Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Government Attic website

The ALA govdocs listserv had a post today about a website called The Government Attic,a site that provides electronic copies of thousands of interesting Federal Government documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. The site says "Fascinating historical documents, reports on items in the news, oddities and fun stuff and government bloopers, they're all here. Think of browsing this site as rummaging through the Government's Attic -- hence our name." The site menu, accessed by clicking on the "Documents" tab at the top of the page, is worth browsing. Documents are organized by federal agency; there is also a category for "State Records/Miscellaneous Records/Interagency Records." Most of the documents have been run through optical character recognition (OCR) so they can be searched by word, and most items include an agency release letter. The "rummaging through the Government's Attic" description is apt - there are plenty of "oddities", like the FBI file on the subject of a certain "Midwest Stag Film and Burlesque Showman, 1952-53" or "The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) emails and memos that include the word “hemp,” 2006 – 2007" or the "Report of Investigation of the Architect of the Capitol (AOC) Office of Inspector General (OIG) by the Department of Education Office of Inspector General, 2013" which sounds vaguely interesting but is so heavily redacted as to be unreadable.
There isn't much info about who created and is maintaining the website; the "Acknowledgments" page says that "The web site (“the site”) is noncommercial and free to the public...The public records published on this site were obtained from government agencies using proper legal channels... The Government Attic website receives no funding from any outside source. All costs are paid for by the site owners."

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