Government Docs

Comment on proposed reduction in NARA reading room

Richard writes "Archivists have a chance to be advocates for public access to government information "a core principle of archives" by commenting on a proposed reduction in NARA's reading room hours. The National Archives has announced plans to reduce the hours of its reading rooms at the Washington DC and College Park MD facilities. Specifically, it will cut evenings and weekends, with the result that records held by NARA will be available only during normal business hours. This cut in service is a direct result of a need to reduce operating expenses. You can find the rule at http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/01jan20061 800/edocket.access.gpo.gov/2006/pdf/E6-11763.pdf. NARA held a public hearing last Thursday, 3 August. I spoke on behalf of the Society of American Archivists, expressing concern that this was a serious barrier to public access. Restricting reading room hours to business hours requires that many, maybe most, members of the public must take time off from work to use the collections. The effect is that they may have to pay for access in terms of lost wages. While I'm sure all archivists appreciate the challenges of budgets and the costs of extended hours, I believe it is essential for NARA to find some means to retain some extended hours. One option would be to remain open evenings or weekends, rather than both. Archivist Weinstein commented that he was committed to the principle of access to records. In other comments, the Archivist noted that public input would be a factor in the final determination of hours. You can help make the case for the importance of public access to public records by submitting comments online at www.regulations.gov. For the agency, select National Archives and Records Administration all. In the Keyword, type hours. Click submit, and you'll see an icon for adding comments. You can also send comments by fax (301-837- 0319) or by mail to Regulations Comments Desk (NPOL), Room 4100, Policy and Planning Staff, National Archives and Records Administration, 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD 20740-6001."

New FGI Discussions: July 31, 2006

This week the volunteers at Free Government Information (FGI) (http://freegovinfo.info)
  were very busy as we bid farewell to June/July guest blogger Jessamyn West and updated our Best titles ever! page with cover art and more titles suggested by govdoc-l members. Along the way Daniel started the following discussions we hope you will join:

There was significant FDSys related activity at both at the main FDSys site and the FDSys blog in the past week. The main FDSys site posted a GPO Road Map to the Future and a white paper on optimizing OCR accuracy. The FDSys Blog featured another biweekly update that announced that the Master Integrator contract is likely to be awarded in early August and provided information on a meeting of the "Interagency Council for Digital Content Submission." Please see their blog for full details. If you use Bloglines (http://www.bloglines.com/) or some other RSS reader, consider subscribing to the FGI Feed at http://freegovinfo.info/blog/feed to get FGI stories as they are posted.

EPA Libraries' Patrons banding together

Durst writes "You may have heard that the current Administration is proposing to cut funding for EPA Technical Research Libraries, thus closing those libraries. The latest installment is at the SLA Divisions Blog about literally thousands of EPA Library patrons who have written to Congress on behalf of keeping those libraries open and saving access to those materials."

New FGI Discussions: July 24, 2006

This week the volunteers at Free Government Information (FGI) (http://freegovinfo.info) started the following discussions we hope you will join:

Be sure to visit our newly updated Best Titles Ever! page which now features Open WorldCat links to help people find these weird and wacky titles. Cover art is coming soon! No FDSys related activity was observed at either at the main FDSys site or on the FDSys blog in the past week. If you use Bloglines (http://www.bloglines.com/) or some other RSS reader, consider subscribing to the FGI Feed at http://freegovinfo.info/blog/feed to get FGI stories as they are posted.

New FGI Discussions: July 17, 2006

Activity was moderate at Free Government Information (http://freegovinfo.info) (FGI) this week as guest blogger Jessamyn West and the regular FGI volunteers started the following discussions: Jessamyn's postings:

Volunteer postings:

Yesterday marked the second week of FGI's poll on story coverage. So far we have had 12 responses. From Bloglines we know we have at least 130 subscribers, so we invite you to stop by and let us know what kind of stories you'd like to see on FGI. No FDSys related activity has been observed at the main FDSys site in the past week. This week the FDSys blog featured two postings, one was a regular biweekly update and the other purported to measure FDSys against the LOCKSS criteria of Replication/Redundancy, Migration, Transparency, Diversity, Audit, and Economy. An article by LOCKSS staff explaining these criteria was published in the November 2005 issue of D-Lib Magazine and is available at http://www.dlib.org/dlib/november05/rosenthal/11ro senthal.html. Please consider reading that article, read the FDSys Blog posting and make your own judgement. The volunteers at FGI continue to offer thanks to the staff of the GPO New Technologies Office for expanding this channel of information and potential dialog with the community of government information users. If you use Bloglines (http://www.bloglines.com/) or some other RSS reader, consider subscribing to the FGI Feed at http://freegovinfo.info/blog/feed to get FGI stories as they are posted.

Public records office unfit For Duty

The Belfast Telegraph reports The building that houses Northern Ireland's priceless public record archives has been declared unfit.

And the Government is now facing a £30m bill for the provision of replacement premises.

The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) in south Belfast is home to millions of historical documents, ranging from Government papers to records donated by private individuals.

It is regularly used by people seeking to trace their family trees, as well as for research purposes by historians and journalists.

At National Archives, the Show Must Go On

The Washington Post Looks at how things are going over at NARA. Ff people couldn't come to the Archives, then the Archives decided it had to come to the people. It set up a tent in front of the visitor entrance and filled it with staff and items from the gift shop.

Which is why McNatt was on the Mall yesterday, oozing that positive aura, even though, honestly, she and her colleagues weren't exactly being overrun with foot traffic.

Public records office unfit

The Belfast Telegraph reports The building that houses Northern Ireland's priceless public record archives has been declared unfit.

And the Government is now facing a £30m bill for the provision of replacement premises.

The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) in south Belfast is home to millions of historical documents, ranging from Government papers to records donated by private individuals.

It is regularly used by people seeking to trace their family trees, as well as for research purposes by historians and journalists.

New FGI Discussions: July 10, 2006

Activity was heavy at Free Government Information (http://freegovinfo.info) (FGI) this week as guest blogger Jessamyn West and the regular FGI volunteers started the following discussions: Jessamyn's postings:

Volunteer postings:

As noted above, we are running a new poll. This time we are seeking your input on what kind of stories to post to Free Government Information. Please stop by and tell us what you want to hear! No FDSys related activity has been observed at the main FDSys site in the past week. This week the FDSys blog offered a clarification on their Unique Identifier UID. The UID and speculation on its role were covered in an earlier FGI posting. If you use Bloglines (http://www.bloglines.com/) or some other RSS reader, consider subscribing to the FGI Feed at http://freegovinfo.info/blog/feed to get FGI stories as they are posted.

GAO criticizes DOD classification program

The Defense Department is mishandling the job of classifying secret documents, the Government Accountability Office stated in a report today. Poor training and a lack of coordination are contributing to a high rate of errors and a backlog of classification work, according to GAO.

GAO surveyed information security programs in nine DOD components, which were responsible for 83 percent of the department’s classification decisions from 2002-2004.

“A lack of oversight and inconsistent implementation of DOD’s information security program are increasing the risk of miscalculation,†GAO said.

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