Submitted by jrjacobs on Sun, 2013-01-13 13:49.
Shinjoung and I were stunned when we heard the news early yesterday morning that our friend -- and supreme friend of libraries and the Internet! -- Aaron Swartz left this world late friday evening. Aaron was deeply committed to and passionate about internet freedom and making information and knowledge as available as possible. To those ends, he worked on many projects large and small in his short but influential life. He was 26.
The *many* heartfelt remembrances from communities as diverse as journalism, law and open source tech -- witness Rick Perlstein, Lawrence Lessig, Glenn Greenwald, Karl Fogel -- attest to Aaron's supreme impact on the world at large (and that's no hyperbole!).
Before I had even heard of his tragic demise, a few colleagues and I were in the midst of writing letters of support for Aaron's nomination for this year's James Madison award from the American Library Association (ALA). This award, named in honor of President James Madison, was established by the ALA in 1986 to honor individuals or groups who have championed, protected and promoted public access to government information and the public’s “right to know” on the national level. I hope now that ALA will award Aaron posthumously!
We're helping Archive-it staff harvest a Web archive of Aaron's work, writings, images, videos, and remembrances. If you've got a URI that you'd like to be included in the archive, please paste it to this Google Doc.
Remembrances of Aaron, as well as donations in his memory, can be submitted at http://rememberaaronsw.com
The world will miss you Aaron. Be at peace my friend!
Submitted by dcornwall on Sun, 2013-01-13 07:55.
This week we added new volunteers to the State Agency Databases project at http://wikis.ala.org/godort/index.php/State_Agency_Databases. We welcomed Ellen Richardson and Jennifer Ekblaw as the new documents specialists for the Massachusetts project page.
With Ellen and Jennifer's adoption of Massachusetts and the pending adoption of Montana, the project is now looking for people to adopt the following pages:
- District of Columbia
- South Carolina
If you are interested in one of these pages, please read through our volunteer guide and then contact Daniel Cornwall through the contact link on the main project page.
For a full listing of link repairs and other activity for the past week, see http://tinyurl.com/statedbs. Read on for a few highlights:
COLORADO (Samantha Hager)
Colorado Environmental Public Health Tracking - Search environmental and health data by county, topic, and year.
The original focus of the State Agency Databases project was on searchable databases produced by state agencies. Over the years our volunteers have found a number of use resources that are either not databases or databases not produced by state agencies. For these resources, we established the "not databases" page at http://wikis.ala.org/godort/index.php/Not_Databases.
This week Connecticut documents specialist Janice Wilson put up a sizable number of CT resources including:
- Banks in Connecticut - Lists institution, main office addresses, CEO, and regulating authority.
- Dealers, Licensed Repairers, and Licensed Recyclers only.
Dept. of Revenue Services, Most Popular Downloadable Forms
- Directory of Performing & Teaching Artists - This directory provides lists of Connecticut artists (dance, traditional arts, literary arts, music, theater) willing to perform/provide specialized instruction in schools or community settings. Click on the individual discipline links for the listings.
- DMV Learner's Permit Test Appointments - Use the online Quick Service Center to schedule, reschedule and pay for the learner's permit test.
Infraction Ticket Processing - You may either pay your ticket or plead Not Guilty on this website.
Submitted by jajacobs on Thu, 2013-01-10 07:08.
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has compiled a list of recommendations for consolidating or eliminating congressionally-mandated reports to Congress. The list is based on information supplied by the agencies themselves.
- What congressionally-mandated plans and reports did agencies propose for Congress to consider modifying in response to the GPRA Modernization Act (P.L. 111-352)?
Federal agencies annually produce thousands of congressionally-mandated plans and reports, and some that were once useful can become outdated, duplicative, or less useful over time. Through the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) Modernization Act of 2010, Congress required Federal agencies to identify for elimination or consolidation plans and reports that are outdated or duplicative. Agencies identified for Congress the linked list of 376 plans and reports as potentially outdated, duplicative, or otherwise warranting modification.
- List of Reports Required by PL 111-352 [Excel file] (Also available here as a PDF file).
- OMB proposes to eliminate, consolidate 376 reports, By Jason Miller, Federal News Radio, (1/9/2013).
Consolidating 47 reports
Eliminating 269 reports
Reducing the frequency of 31
Sources for Finding Mandated Reports to Congress by U.S. Federal Agencies, Law Librarians' Society of Washington, D.C., (Last updated on December 14, 2012).
Submitted by jajacobs on Mon, 2013-01-07 18:34.
The essential series Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS), published by the Office of the Historian at the U.S. Department of State, presents the official documentary historical record of major U.S. foreign policy decisions and significant diplomatic activity. The Office of the Historian has apparently finished its pilot project with producing FRUS in e-book formats (ePub and Mobi). It now is offering 108 publications during its current phase releasing e-books.
Hat tip to infoDOCKET!
Submitted by jajacobs on Mon, 2013-01-07 18:15.
The Government Accountability Office has launched a new Key Issues web site that highlights and groups GAO reports on critical issues.
Hat tip to infoDOCKET!
Submitted by dcornwall on Sun, 2013-01-06 08:43.
There was a flurry of end of year activity at the State Agency Databases Across the Fifty States project (http://wikis.ala.org/godort/index.php/State_Agency_Databases) over the last few weeks, including our annual compilation of usage statistics. We also had the sad duty of returning 11 pages to orphan status as they were not updated in 2012.
