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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.

NSF YouTube channel

science nation

“Document” of the Day: National Science Foundation YouTube channel. “NSF is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense. NSF funds a significant proportion of all federally supported basic research conducted by America’s colleges and universities.

Craig Hase at The The Scout Report (March 27, 2015 — Volume 21, Number 12) says of the channel:

Nearly 13,000 viewers have subscribed to the National Science Foundation’s YouTube channel. It’s not a secret why. These well-produced and often poignant presentations have managed to pack so much into such a small space. Nearly all the videos clock in at less than four minutes. Many of the clips are just two or three minutes long so readers can easily learn about the birth of planets, the details of the tropospheric ozone, and the wonders of biomedical engineering – all within the timespan of a quick coffee break. The hundreds of available videos are broken into categories such as Computer Science, Brain Research, and Education, among others. Whether you are looking for an interesting tidbit to add to your lecture on Geoscience or you are simply curious about conservation efforts in Central Africa, there is much to enjoy here.

State Legislatures: the frat houses of democracy

While most of us focus of tomorrow’s midterm election and the control of the U.S. Senate, John Oliver is looking at the places where most laws are really made these days. And it’s not in gridlocked Washington — it’s in the state legislatures. I’m really glad Oliver has raised this issue as well as the work of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

“All those conspiracy theories about a shadow government are actually true,” Oliver said. “Only, it’s not a group of billionaires meeting in a mountain lair in Zurich. It’s a bunch of pasty bureaucrats meeting in a windowless committee room in Lansing, Michigan.”

Lunchtime listen: will we suffer from collective “Digital Amnesia?” Are we already?!

“Digital Amnesia”! is a 45 min. video about the Internet Archive, the [[Library of Alexandria]], the longnow foundation, and the [[Royal Tropical Institute]], a Dutch government library that the government closed (all the books went to alexandria!). Some very nice sentiments here about the continuing importance of libraries to preserving both paper and digital information and what happens when the vast majority assumes wrongly that everything can be found online.

Our memory is dissipating. Hard drives only last five years, a webpage is forever changing and there’s no machine left that reads 15-year old floppy disks. Digital data is vulnerable. Yet entire libraries are shredded and lost to budget cuts, because we assume everything can be found online. But is that really true? For the first time in history, we have the technological means to save our entire past, yet it seems to be going up in smoke. Will we suffer from collective amnesia?

This VPRO Backlight documentary tracks down the amnesiac zeitgeist starting at the Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam, whose world-famous 250-year old library was lost to budget cuts. The 400.000 Books were saved from the shredder by Ismail Serageldin, director of the world-famous Library of Alexandria, who is turning the legendary library of classical antiquity into a new knowledge hub for the digital world.

Images as well as texts risk being lost in this ‘Digital Dark Age’. In an old McDonald’s restaurant in Mountain View, CA, retired NASA engineer Dennis Wingo is trying to retrieve the very first images of the moon. Upstate New York, Jason Scott has founded The Archive Team, a network of young activists that saves websites that are at risk of disappearing forever. In San Francisco, we visit Brewster Kahle’s Internet Archive that’s going against the trend to destroy archives, and the Long Now Foundation, which has put the long-term back on the agenda by building a clock that only ticks once a year and should last 10,000 years, in an attempt to reconnect with generations thousands of years from now.

C-SPAN’s essential video record of Congress has new clipping tool

Gary points to a great, newly enhanced tool from C-SPAN that allows you to create and share video clips in its extensive video library of Congressional proceedings and Committee hearings. The tool is available for all of C-SPAN’s online video content, which includes Book-TV and Booknotes, C-SPAN specials, interviews, news conferences, White House events, National Press Club speakers, and more. The archive includes every program aired on C-SPAN since 1987, almost 190,000 hours of video!

Video Blackout of Hearing on Budgets of GPO, LoC, GAO, CBO

The hearing on Tuesday (Feb 7, 2012) on budgets for the Library of Congress, the Government Printing Office, the Government Accountability Office, and the Congressional Budget Office is not expected to be webcast by the committee.

  • Video Blackout of Hearing on Budgets for Legislative Support Agencies, Daniel Schuman, Sunglight Foundation
    (Feb. 5, 2012).

    Only the House and Senate Legislative Appropriations Committees regularly hold annual public hearings on the workings of these agencies; the oversight committees (Committee on House Administration and Senate Rules) generally do not, and the Joint Committee on the Library and Joint Committee on Printing no longer holds substantive meetings in public.

    The new House rules require that all committees provide “audio and video coverage of each hearing or meeting” that “allows the public to easily listen … and view the proceedings” “to the maximum extent practicable.” All of the House committees have at least one hearing room that is equipped with a camera, and the House Recording Studio will provide a camera upon a committee’s request. Unfortunately, this hearing is being held in a room without a camera, and I’ve been informed that the Committee has not requested one.

Schuman notes that things could still change for Tuesday’s hearing — it could change rooms and could be webcast. He plans to attend it, and says he will post an update on the Sunlight Foundation blog if he can make it into the tiny room where the meeting is currently scheduled.