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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.

Discussing DLC’s Title 44 Recommendations. Thoughts and questions

Depository Library Council (DLC) released its recommendations for Title 44 reform yesterday.

  • Title 44 Reform Recommendations from the DLC (October 03 2017) [PDF file].

These recommendations will be at the center of discussions at the upcoming Fall 2017 Depository Library Conference. The entire Monday afternoon session (October 16) will be devoted to a discussion of Title 44 with Depository Library Council (DLC).

A context for discussion

When we proposed changes to Title 44, we suggest that any recommendation for such change should address at least one of the following four principles.

  1. privacy
  2. free access and use
  3. preservation
  4. modernizing the scope of the FDLP

As we head into discussions of Title 44 at the upcoming DLC meeting, we suggest that attendees evaluate any Title 44 changes being recommended by turning those principles into questions:

    Does this recommendation…

  • protect the privacy of users?
  • help ensure long-term, free public access and use of government information?
  • help ensure the long-term preservation of government information?
  • modernize the scope of the FDLP for the digital age?

Analysis of DLC recommendations

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Hearing on Title 44 and FDLP libraries now available for viewing

For all you documents nerds out there, the Committee on House Administration’s hearing on GPO and the FDLP is now available for your viewing pleasure. All of the witnesses’ written testimonies are now also available from the Committee’s repository. I’m glad that the FDLP community was able to represent. Enjoy!


CHA Hearing on tuesday about Title 44 and “Transforming GPO for the 21st Century and Beyond”

Be sure to tune in this coming Tuesday for the Committee on House Administration’s hearing on Title 44 and the FDLP. It looks like it’ll be streaming from CHA’s Website. And if you haven’t yet done so, please sign our petition “Protect the public right to government information: help preserve and expand Title 44.” We’re at 779 signatures, which is pretty amazing considering the wonky nature of this petition. Keep it going!!

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COMMITTEE HEARING

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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

10:15 a.m. (eastern)

1310 Longworth House Office Building

Transforming GPO for the 21st Century and Beyond: Part 3 – Federal Depository Library Program

First Panel:

  • Ms. Laurie Hall, Acting Superintendent of Documents, Government Publishing Office

Second Panel:

  • Mr. Mike Furlough, Executive Director, HathiTrust Digital Library
  • Ms. Celina McDonald, Government Documents & Criminology Librarian, University of Maryland
  • Ms. Beth Williams, Library Director, Stanford Law School
  • Mr. Stephen Parks, State Librarian of Mississippi

via Hearing: Transforming GPO for the 21st Century and Beyond: Part 3 – Federal Depository Library Program | Committee on House Administration.

Threats and opportunities re Title 44. FGI audio & DLF, Harvard, MIT libraries’ letters in support of FGI recommendations

The Digital Library Federation’s Records Transparency and Accountability Group hosted FGI’er Jim Jacobs on August 18, 2017 to present about the threats to Title 44. They just posted the audio of Jim’s session on the DLF blog. Jim outlines the issues clearly and concisely, and makes an outstanding case for positive substantive changes to Title 44 based on the following 4 principles:

  • The law should ensure the privacy of users of government info.
  • The law should address the long-term preservation challenges posed by born-digital government information.
  • The law should protect free access and free use.
  • The law should modernize the scope of government information covered by chapter 19 for the digital age.

I was also pleased to read that the DLF was about to send a letter in support of Title 44 based on Stanford UL Michael Keller’s letter. Along with Stanford, several other large academic libraries have now weighed in: The University librarians at the 11 University of California campuses, Harvard University and MIT Libraries are now on record in support of title 44 changes based on these same principles!

I hope these letters show how much the library community supports the FDLP and helps our library associations make the case for the need for better access to and preservation of govt information via a positive update of Title 44. We still need many more library directors to write letters in support to the Committee on house Administration and the Joint Committee on Printing.

BTW, our petition “Protect the public right to government information: help preserve and expand Title 44” is at 695 signatures and still climbing! Help us get to 1000 signatures!!

These Advocates Want to Make Sure Our Data Doesn’t Disappear

Here’s another story about data rescue and the preservation of government information, this time from PC Magazine UK. Though the last data refuge event was in Denton, TX in May and the 2016 End of Term crawl has finished its collection work and will soon have its 200TB of data publicly accessible, there still remains much interest — and not a little bit of worry — about the collection and preservation of govt information and data. And with stories continuing to come out — eg this one from the Guardian entitled “Another US agency deletes references to climate change on government website” — about the US government agencies scrubbing or significantly altering their Websites, this issue will not be going away any time soon.

“Somewhere around 20 percent of government info is web-accessible,” said Jim (sic.) Jacobs, the Federal Government Information Librarian at Stanford University Library. “That’s a fairly large chunk of stuff that’s not available. Though agencies have their own wikis and content management systems, the only time you find out about some of it is if someone FOIAs it.”

To be sure, a great deal of information was indeed captured and now resides on non-government servers. Between Data Refuge events and projects such as the 2016 End-of-Term Crawl, over 200TB of government websites and data were archived. But rescue organizers began to realize that piecemeal efforts to make complete copies of terabytes of government agency science data could not realistically be sustained over the long term—it would be like bailing out the Titanic with a thimble.

So although Data Rescue Denton ended up being one of the final organized events of its kind, the collective effort has spurred a wider community to work in concert toward making more government data discoverable, understandable, and usable, Jacobs wrote in a blog post.

via Feature: These Advocates Want to Make Sure Our Data Doesn’t Disappear.

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