The Government Domain: 2007 Calendars and Schedules

Peggy Garvin of Garvin Information Consulting is author of The United States Government Internet Manual 2006-2007 (Bernan Press) and Real World Research Skills (TheCapitol.Net).

When choosing a calendar for 2007, do not overlook the variety of offerings from the U.S. federal government.

Perhaps the most practical and popular government calendar comes from the Office of Personnel Management. It is the Federal Holidays calendar extending to 2010. Federal employees can discover from the 2007 calendar that since Veterans Day occurs on a Sunday they will get the following Monday off. You will also learn that the federal government calls our February holiday Washington's Birthday, not Presidents Day. Quoting from the site:

This holiday is designated as 'Washington's Birthday' in section 6103(a) of title 5 of the United States Code, which is the law that specifies holidays for Federal employees. Though other institutions such as state and local governments and private businesses may use other names, it is our policy to always refer to holidays by the names designated in the law.

If you would like to step back and take in the big picture, check out the Introduction to Calendars provided by the U.S. Naval Observatory. Satisfy more time and date curiosities at the Frequently Asked Questions page provided by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Time and Frequency Division. "What is a Modified Julian Date (MJD)?" "How does Global Positioning System (GPS) time differ from Coordinated Universal Time (UTC)?" NIST knows.

FirstGov, the federal government portal, offers a collection of links to calendars on federal websites. As is sometimes the case with FirstGov thematic link collections, the calendar collection is a handy place to start but not particularly ambitious in its scope. FirstGov's collection includes a link to the wonderfully informative A Walk Through Time web feature from NIST's Time and Frequency Division. This mini-history traces the development of calendars and time measurement beginning with ancient civilizations.

Walk Through Times With NIST





After the Ancient Calendars link, FirstGov lists Congressional Calendars. The House publication is called Calendars of the U.S. House of Representatives and History of Legislation and the Senate publication is called the Calendar of Business. But, as many of you know, these are not really calendars in the general sense. They are handy lists of legislation. (If curious, read more in the CRS reports, The Senate's Calendar of Business, and Calendars of the House of Representatives)

Speaking of Congress, you can find the Traditional Calendar of Congressional Budget Activities online. This document offers the disclaimer, "The calendar below reflects the preferred schedule of activities; some slippage and overlap frequently occur." The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) provides a helpful Timeline for Analysis, a perpetual calendar of their information product releases that is presumably less susceptible to slippage.

CBO's Timeline for Analysis




Government agencies offer similar timelines for releases of economic news and indicators. If you follow agricultural commodities, you are in luck. The USDA Economic Research Service maintains an excellent Calendar of Releases for its crop production reports, price forecasts, and foreign agricultural trade data. Most of the calendars offered at federal agency sites are very "Web 1.0"--simple text on the screen. The more sophisticated ERS calendar can be viewed by day, week, month, or year. The views can be filtered by topic, product type, or product name. Each release name is linked to the release source. For product releases available in email or RSS subscription format, the site provides a link to subscribe. The USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) also offers a report release schedule with links to the release source and an RSS feed for reports of the day.

The Economic Indicators.gov website provides information on leading economic indicator releases from the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). The site links to the source of the release and to a calendar, in Word format, listing future releases in chronological order. Economic Indicators.gov is provided by the same agency-- the Department of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration (ESA) -- that publishes the fee-based subscription website STAT-USA. ESA allows non-subscribers to view its aggregated Economic Release Schedule for the current month and the upcoming month, free of charge. Note the footnote on the monthly calendars: "To save space, this monthly calendar does not show daily or weekly releases." STAT-USA also offers free access to its weekly and daily release schedules. Paying STAT-USA customers can download the cited release files directly from these web pages.

STAT-USA calendar for next month





The Census Bureau has its own Economic Indicator Release Calendar. They also offer a handy At-A-Glance color-coded PDF calendar that can be printed on one page, suitable for display on your cubicle wall. BEA offers its own 2007 News Release Schedule and email notification service for all, or specific, releases. Also noteworthy, the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has a simple 2007 Schedule of Selected Releases, By Month.

For economic and financial news schedules, the Federal Reserve Board has several offerings. The Fed's What's Next page provides a schedule of "items we expect to post to our web site over the next two months, including speeches, congressional testimony, Federal Open Market Committee material, and statistical releases issued less frequently than weekly." The Fed has a separate page for current releases, but it is not in a calendar or chronological format. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting schedule for the full year is online, as is the release schedule for the Summary of Commentary on Current Economic Conditions by Federal Reserve District, commonly known as the "Beige Book." (The link I have provided is for the 2006 publication schedule; I am guessing the 2007 schedule will be online soon at http://www.federalreserve.gov/FOMC/BeigeBook/2007/ .)

Outside of the economic statistics arena, government websites offer a wide variety of calendars covering narrow topics. The Supreme Court posts its argument calendars. The State Department provides an International Events Calendar chronicling major international meetings, the travels of Secretary Rice, visits from international leaders, and more. The Federal Election Commission (FEC) has a comprehensive calendar for campaign reporting deadlines, FEC meetings, FEC litigation, and other events. NASA has it Space Calendar and the Postal Service offers a schedule for its 2007 Commemorative Stamp program.

The Library of Congress has a popular Today in History feature. The historic events calendar from the National Endowment for the Humanities EDSITEment project is perhaps not as well known, but very nicely done. Page forward in the calendar to see what historical commemorations are approaching, and make future plans to remember the past.

Happy 2007.

Upcoming events to remember from EDSITEment