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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.

Govtrack’s new crystall ball … er … Docket page

Our pal Josh Tauberer at Govtrack.us wrote recently that he’s started a new Docket page on which readers can now know up to a week ahead when a bill is scheduled to come to the floor of the House or Senate. He was able to cobble together the data needed to do this because of the freely available — and new — House website called docs.house.gov and Senate.gov where the Senate’s floor for the next day is published. And don’t forget to follow govtrack for tweets on the upcoming bills. Way to use structured, open government data, Josh!!

Reminder: legacy American FactFinder to be discontinued January 20, 2012

Just a reminder to all my docs librarian peeps: The American FactFinder’s old interface (which many think is easier to use than their new interface!) is going away and American FactFinder2 will be the default interface to access data and statistics from the US Census Bureau. I hope FactFinder2 will make links to the 1990 census and older data sets (see the list below) VERY transparent. It’s a real shame that those older data sets won’t be accessible via the new search interface but only via FTP.

The Census Bureau will be ending the legacy version of American FactFinder on January 20. Any deep links into the discontinued system will no longer work, including links to:

  • 1990 Census
  • 2000-2004 American Community Survey
  • 2000-2001 Supplementary Survey
  • 1997 Economic Census
  • 2003 Annual Survey of Manufactures
  • 2003 Nonemployer Statistics

These products will only be available through an archived FTP format. All other current and previous year data from the American Community Survey, Puerto Rico Community Survey, Annual Population Estimates, Economic Census, and Annual Economic Surveys are available in the new American FactFinder. Access the how-to guide for Building Deep Links into the New American Factfinder to learn how to create links.

ALA Annual GODORT Update Meeting: “Need Data – but don’t know where to go?”

More Gov Info Presentations @ ALA Annual

If you are going to the ALA Annual 2009 Conference in Chicago next week, please come to the “ALA Unconference” where I will be leading a broad discussion on Friday, July 10th from 11:10-12:00 on the library’s role in current & emerging trends of civic engagement, transparency, preservation and access to Government information. The supporting materials and presentation will be linked in the Unconference wiki.

Also, please come to the LITA BIGWIG Social Software Showcase to discuss and learn about Government Information Mashups! I will be presenting on this topic and would love to have you help out and/or join in on the conversation! The presentation will be posted on their website but the face to face portion of the BIGWIG Showcase presentations will take place Monday, July 13th from 10:30am – 12:30pm in the McCormick Convention Center West, Room W-184.

Lunchtime listen: Tim Berners-Lee on government data

I just read Tim Berners-Lee‘s notes on putting government data online. I must say, when TBL describes it, it sounds like a piece of cake 🙂 The key seems to be the use of linked data. It’s a snap; let’s do it! RAW DATA NOW!!




Footnote: Do’s and Don’ts

* Do pick URIs which are likely to be persistent
* Do put RDF metadata giving the license.
* Do use the RDF and SPARQL standards
* Make sure your human readable pages are accessible.

* Do NOT hide data files inside zip files unless they are also available directly.
* Do NOT put data up in proprietary formats.
* Do NOT wait until you have a complete schema or ontology to publish data.
* Do NOT seek to replace existing data systems.

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