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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.

Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) submits comment to NARA re Dept of Interior records schedule request

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) just sent me a PDF copy of the comment that they submitted to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) regarding the Department of Interior records schedule request. This letter, combined with the others from DLF, transparency organizations, and Stanford Libraries offers a finely grained analysis of the overall problem and suggestions for moving forward in making the scheduling process much more transparent and in understanding and preserving important government records. Many thanks to these organizations and the many others who submitted comments.

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to safeguarding the earth: its people, its plants and animals, and the natural systems on which all life depends. On behalf of our over 3 million members and online activists, NRDC submits the following comments regarding the Department of the Interior’s proposed updates to its records schedule, DAA-0048-2015-0003. See Notice of availability of proposed records schedules, 83 Fed. Reg. 45,979, 45,980 (Sept. 11, 2018). NRDC also joins the letter submitted by the Emmett Environmental Law and Policy Clinic at Harvard Law School. We appreciate the willingness of the National Archives and Records Administration to work with interested parties and extend the comment period to permit public inspection of Interior’s retention policy for such vital records.

The proposed schedule covers records that are central to the public’s understanding of the Department of the Interior’s (“Interior’s”) stewardship of our nation’s public lands and natural resources. Moreover, it encompasses records of activities that might have long-lasting or permanent implications for both human health and the environment. But the proposed schedule permits some records to be destroyed while they may still be substantially valuable to the public, while other retention policies are too vague to assess their impact. Moreover, the high publicity and comprehensive nature of Interior’s schedule change highlights shortcomings in NARA’s approval process for agency records schedules. Interior’s records schedule should be amended to ensure that valuable records are preserved for public inspection.

Digital Library Federation and government transparency community submit comments to NARA re DoI records schedule

[UPDATE: 11/27/2018: Attached are PDF copies of the letters from Openness and Accountability Community and Digital Library Federation (DLF).]

Today was the last day to comment on the draft Department of Interior records scheduling request (originally posted here on FGI “Holes in History: The Dept of Interior request to destroy records.”). I’m aware that 2 groups — the Digital Library Federation’s Government Records Transparency and Accountability working group (GRTA) and a broad coalition of government transparency organizations including Government Information Watch, FGI, Defending Rights & Dissent, Demand Progress, Public Citizen, FracTracker Alliance, National Coalition for History, Association of Research Libraries, Rural Coalition, Society of Professional Journalists, Project On Government Oversight (POGO), and ICPSR — have submitted comments and listed concerns and ideas for how to make the records scheduling process more transparent. I think these letters, combined with Stanford UL’s letter to AOTUS Ferriero, raise important points and issues in the records scheduling process in general and in the Department of Interior’s request specifically and give suggestions for how to make the process more transparent and publicly accessible.

NARA does yeoman’s work and is critical to the public understanding of the workings of our government. Hopefully, these and other comments received by concerned citizens and organizations will improve access and preservation of important records.

Stanford UL’s letter to AOTUS Ferriero re Dept of Interior draft records schedule

Last week, we posted a story “Holes in History: The Dept of Interior request to destroy records” in which we raised issues concerning NARA’s records scheduling process in general and the DoI request in particular.

Today my University Librarian Michael Keller sent a Letter to Archivist of the US David Ferriero re the DoI records destruction request (text attached and below). We strongly recommend that all of our readers submit comments to NARA by November 26, 2018 (Be sure to say that you’re referring to DAA-0048-2015-0003). Here’s the address:

  • [email protected]
  • fax: 301-837-3698
  • NARA (ACRA), 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park MD 20740-6001.

(more…)

State Agency Databases Activity Report 4/13/2014

It was a typical week for the volunteers at the State Agency Databases Project at http://wikis.ala.org/godort/index.php/State_Agency_Databases.

 

FEATURED DATABASE

Today’s featured database is from Marilyn Von Seggern, who maintains the Washington page:

Washington State Fiscal Information    http://www.fiscal.wa.gov/ – A state law passed in 2008 required creation of a website that would make state revenue and expenditure data as open, transparent, and publicly accessible as is feasible with the goal of making government more accountable. The database provides access to expenditures, revenues, workloads, caseloads, performance measures, and performance audits as well as current and historical budget data and accounting data (some sections searchable by parameter and some provide reports).  The Legislative Evaluation and Accountability Program (LEAP) Committee and the Office of Financial Management are jointly responsible for the site.

