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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.

CRL to Digitize Endangered Foreign Government Publications

The Carnegie Corporation of New York has awarded the Center for Research Libraries funding to preserve and make available on the open web endangered government documentation from certain African and Persian Gulf region nations.

The grant of $248,500 will enable digitization of official gazettes from those nations, which have been preserved over the past sixty years by CRL and its partner institutions.

The initial focus of the CRL project, “An Open Web Repository of Civil Society Documentation,” will be ten nations cited in Transparency International’s 2012 Corruption Perceptions Index as among those being governed by the world’s most corrupt regimes. CRL will digitize and post to the web official gazettes that were published during the 1950s to the mid-1990s, and will supplement the hard copy holdings by harvesting from the web materials published more recently.

Official gazettes published by governments have long been key documents of civil society. They function as the legal newspapers of many countries, wherein the texts of new laws, decrees, regulations, international treaties, legal notices, legislative debates, and court decisions are published. The laws published in the gazettes are the versions of record—and in many jurisdictions the only published versions—of many nations’ primary law.

Despite their importance, gazettes in countries with repressive or authoritarian regimes are often not widely accessible to the public. Though some governments now publish these materials directly to the web, the countries selected for inclusion in this pilot effort present only limited content online, or where digitized historical content may exist, are at risk of loss due to unstable governments or questionable infrastructure.

The availability of CRL’s open web repository will thus promote accountability of those governments by providing a permanent “offshore” public record, immune to revision and alteration over time. Many of the materials will be freely available for the first time to the populations in the regions of origin and to scholars of those regions.

CRL will digitize available content from hard copy and microform holdings of CRL and partner institutions (potentially to include the Library of Congress, New York Public Library, Harvard University, the Los Angeles County Law Library, and the Law Library Microform Consortium).

CRL will supplement the hard copy holdings by harvesting from the web materials digitized by those governments or recently published in digital form.

Further information will be forthcoming on CRL’s Topic Guide for Official Gazettes.


via infodocket

Docs Confirm NSA sharing data with 23 U.S. government agencies, via ICREACH search engine

original post @ LIS-GISIG

According to Classified documents obtained by The Intercept’ s Ryan Gallagher, “The National Security Agency is secretly providing data to nearly two dozen U.S. government agencies with a “Google-like” search engine built to share more than 850 billion records about phone calls, emails, cellphone locations, and internet chats.”

The documents provide the first definitive evidence that the NSA has for years made massive amounts of surveillance data directly accessible to domestic law enforcement agencies. Planning documents for ICREACH, as the search engine is called, cite the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Drug Enforcement Administration as key participants.

NSA Doc: Sharing Communications Metadata

ICREACH contains information on the private communications of foreigners and, it appears, millions of records on American citizens who have not been accused of any wrongdoing. Details about its existence are contained in the archive of materials provided to The Intercept by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden…

“The ICREACH team delivered the first-ever wholesale sharing of communications metadata within the U.S. Intelligence Community,” noted a top-secret memo dated December 2007. “This team began over two years ago with a basic concept compelled by the IC’s increasing need for communications metadata and NSA’s ability to collect, process and store vast amounts of communications metadata related to worldwide intelligence targets.”

The search tool was designed to be the largest system for internally sharing secret surveillance records in the United States, capable of handling two to five billion new records every day, including more than 30 different kinds of metadata on emails, phone calls, faxes, internet chats, and text messages, as well as location information collected from cellphones. Metadata reveals information about a communication—such as the “to” and “from” parts of an email, and the time and date it was sent, or the phone numbers someone called and when they called—but not the content of the message or audio of the call…

firstlook.org 2014-8-28 10 41 36


read more:  The Surveillance Engine: How the NSA Built Its Own Secret Google,

HT: democracynow.org

LIS-GISIG – CRS: Records in a Digital Environment: Background and Issues for Congress

via gov-info.tumblr.com

Leaked by Secrecy News blogger Steven Aftergood ( @saftergood )

All federal departments and agencies create federal records “in connection with the transaction of public business.” The Federal Records Act, as amended (44 U.S.C. Chapters 21, 29, 31, and 33), requires executive branch departments and agencies to collect, retain, and preserve federalbrecords, which provide the Administration, Congress, and the public with a history of public-policy execution and its results. Increasing use of e-mail, social media, and other electronic media has prompted a proliferation of record creation in the federal government. The variety of electronic platforms used to create federal records, however, may complicate the technologies needed to capture and retain them. It is also unclear whether the devices and applications that agencies currently use to create and retain records will be viable in perpetuity—making access to federal records over time increasingly complicated, costly, and potentially impossible.

