Happy Memorial Day!
I hope you enjoy the day. Please take a moment to remember the women and men in uniform for whom this holiday exists. As information professionals, please also take a moment to think about how our work is relevant to veterans and military families, whether it be unveiling the secrecy surrounding military activities and their aftermath (think Agent Orange), or providing professional help: Infopeople has scheduled a webinar called "Operation Health: Resources for Veterans and Their Families." It’s June 13, 12-1pm. Details and registration: http://infopeople.org/training/operation-health-resources-veterans-and-their-families.
Require free access over the Internet to scientific journal articles arising from taxpayer-funded research.
The highly successful Public Access Policy of the National Institutes of Health proves that this can be done without disrupting the research process, and we urge President Obama to act now to implement open access policies for all federal agencies that fund scientific research.
The petition is here: https://wwws.whitehouse.gov/petitions/!/petition/require-free-access-over-internet-scientific-journal-articles-arising-taxpayer-funded-research/wDX82FLQ
Call to Action: Join the Fight Against Cyber Spying Proposals in the Senate
EFF and an array of civil liberties organizations are engaged in a pitched battle against the privacy-invasive legislation Congress is pushing under the guise of promoting "cyber security." Everyone agrees that network security is important, but a thinly disguised mass surveillance bill won’t help address the needs of our country in defending our networks.
Use this online form to contact Congress
More suggestions for action: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2012/05/call-action-join-fight-against-cyber-spying-proposals-senate
UCSF Implements Policy to Make Research Papers Freely Accessible to Public
The UCSF Academic Senate has voted to make electronic versions of current and future scientific articles freely available to the public, helping to reverse decades of practice on the part of medical and scientific journal publishers to restrict access to research results.
The unanimous vote of the faculty senate makes UCSF the largest scientific institution in the nation to adopt an open-access policy and among the first public universities to do so.
Intellectual Property Issues
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing files for bankruptcy
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Co., the publisher of authors from Mark Twain to J.R.R. Tolkien, sought bankruptcy protection to eliminate more than $3 billion in debt.
The company, based in Boston, listed assets and debt of more than $1 billion each in Chapter 11 documents filed today in US Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan.
Freedom of Information
Court blocks release of CIA interrogation methods
CIA secret interrogation methods — including detention and harsh questioning of suspected terrorists — remain off limits to public release, a federal appeals court ruled Monday.
The agency was sued eight years ago to provide details of certain communications describing the use of waterboarding and other direct intelligence-gathering methods of foreign terror suspects. A three-judge panel from the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled "intelligence methods" are not subject to a Freedom of Information Act request from the lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union.
Restrictions on WikiLeaks Documents Challenged in Court
The publication of leaked classified documents by WikiLeaks continues to confound government officials and to generate some unusual legal tangles. Last month, attorneys for a Guantanamo prisoner asked a federal court to nullify the restrictions that the government has imposed on access to and dissemination of the leaked records, so that the prisoner can prepare a response to the disclosures contained in them.
7 Types of Government Information that Would Benefit from Springtime Sunshine
We’ve put together a list of seven types of information generated by the executive branch that could benefit from a little springtime sunshine – and should be made public ASAP. This list isn’t exhaustive, but it’s representative of the kinds of data, documents, records, and other information that we’d like to see prioritized in the President’s open government effort.
Bay Area immigration records, destined for dustbin, will be released Tuesday
Tens of thousands of old West Coast immigration records the government once sought to throw away will instead become publicly available on Tuesday at a Bay Area archive. Photographs, letters, health records, interview transcripts and other historical documents were destined for a recycling bin or a remote Midwestern storage facility. "We changed that plan. We’re making them permanent," said spokeswoman Sharon Rummery of U.S. Immigration and Citizenship Services. Archivists credit the advocacy of the late U.S. Rep. Tom Lantos, D-San Mateo, and his successor, Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo, for helping to save the collection. The documents will be housed at the San Francisco National Archives in San Bruno and open to the public beginning Tuesday.
Contracting Government By Cutting Census Bureau Programs
On May 9, 2012, the U.S. House of Representative adopted the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2013. In addition to cutting $20 million from this year’s Economic Census, H.R. 5326 contained an amendment proposed by Rep. Daniel Webster (R-FL) that would eliminate funding—an estimated $2.5 billion over the 10 years—for the American Community Survey (ACS). As one of the tea-party officials who entered the House in 2010 on a platform to "streamline government and stop wasteful spending," Webster pointed to the intrusive nature of the census questions as his primary rationale for eliminating the program. ACS "hardly fits the scope of what is required by the Constitution," prying into Americans’ lives. Webster’s spokeswoman, Kelly Kwas, said that the Representative felt the survey tramples on personal privacy" and was "wasteful" of taxpayer funds. Recognizing the need for across-the-board budget cuts, the Census Bureau had already cut several strategic publications from its FY2012 budget estimate, including Statistical Abstracts, which has been "rescued" by ProQuest and Bernan Press. In a statement released on May 10, the Census Bureaus said eliminating the ACS would "mark the first time in the country’s history that we would not collect and share vital economic and demographic measures of the country. These cuts would also keep us from conducting the 2012 economic census. Eliminating the American Community Survey would make it extremely difficult if not impossible to contain the costs of the 2020 census."
Abraham Lincoln Did Not Invent Facebook: How a Guy and His Blog Fooled the Whole Wide Internet
It started with a headline I saw pinging around Twitter yesterday afternoon. Abraham Lincoln, my friends’ tweets informed me, had invented a 19th-century version of Facebook.
Yes! This previously unknown tidbit, it turns out, was the discovery of a guy in Milwaukee who had happened to take a day off work — and then happened (serendipity!) to visit a circus graveyard in Delavan, Wisconsin — and then happened (serendipity again!) to visit the Lincoln Library in Springfield, Illinois — and then happened (serendipity some more!) to discover that Mr. Lincoln had once filed a patent application for a newspaper that would, via profiles and updates, "keep People aware of Others in the Town."
Governmental Access to Data in the Cloud – A comparative analysis of ten international jurisdictions
"This White Paper examines the extent to which access to data in the Cloud by governments in various jurisdictions is possible, regardless of where a Cloud provider is located."
a href=”http://www.bespacific.com/mt/archives/030399.html” target=”_blank”>http://www.bespacific.com/mt/archives/030399.html
From Canada: Cuts to archives threaten our ability to preserve our precious heritage
On April 30, Library and Archives Canada eliminated the $1.71-million National Archival Development Program and made drastic cuts to its own staffing. These cuts are devastating to the Canadian archival network and to Canadian documentary heritage.
Troves of Personal Data, Forbidden to Researchers
When scientists publish their research, they also make the underlying data available so the results can be verified by other scientists.
At least that is how the system is supposed to work. But lately social scientists have come up against an exception that is, true to its name, huge.
It is"big data," the vast sets of information gathered by researchers at companies like Facebook, Google and Microsoft from patterns of cellphone calls, text messages and Internet clicks by millions of users around the world. Companies often refuse to make such information public, sometimes for competitive reasons and sometimes to protect customers’ privacy. But to many scientists, the practice is an invitation to bad science, secrecy and even potential fraud.
Please feel free to pass along in part or in its entirety.
The Intersect Alert is a newsletter of the Government Relations Committee, San Francisco Bay Region Chapter, Special Libraries Association.