But first, the good news! All together, state project pages were visited 201,084 times in 2012. This is nearly triple the number of visits in 2011. Our subject pages also got about three times more visits in 2012, logging 28,131 visits.
The most popular state page was Alaska, followed closely by Missouri. The Prisoner Locater page continued in its number one spot among subject pages, but Lynn McClelland's Healthcare Practitioner pages were a close second.
The full statistics worksheet listing individual stats for all states and subject pages is linked from our main project page under 2012 Usage Stats.
For a full listing of all changes to project pages during the last two weeks, visit http://tinyurl.com/statedbs14d. Below are some highlights of activity.
MICHIGAN (Michael McDonnell)
Michigan Healthcare Help - This site provides information on where to find free or inexpensive health related services. Included are links to free clinics, mental health services, dental care, prescription drug programs, family planning, and cancer screening and treatment services. You can also find assistance with Medicaid enrollment here.
MISSOURI (Annie Moots)
Field Guide - What plant or animal is that? - Search the database of plants, animals and mushrooms found in Missouri.
OHIO (Audrey Hall)
Interest Calculator - Select tax type, amount due, and payment date to calculate interest.
WASHINGTON (Marilyn Von Seggern)
Children's Safe Products Act Reports Database - Beginning in August 2012, manufacturers of children's products must report to Dept. of Ecology if their products contain toxic chemicals such as lead, cadmium and phthalates. The Reporting List of Chemicals of High Concern to Children can be searched by chemical, company, or product.
NEW ORPHANS FOR 2013
Some bad news for the project, but potentially good news for you. Since 2011, our project guidelines state that we will terminate volunteers who have not documented link checks or updated their pages in the past calendar year. State pages meeting that condition are put out for adoption the following January. So here is our new orphan list for 2013:
- District of Columbia
- South Carolina
If you are interested in taking on one of these pages, first read our volunteer guide and make sure that you are willing and able to meet the requirements of a project volunteer. Then contact Daniel Cornwall, the project coordinator using the contact link on our main page. After you are given the page and a wiki account (if needed), you will have two weeks to change the page to reflect your ownership.
We would love to have you join our group of 40 odd document enthusiasts and specialists. Just make sure you can fit quarterly link checks and database finding into your schedule.
Submitted by jajacobs on Sun, 2013-01-06 06:41.
Rushed Debate on Federal Spying Powers, CATO Institute, six minute video posted as "FISA: The Movie!" on the Association of Research Libraries "Policy Notes" site. A nice summary of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) domestic spying "debate" and re-authorization over the holidays.
Submitted by jajacobs on Wed, 2013-01-02 07:54.
John Wonderlich does a good job of summing up how openness was a casualty of the so-called fiscal cliff drama.
Here is an interesting view of the bill that passed:
As Wonderlich said, "While Congress (and the rest of us) only just found out what was in the bill, a coterie of corporate lobbyists managed to get their profit-boosting tax expenditures included. It's hard to imagine how NASCAR and Hollywood had stronger negotiating positions than the House of Representatives, but in the end, they did."
Submitted by jrjacobs on Tue, 2013-01-01 11:34.
Happy 2013 FGI readers! As we begin the new year, it's always good to be reminded every year by Jennifer Jenkins and James Boyle and rest of the fine folks at the Duke Center for the Study of the Public Domain about the number of books, film and music that could have entered the public domain this year were it not for the 1976 Copyright Act. It's a fascinating and depressing read, especially the scientific material that may never become truly free and open knowledge -- not to mention the Scifi ("Minority Report" and Around The World in 80 Days -- the movie -- should have been "Around The World in 34,699 Days"), music, films, and literature.
Current US law extends copyright for 70 years after the date of the author’s death, and corporate “works-for-hire” are copyrighted for 95 years after publication. But prior to the 1976 Copyright Act (which became effective in 1978), the maximum copyright term was 56 years – an initial term of 28 years, renewable for another 28 years. Under those laws, works published in 1956 would enter the public domain on January 1, 2013, where they would be “free as the air to common use.” Under current copyright law, we’ll have to wait until 2052. And no published works will enter our public domain until 2019.
What books would be entering the public domain if we had the pre-1978 copyright laws? You might recognize some of the titles below.
* Winston Churchill, A History of the English-Speaking Peoples, Volume I and Volume II
* Philip K. Dick, Minority Report
* Ian Fleming, Diamonds are Forever
* Fred Gibson, Old Yeller
* Billie Holiday, Lady Sings the Blues
* Alan Lerner, My Fair Lady
* Eugene O’Neill, Long Day’s Journey into Night
* John Osborne, Look Back in Anger
* Dodie Smith, 101 Dalmatians
Here are a few of the movies that we won’t see in the public domain for another 39 years.
* Around the World in 80 Days
* The Best Things in Life are Free
* Forbidden Planet
* Godzilla, King of the Monsters!
* It Conquered the World
* The King and I
* The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956 remake by Alfred Hitchcock of his 1934 British film)
* Moby Dick
* The Searchers (1956 film version with John Wayne from Alan Le May’s 1954 novel)
* The Ten Commandments (1956 version by Cecil B. DeMille, who also directed a similar film in 1923)