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James and I are writing a book on preserving government information. In the course of researching the book, we find ourselves hunting down government publications that we need but that are not available from the government or from any FDLP library. Each of these documents has its own explanation for why it is missing and each explanation tells a story about the gaps in preservation of government information.
This is one of those stories. Think of this as a long footnote to a future book.
In 2002, Congress established the Interagency Committee on Government Information (ICGI). One of its charges (more…)
Thanks to the Environmental Data and Governance Initiative (EDGI) for releasing the Federal Environmental Web Tracker. This tool is a public dataset of searchable records of approximately 1,500 significant changes to federal agency environmental webpages under the Trump administration, these changes were almost always precursors or responses to policy changes. These changes came from a “list of 25,000 federal Web pages related to climate, energy, and the environment, including pages for 20 federal agencies such as EPA, NOAA, and NASA.” Here’s the Tracker’s explanatory page for more context and background.
EDGI continues to do important work in tracking the federal .gov Web domain. EDGI’s work goes hand in hand with the work of the End of Term Web Archive which has harvested the .gov/.mil Web space every 4 years since 2008 and is now deep into its 2020 harvest. And we’re still accepting nominations, so go to the End of Term Nomination Tool hosted by the University of North Texas (UNT) library. Help us collect a snapshot of the federal Web domain!
Today, the Environmental Data & Governance Initiative (EDGI) publishes searchable records of approximately 1,500 changes to federal agency environmental webpages under the Trump administration. For four years, EDGI’s website monitoring team has identified and catalogued significant changes to federal websites using their open source monitoring software. EDGI’s Federal Environmental Web Tracker makes records of significant changes publicly available.
The information that’s available on federal websites can have important policy implications. As EDGI has often reported over the past four years, changes to the information that’s available on federal websites are almost always precursors or responses to policy changes. Federal websites provide information that the public is likely to access before commenting on a proposed rule to learn about current regulatory efforts, the science underlying a new policy decision, or likely impacts of a proposed rule. The information found (or not found) on a federal website can impact public participation in regulatory processes.
In the weeks after Trump’s election in November 2016, newly-formed EDGI compiled a list of 25,000 federal web pages related to climate, energy, and the environment, including pages for 20 federal agencies such as EPA, NOAA, and NASA. First using proprietary software and then building and using novel open source software, EDGI has compared versions of these web pages weekly since January 2017. This new dataset represents the documented changes that EDGI’s website monitoring team flagged as significant in some way over the past four years.
EDGI’s Federal Environmental Web Tracker gives journalists, academic researchers, and the public data that can be used to provide insight, documentation, and analysis of the information policies and priorities of the Trump administration.
The Federal Environmental Web Tracker will be updated quarterly as EDGI continues to monitor federal environmental websites.
Here’s a very interesting interview with Leslie Johnston, the director of digital preservation at NARA, in which she describes “cloud-to-cloud” data transfers as a key process to MARA’s digital preservation efforts. This is another form of “digital deposit” that we’ve been discussing in our GPO digital deposit working group and I hope that we in the FDLP community can explore further. It would be so amazing to have a system in place – and legislation to support said system! – to transfer records from agencies to NARA and publications from agencies to GPO.
Leslie Johnston, Director of Digital Preservation at the U.S. National Archives, explains how NARA’s new Digital Preservation Framework is helping agencies transfer their records to the National Archives cloud as part of a digitization effort driven by law
The Preservation of Electronic Government Information (PEGI) Project has now finished its 2-year IMLS grant work and have just published its final report Toward a Shared Agenda: Report on PEGI Project Activities for 2017-2019. Please have a read and send any feedback on the report and our next steps to firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @PEGIProject. And stay tuned for more good work from PEGI Project!
This report provides a summary of work completed by the Preservation of Electronic Government Information (PEGI) project from 2017 to 2019. The PEGI Project seeks to address national concerns regarding the preservation of electronic government information by cultural memory organizations for long term use by the public.
A significant part of our efforts in 2018 focused on analyzing the possibility of using the Collective Impact model to organize collaborative preservation work. This report shares an overview of project activities and conversations, analysis of the findings, and presents next steps for project activities.
Authored by Dr. Martin Halbert, Roberta Sittel, Dr. Katherine Skinner, Deborah Caldwell, Marie Concannon, James R. Jacobs, Shari Laster, and Scott Matheson.
This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services #LG-88-17-0129-17. We are grateful to James Neal for his support and encouragement as our program officer. For more information about the project, please visit the official project website.
Government information relies heavily on the PDF format. Indeed, PDF files are used so widely that it is tempting for us to assume that PDF files are, by definition, a safe way of preserving information for the long term. Would it surprise you to learn that the Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC) lists PDF files as “Endangered” and that even PDF/A files are “Vulnerable”?
These judgements are in the DPC’s newest list of “digitally endangered species.”
- The ‘Bit List’ of Digitally Endangered Species. Digital Preservation Coalition (2019).
The Bit List includes 74 content types and groups them (more…)