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Tag Archive: NARA

National Archives publishes online dashboard of its investigations into lost, altered or destroyed public records


In spring 2018, for the first time the National Archives and Record Administration (NARA) has begun using the Internet to inform the American public about its ongoing investigations of unauthorized dispositions in an online dashboard. In a year that continues to be marked by regression on open government, this is a welcome development that shines a bright light on a matter of significant public concern.

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OpenGov Voices: Innovative Investigations — How a Watchdog Group Uses the FOIA Process to Push the Limits of Transparency


Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by the guest blogger and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not reflect the opinions of the Sunlight Foundation or any employee thereof. Sunlight Foundation is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information within the Mary-Beth-Hutchins-Cause-of-Action_Thumbnailguest blog. Mary Beth Hutchins is the Communications Director at Cause of Action. Prior to joining Cause of Action, Hutchins spent several years at an Alexandria, VA-based public relations firm where she managed press outreach for a number of national non-profit groups. The need for government transparency has never been greater than it is right now and at Cause of Action, we’re working to make sure it happens. As a nonprofit government accountability organization, Cause of Action works to expose cronyism, waste, fraud and mismanagement in the federal government through a combination of investigations, education and litigation. With our staff of investigators, lawyers and communications professionals committed to government transparency, Cause of Action frequently uses Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to shed light on otherwise opaque facets of the Federal Government.

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Digital Preservation Under Threat?


Via dotgovwatch, it looks like the National Archives is discontinuing their Web Harvest program:

For the first time since the Internet began, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) will not record a snapshot of Executive Branch websites at the end of a Presidential administration.

In the article, Coby Logen notes that the valuable work of non-profits like shouldn't entirely supplant the work of the government. Federal agencies exist to protect the public interest, through a public mechanism. Our national government has a responsibility to protect and document its history. They are uniquely positioned to do so; no one else has both the reliable public mandate and the public accountability necessary for protecting historical documents.

Federal Web sites are historical documents, and NARA's Web Harvest program should be enthusiastically supported. Digital records management should enable easier and cheaper preservation, and brings the promise of more meaningful disclosure and access to both current and historical documents.

The fact that digital preservation is done by others outside NARA isn't an excuse for NARA to abdicate their responsibility, but an argument that they should be capable of fulfilling it.

As Members of Congress and Federal Agencies increasingly move their work online, robust digital archiving will only become more important, so we can understand how our government is performing its duties.

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An Old Report Made New


I've been on a mission, since November 14th, to find a digital copy of S.Pub 102-20, a reference document from 1990 giving a very comprehensive analysis of all public congressional information, from an archival perspective. I've finally managed to digitize a copy (after some quality time at the scanner). It is a large file. (Click here to download a PDF.)

The preface describes it as a "study of the archival sources that document the operations of Congress." The "archival sources" described in this document comprise the entire body of public congressional information, the substance of both administrative minutiae, and legislative substance. Just as we are interested in the capacity of the public to be conscious of its legislature, we should be interested in the legislature's capacity to take stock of itself, to engage in constructive introspection. (more)

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