Government Docs

NASA Headquarters Library to be Downsized?

SpaceRef.com Has An Article that says there is a radical move afoot to close or drastically downsize the NASA library--to drastically reduce the size/staff/resources/capabilities of the NASA library to create a \"museum to showcase the Enterprises\" , doing outreach to the public.

Annual Reports of Special Concern Slated for Deletion

Daniel Cornwall writes "Last week, the Pentagon sent a bill to Congress titled, "Defense Transformation for the 21st Century Act of 2003." Reporting on this Act has focused on changes in personnel rules, but radical changes are in store for the amount of information that the Defense Department would provided to Congress.

The DoD has proposed the elimination of over 100 recurring reports to Congress and the public, including reports on training provided to foreign militaries, Cost of Stationing United States Armed Forces Outside the United States, Special Operations Forces Training with Friendly Foreign Forces, and the Annual Report for Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation
(formerly School of the Americas).

See a listing of 35 "Reports of Special Concern" compiled by a federal documents librarian, or see the entire list Here .

DoD is also proposing a five year sunset (termination) of all current and future recurring reports to Congress. Why? Well, according to most of the justifications for specific eliminations: "This report is unnecessary and overly burdensome. DoD would prefer to provide Congress with more relevant information in response to specific requests."

Consider adopting a report or two and writing your Congress member."

Librarian of Congress Testifies Before Senate Committee

"Librarian of Congress James H. Billington testified on April 10 before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions about the Library of Congress vast online educational materials and about the Library’s experience teaching teachers how to use these resources in their classrooms."

"Billington was part of a panel and spoke about ways to reach students and teachers with the primary sources available at www.loc.gov. He was asked to speak by Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) in reference to the American History and Civics Education Act (S.504), a bill that is sponsored by Senator Alexander and other members of the Senate. Senator Alexander chaired the hearing."

"The bill would establish “academies for teachers and students of American history and civics and a national alliance of teachers of American history and civics.” (from LOC Press Releases)

Census releases errors in 2000 count

Jen Young writes "Census Bureau said Monday that its 2000 count was least accurate in Indiana and Minnesota and did best in New Mexico and Colorado. A detailed report released Monday shows the census-takers didn't miss by much in any state.

CNN Has The Full Story "

Release of Documents Is Delayed

"The Bush administration last night issued an order delaying the release of millions of government documents and giving the government new powers to reclassify information."

"The order, rewriting a Clinton administration directive, allows the government to delay until the end of 2006 the release of documents that otherwise would have been out by April 17 under a program of automatic declassification after 25 years. The government now has more discretion to keep information classified indefinitely if it falls within a broad definition of national security." (from The Washington Post)

National Security Information Policy Act Draft

Daniel Cornwall writes "National Security Information Policy draft obtained by Federation of American Scientists Please read the proposed EO for yourself and draw your own conclusions.

In my non-lawyer opinion, there seems to be several sections of serious concern
to librarians and others interested in the free flow of information:

Sec 1.1 (c) - This section adds the statement, "The unauthorized
disclosure of foreign government information is presumed to cause damage to
the national security." -- Read More

County records may be threatened by their storage facility

"Some of Washington County's oldest government records are at risk because they're stored in a basement without a sprinkler system or security, where the temperature fluctuates, dust falls, roaches have lived and pipes occasionally have leaked sewage, according to two union officials and an employee who said she became ill while working there."

"Criminal case files, court transcripts and some of Register of Wills Kathleen Flynn Reda's records from the county's beginnings in the 1780s are stored in 10,000 square feet the county leases from East Beau Building Inc. in Washington. Alexandra Minnis, the storage center's sole employee for more than four years, said other documents kept there include registries of doctors and other professionals from the 1780s, tax records from the 1800s, handsome hand-drawn maps and a book with transcriptions of letters that courthouse architect F.J. Osterling sent the commissioners while working on the 103-year-old building." (from The Post-Gazette)

Bill would make Congressional Research Service studies public

"Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) introduced a resolution Feb. 11 that would make the Library of Congress's Congressional Research Service products accessible to the public via the Internet."

"The CRS researches and reports on topics of interest to Congress at the request of members of Congress."

"The resolution, introduced Feb. 11, would allow public access to much of the CRS information available to members of Congress. A similar resolution was proposed a few years ago." (from The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

Transparency in U.S. government information?

SomeOne writes \"A story by Adam Clymer in the NY Times summarizes various differences between the Bush Administration and previous administrations on the question of access to government information.\"

They say The Bush administration is exhibiting a penchant for secrecy that has been striking to historians, legal experts and lawmakers of both parties.
\"Secrecy is a formula for inefficient decision-making,\" Former Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Radical change in libraries

BayArea.com is running This Story on federal depository libraries.
They say federal depository libraries are empty now, not that students, teachers and data-oriented members of the general public have forsaken research, it's that they've turned to the Internet for most of it.
They also say it's more democratic to have electronic documents, since thatlets patrons get at the information anytime from anywhere they can log onto the Internet.

``If people are helping themselves to this stuff online, I don't know if they are getting what they really are after, or whether they are willing to just take what's there,'' said Santa Clara University's Carlson.

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