Government Docs

Senators Urge Upgrade of THOMAS

A group of US Senators, headed by Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) and Jon Corzine (D-NJ), is urging the Library of Congress to make more content available on its THOMAS website. The Senators would like citizens to be able to access the same government information available to them on the Legislative Information Service (LIS). The senators who signed the letter to LOC head James Billington deemed THOMAS "insufficient as a portal to the Congress of the United States." More here from Federal Computer Week. And from the Project on Government Oversight, a comparison of LIS and THOMAS.

Ohio Dept of Health to confiscate public records

Anonymous Patron writes "The Huron County Genealogical Society may pursue legal action against the Huron County General Health District for confiscating about 20 rolls of microfilm containing vital statistics from the Norwalk Public Library, according to local historian Henry Timman. Coverage in the Morning Journal from Loraine, OH, can be found here and here."
The article says The Ohio Department of Health will pursue every collection of state vital statistic records outside its control on the grounds that local health districts never had the authority to make available mass reproductions of the records, according to Jay Carey and Dr. Sandra McGuire, of the Ohio Department of Health.

Download Space Shuttle Report - while you can!

Steve Fesenmaier writes "I was sick of just getting the tip of the iceberg - so what exactly did go wrong? As a great symbol of the infinite danger bureaucrats can bring to this world, this report is one every librarian should read....and pass around."

Rochelle's note: The report is also available here at NASA.

The GPO and National Archives Unite In Support of Permanent Online Public Access

"Archivist of the United States John W. Carlin and United States Public Printer Bruce R. James announced today an agreement whereby the Government Printing Office (GPO) and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) will ensure the documents you see today on GPO Access (, the GPO web site that provides free online public access to more than 250,000 Federal Government titles, will remain available permanently."

"GPO is committed to providing permanent public access to the online versions of the most important Government publications. That is why we are honored that NARA has recognized our commitment to making this information available today and to preserving it for future generations by making us an archival affiliate," said Public Printer James." (from US Newswire)

Supreme Court, Library Commission create legal research centers

"The state Supreme Court and West Virginia Library Commission will join forces to test market nine legal research centers across the state."

"The centers will be created during a one-year program funded by a $45,000 grant from the State Justice Institute."

"The court and commission will create three centers in urban public libraries, three in rural public libraries and three in circuit court libraries. Public librarians will be trained to help residents with legal research questions." (from The Charleston Gazette)

OMB and GAO disagree over privacy compliance

One From GCN says The Office of Management and Budget and the General Accounting Office are butting heads over the ability of agencies to assure the protection of individual privacy rights in agency systems.

In a GAO report (PDF) released yesterday for Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.), ranking member of the Governmental Affairs Committee, the audit agency found that agency compliance with the Privacy Act of 1974 is uneven across agencies.

The right to know vs. the need for public safety

SomeOne writes "The Times Union looks at how the ability to access government information has been under siege since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, as local, state and federal officials struggle to strike a balance between security and the public's right to know. Through federal legislation like the USA Patriot Act and the Homeland Security Act, the Bush administration has succeeded in significantly curtailing the amount of information available to the public.


Mexico Starts Freedom of Information Act

SomeOne writes "This Associated Press Story says The first-ever Mexican freedom of information law takes effect Thursday, designed to expose the government and its once closely guarded records and secrets to greater public scrutiny.

The new law requires all branches of government to provide copies of public documents--from government employees' salaries to details about public programs and government contracts--within 20 days of any citizen's request.

Jamaican Access to Information Act on target for October

News From Jamaica where the first phase of the Access to Information Act is still on target for its October deadline, according to Information Minister Burchell Whiteman.

The Act seeks to promote accountability and transparency by giving public access to official documents in government bodies, subject to exempt provisions.

The Act, passed last June, originally had an August implementation date. But the OPM said it needed more time to tie up a number of areas, including the training of civil servants.

The Act was passed even though there was strong opposition from several quarters.

The most recent criticism came in April by Canadian information policy consultant, Dr David Flaherty, who said that the legislation is full of loopholes which allow Government to effect exemptions when it sees fit. He also said the Act would require a significant change in the mindset of civil servants in order to be effective.

All GPO Bookstores Closing by August

Troy Johnson writes "At the GPO Bookstore website it tells that all GPO Bookstores are closing by August. This is due to people being able to buy online and more government information online in general.


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