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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.

Air Force scrubs Drone airstrike statistics from their site

According to the Air Force Times, the Air Force has reversed their policy of sharing monthly statistics on the number of airstrikes launched from drones (aka remotely piloted aircraft (RPA)). In the interest of access and transparency, we’ve posted the original statistics from December ’12, January ’13, and February ’13.

As scrutiny and debate over the use of remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) by the American military increased last month, the Air Force reversed a policy of sharing the number of airstrikes launched from RPAs in Afghanistan and quietly scrubbed those statistics from previous releases kept on their website.

Last October, Air Force Central Command started tallying weapons releases from RPAs, broken down into monthly updates. At the time, AFCENT spokeswoman Capt. Kim Bender said the numbers would be put out every month as part of a service effort to “provide more detailed information on RPA ops in Afghanistan.”

The Air Force maintained that policy for the statistics reports for November, December and January. But the February numbers, released March 7, contained empty space where the box of RPA statistics had previously been.

Additionally, monthly reports hosted on the Air Force website have had the RPA data removed — and recently.

Those files still contained the RPA data as of Feb. 16, according to archived web pages accessed via Archive.org. Metadata included in the new, RPA-less versions of the reports show the files were all created Feb. 22.

New Blogging Team for Lost Docs Blog

On behalf of Free Government Information (FGI), I am pleased to announce that a three member team of volunteers is taking over the posting and management of the Lost Docs Blog at lostdocs.freegovinfo.info. Your new maintainers are:

Meredith Johnston – Self described independent scholar with an MLIS and a MA. GODORT member since 2007.

Jeffrey Hartsell-Gundy – Government Information & Law Librarian of the Miami University Libraries. He blogs documents for the University at www.lib.muohio.edu/blog/71.

John Cash – Catalog specialist at Wells Library, Indiana University with over 10 years worth of documents experience.

We at FGI are pleased that these three documents community members are stepping forward to continue the process of illuminating the fugitive document submissions to GPO. How the blog works will remain the same. Keep sending your fugitive documents receipts from GPO to lostdocs@freegovinfo.info.

I am still in the process of training the new team in posting, tagging and reporting on new fugitive reports. Thanks in advance for your continuing patience during this transition time.

September 2010 Lost Docs Report and Appeal

REPORT

In September 2010, we posted 31 “lost docs” e-mail receipts sent by GPO to the librarians who reported these missing documents. These civic minded librarians in turn e-mailed us their receipts. How many reports did GPO receive? Only they know, but the more people who send their fugitive docs e-mail receipts to lostdocs@freegovinfo.info, the more accurate our count will be.

Of the 31 reported items that were posted to the blog in September, seven items have been cataloged by GPO since the initial report. You can view this list by visiting lostdocs.freegovinfo.info/category/found/ and looking at the postings with September 2010 dates. We are appreciative of these new records.

Actually, if you view the list of “found” documents, you’ll notice 12 entries, five of which are also marked “fugitive.” In these five instances, we have been provided a note that GPO intends to catalog these items. However there was no publicly available record in the Catalog of Government Publications (CGP) when we searched those titles.

We will take the “fugitive” tag off those records if we’re made aware of a CGP record

In our view, eight of the items reported to GPO and posted to the blog in January were either out of scope for the Catalog of Government Publications (CGP) or were already in the catalog. You can view these items by visiting lostdocs.freegovinfo.info/category/false/ and looking for items with March 2010 dates.

Most of these “false positive” items relate to the recent Deepwater Horizon oil spill and may reflect proactive activity on GPO’s part to get any oil spill related documents. If so, we commend them.

APPEAL

If you like the concept of a public listing of fugitive documents reported to GPO, there are a number of easy ways to help us:

  1. If you report a fugitive document to GPO, send your e-mailed receipt to lostdocs@freegovinfo.info. We welcome any item reported to GPO in the past month. It is best if you can send us the receipt the same day you get it from GPO. Some e-mail programs will support auto-forwarding. If so, please consider autoforwarding items where the subject contains “lostdocs submission.”
  2. Visit the blog at lostdocs.freegovinfo.info and comment on the listed items. Comments can include — Did your library receive the item? Did you find it in the CGP? Do you think the item is out of scope for the CGP? Did you report the item as well and so on.
  3. Post the blog link to your website or share it on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media.
  4. Subscribe to the blog feed at lostdocs.freegovinfo.info/feed/
    or better yet incorporate the feed into your website or blog.

