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Senator Patrick Leahy Says funds for the Office of Government Information Services, a component of the National Archives and Records Administration, authorized under the newly enacted OPEN Government Act will be shifted to the Department of Justice, according to White House aides. The move is contrary to the intent of Congress when it passed the OPEN Government Act -- bipartisan legislation championed by Leahy and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas). The legislation unanimously passed the Senate and House in December. Leahy this week outlined an agenda for the new year to continue to press for more openness and transparency in government.
Free Government Information is investigating the usefulness of tagging government documents that do not receive traditional cataloging and needs your help! We've posted 32 documents that the Government Printing Office (GPO) harvested from the EPA web site and posted them to the Internet Archive. Over the next three months, we'd like to see as many people as possible tag and describe these documents using the del.icio.us bookmarking service. For a full project description and instructions on how to participate, please visit http://freegovinfo.info/epatagging. We'd like to thank GPO for posting a sample of their harvested EPA documents that made this project possible.
This project got its inspiration from Galaxy Zoo (http://www.galaxyzoo.org), an astronomy project which has a database of 1 million galaxies that researchers asked regular folks to classify as ellipical, clockwise spiral, or anticlockwise spiral. They aimed for and got at least 20 classifications per galaxy. If a particular galaxy was classified a certain way by 80% of users who assigned a classification to that galaxy, that classification was accepted. This "person on the street" data was compared with a small subset (50,000) of galaxies that professional astronomers had managed to classify on their own. The researchers found that there was pretty much total agreement between the professional and amateur assessments. Documents are more complex than galaxies. :-) , but if 9 out of 10 people tag an epa document as air quality, then it's probably about air quality. -- Read More
When in the course of human events it becomes necessary to locate a rare, vintage copy of the nation's founding document, try looking behind the filing cabinet.
That was a lesson learned the hard way at the Supreme Court, where a 185-year-old facsimile of the Declaration of Independence gathered dust for seven years, tucked behind the office furniture, a court spokeswoman acknowledged this week.
In response to a congressional mandate that the Environmental Protection Agency restore closed libraries, the agency said it will proceed with modernizing its library network, leading some people to believe the EPA will not resume physical library operations. Molly O'Neill, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Environmental Information, issued a statement Monday that said, "EPA continues to modernize its library network to enhance access to information for EPA employees and the public."
Washington is keeping secrets like never before. And if the problem isn’t dealt with now, it will only get worse. That’s the assessment of a joint presidential-congressional advisory group. The advisors urge greater openness, and a better effort to meet existing rules for declassifying information. It is noteworthy that the group includes representatives from the White House as well as Congress. The board began meeting nearly two years ago.
Buried in two short paragraphs within the voluminous omnibus appropriations bill Congress sent this week to President George W. Bush is a Christmas present for EPA scientists and anyone else that wants to use the library network of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Congress ordered the EPA to restore its library services across the country and earmarked $3 million for that purpose, according to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, PEER, a national association of workers in natural resources agencies.
Public.Resource.Org, the Internet Archive, and the Boston Public Library announced the commencement of phase 1 of a project that aims to create a comprehensive digital archive of 60 million pages of government documents over the next two years.
Phase 1 of the project will produce a minimum of 2.5 million pages of digital text using a scanning and optical character recognition (OCR) technology suite developed by the Internet Archive. The Boston Public Library is the first Contributing Library in the program, and has agreed to lend a 50-year run of Congressional Hearings from 1936–1986, as well as a complete copy of the Catalog of Copyright Entries. Scanning will take place at the Boston Library Consortium's Northeast Regional Scanning Center.
A Press Release From Judicial Watch says the National Archives told U.S. District Court Judge James Robertson during a December 17, 2007 court hearing that a portion of Hillary Clinton's White House office records will be ready for release by the end of January 2008; after which it will notify President Clinton. Under the Presidential Records Act, President Clinton has upon notice thirty days to review the documents. The National Archives will also provide a status report of President Clinton's review by March 1, 2008. The records include Hillary Clinton's White House daily schedule.
Secrecy News reports that the National Archives is exploring new methods to accelerate the disclosure of records at Presidential libraries.
Archivists "decided to undertake an in-house study in the spring of 2007 to review ways to achieve faster processing of Presidential records," stated Emily Robison, acting director of the Clinton Presidential Library, in an October 2 declaration that was filed in a lawsuit brought against NARA by Judicial Watch.
Freegov pointed the way to an OMB Watch report [PDF] that highlights "a critical gap in online access to vital government information." In an examination of Google, Yahoo, Microsoft Live and Ask and the search function provided by USA.gov, they confirmed that many of these searches miss critical information simply because of the manner in which the government agency has published the information.
• A search for “New York radiation” does not find basic FEMA and DHS information about
current conditions and monitoring.
• A search to help grandparents with a question about visitation of their grandchildren in any
search engine does not turn up an article of the same title located on the Web site of the
Administration for Children & Families.
They have several recommendations for the federal government. Each of these would encourage
greater accessibility of government information by making it more searchable.