Thursday, December 17, 2015

Goverment Publications in the Digital World: Enhancements, Changes, Partnerships and More

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Thomas and

As THOMAS works its way towards its retirement, a wide variety of enhancements are being made to in order to make the transition between resources as seamless and painless as possible for users. The latest set of enhancements includes a new quick search for legislation, the Congressional Record Index and the history of bills from the Congressional Record Index, featuring search functionality similar to the Advanced Legislation search provided on THOMAS. To view a complete round-up of the latest enhancements to the site, as well as a refresher on earlier enhancements you may have missed throughout the year, check out the Library of Congress blog

United States Government Publishing Office (GPO)

GPO is the first federal agency to become a member of the Technical Report Archive & Image Library (TRAIL). For those not familiar with TRAIL – it is made up of approximately three dozen member groups, mainly Federal depository libraries, and works to provide discoverable, permanent and unrestricted access to U.S. Government agency technical reports. Obviously these two groups share a number of common goals, and the stage is set for some major collaboration. To learn more about this partnership or TRAIL itself, start out with the official press release.

Circular A-130 & The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB)

The public comment period recently closed on Circular A-130, “Managing Information in Strategic Decision Making”. This document establishes policies for the management of Federal information resources, and incidentally, the document hasn’t been updated in fifteen years. 

Imagine how much statutory requirements and technological capabilities have expanded and changed since 2000. At this point, our nation needs guidelines and policies to ensure the protection of our privacy and maximize their ability to harness the power of today's technology. In early December, the Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Shaun Donovan, delivered remarks at the Federal Privacy Summit and discussed the driving forces behind revising Circular A-130. “As technology and threats evolve, so must our policies.  In order to meet today’s complex challenges, we must continue to double down on this Administration’s broad strategy to enhance privacy practices and fundamentally overhaul information security practices, policies, and governance.”

The new A-130 centralizes a wide range of policy updates on acquisitions, cybersecurity, information governance, records management, open data, and privacy, replaces a federated procurement approach with more directed guidance and ensured timeliness in IT acquisitions, delineates the responsibilities of various departments when it comes to securing our federal systems, and mandates that government data that is public facing be accessible, discoverable and of usable quality.

While the public comment period is closed, rest assured that the American Association of Law Libraries did weigh in on the comments. Take a look at what they had to say here and here. Currently, the OMB is analyzing all submitted feedback and revising the policy as necessary.  Stay tuned in the coming months for the revised version of the policy as well as an opportunity to comment on Circular A-108, which should help agencies promote transparency and implement the Privacy Act.

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