Web Governance Policy
|Core to our mission, we’ll be making use of our website monitoring reports, which document changes to federal websites, to analyze the government’s Web governance policies and practices and make recommendations for how they can be improved. Read our Research and Policy Reports and see our Policy Focus Areas below, to learn about which government agencies and policies we’ll be considering when drafting recommendations and demanding that Congress exercise its oversight role and protect public access to Web resources.|
Research and Policy Analyses
- How to classify changes to government websites (HTML version): A classification of Web content alterations and changes in access to Web resources (v1.2) – Toly Rinberg, Andrew Bergman, Rachel Bergman, Sarah John, Aaron Lemelin, and Jon Campbell – Published on March 6, 2019
- See past version 1.1 – Published on October 4, 2017
- Letter to the National Archives and Records Administration Regarding Improving Management of Federal Web Records Guidelines – Alex Howard, Toly Rinberg, Andrew Bergman (Sunlight Foundation), Gavin Baker (American Library Association), & Lisa Rosenberg (OpenTheGovernment) – November 14, 2017
Policy Focus Areas
National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)
Building on efforts that we’ve begun with partners at the American Library Association and OpenTheGovernment, we’re committed to continue advocating for improvements to NARA’s Web records policies, such as an update to NARA’s Guidance on Managing Web Records, which was last published in 2005. We’ll provide NARA recommendations on best practices for how agencies should log and archive website changes, as well as how they should provide appropriate notice when changes are being planned and occur.
We believe improved NARA policies will help protect public access to information and improve agency compliance with the Federal Records Act at a time when public information is under threat from the Trump administration, in addition to helping agencies understand how to avoid public confusion when making regular changes or updates to their websites.
Office of Management and Budget (OMB)
We plan to comprehensively analyze the ways in which OMB has fallen far short in its role ensuring that agencies implement sound Web records practices. This includes OMB’s failure to ensure compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act obligation to, “provide adequate notice when initiating, substantially modifying, or terminating significant information dissemination products,” which was the subject of a letter from members of the OpenTheGovernment coalition in February 2017.
We are also committed to analyzing the failed maintenance of agency standards consistent with current OMB memoranda, such as OMB Circular A-130, Managing Information as a Strategic Resource, and Memorandum M-17-06, Policies for Federal Agency Public Websites and Digital Services.
Individual Agency Web Governance Policies
We will continue to compare written agency Web records policies, obtained online or through FOIA requests, with our own findings showing how they’ve really implemented Web practices. When we find discrepancies, and examples that demonstrate that the policies above are being ignored, we’ll encourage Congress to exercise its power to conduct oversight and demand agency practices that protect public information and data.