Government Docs

The Public Access Crusade of Carl Malamud

Despite being public property, government documents are not necessarily free or easy to obtain. Carl Malamud of Public.Resource.Org details his decades-long quest for open access to "America's Operating System."

Transcript and MP3 download here.

Sunlight Foundation Announces the National Data Catalog

My name is Nicko and I'm with the <a href=>Sunlight Foundation</a>. I wanted to give you personal notice about a project you'll be interested in. It's called the National Data Catalog and it pulls together government data across all branches (executive, agencies, etc) and levels (federal, state, and local).

Missouri's 'blue books' made extinct by Legislature

Missouri is cutting back in the book-publishing trade, in part because it already has a stack of books nobody seems to want.

On Thursday, the Missouri Legislature voted to eliminate the hard-bound version of the official state manual, known as the "blue book," and cull many old sections from the even heftier 20-volume set of state laws.

Full article here

Copying Federal Videos for Online Archive

The International Amateur Scanning League has taken it upon itself to copy as much federal video as it can and put it online. Above, Carl Malamud conceived the project.

Full story here

American Booksellers Association's New E-Fairness Action Kit Launches

Do you think and other internet-only businesses have a right to sell product without collecting sales tax when brick & mortar businesses have been collecting and sending in taxes for years?

If so...skip to the next story...or add your comment below.

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!

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!

More Tools for Sifting Through Government Data

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: It will organize government data sets and try to give more context to this information.

Full story at the NYT Bits Blog

National Archives' new director is a kid in a candy store

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

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.

DOJ Pays $15M for Legal Research, Including $4M for Pacer

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


Subscribe to Government Docs