Access to government information is important in the daily lives of the people of the United States. During the shutdown of the federal government, paper and digital versions of government publications are either not available at all or the web sites are not being updated. Bernadine Abbott Hoduski has documented the specific impact shared by Librarians around the nation who report that they are unable to help patrons find the information they need to do research, write articles for journals and newspapers, prepare class assignments, find laws and regulations relevant to the conduct of their businesses, find information needed to file law suits, complete mortgage applications, access weather information, do historical and genealogical research, and contact government officials through agency web sites. Professors teaching future librarians, teachers, geographers, scientists, and other user communities, are unable to access web sites needed for their classes.
Tim Byrne announced that the Department of Energy Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) launched a new database product called SciTech Connect that employs an innovative semantic search tool enabling users to retrieve more relevant information. Other features include faceting, in-document search, word clouds, and personalization.
Ken Strutin brings attention and focus to the fact that dog detection at airports for contraband, in traffic stops for narcotics, at fire scenes for accelerants and at suspect lineups are playing an increasingly important role in criminal investigations. At the same time, Ken documents that the thresholds of olfactory detection continue to test the limits of privacy, probable cause and due process. Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court decided two cases involving animal assisted investigation. The fallout from these decisions will add to the evolving body of case law in federal and state courts as they continue to sort out the constitutional limits of this type of investigation.
George Bergstrom’s guide helps to identify resources to research how to start a small business in each of the 50 states. He suggests the first place to start may be the Small Business Administration’s district offices. The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development Disadvantaged Business Utilization Program has state level resources. Another resource for many states are LinkedIn groups and Facebook groups of entrepreneurs and small business persons. In addition, George recommends checking with the local Chamber of Commerce for the area in which you plan to operate your business.
Librarian George Bergstrom has identified and links to 45 states that provide their respective residents with access to company related information, and 4 others that help individual libraries negotiate with the companies that own these resources to then provide access to their communities.
The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA) are the subject of this Infographic, by Spencer Belkofer, Lumin Consulting. See also his related Infographic on the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA).
Well known graphic artists Jake O’Neil and Spencer Belkofer created this infographic out of a sense of urgency to visualize the salient information with as many communities as possible. This bill, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act of 2011, has not garnered the media coverage of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), but its high impact implications target key legal issues involving privacy and intellectual property.
Marcus P. Zillman’s guide is focused on current web sites, blogs and database sources targeted to researchers whose goal is the discovery and effective use of specific, reliable resources to track the New Economy. These sources assume added importance with the expansion in U.S. government transparency, the rise in prominence of “big data” and the public release by agencies, NGOs, public interest groups and media, of diverse databases of analytics, reports, statistical releases, and customized charts.
Forensic intelligence analyst, legal adviser, lecturer, FOIA and Web expert, and Publisher of the Fringe journals (Dutch), Roger Vleugels has published his Summary of 2011 Update indicating that 88 countries now have a FOIA in power. This reflects 7 more than in last year’s update: El Salvador, Ethiopia, Guinea-Conakry, Liberia, Niger, Nigeria, Tunisia.
Scott A. Hodes contends that reducing FOIA Operations any further is the wrong way to go if the objectives of increasing government transparency are to be pursued. The actual process of searching for records in response to FOIA requests and processing those requests requires human interaction – in other words, while the documents themselves can be digitized, a person will always be required to search for and process responsive records.