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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
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.
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:
- fax: 301-837-3698
- NARA (ACRA), 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park MD 20740-6001.
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.
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.
See the full story of the last week’s changes by visiting http://tinyurl.com/statedbs. Below are some highlights of the week.
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.
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.
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
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.