Government Docs

Campaign Finance: AK, AL, CO, DC, HI, IL, MO, NV, OH

Cross posted from Free Government Information:

As part of the fruit of the ALA GODORT State and Local Documents Task Force's State Agency Databases Across the Fifty States project, I used the project blog to create a listing of state-level campaign finance databases.

So far I've got nine states: Alaska, Alabama, Colorado, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Missouri, Nevada and Ohio. Do you know of other state campaign finance databases? Either leave a comment below of drop me a line at dnlcornwall AT alaska DOT net.

And if you use any of the databases listed above, I'd really love to see your comments on the project blog entry for that database.

Guide of the Week: Federal Budget Process

Crossposted from Free Government Information:

There are few things more complicated than the US federal budget process. This week's guide:

U.S. Government Documents: The Budget Process (Jerry Breeze, Columbia University, 1999) Last Updated sometime in 2008

Can help you untangle the fiscal knots that is the United States Budget. This selective guide points to information about the current budget, including state by state budget impacts as well as historical data and background materials.

This guide also has a federal budget calendar which can help you see when different budget publications becomes available. Finally, Jerry provides a section on News and Commentary which draws from non-governmental sources.

The next time you are faced with a concerned citizen or a student writing about an aspect of the US budget, point them to this guide. Then see what else is available from the Handout Exchange. Don't see the subject you're looking for? If you're a documents librarian why not research the subject yourself, put a guide together and link that to the Exchange? Or build a guide on the Exchange wiki itself?

White House Threatens to Veto Bill to Modernize Presidential Records Act

On Wednesday, just as the Senate passed sweeping new legislation to modernize a 30 year old federal surveillance law, President Bush signaled that he would swiftly veto a bill approved by the House earlier in the day that would overhaul the Presidential and Federal Records Act to ensure emails and other government documents are preserved in the age of the Internet.

The measure was passed by a vote of 286-137, more than a year after several Senate and House investigations discovered that the Bush administration apparently purged millions of emails and that dozens of administration officials used email accounts maintained by the Republican National Committee to conduct official White House business in what appeared to be a violation of the Presidential Records Act.

Guide of the Week: Afro Americans and the Military

Cross Posted from Free Government Information because the non-docs folks here might benefit as well.

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Government Information librarians have acquired a lot of expertise. We've written a lot of guides and pathfinders to government information.

The Government Documents Roundtable (GODORT) of ALA has been collecting these handouts for years so we docs librarians wouldn't have to reinvent the wheel every time we needed to create a handout or give someone a starting point for research. Recently, this GODORT "Handout Exchange" has been wikified at http://wikis.ala.org/godort/index.php/Exchange.

The Handout Exchange is divided into four areas:

  • Guides & Handouts for Depository Management
  • Subject-oriented Guides and Tutorials
  • Source- and Geography-oriented Guides and Tutorials
  • Product-oriented Guides and Tutorials

Because the Handout Exchange links to many resources that could help many people outside the depository community, FGI is proud to start a new "Guide of the Week" column to highlight these librarian generated resources.

Our first highlight is from the subject guide page:

Afro-Americans and the Military, 1939-45 (Denise Schoene, Univ. of Michigan, 1997) Last updated 8/6/2004

This guide provides a number of resources to the history of African Americans during this period including: -- Read More

GAO releases some of America's legislative history, but the rest is only available for pay from Thomson West

BoinBoing Notes they have released 619,000 pages of histories, which were the pilot project scans they conducted. Looking at this data shows just how incredibly valuable these legislative histories are and how wonderfully talented the government employees are who compiled the information. The bad news is the government *gave* millions of dollars worth of help to Thomson West which is raking in the bucks with the big database.
This Site Has All the details.

The Department of Forgetting: How an obscure FBI rule is ensuring the destruction of irreplaceable historical records

Alex Heard, the editorial director of Outside magazine at Slate:

But isn't the FBI destroying only junk? I doubt it. Ernie Lazar, an independent researcher in California whose particular interest is in far-right groups, sent me a list of "destroyed" responses he's received over the years from FBI headquarters and field offices. There are dozens. We'll never know if they were significant—they don't exist anymore—but they sure look interesting to me.

SLA Lauds Government Report On Closures of EPA Libraries

SLA has applauded the U.S. Government Accountability Office's recent report on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's library closures. The report was requested by the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee last year following an outcry by the public and the library community over the destruction of sensitive documents and restriction of access to public health information contained in the EPA libraries. "SLA was the first library association to denounce the closures in February 2006, and we have continued to work diligently to ensure that the concerns of our members and the public's best interest are considered and appropriately addressed in the EPA's strategy and operations plans going forward," said SLA CEO Janice R. Lachance.

Keeping it digital

In response to the revelations about White House e-mail practices, members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee have introduced the Electronic Communications Preservation Act. The bill would direct the Archivist of the United States to issue regulations that require federal agencies to preserve electronic records — especially e-mail messages — in an electronic format.

Current National Archives and Records Administration regulations permit agencies to preserve electronic records by storing them in an electronic format or printing them on paper and saving the paper. Agencies almost universally choose the paper option if they preserve their electronic records at all.

How can EPA meet the public's information needs?

The EPA is seeking comment of how they can best work with the public to share information. The person that passed on this story had the following comment:

Thought you all would be interested to see this. Given EPA's haste in closing many of their libraries and how goofy they are being about reinstating them - well it doesn't appear that the "public" is responding very quickly.

EPA call for input here.

Link to comment from person that suggested this story for LISNEWS is here.

What are You Doing for the Next Eight Years?

The next eight years will be critical ones for the National Archives. As they prepare for a Presidential transition that will add to the more than 10 billion pages of documents they already hold, they'll also deal with funding issues and technology advances that will change the way they do business. The Archives says their mission is "to ensure the public can discover, use, and learn from the records of their Government," and they are circulating a document of their own to plan to keep doing just that.

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