(Note:  Links are updated to get through to the sites in question.  Apologies to all –  Mark)

As anyone can imagine, I get a lot of press releases.  Sometimes I use them as inspiration for posts, and sometimes not.  Here’s a press release I’m publishing intact as the information may be useful to readers:

The American Library Association (ALA) and the Information Policy & Access Center (iPAC) at the University of Maryland at College Park are pleased to announce the re-launch of Lib2Gov, an online e-government resource for librarians. Over the past few months, both organizations have worked to transition LibEGov—a project supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services through a National Leadership Grant—into Lib2Gov.

The redesigned website Lib2Gov allows libraries and government agencies to come together and collaborate, share resources and build a community of practice. Lib2Gov now provides a dedicated space where librarians can share materials, lesson plans, tutorials, stories, and other e-government content. The website offers a variety of resources from government agencies and organizations, including information on immigration, taxation, social security and healthcare.

In a few weeks, both organizations will host a new monthly webinar series, “E-government @ Your Library.” The webinars will explore a variety of e-government topics that will be of interest to librarians, including mobile government and emergency preparedness, response and recovery. All webinars are free and will be archived on the Lib2Gov site. The webinar schedule for Winter/Spring 2014:

  • Webinar 1: E-government @ Your Library (Wednesday, February 26, 2014, at 2 p.m. EST)

This webinar offers general insights into how libraries can help meet the e-government needs of their communities in general and through the Lib2Gov web resource. Register now.

Speakers:

    • John Bertot, Ph.D., co-director, Information Policy & Access Center (iPAC), and professor, in University of Maryland College Park’s iSchool
    • Ursula Gorham, graduate research associate, iPAC and doctoral candidate, University of Maryland College Park iSchool
    • Jessica McGilvray, assistant director, Office of Government Relations at the American Library Association’s Washington, D.C. office
  • Webinar 2: Government Information Expertise Online: Beyond the First Century of Federal Depository Library Program Practice (Thursday, March 27, 2014, at 3 p.m. EST) Register now.

This webinar will offer insights and techniques in how practicing government information professionals can use the strengths and opportunities of the depository library experience in several promising areas of digital reference, government information discovery tools and deliberative outreach to your community.

Speakers:

    • Cynthia Etkin, senior program planning specialist, Office of the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO)
    • John A. Shuler, associate professor, University of Illinois, Chicago University Library
  • Webinar 3: An Introduction to Mobile Government Apps for Librarians (Wednesday, April 30, 2014, at 2 p.m. EST)

The webinar will cover how librarians can teach patrons to use mobile devices, provide links on our webpages to government apps, and create apps for their own e-government websites. Register now.

Speakers:

    • Isabelle Fetherston, teen librarian, Pasco County Library System
    • Nancy Fredericks, member, Pasco County Library System Library Leadership Team
  • Webinar 4: Roles for Libraries and Librarians in Disasters (Thursday, May 15, 2014, at 2 p.m. EST)

This webinar presents information on libraries’ and librarians’ roles supporting their communities and the disaster workforce before, during, and after hazardous events and disasters. Register now.

Speakers:

    • Siobhan Champ-Blackwell, librarian, U.S. National Library of Medicine Disaster Information Management Research Center
    • Cindy Love, librarian, U.S. National Library of Medicine Disaster Information Management Research Center
    • Elizabeth Norton, librarian, U.S. National Library of Medicine Disaster Information Management Research Center
  • Webinar 5: Beta.Congress.Gov (Thursday, June 12, 2014, at 2 p.m. EST)

Sign-up information, as well as more information about webinar topics and speakers, is available. Please contact Jessica McGilvray (jmcgilvray@alawash.org) or John Bertot (jbertot@umd.edu) with questions about Lib2Gov or the webinar series.

— Mark
 

You bet. They can advocate vigorously for the official recognition of federal web communication programs (and not just FDsys) as essential government services to avoid future suspensions the next time the federal government shuts down (and there will be a next time). It’s not just about the provision of digital information. Web-based citizen services are essential. Perhaps the fiasco of healthcare.gov will raise the public profile of this issue. — Joe

Last week, ANSI launched its Incorporation by Reference (IBR) Portal. The website “provides a one-stop mechanism for access to standards that have been incorporated by reference in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). These standards incorporated by the U.S. government in rulemakings are offered at no cost in ‘read only’ format and are presented for online reading. There are no print or download options.”

OK, it’s a “one-stop mechanism” to do one thing, namely read online. Apparently the sky will fall if ANSI offered free print and download options. Quoting from the Oct. 28, 2013 press release:

“In all of our discussions about the IBR issue, the question we are trying to answer is simple. Why aren’t standards free? In the context of IBR, it’s a valid point to raise,” said S. Joe Bhatia, ANSI president and CEO. “A standard that has been incorporated by reference does have the force of law, and it should be available. But the blanket statement that all IBR standards should be free misses a few important considerations.”

As coordinator of the U.S. standardization system, ANSI has taken a lead role in informing the public about the reality of free standards, the economics of standards setting, and how altering this infrastructure will undermine U.S. competitiveness. Specifically, the loss of revenue from the sale of standards could negatively impact the business model supporting many SDOs – potentially disrupting the larger U.S. and international standardization system, a major driver of innovation and economic growth worldwide. In response to concerns raised by ANSI members and partner organizations, government officials, and other stakeholders, ANSI began to develop its IBR Portal, with the goal of providing a single solution to this significant issue that also provides SDOs with the flexibility they require to safeguard their ability to develop standards.

IBR standards hosted on the portal are available exclusively as read-only files. In order to protect the intellectual property rights of the groups holding these standards’ copyrights, the portal has built in security features that prevent users from printing, downloading, or transferring any of the posted standards; in addition, screenshots will be disabled and the standards will contain an identifying watermark.

