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Story in the New York Times:
When Vivek Kundra became the federal government’s chief information officer, he talked about the value of using standard off-the-shelf computer systems instead of the custom-built ones that government agencies are inclined to buy.
With the new government site Data.gov, Mr. Kundra is showing off the value of standard data formats as well.
The government, of course, has been publishing information on paper for centuries, and in electronic form for decades. The USA.gov portal has links to hundreds of Web sites the government runs about all of its agencies and programs.
But Data.gov is different. It is primarily for machines, not people, at least as a first step. It is a catalog of various sets of data from government agencies.
National Archives Loss Adds to List of Govt. Data Goofs: Unfortunately, this isn't the first flub-up we've seen when it comes to seemingly dumb data mistakes by major government agencies. In fact, there have been several winners since just last year. Here, then, are our top four government data blunders of recent months, starting with this week's National Archives revelation.
4. The National Archives' Hard Drive Disappearance
3. The TSA's Lost-Then-Found Fumble
2. The U.S. Military's eBay Embarrassment
1. The U.K.'s Vanishing Disks. And Hard Drives. And Memory Sticks. And Computers.
Bush Administration revisited, online: Ever wonder what happened to all of the information that was housed on whitehouse.gov before the Obama Administration took over 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, when former President George W. Bush was still in office? We were promised the Web pages would be preserved for historians, researchers and the public, and it seems that promise has been realized with georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov.
"Google announced a new search feature that makes it easy to find and compare public data from sources. In the first launch, the data are produced and published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau's Population Division. There are statistics for prices of cookies, CO2 emissions, asthma frequency, high school graduation rates, bakers' salaries, number of wildfires, and the list goes on.
For example, go to Google.com and type in [unemployment rate] or [population] followed by a U.S. state or county; you will see the most recent estimates and then get an interactive chart that lets you add and remove data for different geographical areas. Users can customize the graphs and share them with others."
Read the full article in the latest issue of the Weekly News Diget from Information Today at: Google Introduces Public Data Search Feature
Government agencies across the country are sitting on gigabytes of valuable digital data that could be mashed, mixed and re-organized in crafty ways by Web 2.0 entrepreneurs and public interest groups engaged in everything from government oversight, to providing practical information to Americans.
Yet, despite federal and state public records laws designed to make the data accessible, many agencies are fighting more ferociously than ever to keep data created with public funds out of public hands. In their battles to withhold information, bureaucrats are citing everything from copyright and trade secret privileges to privacy and national security concerns. And when they do provide data, some agencies charge exorbitant prices for it, ensuring it's only available to those with deep pockets.
Less than two weeks after its dedication, the new state archives building closes today, the latest consequence of the state's budget struggles.
The $38 million building, named after longtime lawmaker Polly Rosenbaum, opened late last fall and was dedicated in mid-January.
But on Tuesday, agency Director GladysAnn Wells announced the closure. It was the only way she could figure out how to carve $1.45 million from the $2 million remaining in the budget of the state Department of Library, Archives and Public Records, Wells said.
From the GC to the CIO down to the storage administrator, there has been no lack of discussion on new rules for managing data and electronic documents. Everything from regulatory compliance such as Sarbanes-Oxley to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure has made IT aware that they need to be ready to archive more data longer. Yet the most common refrain heard is: "I know I need to do something, just someone tell me what I specifically have to do." How do you cut through the fog, and develop specific technical requirements for saving, managing and deleting data in an archival system? Despite confusion, archiving of data can actually be broken down into fundamental requirements.
A federal court ordered on Wednesday all employees working in the Bush White House to surrender media that might contain e-mails sent or received during a two and a half year period in hope of locating missing messages before President-elect Barack Obama takes over next week.
The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia granted an emergency motion to extend an order to protect missing White House e-mails. The Bush administration has been under fire since a 2005 analysis identified a period of more than 700 days during which the number of White House e-mails were either unrealistically low or nonexistent.