David Rothman’s commentary argues that “good libraries are all about content and community and the needs of local people.” The FY2019 Federal Budget proposes once again to eliminate Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and hundreds of millions of dollars dedicated to America’s libraries through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). Rothman identifies what is at stake if these cuts are approved, and how the ALA and others groups are on point to lead a bi-partisan effort to save this funding now and into the future.
Peggy Roebuck Jarrett writes about an issue that is significant to law librarians, federal documents librarians, and to the public. The subject is a draft House bill that proposes “to amend title 44, United States Code, to reform the organization, authorities, and programs relating to public printing and documents, including the Federal Depository Program.” Jarrett shares why this bill could fundamentally change the publication and distribution of official print and digital government information. In addition, Jarrett describes how the future of no-fee public access to reliable government information – which includes the very laws that govern us – is at stake.
Deans of Virginia University Libraries to Chairman Goodlatte: First Do No Harm in Copyright Revision
UVA Director of Information Policy Brandon Butler explains the implications of the Copyright Office plan to to issue a total rewrite of Section 108 of the Copyright Act and provides context on such a decision, which protects library and archives’ copying for preservation and research. Libraries and archives have said they do not want this, but the Office seems to be determined to do it. So, a group of Deans and Directors of Virginia university libraries has sent a letter to House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) to ensure he realizes the controversy and context that surrounds the Office’s proposed changes. If you are a concerned library or librarian, consider writing your representative, especially if they sit on the Judiciary Committee.
Access to government information is important in the daily lives of the people of the United States. During the shutdown of the federal government, paper and digital versions of government publications are either not available at all or the web sites are not being updated. Bernadine Abbott Hoduski has documented the specific impact shared by Librarians around the nation who report that they are unable to help patrons find the information they need to do research, write articles for journals and newspapers, prepare class assignments, find laws and regulations relevant to the conduct of their businesses, find information needed to file law suits, complete mortgage applications, access weather information, do historical and genealogical research, and contact government officials through agency web sites. Professors teaching future librarians, teachers, geographers, scientists, and other user communities, are unable to access web sites needed for their classes.
The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA) are the subject of this Infographic, by Spencer Belkofer, Lumin Consulting. See also his related Infographic on the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA).
Well known graphic artists Jake O’Neil and Spencer Belkofer created this infographic out of a sense of urgency to visualize the salient information with as many communities as possible. This bill, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act of 2011, has not garnered the media coverage of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), but its high impact implications target key legal issues involving privacy and intellectual property.
Marcus P. Zillman’s guide is focused on current web sites, blogs and database sources targeted to researchers whose goal is the discovery and effective use of specific, reliable resources to track the New Economy. These sources assume added importance with the expansion in U.S. government transparency, the rise in prominence of “big data” and the public release by agencies, NGOs, public interest groups and media, of diverse databases of analytics, reports, statistical releases, and customized charts.
Scott A. Hodes contends that reducing FOIA Operations any further is the wrong way to go if the objectives of increasing government transparency are to be pursued. The actual process of searching for records in response to FOIA requests and processing those requests requires human interaction – in other words, while the documents themselves can be digitized, a person will always be required to search for and process responsive records.
Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Financial Protection Act: A Brief Legislative History with Links, Reports and Summaries
The “craft” of legislative history construction is practiced with unique and outstanding expertise by law librarian Rick McKinney. This history is designed in a streamlined fashion so as to allow users to more easily check when provisions in the law got into bill and then check for related remarks concerning those provisions. It also has links to earlier legislation related to different titles of the Act, to the Administration’s proposed legislation in 2009, to related CRS reports, and to various summaries and commentaries of the law on the Web.
Peggy Garvin has updated her directory of useful government information resources online, the e-Government and Web Directory: U.S. Federal Government Online. Her research has found that federal web sites do not change as rapidly as users believe. The content on these sites is dynamic, constantly being refreshed and redesigned. However, the sites themselves, the ones that represent so much of the work of the federal government and are selected for inclusion in the book, are fairly stable.