Some Ideas for Access to Information

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Public.Resource.org, founded by Carl Malamud, is a nonprofit working to make government information more accessible. (Sunlight has provided the group funding in the past.) As Tim O’Reilly wrote when Public.Resource.org launched, “Carl Malamud has this funny idea that public domain information ought to be… well, public.”

Change.gov, the Obama-Biden transition team, has invited ideas, as long as the presentations are no longer than one page. Public.Resource.org has submitted five. Carl has some really good ideas:

1. Rebooting.gov. How the Government Printing Office (GPO) can spearhead a revolution in governmental affairs.

2. FedFlix. Government videos are an essential national resource for vocational and safety training and can also help form a public domain stock footage library, a common resource for the YouTube and remix era.

3. The Library of the U.S.A. A book series and public works job program to create an archival series of curated documents drawn from our cultural institutions, with full-quality masters of the books and research materials made available for other publishers to draw on. The program would employ the GPO master printers and would recruit writers, archivists, artists, and other creative workers through a national call for participation.

4. The United States Publishing Academy. GPO should expand current training programs such as the Institute for Federal Printing and combine them with current workforce development efforts to create a national academy similar to the National Mine Academy and the National Fire Academy, training its own workforce, the government, and the local schools in the art, craft, and science of publishing.

5. The Rural Internetification Administration. Repurposing the Amateur Radio League, modifying spectrum policy, and injecting capital into rural coops can bring high-speed broadband to 98% of rural Americans just as the Rural Electrification Administration did in the last century.

Carl adds, “All submissions are in the public domain and you may feel free to remix or mashup the ideas as you so wish.”

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