Government Docs

Download Space Shuttle Report - while you can!

Steve Fesenmaier writes "I was sick of just getting the tip of the iceberg - so what exactly did go wrong? As a great symbol of the infinite danger bureaucrats can bring to this world, this report is one every librarian should read....and pass around."

Rochelle's note: The report is also available here at NASA.

The GPO and National Archives Unite In Support of Permanent Online Public Access

"Archivist of the United States John W. Carlin and United States Public Printer Bruce R. James announced today an agreement whereby the Government Printing Office (GPO) and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) will ensure the documents you see today on GPO Access (, the GPO web site that provides free online public access to more than 250,000 Federal Government titles, will remain available permanently."

"GPO is committed to providing permanent public access to the online versions of the most important Government publications. That is why we are honored that NARA has recognized our commitment to making this information available today and to preserving it for future generations by making us an archival affiliate," said Public Printer James." (from US Newswire)

Supreme Court, Library Commission create legal research centers

"The state Supreme Court and West Virginia Library Commission will join forces to test market nine legal research centers across the state."

"The centers will be created during a one-year program funded by a $45,000 grant from the State Justice Institute."

"The court and commission will create three centers in urban public libraries, three in rural public libraries and three in circuit court libraries. Public librarians will be trained to help residents with legal research questions." (from The Charleston Gazette)

OMB and GAO disagree over privacy compliance

One From GCN says The Office of Management and Budget and the General Accounting Office are butting heads over the ability of agencies to assure the protection of individual privacy rights in agency systems.

In a GAO report (PDF) released yesterday for Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.), ranking member of the Governmental Affairs Committee, the audit agency found that agency compliance with the Privacy Act of 1974 is uneven across agencies.

The right to know vs. the need for public safety

SomeOne writes "The Times Union looks at how the ability to access government information has been under siege since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, as local, state and federal officials struggle to strike a balance between security and the public's right to know. Through federal legislation like the USA Patriot Act and the Homeland Security Act, the Bush administration has succeeded in significantly curtailing the amount of information available to the public.


Mexico Starts Freedom of Information Act

SomeOne writes "This Associated Press Story says The first-ever Mexican freedom of information law takes effect Thursday, designed to expose the government and its once closely guarded records and secrets to greater public scrutiny.

The new law requires all branches of government to provide copies of public documents--from government employees' salaries to details about public programs and government contracts--within 20 days of any citizen's request.

Jamaican Access to Information Act on target for October

News From Jamaica where the first phase of the Access to Information Act is still on target for its October deadline, according to Information Minister Burchell Whiteman.

The Act seeks to promote accountability and transparency by giving public access to official documents in government bodies, subject to exempt provisions.

The Act, passed last June, originally had an August implementation date. But the OPM said it needed more time to tie up a number of areas, including the training of civil servants.

The Act was passed even though there was strong opposition from several quarters.

The most recent criticism came in April by Canadian information policy consultant, Dr David Flaherty, who said that the legislation is full of loopholes which allow Government to effect exemptions when it sees fit. He also said the Act would require a significant change in the mindset of civil servants in order to be effective.

All GPO Bookstores Closing by August

Troy Johnson writes "At the GPO Bookstore website it tells that all GPO Bookstores are closing by August. This is due to people being able to buy online and more government information online in general.

GPO Retains Monopoly

Susan Krauss writes "The Government Printing Office will continue its century-old monopoly on federal agencies' printing jobs, under an agreement the Bush administration announced Friday. The agreement ends outgoing Office of Management and Budget Director Mitch Daniels' year-long quest to let agencies avoid using the printing office as their middle man.
Full story: At


NEW GAO report on Terrorist Watch Lists

Daniel Cornwall writes "In light of the recent controversy over "no fly lists", this report may be of interest to library staff and patrons:

Information Technology: Terrorist Watch Lists Should Be Consolidated to Promote Better Integration and Sharing. GAO-03-322, April 15.

I, for one, was surprised to learn that there are nine agencies maintaining 12 separate lists. While the report recommends that these lists should be consolidated and shared more widely, it does not address the problem of how to get mistakenly targeted individuals off the watch lists. Hopefully that will be addressed before a fully consolidated list goes nationwide to all law enforcement agencies.

For the record, as long as rational criteria are used and individuals have an appeals process to be removed from a watch list, I have no problem with terrorist watch lists. Had a consolidated list been in place before 9/11, a majority of the hijackers would have be caught and deported. I do object to repeated Kafkaesque screenings of people who must prove themselves harmless every time they fly.

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