August 2010 Lost Docs Report and Appeal


A special appeal to lostdocs reporters: please try to send us your report receipts the same day you receive them from GPO. While all reports are appreciated, sending reports as you receive them makes for a smoother workflow that better reflects when lostdocs/document discovery reports are received by GPO.

If you use Microsoft Outlook for e-mail, you can set up a rule to send your lostdocs reports to lostdocs@freegovinfo.info automatically. Check out these two YouTube videos to see how to create rules in Outlook:


REPORT

August 2010 was a deceptively light month. We only posted nine lostdocs reports. I say “deceptively light” because we received only a handful of reports until late August, when we received approximately 50 reports in two days. These reports were made from late June through late August. What couldn’t be posted for August is being posted for September. Don’t let this backlog stop you from sending us your current reports.

I’m excited to report that of the nine reports we were able to post last month, four were quickly cataloged by GPO. You can view this list by visiting lostdocs.freegovinfo.info/category/found/ and looking at the postings with August 2010 dates. We are appreciative of these new records and note that the cataloged documents were all oil spill related. GPO is matching effort to newsworthiness and we commend them for it.

No false positives were found in our small sample.

APPEAL

If you like the concept of a public listing of fugitive documents reported to GPO, there are a number of easy ways to help us:

  1. If you report a fugitive document to GPO, send your e-mailed receipt to lostdocs@freegovinfo.info. We welcome any item reported to GPO in the past month. It is best if you can send us the receipt the same day you get it from GPO. Some e-mail programs will support auto-forwarding. If so, please consider autoforwarding items where the subject contains “lostdocs submission.”
  2. Visit the blog at lostdocs.freegovinfo.info and comment on the listed items. Comments can include — Did your library receive the item? Did you find it in the CGP? Do you think the item is out of scope for the CGP? Did you report the item as well and so on.
  3. Post the blog link to your website or share it on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media.
  4. Subscribe to the blog feed at lostdocs.freegovinfo.info/feed/
    or better yet incorporate the feed into your website or blog.

July 2010 Lost Docs Report and Appeal

Note: There was no report for June 2010 owing to scheduling difficulties. Reports sent to us in late May through July were posted in July.

REPORT

In July 2010, we posted 32 “lost docs” e-mail receipts sent by GPO to the librarians who reported these missing documents. These civic minded librarians in turn e-mailed us their receipts.

Of the 32 reported items that were posted to the blog in July, two items have been cataloged by GPO since the initial report. You can view this list by visiting lostdocs.freegovinfo.info/category/found/ and looking at the postings with July 2010 dates. We are appreciative of these new records.

This month we reluctantly concluded that two of the items reported to GPO and posted to the blog in July were already in the Catalog of Government Publications. You can view these items by visiting lostdocs.freegovinfo.info/category/false/ and looking for items with July 2010 dates.

We say “reluctantly concluded” because of two factors. First, the people who made these particular reports have a reputation for checking the catalog before submitting their reports. Second, both of these reports were for electronic documents and it appears from the 005 Marc fields that the records were worked on after the date of the fugitive document report. This almost sounds like URLs were added to a preexisting record. Were this the case, then we’d class these two e-docs as “found” rather than “false positive”. But since the most recently published GPO cataloging policy we’re aware of says they create new records for every format, we can’t say for certain that adding a URL to an existing print record is what happened.

If you have a good explanation for these records or are aware of a change in GPO cataloging policy, please let us know.

APPEAL

If you like the concept of a public listing of fugitive documents reported to GPO, there are a number of easy ways to help us:

  1. If you report a fugitive document to GPO, send your e-mailed receipt to lostdocs@freegovinfo.info. We welcome any item reported to GPO in the past month. It is best if you can send us the receipt the same day you get it from GPO. Some e-mail programs will support auto-forwarding. If so, please consider autoforwarding items where the subject contains “lostdocs submission.”
  2. Visit the blog at lostdocs.freegovinfo.info and comment on the listed items. Comments can include — Did your library receive the item? Did you find it in the CGP? Do you think the item is out of scope for the CGP? Did you report the item as well and so on.
  3. Post the blog link to your website or share it on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media.
  4. Subscribe to the blog feed at lostdocs.freegovinfo.info/feed/
    or better yet incorporate the feed into your website or blog.

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