Examples of financial information available from the database are state agency budget requests, statewide expenditure histories, and state revenues by source up to the most recent month.

 

DATABASE CHANGES

See the full story of the last week’s changes by visiting http://tinyurl.com/statedbs. Below are some highlights of the week.

 

DATABASES ADDED

MISSOURI (Annie Moots)

Rest Areas and Welcome Centers – Clickable map of 14 rest areas on seven different interstate highways in Missouri. Seven of these are also welcome centers. Some have dual areas across the interstate from each other. Information for each area includes location, who maintains it, the closest town, amenities, number of parking spaces, hours, and distance to the next rest area.

 

NEW JERSEY (Stephanie Bartz)

New Jersey Courts Search Page – “This is a full-text archive of the Opinions of the New Jersey Courts, including the Supreme Court, from March, 1994 to date, the Superior Court Appellate Division and the Tax Court from September, 1995 to date. Please note that in 2005, the New Jersey Administrative Office of Courts changed its publication policy and began to release all Appellate Division decisions for inclusion in this database. Before that date, decisions marked “Unpublished” were not released, and are available only from the court directly.” Hosted by the Rutgers Law Library – Newark.

 

Historical Media Databases

Missouri – Missouri Digital Heritage – Contains historical collections about MO from the State Archives, the State Historical Society, and other institutions across the state. Search by keyword or browse collections.

 

DATABASES REMOVED

 

ALABAMA (Paula Webb)

Search for a degree program – Allows users to search for a degree program at any Alabama institution of higher education. A general keyword search which can be limited by degree level. Former URL – http://www.ache.state.al.us/PISearch/default.htm

 

WISCONSIN (Mark Rozmarynowski)

Utility Information Listing – maintained by the Public Service Commission. Search by utility name, PSC id number, industry (electricity, water, etc.) or service (holding company, local exchange carrier, etc.). Results list utility status, reporting class and address. Data may be exported to an Excel spreadsheet. Former URL – http://psc.wi.gov/apps/utility/content/findunf.aspx

 

A Roundup of Recent Government Info News and New Resources

Time once again for a selection of news and new resources that we hope will be an interest to the FGI community. The following posts are from INFOdocket.com (@infofodocket) where we compile and post new items daily. The oldest item in this roundup was posted on January 26, 2012.

1. President Requests $231,953,777 for Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)

2. MEDLINE/PubMed: List of Serials Indexed for Online Users, 2012 Now Available in XML

3. South Dakota: State Archives Going Digital

4. Recently Launched iOS App: United Nations News Reader from the UN News Centre

5. Full Text of Prepared Testimony: Librarian of Congress, Public Printer, & Others Testify at House Appropriations Committee Hearing (re: FY 2013 Budget)

6. Montana: “New State Librarian Leads Digitization”

7. Government Information: A New Issue of the FDLP Connection Newsletter is Now Online (Vol. 2, Issue 2)

8. New Reference Resource: PACrimeStats.Info (Pennsylvania Crime Data)

9. EPA Releases New Interactive Tool with Information About Water Pollution Across the U.S.

10. FEMA Grant Helps Restore New Orleans’ Katrina-Damaged Archives

11. Listen Online: National Park Service Releases Historic Audio Recordings Made by Thomas Edison’s Recording Engineer

12. New Feature: The World Factbook Now Allows Users to Listen to the National Anthems of Most Countries

13. U.S. Congress: THOMAS Adds Direct Links to House Committee Hearings

14. New Document from NIH: Public Access Policy Implications

15. New Database: See Who’s Donating to Super PACs

16. LOCPix: New iOS App Provides Access to Digitized Photos from the Library of Congress

17. New Interactive Reference Resource: State Transportation Facts and Figures

18. U.S. Congress: Financial Contributions: MapLight Launches New Company Pages

19. Let’s Fly! FAA Launches Mobile Web App

20. New Search Tool from the IRS: Exempt Organizations Select Check

Archives