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"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.
The required transfer in four weeks of all of the Bush White House's electronic mail messages and documents to the National Archives has been imperiled by a combination of technical glitches, lawsuits and lagging computer forensic work, according to government officials, historians and lawyers.
Dick Cheney's lawyers are asserting that the vice president alone has the authority to determine which records, if any, from his tenure will be handed over to the National Archives when he leaves office in January.
That claim is in federal court documents asking that a lawsuit over the records be dismissed. Cheney leaves office Jan. 20, potentially taking with him millions of records that might otherwise become public record.
"The vice president alone may determine what constitutes vice presidential records or personal records, how his records will be created, maintained, managed and disposed, and are all actions that are committed to his discretion by law," according to a court filing by Cheney's office with the U.S. District Court on Dec. 8.
On Tuesday, December 16, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit established important restrictions on the power of the federal government to impose gag orders on recipients of National Security Letters (NSLs). Currently, the recipient of an NSL cannot challenge a gag order for one year, and the chances for success are limited by a provision of the law that requires judges to regard as "conclusive" government assertions that secrecy is necessary to protect national security. The Second Circuit ruled that these provisions limit First Amendment rights.