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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.

GAO report on Library of Congress


The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report last week that criticized management of information technology at the Library of Congress.

Here is a roundup of some of the news and commentary about the report:

America’s ‘national library’ is lacking in leadership, yet another report finds, By Peggy McGlone, Washington Post (March 31, 2015).

Watchdog: Library of Congress Lacks a Digital Blueprint – And Doesn’t Know How Much It Spends on Technology, By Jack Moore, NextGov (April 1, 2015).

GAO: Library of Congress continues to suffer poor IT management, By Stephanie Kanowitz, FierceGovIT (April 2, 2015).

Lawmakers want Library of Congress reforms but not librarian’s resignation, By Peggy McGlone, Washington Post (April 2, 2015).

Digital Neglect at the Library of Congress, By THE EDITORIAL BOARD, New York Times (April 5, 2015).

TechCrunch launches CrunchGov to track on government and tech policy-making

Here’s something to add to the ‘ol RSS reader (or twitter @crunchgov if that’s your thang. TechCrunch, one of the better sites for news and information about tech and the tech industry, today launched CrunchGov to track on government and tech policy-making. The site will have 3 three initial CrunchGov products (report card, policy database, and legislation crowdsourcing). Read more about it on their post explaining the CrunchGov roll-out as well as their methodology/FAQ behind the site.

Welcome to TechCrunch’s tech policy platform, CrunchGov, a portal for sourcing the most thoughtful people and ideas to facilitate more informed policymaking. Currently, it consists of three areas: a congressional report card, a database of technology legislation, and a crowdsourced legislative utility for contributing ideas to pending bills.

In the wake of mass online protests against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), officials were eager to learn more about the concerns of those who work in technology and find ways to craft more informed policy. CrunchGov is our attempt at helping policymakers become better listeners, and technologists to be more effective citizens.

Security and Privacy Controls for Federal Information Systems

“More than a year in the making, the National Institute of Standards and Technology issued Feb. 28 an initial public draft updating one of its premier special publications, Security and Privacy Controls for the Federal Information Systems and Organizations, which incorporates expanded privacy controls and addresses new threats that were unheard of when NIST issued revision 3 in 2009.” (NIST Updating Catalog of Controls, By Eric Chabrow, Bank Info Security, February 29, 2012.)

  • Security and Privacy Controls for the Federal Information Systems and Organizations, NIST Special Publication 800-53, Revision 4 (Initial Public Draft). NIST Joint Task Force Transformation Initiative, Gaithersburg, MD (February 2012).

    The purpose of this publication is to provide guidelines for selecting and specifying security controls for organizations and information systems supporting the executive agencies of the federal government to meet the requirements of FIPS 200, Minimum Security Requirements for Federal Information and Information Systems.

How to set up your own server

Would you like to run your own server? Do you feel you need a computer science degree and a huge amount of money to do that? Think again!

Dave Winer, who created RSS, has a new project called EC2 for Poets designed “to make cloud computing less mysterious by helping people through the process of setting up a server on Amazon EC2.” Amazon’s EC2 is its “Elastic Compute Cloud” which is “a web service that provides resizable compute capacity in the cloud. It is designed to make web-scale computing easier for developers.”

You can read about Dave’s project in this nice short piece on Wired magazine’s “webmonkey” site:

Scott explains that Dave wants us to “bust the mystique of servers,” break free of the corporate silos. He wants to start by focusing on corporate blogging sites like Twitter and Facebook. The idea is build “distributed systems that aren’t controlled by any single corporation or technology platform.”

Lunchtime Listen: Kundra on government IT problems

Vivek Kundra, Federal Chief Information Officer of the United States, spoke at the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Affairs in Seattle last week and outlined some of the current problems of government Information Technology and some of the approaches he is taking to address those problems.

See also:

  • Federal CIO Describes Problems, Changes in IT, by Nancy Gohring, IDG News Service (Mar 4, 2010).

    It takes the Veteran’s Administration 160 days to process benefits for veterans, he said. “That’s because the Veteran’s Administration is processing paperwork by passing manila folders from one desk to another”

    Another example of an outdated and inefficient agency is the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, which takes three years to process a patent, he said. “One reason is because the U.S. PTO receives these applications online, prints them out, and then someone manually rekeys the information into an antiquated system,” he said.

  • Federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra – Making Government Work: Closing the IT Gap to Deliver for the American People [Event Announcement] University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Affairs in Seattle, March 4, 2010.