Librarian George Bergstrom has identified and links to 45 states that provide their respective residents with access to company related information, and 4 others that help individual libraries negotiate with the companies that own these resources to then provide access to their communities.
FOIA expert Scott A. Hodes shares his professional experience working with FOIA Analysts, and their perspective on how they make the FOIA process smoother in regard to their relationships with requesters. This however is a double edged coin – FOIA requesters can also take specific steps and make efforts to assist with the satisfactory and timely completion of a request when communicating with government FOIA personnel.
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).
Professor Annmarie Bridy discusses the use of “transparency” as a metaphor for openness in government, the use of FOIA as a mechanism for ensuring such openness, and the ways in which proponents of greater public involvement in policy-making may disserve the cause by focusing too single-mindedly on access to information and the right to know, both of which are operationalized through FOIA.
Forensic intelligence analyst, legal adviser, lecturer, FOIA and Web expert, and Publisher of the Fringe journals (Dutch), Roger Vleugels has published his Summary of 2011 Update indicating that 88 countries now have a FOIA in power. This reflects 7 more than in last year’s update: El Salvador, Ethiopia, Guinea-Conakry, Liberia, Niger, Nigeria, Tunisia.
Learning to Live Without a Statistical Abstract: Thinking about Future Access to Government Information
The U.S. Census Bureau anticipates that budget cuts will likely dismantle the entire Statistical Compendia division. James T. Shaw’s presentation focuses on why there is no truly good alternative to the Statistical Abstract in terms of providing both convenience and breadth, either from other government or commercial sources. He provides descriptions of and links to other statistical sources and methods to mine available data moving forward.
Scott A. Hodes addresses the responses from various groups about the proposed new Department of Justice (“DOJ”) FOIA regulations which call for DOJ components to “respond to the request as if the excluded records did not exist. This response should not differ in wording from any other response given by the component” when applying an exclusion to the FOIA.
The FLARE Index to Treaties (FIT), launched in March 2009 on the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies web server has been extended to cover about a third more treaties and conventions. In the past two years the Index has established itself as a valuable finding tool for the international lawyer. It is a fully searchable database now indexing and listing over 2,000 of the most significant multilateral treaties concluded from 1353 onwards and a number of significant bilateral treaties signed between 1353 and 1815. This article, by Steven Whittle and Peter Clinch describes the background to the extension and technical aspects of the updated implementation employed to deliver new content and finding features.
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.