Posted on January 9, 2013.
News from the U.S. Government Printing Office:
As part of the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) and the U.S. Department of Treasury pilot project to provide permanent public access to the Treasury Library’s digital content, the Official Register of the United States is now available on GPO’s Federal Digital System (FDsys) at <www.fdsys.gov <http://www.fdsys.gov> >. The Official Register of the United States: 1829, 1835-1837, 1841-1861; 1879-1891, 1895-1907, 1911-1921, 1925-1926, 1929-1934, 1936-1959, contains information about the Federal workforce, including the name of every employee, their job title, state or country of birth, the location of their post, and their annual salary.
Three additional historical U.S. Government information titles will be released in Fiscal Year 2013. These titles are:
* An Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of the United States: 1793; 1797; 1805-06; 1808-09; 1812-1828; 1830-1890. This publication documents detailed statements of receipts and expenditures of the U.S. Government appropriations, including balances of the current and previous fiscal years, payments during the year, sums carried to surplus funds, and balances unexpended at the end of the year.
* Combined Statement of the Receipts and Expenditures of the United States: 1872-1983, which contains fiscal year receipts and expenditures of the Government by appropriations.
* Internal Revenue Cumulative Bulletins: 1919-2008. This is a consolidation of all items of permanent nature published in the Internal Revenue Bulletins (IRB). IRBs are the authoritative instrument of announcing official rulings and procedures of the Internal Revenue Service and Treasury Decisions, Executive Orders, Tax Conventions, legislation, court decisions, and other items of general interest.
Posted in Federal government, Information issues, Websites
Posted on August 17, 2012.
Librarians participated online in the Six-State Virtual Government Information Conference, held 8-10 August 2012. The free conference focused on the western states of Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming, but was open to all. Missed it? Not to worry! The recorded presentations, slides, and handouts have been archived on the Six-State Conference schedule page.
Presentation topics include local and state government resources, the Census Bureau’s American Factfinder 2, the National Geologic Map Database, and international statistics.
Big thanks to the conference organizers and presenters for all of their work and for making the archive available.
Posted in Data and statistics, Federal government, Information issues, Websites
Posted on September 21, 2011.
Are you still using GPO Access? Do you keep swatting down that pop-up box reminding you that the days of Access are numbered? That’s just fine if you are using the e-CFR database but, for everything else, you will want to start getting used to the replacement, FDsys.gov, now. This is the message GPO Outreach and Education Librarian Kristina Bobe took to our recent program, “Welcome FDsys, So Long GPO Access.”
The SLA Government Information Division (DGI) and the DC chapter of SLA cosponsored the educational program on 14 September 2011 in Washington, DC. Kristina has graciously shared her program slides with us so all DGI members can benefit; you can download the Welcome FDsys, So Long GPO Access program slides in PowerPoint show format. (It is a large-ish file; please be patient while it is loading. Click here if you use PowerPoint 2003 or earlier.)
For tips as you go along, consult the FDsys.gov online help sections. They are excellent. If you like, you can also download the complete FDsys User Manual in PDF.
What’s that about the e-CFR? GPO does not have a version for FDsys ready for publishing at this time. We will stay tuned.
Kristina could not address current appropriations legislation, but she did say that future improvements to FDsys will depend on the level of congressional funding.
If your library has created a handout or video guide for FDsys that you’d like to share, please let us know in the comments. Thanks!
Posted in Federal government, SLA/DGI news, Websites
Posted on September 19, 2011.
The U.S. government has launched a National Dialogue on Improving Federal Websites. If you have any suggestions–and I’ll bet that you do–join the dialogue before 30 September 2011. The dialogue is part of the .gov reform effort “to streamline how we manage federal websites and provide a better customer experience when people access government information and services online.”
At the National Dialogue Website, you can view the ideas others have submitted and vote them up or down. You can also submit your own idea, which will be posted and available for others to view and vote on. To vote or submit ideas, you must first register at the site.
The three most popular ideas on the first day of the dialogue (19 September) are:
- Use plain language on government websites.
- Make usability testing and 508 testing mandatory prior to launch.
- Make government websites mobile-accessible.
As frequent users of documents, catalogs, databases, and very current as well as archival information on government websites, DGI members may have unique ideas to contribute. Please take advantage of the opportunity!
Posted in Federal government, Websites
Posted on September 12, 2011.
Advertising on government websites? The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is trying it. It’s billed as a pilot project, and here is an excerpt from the Web Advertising Pilot Project page:
The pages with advertising are on a wsdot.com address instead of the wsdot.gov address because federal guidelines prohibit government agencies from selling ads in the .gov domain. Banner ads are currently for sale on the popular ferry vessel watch and twelve ferry schedule Web pages. During the pilot project, advertising space will be available on other WSDOT Web pages such as mountain passes and traffic conditions.
The project is not new–the press release is from December 2010–but it was new to me. WSDOT had commissioned a Website Monetizing Feasibility Study (PDF), released in January 2010 and linked from the project page.
Governing magazine recently reported on it in Click Here for More Revenue, 6 September 2011, by Jessica Mulholland.
Posted in Transportation information, Websites
Posted on September 7, 2011.
Give the improved search at the Energy Department’s Green Energy website a spin. Managed by Energy’s Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI), Green Energy searches databases of Energy research and development reports and patents relevant to renewable energy resources and energy conservation.
