Month of January, 2012
Press Release from GPO:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 30, 2012
GPO SUPPORTS NATIONAL ARCHIVES ON PUBLIC ACCESS TO PRESIDENT KENNEDY ASSASSINATION TAPE RECORDING
First Audio Content on FDsys
WASHINGTON-The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is providing public access to the newly discovered audio tape recording of conversations between various individuals in Washington and Air Force One pilots and officials on board during the flight from Dallas to Andrews Air Force Base following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. The tape recording is available on the U.S. Government Printing Office's (GPO) Federal Digital System (FDsys). This is the first time audio content is available on the system, which is a one-stop site for authentic, published Government information. GPO and NARA have a long-standing collaborative relationship in publishing the Federal Register and recently worked together to provide the public with electronic access to the Nixon grand jury testimony.
Link to FDsys: www.fdsys.gov
This digitized version of the two hour and twenty-two minute recording was donated to the National Archives by the Raab Collection. The tapes were found among other papers and memorabilia of Army Gen. Chester "Ted" Clifton, Jr., who served as senior military aide to President Kennedy. The White House Communications Agency (WHCA) provided the tapes to Gen. Clifton. The conversations were captured by WHCA, which routed all phone calls and radio traffic. The recording includes references to new code names and incidents, among them are a private conversation by head of the Secret Service Jerry Behn about the disposition of the President's body; an expanded conversation about how to remove the body from the plane and where to take it; an urgent effort by an aide to Air Force Chief of Staff Curtis LeMay to reach General Clifton; and attempts to locate various Congressmen from Texas. For more information go to: http://www.archives.gov/
"GPO is pleased to provide our digital services in partnering with NARA to make this important historical find available to the public," said Acting Public Printer Davita Vance-Cooks. "This collection marks the first time GPO is providing audio content on the site. We look forward to continuing our long-standing relationship with NARA and other Federal agencies in providing digital access to authentic Government information through FDsys."
Readers of Slashdot asked Carl Malamud about his experiences and hopes in his project to prod the U.S. government into scanning archived documents. They asked questions about metadata, digitizing rare books, what he thinks about corporate partnerships in the process to get public data released, other projects like Ancestry.com and PACER, and even "Which government agency is the worst to get information from?"
Malamud's answers are posted at the link below "with a mix of heartening and disheartening information about how the vast project is progressing."
- Carl Malamud Answers: Goading the Government To Make Public Data Public, Slashdot, Your Rights Online section, Posted by timothy on Monday January 23, 2012.
Earlier this month, we posted about the "Open letter and petition to President Obama to create a federal scanning commission and digitize all .gov publications". The petition closed on 1/20 and now David Ferriero, the Archivist of the US at the National Archives, has given the official NARA response. I'd say this is a positive first step, but much discussion is still needed. Please join the conversation over at the NARA Blog. I think documents librarians will be invaluable to this effort going forward!
Digitizing Federal Public Records
By David Ferriero
Thank you for signing a petition asking the Obama Administration to digitize all public records.
The Obama Administration believes increasing access to our collections by digitizing our records is a great idea. Our most recent efforts to do this ourselves as part of our OpenGov initiative, include the Citizen Archivist project, a Wikipedian in Residence, Tag it Tuesdays, and Scanathons. We are also moving forward on implementing the President’s recent Memorandum on Managing Government Records, which focuses on the need to update policies and practices for the digital age.
But all those things aren’t enough. Your petition, and the Yes We Scan effort broadly, calls for a national strategy, and even a Federal Scanning Commission, to figure out what it would take to digitize the holdings of many federal entities, from the Library of Congress to the Government Printing Office to the Smithsonian Institution.
These ideas bring up a host of questions that still need to be answered: What should the National Archives’ priorities be? Do we focus on preserving deteriorating paper records, still bound with red ribbons from two centuries ago? Do we make digital copies of Vietnam Era film footage? Should we focus on preserving those older paper records while citizens volunteer to digitize more recent, and better preserved, records?
The National Archives – which houses the Nation’s permanent records – is looking for your input to help answer these important questions on how we move forward. What are your thoughts on how the National Archives and other agencies should proceed? What questions should we be asking ourselves?
You can add your thoughts over on the National Archives blog, and I’m looking forward to having a longer discussion with the creators and signers of this petition on this important issue in the coming weeks– more details on that will follow.
Thank you again for your interest in this important issue. I’m looking forward to your ideas on how we can proceed with digitizing federal public records.
David Ferriero is the Archivist of the United States
Time once again for a selection of news and new resources that we hope will be an interest to the FGI community. The following posts are from INFOdocket.com (@infofodocket) where we compile and post new items daily.
