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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.

“Chat with GPO” Session on Authentication

Today I attended the “Chat with GPO” OPAL session, which focused on authentication and authentication for FDLP partners.Ted Priebe, GPO’s Director of Library Planning & Development (LPD) and Lisa Russell, the Manager of LPD’s Content Management unit presented material and answered questions.

Basically, LSCM wants to partner with Federal Depository Libraries and find ways to authenticate content hosted by the FDL partners. The digital signatures of authentication will indicate partnership with the FDL institution and the contact information for that institution. This is great news, especially for those FDLs also interested in hosting digital content in partnership with GPO.

The authentication session is archived on the GPO OPAL site.

Economist Interview with Brewster Kahle of Internet Archive

The Economist has an online article “The Internet’s Librarian” that is also in the March 5th, 2009 print edition.

…the founder of the Internet Archive explains what has driven him for more than a decade. “We are trying to build Alexandria 2.0,” says Mr Kahle with a wide-eyed, boyish grin. Sure, and plenty of people are trying to abolish hunger, too.

It would be easy to dismiss Mr Kahle as an idealistic fruitcake, but for one thing: he has an impressive record when it comes to setting lofty goals and then lining up the people and technology needed to get the job done. “Brewster is a visionary who looks at things differently,” says Carole Moore, chief librarian at the University of Toronto. “He is able to imagine doing things that everyone else thinks are impossible. But then he does them.”

This is probably my favorite quote:

“Come back when you have a warrant,” reads the floor mat underneath his office recliner. It was a gift from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (an activist group on whose board Mr Kahle sits) after Mr Kahle refused to hand over information about one of the Internet Archive’s users to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 2007.

I only wish more interviews with Brewster would discuss the plethora of government documents that are in Internet Archive. It’s a valuable resource and it keeps growing!

Gov Doc Art

Check out my cousin Gabriel Troy’s artwork using government documents.

He says about this sculpture, “Federal Paperwork Burden”: “I wanted to make these Government documents accessible and inaccessible at the same time. The books are fixed by tension without a back or shelf.”

He also took pages from government documents and painted over them: “These pages were cut from documents pertaining to business, agriculture, industry, and domestic issues. I have added structures to house the information.”

e-Government in the UK vs US

My previous post got me thinking about how other countries are handling government information and/or e-Government service and comparing it to our situation. Then I started reminiscing about my recent travels to London. While I was there, I paid a visit to the Parliament Bookstore and browsed their shelf of “Daily Parliament Publications”. It made me smile to see how similar it was to the GPO Bookstore! So when I returned home, I did some investigating online to see how they handle printing of their official government publications and initiatives of e-government services they are working on.

According to the Brookings Institute study, Great Britain’s e-Government status ranks 35 out of 197 which I find hard to believe. I would’ve ranked them much higher, but then again, I’m not an expert and didn’t conduct the study. The study praises their government web portal, Direct Gov, which puts “public services all in one place” according to their logo. Their promotional video cracks me up but it makes some great points! In some ways it’s quite similar to USA.gov.

I also enjoy looking at their Parliament homepage and the online Bills and Legislation section. To learn more about Great Britain’s progress in e-Government, go to governmentontheweb.org and read the status reports by the National Audit Office. The report states that “The Office of the e-Envoy (OeE) should be more active in monitoring and reporting departments’ progress in putting services online, their take-up by the public, and the quality and use made of departments’ websites” and “Digital certificates are used by some organisations for authentication but they can be costly and time-consuming for citizens and business to obtain. The OeE should work with IT industry to ease this process”. Surprisingly, there is little mention of digital preservation of government information but there is a whole page devoted to the issue at the UK National Archive’s site.

Also, the nearest British equivalent to GPO would be the Office of Public Sector Information(formerly known as Her Majesty’s Stationary Office) and The Stationary Office Not sure if they have a depository library system like we do though…but they mention that “all local authority funded public libraries are eligible to receive a subsidy on official publications. The subsidy is given to facilitate public access to legislation, Parliamentary and Government materials”.

Anyway, I just thought that was interesting and wanted to pass the information along. Do you know of any other countries that have spectacular e-Government services? I want to check out what the German government is doing online…thank goodness Ich spreche Deutsch!

Help USGS Find the Missing!

While searching at the USGS Publications Warehouse, I noticed one of the available tabs was MIA.

Clicking on this tab brought me to the MIA Publication page, where USGS asked the public’s help in tracking down missing publications. Here’s their explanation:

Listed below are all the USGS series that are currently or will soon be loaded into the Publication Warehouse. Each series may have missing report numbers or unverifiable citations.

Missing report numbers are gaps in the numbering sequence of a series. We do not know if the report was ever released or if there is a reason why the report number was skipped. These reports may have been cancelled, recalled, or destroyed. Report numbers may have been issued in blocks and some may never have been used.

Unverified citations Unverified citations are citations for any publication where there was some information about the publication available but that information could not be confirmed, the publication itself has not been found, and we are not sure if the publication was actually released. Many of the unverified reports were found referenced by other publications as “in press”.

Please visit the site for a list of the missing and help out if you can. You’ll be responsible for putting more government information on the web.