Our mission

Free Government Information (FGI) is a place for initiating dialogue and building consensus among the various players (libraries, government agencies, non-profit organizations, researchers, journalists, etc.) who have a stake in the preservation of and perpetual free access to government information. FGI promotes free government information through collaboration, education, advocacy and research.

End of Term crawl 2024 is now underway!

Well it’s that time again. The 2024 End of Term web crawl of the federal .gov/.mil web space (and other domains 🙂 ) has begun. We have just posted our first public announcement on the Internet Archive blog.

As we have done since 2008 (NARA did the first comprehensive crawl in 2004), a group of volunteers from the Internet Archive, GPO, Library of Congress, NARA, University of North Texas, and Stanford will be doing a “comprehensive” web harvest of the Federal government’s web space. For more information and background on the project, see our home page at https://eotarchive.org/. These archives can be searched full-text via the Internet Archive’s collections search (https://web.archive.org/) and also downloaded as bulk data for machine-assisted analysis from the project site.

But MOST IMPORTANTLY, we need YOUR help! We are currently accepting nominations for websites to be included in the 2024 End of Term Web Archive. Submit a url nomination by going to our nomination tool (hosted by University of North Texas!) and clicking the big yellow “add a url” button in the top right:

https://digital2.library.unt.edu/nomination/eth2024/

We encourage you to nominate any and all U.S. federal government websites that you want to make sure get captured. We’re also interested in any and all urls of federal sites that are NOT hosted on .gov/.mil (there are lots of federal government sites hosted on .edu, .org, and even .com! That includes social media but also research labs and other private/public partnerships). We already have a solid list of top level domains (eg epa.gov, congress.gov, defense.mil etc). Nominating urls deep within .gov/.mil websites helps to make our web crawls as thorough and complete as possible. Prizes will be awarded for most url nominations by individuals and institutions!

So get to it! Help us do the most complete crawl we can and also assure that the sites/publications/videos/data etc that are most important to YOU make it into the archive!!

HHS launches Heat and Health Index to identify communities hit hardest by extreme heat

This is a very interesting new tool. According to Nextgov/FCW, The Department of Health and Human Services, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has launched a new tool called the “heat and health index” to identify communities hit hardest by extreme heat. The assessments are done by top code and include historic temperature data on heat-related emergencies within the last 3 years. The tool is built off of and extends the CDC’s Heat and Health Tracker and shows up on the CDC tool’s left hand navigation. The tool includes technical documentation and bulk data download. Check it out!

As the American public gears up for a summer that meteorologists are predicting will be among the hottest on record, federal officials have rolled out a new interactive portal to provide granular data on extreme heat risks across the country. 

The heat and health index tool, launched by the Department of Health and Human Services on Friday, processes data on communities’ health and environmental characteristics to determine heat-related health risks by zip code.

The portal is hosted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which estimates that approximately 1,220 people in the U.S. die as a result of extreme heat each year. 

HHS said in a press release that the tool will help officials identify communities “most likely to experience negative health outcomes from heat, ensure that outreach and medical aid reach the people who need it most and help decision-makers prioritize community resilience investments.”

Reference question and the saga of chasing down a Congressionally mandated report

I had a student come to me looking for a federal document called “Population representation in the military services.” She was doing research into the history of enlistment in the armed forces and was interested in finding statistics on the number of enlistments and applications to enlist per state from 1985 – 2000. The report has supposedly been published since 1970, but unfortunately was only available online from 1997 forward on the DoD site and most library catalogs only had the link.

It appeared after much digging that this report was never distributed to libraries in the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) even though it was a Congressionally mandated report, reports that are required by statute to be submitted by Federal agencies to the Senate, the House of Representatives, or to Congressional committees or subcommittees (check out the long saga of Congressionally mandated reports which have historically been hard to find but after many years of advocacy by government transparency groups, librarians and others are not required to be sent to GPO!).

After consultation with my many govinfo librarian colleagues on the govdoc-l Listserv — the amazing hive mind of govinfo librarians around the country! — I was able to piece together reports back to 1983 from our own collection (which were not cataloged but buried in the microfiche of the American Statistical Index (ASI) which is at least indexed in the subscription database Proquest Statistical Insight), the agency itself, a couple of editions available on the Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC) database, and a solid run in paper back to 1983 at the Pentagon Library. There are still a couple of gaps in the series, but I have at least been able to piece together 1983 – present. I requested the Pentagon Library volumes (1983 – 1997) and Stanford Library’s awesome digitization services team are in the process of scanning them. After the volumes have been scanned, I’ll send the files to the Government Publishing Office (GPO) through their “unreported documents” process (the process whereby federal publications that should be but are not for some reason in the FDLP’s National Collection can be collected, cataloged, and made available to the public).

I do hope that GPO’s new Congressionally Mandated Reports collection will help to solve the issue of access to these important reports that are often lost in the ether. But it will take the dogged work of countless govinfo librarians to continue to hunt these unreported documents down for students, researchers, journalists, and the public.

PEGI charts a FAIR direction for the US government information ecosystem

The PEGI Project has just published a new blog post “Charting a FAIR Direction for the US Government Information Ecosystem.” This is meant to be added context for our presentation at next week’s Research Data Access & Preservation (RDAP) Summit.

We seek to expand the conversation about FAIR principles — the Findability, Accessibility, Interoperability, and Reuse of digital assets. FAIR — and it’s natural outgrowth CARE Principles for Indigenous Data Governance or Collective benefit, Authority to control, Responsibility, and Ethics — are seeing an increase in operationalization in the data community and as it applies to the curation of research data funded by the US government. But PEGI advocates that those principles should be applied across the expansive federal government information landscape. These principles, which resonate for the research data community, can and should be applied to all government information. Please read on and feel free to leave a comment, question, or idea here.

Supreme Court ethics with John Oliver

John Oliver discusses the Supreme Court, the ethically questionable gifts some of the justices receive, and an offer for Clarence Thomas that he definitely shouldn’t refuse. Once again, Oliver gets to the heart of the issue of SCOTUS ethics or lack thereof.


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