Government Docs

UK Councils struggling with e-archives

One From The UK The first national survey of local authority archive services has revealed that arrangements for the permanent preservation of digital records are presenting a significant challenge for councils.

National Archives, the organisation which sets standards and supports innovation in information and records management, found that local government is a long way behind Whitehall in making arrangements for digital preservation. None of the more than 100 councils taking part in the Local authority archive survey has an operational digital preservation system.

Army Says It Will Restore Public Access to Online Library

Good news if your looking for DoD info. The Federation of American Scientists has used the Freedom of Information Act to reopen access to the Army's on-line Reimer Digital Library. There is however a warning certificate if you do try to enter the site.

Here's the story--from two days ago-- of the library's closing: "The Army has shut down public access to the largest online collection of its doctrinal publications, a move criticized by open-government advocates as unnecessary secrecy by a runaway bureaucracy." Both articles are from the Washington Post. Additional commentary from the New Civilization Network.

Archives challenges Clinton papers case

The Associated Press Reports The National Archives wants a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit seeking quick access to records about a health care task force Hillary Rodham Clinton headed as first lady, or delay the release for about a year.

Judicial Watch, a conservative public interest group, has complained in a lawsuit that the National Archives isn't moving fast enough on its April 2006 request to see the documents. The archives says Judicial Watch is trying to jump ahead of those who made earlier requests under the Freedom of Information Act.

White House Signals Intent To Strip Critical FOIA Funds From OGIS

Senator Patrick Leahy Says funds for the Office of Government Information Services, a component of the National Archives and Records Administration, authorized under the newly enacted OPEN Government Act will be shifted to the Department of Justice, according to White House aides. The move is contrary to the intent of Congress when it passed the OPEN Government Act -- bipartisan legislation championed by Leahy and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas). The legislation unanimously passed the Senate and House in December. Leahy this week outlined an agenda for the new year to continue to press for more openness and transparency in government.

Help me explore accessibility through tagging

Free Government Information is investigating the usefulness of tagging government documents that do not receive traditional cataloging and needs your help! We've posted 32 documents that the Government Printing Office (GPO) harvested from the EPA web site and posted them to the Internet Archive. Over the next three months, we'd like to see as many people as possible tag and describe these documents using the del.icio.us bookmarking service. For a full project description and instructions on how to participate, please visit http://freegovinfo.info/epatagging. We'd like to thank GPO for posting a sample of their harvested EPA documents that made this project possible.

This project got its inspiration from Galaxy Zoo (http://www.galaxyzoo.org), an astronomy project which has a database of 1 million galaxies that researchers asked regular folks to classify as ellipical, clockwise spiral, or anticlockwise spiral. They aimed for and got at least 20 classifications per galaxy. If a particular galaxy was classified a certain way by 80% of users who assigned a classification to that galaxy, that classification was accepted. This "person on the street" data was compared with a small subset (50,000) of galaxies that professional astronomers had managed to classify on their own. The researchers found that there was pretty much total agreement between the professional and amateur assessments. Documents are more complex than galaxies. :-) , but if 9 out of 10 people tag an epa document as air quality, then it's probably about air quality. -- Read More

A Declaration falls through the cracks

When in the course of human events it becomes necessary to locate a rare, vintage copy of the nation's founding document, try looking behind the filing cabinet.

That was a lesson learned the hard way at the Supreme Court, where a 185-year-old facsimile of the Declaration of Independence gathered dust for seven years, tucked behind the office furniture, a court spokeswoman acknowledged this week.

EPA's move to 'modernize' libraries spurs concerns

In response to a congressional mandate that the Environmental Protection Agency restore closed libraries, the agency said it will proceed with modernizing its library network, leading some people to believe the EPA will not resume physical library operations. Molly O'Neill, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Environmental Information, issued a statement Monday that said, "EPA continues to modernize its library network to enhance access to information for EPA employees and the public."

Secrets keep piling up

Washington is keeping secrets like never before. And if the problem isn’t dealt with now, it will only get worse. That’s the assessment of a joint presidential-congressional advisory group. The advisors urge greater openness, and a better effort to meet existing rules for declassifying information. It is noteworthy that the group includes representatives from the White House as well as Congress. The board began meeting nearly two years ago.

Congress Earmarks $3 Million to Reopen EPA Libraries

Buried in two short paragraphs within the voluminous omnibus appropriations bill Congress sent this week to President George W. Bush is a Christmas present for EPA scientists and anyone else that wants to use the library network of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Congress ordered the EPA to restore its library services across the country and earmarked $3 million for that purpose, according to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, PEER, a national association of workers in natural resources agencies.

Project to produce comprehensive digital archive of 60 million pages of federal government documents.

Public.Resource.Org, the Internet Archive, and the Boston Public Library announced the commencement of phase 1 of a project that aims to create a comprehensive digital archive of 60 million pages of government documents over the next two years.

Phase 1 of the project will produce a minimum of 2.5 million pages of digital text using a scanning and optical character recognition (OCR) technology suite developed by the Internet Archive. The Boston Public Library is the first Contributing Library in the program, and has agreed to lend a 50-year run of Congressional Hearings from 1936–1986, as well as a complete copy of the Catalog of Copyright Entries. Scanning will take place at the Boston Library Consortium's Northeast Regional Scanning Center.

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