Government Docs

A Look at State Secrets Privilege

From today's: Morning Edition (audio story):

The Bush administration is increasingly using the state secrets privilege. It is a series of precedents that allow the government to dismiss court cases on the grounds that evidence introduced in the trial could jeopardize national security.

Given that there should be
limits to what information the government releases, it becomes a question of faith in the government to tell citizens what they're better off not knowing. Strange that cover-up theorists can use law enforcement's "or do you have something to hide?" argument.

National archivist seeks states' advice

Several members of a new electronic records advisory committee, appointed by U.S. Archivist Allen Weinstein, will gather later this month to gain deeper insights into the federal Electronic Records Archives (ERA) program.

As part of ERA's next phase, the committee members will meet in Washington, D.C. "This is our first opportunity to see how it works," said David Carmicheal, president of the Council of State Archivists (COSA) and a committee member.

Archives complex in Morrow hailed as model for nation

A Glowing Report from the National Archives and Records Administration’s Southeast Regional facility. Allen Weinstein, archivist of the United States, gave welcoming remarks to the 250+ guests and staff saying, "There’s no place like this in the country."

The reason, he said, was that this building, along with its location, is a prototype for archival institutions to come. Weinstein went on to talk about the importance of having a National Archive and commended the Atlanta Regional Commission on Higher Education for their support of the archives as a way to promote democracy.

Help shape the future of government information

The Depository Library Council (DLC) invites the library community and general public to answer questions and post comments about the type of future they see for government information on their new blog, located at

Some of the topics that all citizens are being asked to consider are:

  1. Library Roles in the Non-Exclusive Environment
  2. Managing Collections & Delivering Content
  3. Adding Value
  4. Deploying Expertise

Take a look around, read a few of the background documents, and tell the Depository Library Council what kind of government information future the citizens of this country expect.

If you think that the blog postings only make sense to documents librarians, tell them that too. The DLC is looking for a vision that embraces all users of government information, not just depository librarians!

GAO gives NARA high marks for e-records project

Washington Technology Reports The National Archives and Records Administration has successfully achieved all major targets thus far for its Electronic Records Archives project to manage petabytes of information.

But the project still could be at risk of failure from a lack of specifications about its future size, access needs and preservation requirements, according to a new audit from the Government Accountability Office.

Hard-to-Get Policy Briefs For Congress Now Online

Kelly writes "Somebody is putting CRS reports online, including RSS feeds of them! According to this article from the June 28, 2005 Washington Post

It's a bit like Napster -- but for policy wonks...The Center for Democracy and Technology has created an online database of Congressional Research Service reports that anyone with an Internet connection can now tap free of charge. The often-coveted but elusive reports are produced by CRS, a public policy research arm of Congress. CRS, which boasts hundreds of analysts and a $100 million budget, churns out hundreds of briefs each year on a wide range of topics.

The URL for this site is: The URL for the article is: le/2005/06/27/AR2005062701509.html

Lose the file cabinets

Anonymous Patron writes " Covers THe New PDF/A standard preps electronic documents for long-term archiving After seeking input from vendors, academia, federal agencies and others for help, Adobe and the U.S. Courts founded the Association for Information and Image Management's standards working group. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has approved the working group's results: the PDF Archival (PDF/A) standard. The standard will be available from ISO after publication in about a month at, according to a National Information Standards Organization newsletter.


The Fading Memory of the State

Anonymous Patron writes "The Fading Memory of the State is a piece on NARA. They say Electronic records rot much faster than paper ones, and NARA must either figure out how to save them permanently, or allow the nation to lose its grip on history."

GPO national digitization plan

Slashdot Points The Way to News From The GPO. GPO is working with the library community on a national digitization plan, with the goal of digitizing a complete legacy collection of tangible U.S. Government publications. The objective is to ensure that the digital collection is available, in the public domain, for no-fee permanent public access through the FDLP.

Long-sealed military files will be opened

STLtoday Reports Archivists are about to unseal a mother lode of military history along Page Avenue in Overland, Missouri.

A ceremony Saturday at the National Personnel Records Center will mark the opening of military files that until now have been off-limits to most Americans.In their drawn-out negotiations, the Pentagon and the National Archives decided to keep the records sealed until 62 years past the date an individual left active service.

That puts most World War II records out of reach for several more years.


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