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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.

US Supreme Court *finally* moving to adopt electronic filing AND free access

This is welcome news re the US Supreme Court. Fulfilling a promise outlined by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. in his 2014 year-end report on the federal judiciary, the Supreme Court is adopting electronic filing for all of its cases. The new electronic filing system will begin operation on November 13, 2017. Full and free Supreme Court dockets will be a boon to lawyers, researchers, students, and the public. Is this the beginning of the end for the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system (he says hopefully!)?

After lagging behind other courts for years, the Supreme Court is finally catching up on a key technological feature that will be a boon to researchers, lawyers and analysts of all kinds. It’s moving to adopt electronic filing.

The change will allow the public to access legal filings for all future cases — free of charge. Beginning Nov. 13, the court will require “parties who are represented by counsel” to upload digital copies of their paper submissions. Parties representing themselves will have their filings uploaded by the court’s staff.

All those submissions will then be entered into an online docket for each case, and they will be accessible from the court’s homepage.

via The Supreme Court is about to become more transparent, thanks to technology – The Washington Post.

Tweets of Congress, tweets of Trump archived and downloadable in bulk

The recently-launched Tweets Of Congress is collecting and publishing daily archives of tweets by congressional representatives, caucuses, and committees. The site only got up and running last week, so there are daily archives starting June 21, 2017. There’s also the Trump Twitter Archive, which has collected more than 30,000 of @realDonaldTrump’s tweets, which can be searched and downloaded in bulk.

But this points to a larger issue of the US government using commercial social media sites and tools to communicate with the public. This time around, the 2016 End of Term crawl included 9,000+ social media accounts (scraped from the .gov social media registry API) and included 44% FaceBook, 37% Twitter, 10% YouTube accounts. We also collected ~130 TB of .gov ftp sites that agencies use to serve out their collected data sets.

Tweets of Congress is my attempt to collate the entirety of Congress’ daily Twitter output using an automated process that checks Twitter on a fixed interval. Archives are available on this site and in JSON form. You can find JSON datasets linked in posts or in this site’s Github repo. Due to size constraints, archives will be limited at some tbd point. This site is open-source, so feel free to fork or whatever to your heart’s content. For any issues or other feedback, file an issue in the repo or send me an email.

via About – Tweets of Congress.

HT Data Is Plural 2017.06.28 edition. Don’t forget to subscribe to Jeremy Singer-Vine’s Data Is Plural weekly newsletter!

Big news: CIA agrees to release ORIS, one of CREST’s counterparts

This just in from Michael Best, the CIA has just announced that it will soon release Officially Released Information System, or ORIS. ORIS is the counterpart to the CREST database — the CIA Records Search Tool — begun in 1991. This is a whole lot of declassified records that will soon be available to researchers, journalists, and the public. Check out Best’s MuckRock story for FOIA’d information about the database and much more background and context. Just WOW!

CIA has agreed to release a copy of the ORIS database and waive all fees for it. ORIS, or the Officially Released Information System, was essentially a counterpart to CREST implemented in 1991. According to the proposal document, ORIS includes officially released CIA information that: Was previously classified OR Is part of the content of a classified, previously classified, or classifiable record OR Pertains to the CIA mission, functions or organizational structure OR Pertains to any aspect of sources or methods OR Is part of the content of a record of another Government entity, was previously classified or classifiable, and the CIA is identified or identifiable as the source.

It was also due to include: Releases under the FOIA, Privacy Act and MDR processes Officially sanctioned speeches Media releases Affidavits and judicial and congressional testimony Material declassified and released outside the agencyMore information as it develops. =)

via Big news: CIA agrees to release one of CRESTs counterparts | Michael Best on Patreon.

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 NASA’s new searchable database of space pics and video!

Solar flares from NASA image database
NASA just made my day! The U.S. space agency launched a new web-based search engine for much of its catalog of images, video and audio files, browsable by keyword and metadata.

All the content on the site is embeddable, and there are multiple resolutions to choose from for downloads. The site also shows image metadata, so you can see what equipment was used when they were captured. There’s also a caption file available for all video, so you can easily include subtitles with clips when reposting.

NASA notes that this isn’t a comprehensive collection of its available media, but a representative and deep collection with an easy-to-access public interface. It’s also planning to expand this collection over time.

HT TechCrunch!.

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