives and Records Administration. The focus of the PEGI proposal is at-risk government digital information of long term historical significance which is not being adequately harvested from the Web or by other automated means. The project website is located at the Center for Research Libraries.

Public PEGI project meetings are being scheduled in conjunction with selected upcoming conferences, including the OA Symposium, ALA Annual, and the 2017 Federal Depository Library Conference in October. If you would like to contact the project team for more information, or to ask to attend one or more of the meetings, please post an inquiry on the project’s google group.

Participants

Dr. Martin Halbert, University of North Texas, Project Steering Committee Chair
Roberta Sittel, University of North Texas
Marie Concannon, University of Missouri
James R. Jacobs, Stanford University
Lynda Kellam, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Shari Laster, University of California, Santa Barbara
Scott Matheson, Yale University
Bernard Reilly, Center for Research Libraries
David E. Walls, Government Publishing Office (GPO)
Marie Waltz, Center for Research Libraries

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