“We don’t know what it is that they’re not putting online”

According to a new report from the Reynolds Journalism Institute, reporters regularly turn to government (Federal, State and Local) websites for data needed in their stories.

David Herzog writes on the RJI site, “The findings from the survey, conducted as part of my fellowship at RJI, show that government data – whether it’s a spreadsheet or database file – has become a key ingredient of U.S. daily newspaper reporting.”

Of those surveyed, many reporters noted deficiencies in government websites.  According to one reporter, “We don’t know what it is that they’re not putting online.”

Herzog shares a few of the notable complaints from reporters using government websites:
“They just don’t put enough of it there”
“I end up going to Google”
“Getting current records is often difficult”





G-20 Materials

Each G-20 meeting has created its own Web site of documents, with varying degrees of comprehensiveness.  No central repository exists of G-20 documentation, but some recent initiatives might help.

Bloomberg Law has started a G-20 Declarations library under the “Global Law” tab.  It includes declarations from the G-20 summits since 2008.
Search > Global Law > World Organizations > Group of 20 > Declarations

An open access repository is being created at Archive-It. In addition to final proclamations, it should include preliminary documents and reports from experts and working groups.

Accessing and Reusing Copyright Government Records

Accessing and Reusing Copyright Government Records

John Gilchrist

10 Law and Justice Journal 213 (2010)

Full text available at:



The common policy objectives in modern liberal democracies of promoting open and accountable government and of preserving national culture and heritage are reflected in the provision of access to, and the preservation of unpublished and published works held by government. A wide spectrum of social enquiry is in whole or in part dependent on these government preserved holdings.

The policy objectives in Australia are manifested in two ways. One is in government archival practices and laws. The other is in the Australian Copyright Act 1968 facilitating access to, and the preservation of, unpublished and published works held by archives and libraries. While preservation of these works and the costs associated with it are in themselves a recognition of the public interest in accessing works held by archives and libraries, existing laws and practices facilitating access should be reviewed in light of technological changes in way we access, create and communicate works and in light of further moves towards openness in government.

This article outlines present archival practices and laws in Australia, and the scope of Copyright Act provisions,  before turning to reform. The focus will be on the Australian federal sphere.

Moving Toward a 21st Century Right-to-Know Agenda

Part of ongoing discussion on federal government openness and transparency, the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) Government Relations Office has delivered to President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team a 114-page report Moving Toward a 21st Century Right-to-Know Agenda: Recommendations to President-elect Obama and Congress including 70+ prioritized recommendations on issues relating to national security and secrecy, usability of government information, and how to create an environment for greater transparency.

Change.Gov meets Public.Resource.Org

Carl Malamud offers President-Elect Obama “5 Suggestions for Change” on http://public.resource.org/change.gov/.

You can visit the site to read the full suggestions (with PDFs), but here is the quick list:

  1. Rebooting .Gov.
  2. FedFlix.
  3. The Library of the U.S.A.
  4. The United States Publishing Academy.
  5. The Rural Internetification Administration.

Yes, we can….

AsiaLinks from the National Diet Library of Japan

Many thanks to the Librarians at the National Diet Library of Japan for maintaining the AsiaLinks site. Arranged by country, AsiaLinks offers limks to administrative, legislative and judicial sites. In addition to legal categories, AsiaLInk also includes links to libraries, research institutes, political parties, country search engines and periodicals. All country categories appear in Japanese and English.

AsiaLinks http://www.ndl.go.jp/en/service/kansai/asia/link/asia_05link.html