White House Releases Fifth Open Government National Action Plan to Advance a More Inclusive, Responsive, and Accountable Government | OSTP | The White House

“Today, the Biden-Harris Administration released the U.S. Government’s Fifth Open Government National Action Plan to advance a more inclusive, responsive, and accountable government. The plan includes commitments to increase the public’s access to data to better advance equity, engage the public in the regulatory process, make government records more accessible to the public, and improve the delivery of government services and benefits. The publication of this plan builds on months of engagement with the public, including six public engagement sessions with hundreds of participants, over 700 public comments, and consultations with a range of civil society organizations.”

Archiving official documents as an act of radical journalism – Columbia Journalism Review

“Democracy’s Library, a new project of the Internet Archive that launched last month, has begun collecting the world’s government publications into a single, permanent, searchable online repository, so that everyone—journalists, authors, academics, and interested citizens—will always be able to find, read, and use them. It’s a very fundamental form of journalism….

The importance of distributing true copies of government records was formally recognized by the US Congress in 1813 with a resolution establishing what later became the Federal Depository Library Program, now a network of more than eleven hundred libraries maintaining collections of government records, including catalogues of government assistance, census information, economic indicators, the US Code and Government Manual, the Social Security Handbook, bibliographies, the daily Federal Register, and Ben’s Guide to US Government for Kids (“Let’s Go on a Learning Adventure!”).

 

But in recent years, enormous collections of these documents came to be gathered and sold or licensed to libraries through commercial databases. At the same time, digital repositories maintained by governments have aged and deteriorated. Standards are lacking, or absent altogether….”

Response to the proposed themes for a 5th U.S. National Action Plan on Open Government – Governing Digital

“Last week, the U.S. government posted a summary of the feedback they have heard on making government more inclusive and responsive and invited the American public to read and share these summaries, and let the White House know what we thought of them by December 9, 2022 by emailing opengov@ostp.eop.gov. The following is the response we sent today….

A new Open Government Directive issued by President Biden that explicitly requires all federal employees to embrace the spirit and principles of open government, from the administration of the Freedom of Information Act to the proactive disclosure of public information to the public in the open, accessible formats required by the Open Government Act to the responsive, collaborative approach to civic engagement and public information that Americans should expect from our public officials and civil servants. Make in press freedom and Internet freedom the planks of a bridge to the next century of access to information. Enshrine public access to public information as a defining priority of this administration, building on the foundations laid by generations past to erect an enduring architecture of open governance for our democracy….”

About this Collection  |  Copyright Historical Record Books Collection, 1870-1977 (Preview)  |  Digital Collections  |  Library of Congress

“The U.S. Copyright Office is governed by Title 17 of the United States Code, which requires the Register of Copyrights to maintain and provide public access to copyright records. This collection is a preview of a digitized version of the U.S. Copyright Office’s historical record books. The collection contains images of copyright applications and other records bound in books dating from 1870 to 1977. The collection offers a historically-important snapshot of the culture of the United States, primarily relating to copyrightable expression, authorship, and copyright ownership.

This collection is a digital preview of the physical collection and should not be relied on for legal matters.  To access the official public records in the copyright historical record books, visit the Copyright Office Public Records Reading Room. In the future, as part of its overall modernization efforts, the Copyright Office plans to incorporate digitized, searchable versions of the official historical record books into the Office’s Copyright Public Record System (CPRS), which is currently in a public pilot.

The collection will be made available online starting with the most recent volumes from 1977, proceeding through the Copyright Office’s internal administrative classification system in reverse chronological order. Images of record books will be added to this collection as they are digitized….”

Panel discussion: Building geospatial data capacity at the municipal level Tickets, Wed, 18 May 2022 at 12:00 PM | Eventbrite

“Municipalities are the level of government closest to residents. Geospatial data is critical in planning the infrastructure and delivering the services that residents interact with daily. More broadly, sharing geospatial capacity can enable municipalities to collectively address challenges extending beyond any community’s borders.

Yet, the ability to fully leverage geospatial data varies significantly between communities. Collaboration – that is, sharing data assets, infrastructure, and knowledge – can help municipalities to gain capacity they would not otherwise be able to access in order to improve internal data practices; share collective intelligence and make mutual decisions on issues of regional importance; unlock geospatial information for community-based economic, social, and environmental initiatives, and; present a united ask for resources from higher levels of government.

