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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.

AASL names NARA’s Digital Classroom one of Top Websites for Teaching and Learning

The American Association of School Librarians (AASL) has named the The National Archives’ Digital Classroom as one of the Top 25 Websites for Teaching and Learning.

Case Study in Historical Fact Checking

[Update 5/9/10: Thanks to Debbie Rabina for sending me a copy of her article and allowing us to post here (PDF). On a side note, how long will it be until ALA goes open access with all of their publications? Librarians should be walking the open access walk!]

I’d like to briefly commend this article from the Spring 2010 issue of DttP: Documents to the People:

Rabina, Debbie. “Ted Kennedy’s Speech at the 1980 Democratic National Convention: Researching Pre-digital government information in the Digital Age.” DttP: Documents to the People (2010) v. 38, no. 1: 18-22.

This article is notable for two reasons. It is a fine example of using current events to leverage interest in government information. The article also serves as a good “how-to” guide on evaluating factual claims past and present. Aside from these two main benefits the article demonstrates the continuing relevance of print resources while showing the usefulness of electronic resources. It rejects a “paper vs. electronic” version of the world in favor of a “both/and” approach.

As far as I can tell, this article is not available electronically, but could be acquired through interlibrary loan at your local library.

DttP: Documents to the People is aimed at government information librarians, but I believe it would be useful to transparency advocates and researchers of all stripes. Check it out if you can. I find it an important benefit of my membership in the Government Documents Roundtable of ALA.

Public Data on Private Schools

The Washington Post has a story today about “a little-known database on the Department of Education’s Web site” — the Private School Universe Survey (PSS):

Private schools have a reputation for being, well, private. Private about their size, private about their students, private about rates of college-bound students.

The information on their Web sites, which is sometimes meager, and the material that a pesky parent can wrangle from an admissions director sometimes seem to be all that is available to interested families.

But a little-known database on the Department of Education’s Web site has a surprisingly comprehensive profile of the nation’s private schools.

The Private School Universe Survey, part of the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics, is a biennial roundup of private schools with information on enrollment, demographics, college attendance rates and number of days in the school year.

Student video contest

In conjunction with the President’s speech to students on Tuesday, Sept. 8, The Department of Education is sponsoring a video contest for students. More information will be available at http://www.ed.gov/iamwhatilearn/index.html .

From the announcement :

To further encourage student engagement, the U.S. Department of Education is launching the “I Am What I Learn” video contest. On September 8, we will invite students to respond to the president’s challenge by creating videos, up to two minutes in length, describing the steps they will take to improve their education and the role education will play in fulfilling their dreams.

We invite all students age 13 and older to create and upload their videos to YouTube by October 8. Submissions can be in the form of video blogs, public service announcements (PSAs), music videos, or documentaries. Students are encouraged to have fun and be creative with this project! The general public will then vote on their favorites to determine the top 20 finalists. These 20 videos will be reviewed by a panel of judges including U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. The panel will choose three winners, each of whom will receive a $1,000 cash prize.

Ranking America

I came across Ranking America this evening. It provides information on the United States. Particularly, it compares America with other countries and also ranks it in terms of issues such as education, economy, environment etc. The information on this website has been compiled by Mark Rice, a professor of American Studies in a college in New York.