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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.

Legislation Email Alerts on Congress.gov

Here’s good news from Andrew Weber, Legislative Information Systems Manager at the Law Library of Congress. Congress.gov now has alerts for Members of Congress, Legislation and Congressional Record!

Moving from a 20-year-old system to our new, modern Congress.gov platform has many advantages. One of these is that, starting today, email alerts are available on Congress.gov.  There are three different types of alerts in this initial release: Member of Congress, legislation, and the Congressional Record.  Bill and member alerts were an often-requested feature on THOMAS and I’m excited that we are now able to fulfill those requests in the new system. You can now get an email alert letting you know that a specific Member of Congress (from the current Congress) has either sponsored or cosponsored legislation.  There will be up to one email a day that links to new sponsored and cosponsored bills.

[HT to beSpacific.]

Be the Bill: Legislative Explorer visualizes the legislative process

This is what open data can do. Check out Legislative Explorer, an interactive visualization that allows anyone to explore actual patterns of lawmaking in Congress, compare bills and resolutions introduced by Senators and Representatives and follow their progress from the beginning to the end of a two year Congress. You can filter by topic, type of legislation, chamber, party, member, or even search for a specific bill.

Legislative Explorer draws from an underlying relational database that includes information about the legislative histories, topics and sponsors of more than 250,000 bills and resolutions (1973-present). The database is updated nightly to reflect changes in the status of current bills.

  • The Library of Congress, THOMAS website (including Congress.gov)
  • E. Scott Adler and John Wilkerson, The Congressional Bills Project
  • Josh Tauberer, Govtrack.us and Unitedstates/Congress GitHub
  • Charles Stewart and Jonathon Woon, Congressional Committees dataset
  • Keith Poole, VoteView

Legislative Explorer data is updated nightly. More detailed descriptions of the data sources and bulk downloads are available at: http://cappp.org/index.php/data.

HT to Cass Hartnett who posted about this on govdoc-l.

August 2012 LoC Digital Preservation newsletter now available

Hot off the presses, the August 2012 Library of Congress Digital Preservation Newsletter is now available. In this issue:

  • Summary of DigitalPreservation 2012
  • Rescuing the Tangible from the Intangible
  • From AIP to Zettabyte: Comparing Glossaries
  • One Family’s Digital Archiving Project
  • Fighting the Battle for Fleeting Attention
  • Profile of William Kilbride
  • Training Digital Curators
  • Upcoming Events (Designing Storage Architectures, NDIIPP at Book Festival and others)
  • Meetings Roundup (Open Repositories, Preserving Online Science, Data Intensive Research)
  • Resources (Digital Disaster Planning, Digital Preservation in a Box, and others)

Happy reading!

Chronicling America Has a New Look!

Gary has a nice summary of how Chronicling America Has a New Look! (INFOdocket, by Gary D. Price, May 29, 2011).

Chronicling America is a Website providing access to information about historic newspapers and select digitized newspaper pages, and is produced by the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP). NDNP, a partnership between the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Library of Congress (LC), is a long-term effort to develop an Internet-based, searchable database of U.S. newspapers with descriptive information and select digitization of historic pages. Supported by NEH, this rich digital resource will be developed and permanently maintained at the Library of Congress. An NEH award program will fund the contribution of content from, eventually, all U.S. states and territories.


Public Contributions to Library of Congress Flickr Commons

A good story with a slide show.

  • History Detectives, by Emily Long, NextGov (05/24/2010)
  • slideshow of some of the photos posted to Flickr with sample comments submitted by the public about the image.

“In January 2008, the Library launched a pilot project with the photo-sharing website Flickr to display publicly held photography collections. The site, called the Commons, offers the public easier access to collections housed in organizations such as the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Institution, and, hopefully, gathers more details about specific images.”