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E-FACT provides independent businesses and booksellers in particular in the 42 states that collect sales tax but do not have e-fairness legislation state-specific templates to their state legislators and Governor calling for e-fairness. Businesses can simply go to E-FACT and navigate to their state, where they will find the relevant documents that can be adapted and then e-mailed to the appropriate person. We plan for E-FACT to grow over the next few weeks to include op-ed pieces, FAQs, relevant articles, and practical suggestions for advocating on behalf of e-fairness.
International Amateur Scanning League will rescue our video treasures!
We took a big step forward today with the birth of a new club in Washington, the International Amateur Scanning League. These volunteers, organized by members of the DC CopyNight and by employees of the Smithsonian doing volunteer work after hours, is going out to the National Archives and Records Administration and copying over 1,500 DVDs to be uploaded to the net.
What makes this grassroots digitization effort so remarkable is that it has the full support of the government. Indeed, David Ferriero, the U.S. Archivist, joined me in the initial meeting where we taught volunteers how to rip DVDs!
In a blog post on Wednesday, Clay Johnson, director of Sunlight Labs, discussed the “data flood” coming out of Washington and the need for more applications to deal with the new era of government information.
Sunlight Labs is part of the Sunlight Foundation, a nonprofit organization with a goal of digitizing government data and building Web sites to help make the current data deluge more manageable. The foundation hopes to help solve some of these data overload problems with new tools, including a Web site they are currently testing: nationaldatacatalog.com. It will organize government data sets and try to give more context to this information.
National Archives' new director is a kid in a candy store
Ferriero, 64, began work in November and had his ceremonial swearing-in Wednesday as the director of the National Archives and Records Administration. He was inaugurated into a little-known job that puts him not only at the helm of the United States' 10 billion-item trove of documents, but also at the forefront of efforts to make the U.S. government as transparent as possible to its citizens.
Many More Government Records Compromised in 2009 than Year Ago, Report Claims
If you're bummed about the data in your department that just got breached, you have some cold comfort. Although the combined number of reported data breaches in the government and the military has dropped in 2009 compared to last year, many more records were compromised in those breaches, according to recent figures compiled by a California nonprofit.
An open records advocate contends that a free source of legal documents could eventually save the federal government $1 billion, and he offers the Justice Department as Exhibit A.
A freedom of information request by Carl Malamud reveals that Justice Department paid more than $4 million in 2009 for access to the Pacer electronic filing system, according to the Wired blog Threat Level.
Full piece at ABA Journal
Sharing a sense of history
Ferriero is first librarian in charge at National Archives. "It's an awesome responsibility," he said in the echoing rotunda of the building. "It's a stewardship kind of responsibility -- a long-term commitment by the U.S. government to ensure that these documents are available in perpetuity and available to the American public. "
Minneapolis Star Tribune:
The legislative library rebuffed demands by police lawyers who argued that the public document should be removed because it names undercover officers.
"It was pretty amazing," said Library Director Robbie LaFleur. "I have been here 20 years, and no one really has questioned these publicly available reports before."
In 1989, The National Security Archive requested documents from the CIA regarding the Iran-Contra affair. This year, the CIA released them. President Barack Obama promised a new era of transparency and adherence to the Freedom of Information Act, but has he followed through? Yvette Chin, FOIA coordinator for the NSA, tells the story behind the long, long wait for information.