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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.

LII and Justia give “Oyez Project” a new home. Supreme Court audio to remain free!

This is great news. A few months ago, the news broke that Jerry Goldman, who ran the Oyez Project, was looking to retire and cash in his site for upwards of $1 million. I was afraid that some for-profit publisher like WestLaw of LexisNexis was going to scoop it up. But now it seems that there’s a new deal between Oyez, Cornell University’s Legal Information Institute (LII) and Justia, the online publisher of legal information, to keep Oyez alive and freely accessible. Public domain crisis averted!

Read more about it.

After months of uncertainty about its future, the Oyez Project, a free repository of more than 10,000 hours of U.S. Supreme Court oral-argument audio and other court resources, has found a new home.

The project’s founder, Jerry Goldman, who is retiring soon, told The National Law Journal on Tuesday that a newly minted arrangement with Cornell University’s Legal Information Institute and Justia, the online publisher of legal information, will keep Oyez alive.

“It’s a perfect match,” said Goldman, 71. “They will be great stewards.”

Launched in 1993, Oyez.org boasts nearly 9 million visits annually, ranging from students doing term papers to Supreme Court practitioners rehearsing upcoming arguments.

The Supreme Court has taped oral arguments for the last 60 years and deposited them with the National Archives. Oyez makes the audio available on its website with additional information, including searchable transcripts that are synchronized to the audio.

That makes it easy to hear the moment during arguments in the 2003 affirmative action case Grutter v. Bollinger when then-Chief Justice William Rehnquist addressed advocate Maureen Mahoney—a former law clerk of his—by her first name. Or, more recently, the time on March 27, 2012, when the late Justice Antonin Scalia compared the coverage mandate of the Affordable Care Act to an order that the public buy broccoli.

via ‘Oyez Project’ New Home Will Keep Supreme Court Audio Free to Public | National Law Journal.

Lunchtime listen: Free Culture Conference @ Berkeley

This is actually about a month of lunchtime listens / views! Last fall, there was a Free Culture Conference held at UC Berkeley. Now the entire slate of panelists can be seen on blip.tv. Speakers included a who’s who of internet law and free culture activists — Laurence Lessig, Pam Samuelson (who just wrote a paper on excessive copyright infringement awards!), our buddy Josh Trauberer of GovTrack.us, EFF’s Jason Schultz and many more!

Lunchtime listen: the audacity of government

I love love love [w:This_American_Life]. It’s at the top of my podcast list (along with [w:Studio_360] and [w:Radio_Lab]). The 3.28.08 episode, “The audacity of government” is particularly interesting from a govt information viewpoint. Ira Glass once again takes the strange but true anomaly, tells it in the first-person humanly and humanely to show the absurdity of, in this case, bureaucracy and governments. You can download it to your favorite audio player or listen online.

Act One. The Prez vs. The Commish.
Ira Glass tells the story of a little-known treaty dispute with far-reaching ramifications for our understanding of executive power. The dispute is between the President and one of his appointees…to the International Boundary Commission with Canada.

Act Two. This American Wife.
This American Life contributor Jack Hitt uncovers a strange practice within the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. If a foreign national marries a U.S. citizen and schedules an interview for a green card, but the U.S. citizen dies before the interview takes place, the foreign national is scheduled for deportation with no appeal—even if the couple has children who are U.S. citizens.

Act Three. 44.
Ira Glass interviews Charlie Savage, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for the Boston Globe, who’s written a book called Takeover: The Return of the Imperial Presidency and the Subversion of American Democracy about the ways the Bush Administration claims executive powers that other presidents haven’t claimed.

Lunchtime Listens: Info Island Project on Second Life

A recent SirsiDynix Institute presentation by Michael Sauers and Rhonda Trueman titled The Info Island Project on Second Life is a hour long overview of Second Life in general and library/university activities in Second Life in particular.

I was particularly surprised to find that the Kansas State Library has a Second Life branch. I’ll try to check it out sometime this week and get back to you if there is a govdocs angle.

This is a great presentation if you want to know what all the fuss is about. The talk even has a set of “reality checks” to help you decide whether you want to check out Second Life.

If I haven’t mentioned it before, I have to admit that I haven’t been active in Second Life for quite awhile and only just recently reinstalled the software. But I’m glad to see people with more time than I exploring and using these kinds of technology.

Lunchtime listens: code4lib conference

This is the first post of what we’re calling “Lunchtime listens.” The idea being that there’s LOTS of good audio/video out there of direct or peripheral interest to the documents community. We’re going to post them to FGI to make them more easily findable and give y’all something to do during your lunch breaks (alone or in groups as a brownbag viewing session 🙂 ) besides staring out the window (not that there’s anything *wrong* with staring out the window!). If you come across A/V that you’d like to share with FGI readers, please email us at admin AT freegovinfo DOT info.

And without further adieu, Check out the video from the 2007 code4lib conference in Athens, GA. Day one is online including keynote by Karen Schneider, Emily Lynema’s talk on “free the data,” breakout sessions and lightning talks. Their plan is to put video from the entire conference online. I know several people who went to Code4lib and were completely blown away by the energy, discussions, and community!

Code4lib is a “group for folks who are interested in the convergence of computers and library/information science.” In other words, they’re a growing community of library hackers, developers, open source advocates and fellow travelers who have an active listserv, irc channel etc for communication and support.