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President Obama was sworn in on January 20th, but we’re still continuing the “75 days until Government Information Liberation” inspired
“Guide of the Week: Transition Issues edition until we finish all of the 13 “urgent issues” identified by the GAO.
The Government Accountability Office recently identified Retirement of the Space Shuttle as one of 13 urgent issues facing the next President and Congress. Today on Guide of the Week, we’ll talk about some librarian produced guides from the ALA GODORT Exchange Wiki that can help inform citizens, Congress and President-Elect Obama on this issue.
There appear to be two librarian-produced guides that can provide information about the Space Shuttle and its possible successors:
- Government Documents on Space Policy (Bert Chapman, Purdue University, 2001) CC Last updated 3/10/2008
- Space (University of Colorado at Boulder Government Publications Library, 2008)
Bert Chapman’s guide offers guidance on how to search for documents in space transportation and provides links to the Congressional committees with oversight over the Shuttle program. He also links to the Space Shuttle mission page and to the NASA History office, which has several overview reports of the development of the Shuttle.
The UC Boulder guide is also mostly focused on general space resources, but contains a link to NASA’s Technical Reports Server (NTRS) at http://ntrs.nasa.gov/, which contains many current and historical reports on the Space Shuttle and its potential successors. Strangely, it insists on sorting records in ascending date order, so for the most current reports you’ll need to sort by date and then go to the end of the list.
Next week I’ll be dealing with librarian produced guides relating to “Transition to Digital Television” So if you have any guides relating to that topic, please try and post them to the Handout Exchange this week.
Note: In three days, President Elect Obama will officially become our 44th President. On John Shuler’s calendar, it will be day zero for government information liberation. While I’ll drink a toast that day as soon as I’m off duty, the “Transition edition” of Guide of the Week will continue until we finish off GAO’s 13 critical issues on February 7, 2009.
The Government Accountability Office recently identified surface transportation as one of 13 urgent issues facing the next President and Congress. Today on Guide of the Week, we’ll talk about some librarian produced guides from the ALA GODORT Exchange Wiki that can help inform citizens, Congress and President-Elect Obama on this issue.
There are three librarian produced guides on the Handout Exchange which look useful:
- Government Documents on Railroads (Bert Chapman, Purdue University, 2002) CC Last updated 3/10/2008
- Government Documents on Transportation (Bert Chapman, Purdue University, 1999)Last updated 3/10/2008
- Transportation as a Civil Rights Issue (Sally Lawler, University of Michigan, 2004) Last updated 7/5/2007
Railroads are an important part of our surface transportation system and Bert Chapman’s railroad guide provides rich historical context and current resources for statistics and regulations. His more general transportation guide highlights a number of useful resources including the 2002 Census of Transportation & Warehousing, Public roads: A journal of highway research, Senate Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, and my favorite, the Transportation Acronym Guide.
Sally Lawler’s guide is more historical in nature, but offers ways to explore what we as a nation have wanted from our transportation and how we can plan that transportation in ways that benefit everyone. Here’s an example of the type of questions this guide might be able to help you answer:
Can you take a bus to Detroit Metro Airport? to downtown Detroit? Can you commute to work on Amtrak? Get around the city and suburbs on a mass transit system? In contrast, think about the number of highways in and around Detroit and the amount of time news channels spend on traffic reports.
While not part of the Handout Exchange Wiki, people interested in surface transportation issues should also check out state transportation department databases linked from another ALA GODORT project, State Agency Databases Across the Fifty States. Some of the available databases include:
- California – Caltrans Cost Data – This database contains cost data at the bid item level for contracts from 1993 to the present, and is updated approximately every other week. From 2002 to present, the data includes bid data from non-awarded bidders as well. Search is by item code/description, bidder, district/county, year, price and quantity.
- Colorado – Transportation Statistics and Data – “Information is provided on current and projected traffic volumes, state highway attributes, summary roadway statistics, demographics and geographic data. Listings, calculators, GIS shape files, maps and database files are provided to access data that are used and maintained by CDOT.”
- Iowa – Bridges in Iowa – Requires Google Earth. From the website, “To provide increased access to bridge information, the Iowa DOT has developed a Web program that allows Iowans to pinpoint a state highway bridge in their area using Google Earth software and Iowa DOT data. Information available online now includes the year a bridge was originally constructed and reconstructed, if it has undergone major work, the average daily traffic count, the highway it carries and feature crossed, and its national bridge sufficiency rating.”
- Ohio – Bridge Photos – Access photos of Ohio bridges by county.
There are more. Just go to the State Agency Databases Across the Fifty States and search on the word transportation.