In a 7 September 2011 press release, OSTI explains its implementation of the semantic search technique “keyword to concept mapping.” From the press release:
When you type “solar power” into a search box, are you looking for information on solar farms, solar radiation, or solar electric power plants? The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Green Energy portal can now map your keyword query to scientific concepts. This semantic technique, called “keyword to concept mapping,” is applied to your search behind the scenes and helps hone your search for more efficient knowledge access and discovery.
At DOE Green Energy, you will now receive results that allow you to explore more narrow concepts, related concepts, or even broader concepts. DOE Green Energy affords you the use of the familiar and simple search box – yet still provides the benefits of an advanced search technology to help get to the information you need.
The site also has a new auto-complete feature to prompt for related phrases as you type in the search box.
Search results are displayed according to relevance but can be sorted by date with a click on the Date column heading.
Posted in Environmental information, Science information, Websites
Posted on August 14, 2011.
For the past four years, our colleagues at the ALA Government Documents Roundtable (GODORT) have been maintaining a directory of links to online U.S. state government databases. The project is called State Agency Databases Across the Fifty States. For most states, this GODORT wiki will link you to government databases on topics ranging from licensed contractors to state library networks to environmental and health data.
Each state compilation is maintained by a volunteer. GODORT lacks volunteers for some states — such as Indiana and Texas — and is trying to fill in those gaps.
Slides from librarian Daniel Cornwall’s presentation on the project earlier this year are available on SlideShare at State Databases: Mining the Deep Web. The project also has a Facebook page.
Posted in Data and statistics, Websites
Posted on August 7, 2011.
On 29 July 2011, web developers, software engineers, and interested citizens came together in four cities to see what new information they could create with the data generated from USA.gov’s official URL shortener, 1.USA.gov.
The General Service Administration (GSA) hosted the event in New York City, San Diego, San Francisco, and Washington, DC. A post on the USA.gov blog describes the data and its potential:
1.USA.gov automatically creates .gov URLs whenever you use bitly to shorten a URL that ends in .gov or .mil. We created this service to make it easy for people to know when a short URL will lead to official, and trustworthy, government information.
Data is created every time someone clicks on a 1.USA.gov link, which happens about 56,000 times each day. Together, these clicks show what government information people are sharing with their friends and networks. No one has ever had such a broad view of how government information is viewed and shared online.
One of my favorite projects resulting from the volunteer hackers’ work is GovClicks, which ranks the top dotgov websites of the day according to the shortener-generated clicks.
The USA.gov blog reports on the event in Projects Created at the 1.USA.gov Hack Day. USA.gov also has related technical resources for developers.
Posted in Federal government, Websites
Posted on August 1, 2011.
It is a bit early to judge, but the new fact-checking website TruthSqad is definitely worth a preliminary look. TruthSquad is a project of the nonprofit news service News Trust, also worth a look. TruthSquad is a natural project for News Trust, which aims to provide “a wide range of tools that empower citizens to access quality news and information — and learn to separate fact from fiction about important public issues.”
TruthSquad is ramping up to engage the public in fact-checking statements made during the 2012 U.S. presidential campaign. The site’s editors post claims made by politicians and media figures. They link to news reports that may support or refute the claim and, of course, you can research the statement on your own. The public can click on True, False, or Not Sure buttons and add comments and links. TruthSquad editors do their own homework and make a judgement from a wider rage of options, such as “Half True” or “Mostly False”. All of the input and research is displayed, making the site a potential aid for teaching research and fact-checking and for learning from others’ research.
To see how this works, check out the TruthSquad overview page. The page has sample claims to click on, investigate, and review the work others have already done.
The NewsTrust blog comments on results from a trial run a year ago: “In general, our community’s responses were consistent with verdicts from our four Truthsquad editors. We were also pleased that comments from participants were civil, and that they seemed genuinely engaged in this communal quest for credible information.” Unlike PolitiFact or FactCheck.org, TruthSquad makes public input part of the process from the start. If the input remains civil, germane, and focused on fact-checking, it has potential.
Posted in Websites
Posted on June 20, 2011.
As we blogged earlier this month, it is time to say “Goodbye, Google Uncle Sam.” Google has discontinued the feature originally known as Google Uncle Sam and later named Google U.S. Government Search. The specialized search engine covered U.S. federal, state, and local websites. It indexed .gov, .mil, and the occasional government site with a different suffix, such as the National Defense University at ndu.edu.
If you had grown dependent on Google’s Government Search, it is time to say “hello” to Search.USA.gov. This official government site uses the Bing search engine behind the scenes but covers much the same territory. Search.USA.gov includes U.S. federal, state, local, and tribal government websites. It indexes .gov, .mil, and the occasional government site with a different suffix, such as the National Defense University at ndu.edu or the Cheyenne Sioux Tribe at sioux.org.
Search.USA.gov is available in versions for the mobile web and iPhone/iTouch/iPad.
USA.gov is not the only game in town. The U.S. Defense Department has a site aptly named Department of Defense Websites that provides a directory and search engine for the .mil domain.
MetaLib.gpo.gov, from the Government Printing Office, provides a federated search of over 50 federal government indexes, including ERIC, Energy Citations, and the Catalog of Government Publications.
At an even more specialized level, the National Transportation Library offers links to focused Transportation Search Engines that other transportation libraries have built as customized Google searches.
Know of any other handy search engines for governments? Please share!
Posted in Websites