Friday 30 March 2018

CRS Reports to be made available to the public

The GPO reports that a provision called "Equal Access to Congressional Research Service Reports" is included in the Consolidated Appropriations Ace of 2018. The provision makes all non-confidential Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports freely available online to individuals, schools and universities, researchers, and libraries. According to the GPO announcement, "The Librarian of Congress, in consultation with the CRS Director, shall establish and maintain a public website containing CRS Reports and an index of all CRS Reports contained on the website." This is big news for librarians, as distribution of CRS reports was historically limited to members of Congress, and were outside the scope of the Federal Depository Library Program. According to GPO, "Once CRS Reports begin to be publicly-disseminated, these reports will be in scope of the FDLP. These reports will then be cataloged and made available via the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications (CGP) with links to the CRS website."
Vermont Business Magazine has more information on the provision which was sponsored by Vt. Senator Patrick Leahy, and which has been an issue that Leahy and Sen. John McCain of Arizona have worked on for 15 years.

Wednesday 28 March 2018

More on "The FDLP Moderization Act of 2018"

The Government Publishing Office today published the GPO Statement on H.R. 5305, The FDLP Modernization Act of 2018." The statement says that "The GPO is pleased to support the FDLP Modernization Act of 2018. We appreciate the consultation the Committee engaged in with us as well as with other key stakeholders during its development. The bill affirms the principle that the free flow of Government information is fundamental to the health of our democracy, and acknowledges the important role Federal depository libraries play in ensuring free public access to that information."
On the other hand, the Free Gov Info blog has some misgivings about the bill that are summarized here under the heading "Loopholes.":
1. Fugitives
2. Agency Websites and
3. A Digital FDLP.
Free Gov Info suggests that Congress can make the bill even better; the meeting to discuss the bill is scheduled for Thursday April 12 at 11 am.

Friday 16 March 2018

Title 44 big news

The announcement came from the Government Printing Publishing Office (GPO) today:  On March 15, 2018, the U.S. House of Representatives filed H.R. 5305 IH, the FDLP Modernization Act of 2018, the amend Title 44, U.S. Code. They included a link to the FDLP's Title 44 Revision Page which has links to the Depository Library Council's Title 44 recomndations, Congressional testimony, and other related resources.
As you may know, concerned gov docs librarians have been writing about the proposed amendation of Title 44 for several months. Two of the best-known gov docs librarians, both named James Jacobs, have published an article in Library Journal discussion their concerns. They also encourage interested readers to check out a special issue of Against the Grain titled Ensuring Access to Government Information to read up on the issues involved.

Pennsylvania congressional redistricting

There's an excellent blogpost titled "Exploring Pennsylvania's Gerrymandered Congressional Districts" that provides very detailed, granular geospatial data to illustrate the congressional district issue in Pennsylvania. The blog is hosted by Azavea, a Philadelphia-based company that makes "geographic data more valuable by creating beautiful and scalable web and mobile applications, and by creating analytics that uncover insights in your data."

hat tip: Pat Roncevich, our Pitt Law geospatial expert

Friday fun...

If you're bored there's a fun online game called "Click That 'Hood Pittsburgh" - it tests your knowledge of where all the neighborhoods in the 'burgh are located.