Next week I’ll be dealing with librarian produced guides relating to “retirement of the Space Shuttle” So if you have any guides relating to that topic, please try and post them to the Handout Exchange this week.
Throughout his “75 Days to Government Information Liberation”, John Shuler has been exhorting documents librarians to look for ways to inject themselves into the transition-fueled interest in civics and citizen participation.
I think one opportunity is upon us and I call on you to join me. Change.gov has established a Citizen’s Briefing Book to give President Obama ideas from America at large. This site allows you to submit ideas, vote on others ideas and make comments.
What I think we could be doing in a non-partisan way is to provide comments on ideas that point out studies and reports (especially govdocs!) that either support or detract from the proposed idea. For example, one idea is titled School Libraries need Librarians which requests federal funding for school libraries. I did a quick search in ERIC at http://www.eric.ed.gov and found two studies that appear to show the presence of school librarians is associated with academic achievement. I then posted a comment linking to the two studies and mentioning ERIC.
So here is your mission, should you decide to accept it:
- Decide a subject that is important to you and that you have subject expertise in.
- Visit http://citizensbriefingbook.change.gov and use the search box to find an idea in your area of passion.
- Vote the idea up or down and leave a short comment pointing to at least one resource that supports your vote.
- Tell at least one other librarian friend what you have done.
Do it now. Or after work, but let’s bring some librarian and/or information activist expertise to these ideas.
The Government Accountability Office recently identified Food Safety as one of 13 urgent issues facing the next President and Congress. Today on Guide of the Week, we’ll talk about some librarian produced guides from the ALA GODORT Exchange Wiki that can help inform citizens, Congress and President-Elect Obama on this issue.
There appear to be three guides that should be of help in this area:
- Agriculture (University of Colorado at Boulder Government Publications Library, 2008)
- Food Supply (University of Colorado at Boulder, Government Publications Library, 2008)
- Government Documents on Agriculture (Bert Chapman, Purdue University, 1999) Last modified 1/29/2008
- Food Supply (University of Colorado at Boulder, Government Publications Library, 2008)
As you might expect, the UC Boulder guides on Agriculture and Food Supply have some overlap. In addition to safety in food supply, the Food Supply guide has links to famine related resources and food and nutrition. The Agriculture guide has links to Agricola, the premier agricultural database and to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).
Bert Chapman’s guide on agriculture has links to the House and Senate committees on Agriculture, which hold hearings on the nation’s food supply. Among other resources he links to the National Agricultural Safety Database which deals with the safety of agricultural workers.
As you’ve come to expect, there is more in all three guide. Read them. Share them. If you’ve guides on your own on this subject, please post them to the ALA GODORT Exchange Wiki.
Next week I’ll be dealing with librarian produced guides relating to “Surface Transportation” So if you have any guides relating to that topic, please try and post them to the Handout Exchange this week.
The Government Accountability Office recently identified Preparing for Public Health Emergencies as one of 13 urgent issues facing the next President and Congress. Today on Guide of the Week, we’ll talk about some librarian produced guides from the ALA GODORT Exchange Wiki that can help inform citizens, Congress and President-Elect Obama on this issue.
There appear to be two librarian produced guides that touch on public health emergencies:
- Government Documents on Health (Bert Chapman, Purdue University, 1999) Last updated 3/10/2008
- Chemical and Biological Disarmament (Grace York, University of Michigan, 2000) Last updated 1/9/2005
Bert’s guide is to documents about health in general, but he points to resources like Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Reports, Public Health Reports, the Senate Homeland Security & Govt. Affairs Committee and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which all deal with public health emergencies. There is also the usual Chapman catalog instructions on how to seach for government health policy and reports.
Although Grace’s guide is titled “Chemical and Biological Disarmament”, the government’s response to a mass epidemic would be similar whether or not the disease was man made. Some of the resources Grace includes that policymakers might find helpful are:
- Reading List for Princeton Biodefense R&D Workshops and Seminars
- Rand Corporation bioterrorism page
- World Health Organization
On an unrelated note, Grace’s guide has a graphic illustration of boolean logic using Russians and Soviets that I think you’ll find very helpful in sharing with the uninitiated.
There is more in both guides. I hope you’ll read both and then share both if you find them useful.
I have to admit that I was somewhat surprised by what didn’t show up on the ALA GODORT Exchange Wiki. There was nothing about bird flu (pandemic influenza) or specifically about bioterrorism. I know some librarians somewhere must have produced SOMETHING on these topics and I encourage you to post your guides to the Handout Exchange.
Next week I’ll be dealing with librarian produced guides relating to “Food Safety” So if you have any guides relating to that topic, please try and post them to the Handout Exchange this week.