10. Full Text Reference Resource: Trade & Development: UNCTAD Handbook of Statistics 2011
From the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
Many of us in the government documents world woke up to 2012 with the following message posted on the Web site of the National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) and distributed around to various library listservs:
In the 2012 President's Budget Request, the National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) is terminated. As a result, all resources, databases, tools, and applications within this web site will be removed on January 15, 2012.
NBII has been a critical program since 1994 (See Bill Clinton's Executive Order 12906 which created the "National Spatial Data Infrastructure" ("NSDI")). NBII was set up to coordinate a broad array of information at the federal level about biodiversity and ecosystems.
What is particularly sad about NBII shutting down is it's precisely the thing we need MORE of not less=>trusted data repositories #opendata
Well have no fear, the Library of Congress, Internet Archive and Stanford Libraries have all harvested (separately) the NBII Website -- Stanford harvested twice between January 5 and January 13, 2012for its Fugitive US Agencies collection.
Daniel Schuman describes a House commitment to openness that resulted in action!
- House Launches Transparency Portal, by Daniel Schuman, Sunlight Foundation (Jan. 13, 2012).
Making good on part of the House of Representative's commitment to increase congressional transparency, today the House Clerk's office launched http://docs.house.gov/, a one stop website where the public can access all House bills, amendments, resolutions for floor consideration, and conference reports in XML, as well as information on floor proceedings and more. Information will ultimately be published online in real time and archived for perpetuity.
...the ongoing process of releasing documents online, in real-time, and in machine-readable manner is a tremendous sea change from the slow and ponderous paper publications that are often late, fairly difficult to use, and unfriendly to computers.
Daniel rightly emphasizes the availability of XML, but the site does make PDFs available as well. It also has as RSS feed:
The HathiTrust announced that it will be adding a new field to its inventory files that will indicate volumes that have been identified as U.S. federal government documents.
- Update on December 2011 Activities, HathiTrust (January 13, 2012).
Changes to Tab-delimited Files
On February 1, HathiTrust will be adding three additional columns to the tab-delimited inventory files (“hathifiles”) available at http://www.hathitrust.org/hathifiles. The files are frequently used by partners and non-partners as a means to obtain full bibliographic records for HathiTrust items to load into local catalogs (see HathiTrust Data Availability and APIs). The additional columns will identify the publication date and publication location of volumes in HathiTrust, as well as volumes that have been identified as U.S. federal government documents.
The Federal Reserve has released transcripts of meetings of the Federal Open Market Committee from 2006, after a standard five-year delay.
As the New York Times notes, the transcripts...
... clearly show some of the nation's pre-eminent economic minds did not fully understand the basic mechanics of the economy that they were charged with shepherding. The problem was not a lack of information; it was a lack of comprehension, born in part of their deep confidence in economic forecasting models that turned out to be broken.
- Inside the Fed in 2006: A Coming Crisis, and Banter, By Binyamin Appelbaum, New York Times (January 12, 2012).
For a famously private institution known for its cryptic, formulaic statements, the meeting transcripts offer a rare glimpse of senior officials in relatively unguarded conversation, somewhat akin to the tapes that some presidents have made in the Oval Office. The Fed officials exchange jokes, gossip about people who are not present, and speak much more frankly about the economy and policy than they did in the public remarks that they made contemporaneously.
The results are unlikely to burnish any of their reputations, inasmuch as they could not see the widening cracks beneath their feet.
The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) is responsible for "open market operations" -- purchases and sales of U.S. Treasury and federal agency securities. These are the Federal Reserve's principal tools for implementing monetary policy. "Monetary policy" refers to actions undertaken by the Federal Reserve to influence the availability and cost of money and credit to help promote national economic goals. The FOMC consists of twelve members: seven members of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York; and four of the remaining eleven Reserve Bank presidents, who serve one-year terms on a rotating basis.
The most detailed record of FOMC meeting proceedings is the transcript. Beginning with the 1994 meetings, the FOMC Secretariat has produced the transcripts shortly after each meeting from an audio recording of the proceedings, lightly editing the speakers' original words, where necessary, to facilitate the reader's understanding. Meeting participants are given an opportunity within the subsequent several weeks to review the transcript for accuracy.
Transcripts of FOMC meetings are made available to the public with about a five-year lag.
EconomyWatch.com has a beta version of "Econ Stats," an economic statistics database service. They say that coverage is worldwide, by country, economic region and geographical region from 1980 to 2016 forecasts. It currently includes over 50 indicators. Its sources are IMF, World Bank, UN, OECD, CIA World Factbook, Internet World Statistics, The Heritage Foundation and Transparency International.
- Econ Stats: The Economic Statistics and Indicators Database
"You use this data by finding country, economic indicator or year that you are interested in, and then browse through the data from there. We have raw numerical data as well as some basic textual analysis and supporting notes."
Hat tip to beSpacific!