In recent years, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) reported records management deficiencies at federal agencies. NARA, which has government-wide records management responsibilities, found 45% of agencies were at high risk of mismanaging their records. Agencies’ inabilities to comply with federal recordkeeping laws and responsibilities may make it difficult for NARA to predict future federal archiving needs because officials may not anticipate the true volume of records, nor will they know the variety of platforms used to create those records.

The executive branch has taken steps to clarify records management responsibilities and attempted to improve recordkeeping administration. In August 2012, for example, NARA and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) jointly released a directive providing agencies with a framework for managing federal records, including both paper and electronic records.
Yet, challenges remain. Congress may have an interest in overseeing whether agencies are appropriately capturing and maintaining their federal records. Additionally, Congress may choose to revisit the laws that govern federal recordkeeping to address the variety of platforms used to create federal records. Congress may also choose to ensure that such records will be accessible to the public in perpetuity. Moreover, with the increase in the creation and use of electronic records,

Congress may have an interest in examining whether agencies are taking appropriate steps to ensure the authenticity and trustworthiness of the electronic documents they create and preserve….

read full report

GISIG – IMLS Webinar June 11: The IMLS [35,000] Museum Big Data File

FYI for those interested in Archives, preservation, reference, libraries and museums management, databases, Big Data, Digital Humanities, education funding,  job opportunities, Primary Source curricula, repatriation, and totally neato stuff in general.

IMLS Press Release

IMLS Museum Universe Data File Webinar: June 11

Learn more about how the data file was created and how you can use it

Washington, D.C.—On May 19, IMLS announced a new estimate of 35,144 active museums in the United States [view by discipline] and published a new museum data file that is available for use, reuse, and distribution. The Museum Universe Data File will be actively maintained, updated, and released publicly twice a year. For more information see the news announcement.

IMLS will present a webinar about the Museum Universe Data File for interested stakeholders including museum staff, membership organizations, researchers, policymakers, and members of the media and public. IMLS Statistician Justin Grimes will discuss how the file was created and answer questions about it.

This webinar is free and no pre-registration is required. To participate, simply go to this Blackboard Collaborative Meeting Room at the time of the webinar, enter your information, and join the conversation. You may listen using your computer’s speakers or dial 1-866-299-7945. When prompted, enter the passcode 9485763#.

Title: 35,000 Museums: About the IMLS Estimate and Data File

Date: Wednesday, June 11

Time: 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. EDT

Webinar Presenter: IMLS Statistician Justin Grimes

Topics to be covered include:

  • Why was the file created?
  • How did IMLS decide what institutions to include and what institutions to leave out of this list?
  • The list identifies a “museum type” for most entries; how was the museum type identified?
  • How was this list created?
  • What kind of information is in the file?
  • How can the information be used?
  • What are the caveats for using the data?

Questions about the data file? Contact research@imls.gov.

GISIG: NARA launches Open Data Portal

via LIS-GISIG blog (gov-info.tumblr.com)

They’re looking for suggestions; there are many ways to participate!

via Doug Ward in National Archives (NARA) Information Services and Meredith Stewart in the NARA Office of Innovation.

The Open Data Policy seeks to expand the number of government data assets that are open and available to the public. Those data assets that are public (or could be public) are called out in a Public Data Listing and made available on Data.gov.

We’ve launched Archives.gov/data to serve as a portal for our open data efforts and we’ve begun the creation of our Public Data Listing. In order to expand our public data listing, we need your suggestions for NARA data assets that you would like to see included.

What do we mean by “data assets”?

Data assets can be as large as a system or as small as a single dataset or online resource.  We have nearly 60 data assets, including large systems like Online Public Access (OPA) and and individual datasets like the Federal Register in XML and Executive Orders in CSV.  We have included Archives.gov, but we’ve also called out individual resources on Archives.gov like the online collection of ISCAP decisions.

Suggest data assets!

Take a look at what we’ve included so far in our Public Data Listing and let us know your suggestions for additional data assets in the comments  email opengov@nara.gov, or you can open an issue on our Github repository.