Join Open North for a virtual panel discussion where we will address questions raised in our recent report such as:

What issues can most benefit from greater collaboration and sharing of geospatial resources between municipalities?
What are the barriers to forming and sustaining collaborations?
What can we learn from successful existing collaborations?
How can provincial governments, civil society, and the private sector better support collaborations? …”

Unlocking linked real-world data presents opportunities to improve public health | Impact of Social Sciences

“The COVID-19 pandemic has surfaced the potential and risks of linked real word datasets to accelerate and produce new improvements in public health. In this post, Matthew Franklin, Dan Howdon, Suzanne Mason, Tony Stone, Monica Jones, outline the opportunities and challenges of using real world data as part of the ‘Unlocking data to inform public health policy and practice’ project. Highlighting the ethical and practical challenges of accessing this data, they argue investing in and developing trust across those involved in the formation of real world data is critical to its effective use….”

Merrick Garland Orders More Open Access to Government Documents – WSJ

“Attorney General Merrick Garland directed federal agencies to “apply a presumption of openness” when fulfilling Freedom of Information Act requests, after lawmakers pressed him to increase transparency as the denial rate for such inquiries has risen in recent years.

Information that might be considered exempted from release shouldn’t be withheld unless an agency can identify a “foreseeable harm or legal bar to disclosure,” Mr. Garland said in a memo Tuesday….”

Merrick Garland Orders More Open Access to Government Documents – WSJ

“Attorney General Merrick Garland directed federal agencies to “apply a presumption of openness” when fulfilling Freedom of Information Act requests, after lawmakers pressed him to increase transparency as the denial rate for such inquiries has risen in recent years.

Information that might be considered exempted from release shouldn’t be withheld unless an agency can identify a “foreseeable harm or legal bar to disclosure,” Mr. Garland said in a memo Tuesday….”

New Project Will Unlock Access to Government Publications on Microfiche – Internet Archive Blogs

“Government documents from microfiche are coming to archive.org based on the combined efforts of the Internet Archive, Stanford University Libraries, and other library partners. The resulting files will be available for free public access to enable new analysis and access techniques. 

Microfiche cards, which contain miniaturized thumbnails of the publication’s pages, are starting to be digitized and matched to catalog records by the Internet Archive. Once in a digital format and preserved on archive.org, these documents will be searchable and downloadable by anyone with an Internet connection, since U.S. government publications are in the public domain….

The collection includes reports from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), NASA, the Department of Interior, and other government agencies from the 1970s to the present. There are also transcripts of congressional hearings and other Congressional material that contain discussion of potential laws or issues of concern to the public, Jacobs said….

Microfiche is not a format that can be easily read without using a machine in a library building. Many members of the public are not aware of the material available on microfiche so the potential for finding and using them is heightened once these documents are digitized. And as the information is shared with other federal depository libraries, there will be a ripple effect for researchers, academics, students, and the general public in gaining access….”

The FBI Is Hiding an Unpublished Police Use-of-Force Database From FOIA Requesters

“For the past several years, the FBI has been trying to collect information from police departments around the country on their use of force, but it has yet to publish any reports or statistics based on that data because of lackluster participation from law enforcement. Now, a civil rights group says the FBI and Justice Department are stonewalling its attempts to get the underlying reports submitted to the program.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights has been trying to obtain raw reports from law enforcement agencies submitted to the FBI’s National Use-of-Force Data Collection program. However, the FBI has rejected its Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, and the Justice Department has denied the Leadership Conference’s appeal.”

Plan to Advance Data Innovation

“Executive Order 13994 on Ensuring a Data-Driven Response to COVID-19 and Future HighConsequence Public Health Threats calls for development of an improved public health infrastructure to effectively prevent, detect, and respond to future biological threats. Section 4 of the Executive order tasks the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to “develop a plan for advancing innovation in public health data and analytics in the United States.” The Office of Science and Technology Policy formed a National Science and Technology Council Fast Track Action Committee to develop this plan to enhance data innovation and to ensure that epidemiological modeling and forecasting can support preparedness for and response to highconsequence biological threats, in particular respiratory pathogens. This plan also encourages the development of new and innovative thinking about data sources and their applications, and identifies mechanisms for data innovation that should be applied to public health data needs outside of epidemiological modeling, such as needs in maternal health, mental health, veterans health, and other areas. The objectives and policy recommendations in this plan were designed to guide the new National Center for Epidemic Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics and support contributors and users of robust data sources across multiple sectors. The plan is structured around a four-element data life cycle framework composed of data inputs and acquisition, data management, data use and analysis, and data outputs, including interpretation and communication….

2.1 Create infrastructure for data storage, management, access, and protection. Utilizing the process developed in 1.4, infrastructure should be developed to support the storage, management, and protection of data from diverse sources. This infrastructure should enable all contributors and users to submit or access data in accordance with transparent access controls, further enabling data sharing and creating a data environment that is as open as possible, which is critical to promoting innovation….”