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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.

Only Half of Dot-Gov Sites are Active, GSA Reports

From a NextGov Article:

Nearly one-fifth of federal Web domains are inactive and one-fourth redirect to other dot-gov sites, according to an inventory conducted between August and October.

Active government domains employ 150 different content management systems, a hodgepodge of design templates that vary wildly from one division to the next, and a host of different performance metrics, according to a report compiled by the General Services Administration and the Office of Management and Budget.


The report lists 1,489 total government Web domains and about 11,000 websites.


At most of the inactive sites in the report, agencies appear to own the Web domain name but are no longer maintaining it. Some sites mayhave been shut down as part of the reform initiative, though.

Read the Complete Article

Direct to State of the Federal Web Report (61 pages; PDF)

GSA Turns To GPO’s Partnership With Google To Offer Free Government Publications Online

Press Release from GPO:

No. 11-17


WASHINGTON-The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) is working with the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) and GPO’s relationship with the Google Book Partner Program to make popular Government publications available for free electronic download through Google. The program is making available 100 consumer-related Federal Government publications distributed through GSA’s Federal Citizen Information Center (FCIC) on Google Books. The public can view and download PDF copies of these publications on desktops, laptops, and various e-readers. The FCIC plans to add more consumer publications to the program. The public can also order hard copies of the publications on Google Books and through the GPO’s Online Bookstore. The FCIC will coordinate delivery through GPO’s Public Documents Distribution Center in Pueblo, Colorado.

“GPO and GSA have been partners in distributing federal government publications to the American people for 40 years,” said GPO’s Business Products & Services Managing Director Herb Jackson. “GPO looks forward to expanding that partnership with Google in providing the public with free electronic access to popular consumer publications.”

Help GovGab with Web 2.0 Comments

Our friends over at GovGab have started a conversation about web 2.0 tools at http://blog.usa.gov/roller/govgab/entry/government_in_the_web_2 we think you should join.

After some introduction that I encourage you to read on their site, they say:

So, America, I pose a question to you… What do you think of government agencies using social media tools like blogs, RSS feeds, podcasts, YouTube, Flickr, widgets, and microblogs to reach out and give you information? Is it good? Bad? Are there ways you’d like the government to provide information that we haven’t thought of or addressed yet? After all, we’re public servants and we’re here to serve, so let us know what you want and need.

So far they’ve got nine comments, all of them interesting. Some are from government employees explaining why their agencies aren’t terribly social. Sometimes there good reasons. Read Ray’s comment dated 4/11/2008, 2:05pm to see an example.

The thread has also shown that the GovGab folks are really listening. A poster called lentigogirl noted that GovGab’s Flickr pictures were tagged “All Rights Reserved” when photographs produced by the government should be public domain.

Within a few hours, GovGab blogger Sommer came back with this response:


Thanks for the heads up on the Flickr photos. I hadn’t noticed the photos were labeled “all rights reserved” before. Whenever I view our photos I’m logged into the account and that piece of information isn’t displayed to you on your own account.

I’ve done some research on Flickr and they don’t offer an option to set your photos for the public domain. The closest I can come for now is designating them “Attribution-NoDerivs Creative Commons” (for more info http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/3.0/). Also see the Flickr Help Forum for more information on this topic: http://www.flickr.com/search/forum/?q=photos%20in%20public
Based on comments in the Help Forum I think the best solution might be to just tag all our photos with a “public domain” tag.

Thanks for teaching me more about Flickr — it really is all about communicating with each other!

Have a great weekend!

Now THAT is responsiveness. As regular FGI readers know, I’ve really enjoyed GovGab from day one. I think they do a terrific job. So now that they’re asking for input on Web 2.0 stuff, I hope you’ll take a moment to help them out by sharing your opinion. Then I hope that more agencies will use GovGab and the USA.gov as service benchmarks for responsiveness.

GSA goes to Eagle Eye for contract, grant data

FCW.com article on grants/contracts database:
No registration required.

The General Services Administration intends to issue a sole-sourcing purchase order to Eagle Eye Publishers for custom programming services as the agency works to put federal contract and grant information into an easily searchable public database.