Do note the following registration requirements:

You must register to view READ-ONLY documents posted on this site.

Please note that registration is for a single browsing session. Users who return to the site in another session or on another day will need to fill out the registration form again.

Smells like tracking usage of online IBR standards that have the force of law by specific users to me. Perhaps the SDO business model should be changed. — Joe

From the article abstract for Contreras and Hernacki’s Copyright Termination and Technical Standards [SSRN], (University of Baltimore Law Review, Vol. 43, 2014, Forthcoming):

Section 203 of the Copyright Act permits authors to terminate any grant of rights in a copyright between 35 and 40 years after the initial grant was made. In this article we analyze the application of Section 203 termination to technical standards documents, focusing in particular on the exclusion of works-made-for-hire, the treatment of joint works and derivative works. We conclude that, although Section 203 is theoretically applicable to technical standards, several statutory obstacles would impede the wholesale termination of standards-related license grants. Nevertheless, in order to avoid costly and time-consuming litigation, we recommend that Congress or the courts explicitly acknowledge the inapplicability of Section 203 to technical standards.

Hat tip to Christine Corcos’ Media Law Prof Blog post. — Joe

From the press release:

The Open Data Index is a community-based effort initiated and coordinated by the Open Knowledge Foundation. The Index is compiled using contributions from civil society members and open data practitioners around the world, which are then peer-reviewed and checked by expert open data editors. The Index provides an independent assessment of openness in the following areas: transport timetables; government budget; government spending; election results; company registers; national map; national statistics; legislation; postcodes / ZIP codes; emissions of pollutants.

Countries assessed (in rank order): United Kingdom, United States, Denmark, Norway, Netherlands, Australia, Finland, Sweden, New Zealand, Canada, Iceland, Moldova, Bulgaria, Malta, Italy, France, Austria, Portugal, Slovenia, Switzerland, Israel, Czech Republic, Spain, Ireland, Greece, Croatia, Isle Of Man, Japan, Serbia, Russian Federation, Ecuador, South Korea, Poland, Taiwan R.O.C., China, Indonesia, Hungary, Brazil, Germany, Mexico, Jersey, Guernsey, Slovak Republic, Bermuda, Romania, Costa Rica, Bangladesh, Tunisia, Singapore, Lithuania, South Africa, Cayman Islands, Egypt, Nepal, Senegal, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Gibraltar, Belgium, Hong Kong, Barbados, Bahamas, India, Bahrain, Yemen, Burkina Faso, Kenya, British Virgin Is., Saint Kitts & Nevis, Cyprus.

Full results of Open Knowledge Foundation’s assessment and graphs of the data. — Joe

— in order to begin to address domestic concerns that laws are being implemented in ways beyond what was thought allowable and to rebuild faith with our international partners?

I guess we will have to wait ‘n see. Quoting from OpenGovernment.org’s Oct. 29, 2013 newsletter article, “US to Outline New Commitment​s at the Open Government Partnershi​p Summit”:

Later this week the Obama Administration is scheduled to announce the US’ new round of commitments to make the government more open and accountable during the meeting of the Open Government Partnership in London. Due in part to complications created by the government shutdown, the US will not be unveiling its full action plan (the full plan will be released in early December), but US officials will be presenting an outline of what they consider to be ambitious commitments. The commitments that will be discussed during the meeting are expected to be related to modernizing the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), spending transparency, and open data.

A recent letter coordinated by OpenTheGovernment.org and signed by 45 organizations that work on a variety of issues urged the President to take advantage of the Summit’s international stage to commit to curbing secret law. As regular readers know, secret interpretations of the law have been at the heart of recent controversies ranging from opinions by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel memo authorizing interrogation techniques that many say equate to torture to opinions by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) that allowed for massive expansion of the National Security Administration’s surveillance programs. The most recent revelations regarding surveillance have raised serious concerns about what the government is doing in our name and the extent of violations of American’s privacy and civil liberties, and critical questions about whether the US’s programs breach international law. We intend to continue to raise these issues with the Obama Administration, and push for concrete commitments.

The embedded link in the above quote sends one to the press release for the Oct. 21, 2013 open letter. Here’s the list of signatories:

  1. American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression
  2. American Civil Liberties Union
  3. American Library Association
  4. American Society of News Editors
  5. Arab American Institute
  6. ARTICLE 19
  7. Bill of Rights Defense Committee
  8. Brechner Center for Freedom of Information
  9. Californians Aware
  10. Center for Democracy and Technology
  11. Center for Effective Government
  12. Center for Media and Democracy
  13. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington – CREW
  14. The Constitution Project
  15. Council on American-Islamic Relations – CAIR
  16. Electronic Frontier Foundation
  17. Electronic Privacy Information Center – EPIC
  18. Essential Information
  19. Federation of American Scientists
  20. First Amendment Foundation
  21. Government Accountability Project – GAP
  22. Human Right Watch
  23. iSolon.org
  24. James Madison Project
  25. Just Foreign Policy
  26. Liberty Coalition
  27. National Coalition Against Censorship
  28. National Freedom of Information Coalition
  29. National Security Archive
  30. No More Guantanamos
  31. OpenTheGovernment.org
  32. PolitiHacks
  33. Project On Government Oversight – POGO
  34. Public Citizen
  35. Public Knowledge
  36. Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
  37. Reporters Without Borders
  38. Society of Professional Journalists
  39. Sunlight Foundation
  40. Tully Center for Free Speech at Syracuse University
  41. Understanding Government
  42. Vermont Coalition for Open Government
  43. Vermont Press Association
  44. Washington Civil Rights Council
  45. Win Without War

Yup, AALL is not a signatory. — Joe