As 2018 ends, it is time to start setting the agenda for the FDLP for 2019. This year has a lot of potential despite (or because of) the failure of Title 44 reform, the shutdown of the government, and the general political gridlock of Congress.
2018: The Year of "Modernizing"
Happy holidays from FGI! Seeing as many are not at work or checking their email, you might have missed that Depository Library Council recently released their recommendations to GPO. Under the tree this year is a recommendation to create a digital deposit working group! We’ve been talking for over a decade about the need for digital deposit – whereby GPO would actually deposit digital files to libraries just as they do currently with paper documents. Digital deposit will ensure the preservation and access of digital government information disseminated by GPO and allow libraries to continue to build collections for their designated communities. This is a huge step forward!
Recommendation #3: Council recommends the creation of a working group to explore current and future needs related to digital deposit – both dissemination of content and acceptance of content by GPO. At a minimum, two appropriate members of GPO staff, two members of DLC, and two members of the FDLP community should be appointed to serve on the Digital Deposit Working Group for one year. Composition of the working group should be chosen by DLC in consultation with GPO staff. The Working Group should report findings and recommendations – either initial or final – at the Fall 2019 FDLP annual meeting.
Justification: Council believes that such a Digital Deposit Working Group is a critically important and inclusive step in reaching consensus on how federal information in digital forms should be disseminated to and amongst the FDLP community for the benefit of all our users.
Check out the great new podcast initiative called Data Remediations from our friends at the Data Refuge. If the first episode shows anything, it’s that this podcast will be a must to listen to going forward as it’ll be chock full of interviews with interesting people working on various aspects of data use and preservation – and by the way, Jim Jacobs and I will be on a future episode to talk about our Free Government Information (FGI) efforts.
In this episode, hosts Patricia Kim and Bethany Wiggin introduce Data Remediations, a podcast connecting data with people and places through stories and art. Interviews with Eric Holthaus, Michael Halpern, Denice Ross, Margaret Janz, Tad Schurr, and the Environmental Performance Agency further contextualize the origins of Data Refuge and its storytelling project.
PEGI Project publishes Environmental Scan of Government Information and Data Preservation Efforts and Challenges
I’m happy to announce that today the PEGI Project released their Environmental Scan of Government Information and Data Preservation Efforts and Challenges. PEGI commissioned the most capable Sarah Lippincott as consultant to write this report, a multimodal environmental scan of at-risk federal digital content. This free, open publication describes the landscape of initiatives within and outside of government that aim to disseminate and preserve government information and data. It describes government-led initiatives, from dissemination through official agency websites to publication on third-party platforms, and reviews a range of initiatives that have emerged in recent years outside of government, both those intended to address perceived gaps and vulnerabilities in the federal government’s curation initiatives and those that add value to publicly available information and datasets. The report also addresses existing policies and infrastructure undergirding both government-led and non-government initiatives. Each section contains representative examples of initiatives relevant to federal government information.
Preserving government information is a long-term responsibility that requires ongoing coordination and commitment. By surveying the current environment, defining key features of the problem space, and identifying gaps and pressing needs, this Environmental Scan contributes to the resources available to all who seek to plan cooperative solutions.
The Preservation of Electronic Government Information (PEGI) Project is a two-year IMLS grant-funded initiative to address national concerns regarding preservation of born-digital government information by cultural memory institutions for long-term public access and use.
Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) submits comment to NARA re Dept of Interior records schedule request
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) just sent me a PDF copy of the comment that they submitted to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) regarding the Department of Interior records schedule request. This letter, combined with the others from DLF, transparency organizations, and Stanford Libraries offers a finely grained analysis of the overall problem and suggestions for moving forward in making the scheduling process much more transparent and in understanding and preserving important government records. Many thanks to these organizations and the many others who submitted comments.
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to safeguarding the earth: its people, its plants and animals, and the natural systems on which all life depends. On behalf of our over 3 million members and online activists, NRDC submits the following comments regarding the Department of the Interior’s proposed updates to its records schedule, DAA-0048-2015-0003. See Notice of availability of proposed records schedules, 83 Fed. Reg. 45,979, 45,980 (Sept. 11, 2018). NRDC also joins the letter submitted by the Emmett Environmental Law and Policy Clinic at Harvard Law School. We appreciate the willingness of the National Archives and Records Administration to work with interested parties and extend the comment period to permit public inspection of Interior’s retention policy for such vital records.
The proposed schedule covers records that are central to the public’s understanding of the Department of the Interior’s (“Interior’s”) stewardship of our nation’s public lands and natural resources. Moreover, it encompasses records of activities that might have long-lasting or permanent implications for both human health and the environment. But the proposed schedule permits some records to be destroyed while they may still be substantially valuable to the public, while other retention policies are too vague to assess their impact. Moreover, the high publicity and comprehensive nature of Interior’s schedule change highlights shortcomings in NARA’s approval process for agency records schedules. Interior’s records schedule should be amended to ensure that valuable records are preserved for public inspection.