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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.

WI Legislative Reference Bureau on Foreclosure Crisis

While not part of the GODORT Handout Exchange Wiki, I wanted to highlight a new guide from the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau:

Tap the Power: Foreclosure Crisis

The introduction to this annotated bibliography states:

With the collapse of the subprime mortgage market early in 2007, foreclosures reached crisis level, and the crisis continues today. In answer, federal, state, and local governments have implemented programs to help alleviate the problem and stabilize neighborhoods. This bibliography presents a selection of print and online resources about foreclosure and the programs implemented by states and the federal government to help homeowners.

I think the folks at the WI LRB deliver on this promise. A few of the resources highlighted include:

Characteristics and Performance of Nonprime Mortgages / U.S. Government Accountability Office. July 28, 2009. GAO was asked to examine the nonprime mortgage market to help inform congressional efforts to deal with the problems in the mortgage industry. www.gao.gov/new.items/d09848r.pdf

Foreclosure to Homelessness 2009: The Forgotten Victims of the Subprime Crisis / National Coalition for the Homeless, et al. 2009. (347.62/N21) One phenomenon of the current foreclosure crisis is that many homeowners who lose their homes end up not in apartments, but on the street. This report examines how this happens and makes policy recommendations.

“The Giant Pool of Money” / National Public Radio, This American Life, May 9, 2008, episode 355. This podcast of the episode, originally broadcast in 2008, provides a thorough summary of the housing crisis. Available in audio or transcript format. www.thisamericanlife.org/Radio_Episode.aspx?episode=355

Like the resources from the Handout Exchange, I encourage you to check out the whole guide. Regardless of where you live, I think you’ll find it worthwhile. I hope you’ll also find it just another example of the value that librarians offer over unorganized information.

Guide of the Week & Concluding Remarks

A Happy Independence Day to all of our US readers! May we live out the values enshrined in our founding document, including a sincere belief that all people are created equal and have inalienable rights no state can take away. Not even the United States.

This is going to be the last regular installment of “Guide of the Week” because I have hit two milestones. With this guide highlight, I will have hit every subject page at least once. With this week, I have done roughly a year’s worth of guide highlights as I started on July 12, 2008. I would end with July 11, 2009, except that I will be in Chicago attending the annual conference of the American Library Association. So it seems good to end this regular column today.

This isn’t the total end of highlighting materials from the ALA GODORT Handout Exchange, which you better have bookmarked by now. As I notice new guides being added, I will try and highlight them here. Additionally, if there seems to be an all consuming news topic that I can identify a relevant guide for, I’ll highlight it. We have created an archives page for past Guide of the Week features at http://freegovinfo.info/node/2654.

If you are a govdocs blogger, I hope you will use the Handout Exchange as a source of posts. And like I’ve been saying almost every week in the past year, if you are a docs librarian with a handout, I expect you to share it on the Exchange.

Housekeeping done, let’s move on to our last Guide of the Week:

Gender Equality (University of Colorado at Boulder Government Publications Library, 2008)

This annotated guide is divided into three sections: U.S. Information, International Information and Nongovernmental Sources. Some of the resources include:

In addition to this guide on Gender Equality, there are three other guides on women’s issues on the Exchange. They date from the late 1990s. Think that is too few from too long ago? Then link to your more current guide or handout on women-related government information resources!

Although I’ve now hit all of the guide subject pages from A to Z, there is much more to explore in the Handout Exchange Wiki. So go forth and explore. And if you’re a docs librarian, please link your favorite handout (or 12) to the Handout Exchange.

Guide of the Week Archives

This page links to all of our blog entries highlighting librarian produced guides linked to the American Library Association Government Documents Roundtable (ALA GODORT) Handout Exchange Wiki. The bulk of entries accessible from the link below came from our “Guide of the Week” series produced from July 12, 2008 – July 4, 2009. More recent entries will come from occasional blog posting highlighting selected new or newsworthy guides.

From their website, here is a description of the purpose of the Exchange:

The goal of this GODORT Education Committee project is to gather into one place the many tools available to government information librarians to assist in the successful management of electronic government information and in building advocacy skills to promote access to this information.

Please feel free to add your handouts, guides, and tutorials to the Exchange to assist your government information colleagues. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel. We can provide templates for one another to save time, share models, and work smarter.

Here are the most recent titles:


See all of the archived posts.

Librarian Guide to Honduras

By now, most FGI readers should know about the coup in Honduras.

You may not know that the ALA GODORT Handout Exchange has some resources to help people learn more about Honduras:

While not a handout nor in the Exchange, people interested in historic interactions between the United States and Honduras should check out the cross-agency Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Search put together by Stanford University’s Social Sciences Research Group and hosted by Archive-It.

Librarians – If you want to use library/govdoc resources in highlighting news stories or themes important to your audience, you don’t need to work alone. The Handout Exchange is there to help.

Guide of the Week: Treaty Research

Treaties exist between many nations on many subjects. From mutual defense to copyright to exchanging meteorological data, chances are there is at least one treaty between at least two nations on almost any subject you can think of. This week’s Guide of the Week will help you navigate this crowded field:

Treaty Research: Sources and Tips (Debbi Schaubman, Michigan State University, 1999) Last updated 10/27/2006 by Terri Miller.

This guide aims to be a starting point for the most important sources to treaty finding. It is divided into five sections:

  • General Bibliographies and Indexes: World Coverage
  • General Bibliographies and Indexes: Regional/National Coverage
  • Treaty Texts
  • Treaties between Native Americans and the United States or Canada
  • Tips for Tracking Recent Treaties and Treaty Actions

Some of the resources include:

In addition to Terri’s guide, there are currently at least six other guides on international treaties. Explore them all at http://wikis.ala.org/godort/index.php/Exchange_Subject_T#Treaties.