NEWS FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY
Issue 100, NOVEMBER 2003

Table of Contents

  1. 2003 U.S. Mint Catalog Now Available Online
  2. Ten Most Wanted List
  3. GPO to Charge for Publications on Web?
  4. Judy Russell, Superintendent of Documents, Responds
  5. What Is The Matrix? ACLU Seeks Answers on New State-Run Surveillance Program
  6. “Another ‘Hysteric’ Librarian for Freedom” Button Available
  7. Public Access to CRS Reports Temporarily Curtailed?
  8. Government Website Accessibility Needs Improvement
  9. Bush Sees Red
  10. Paging Agent Mulder
  11. Regional Depositories Meeting, Oct. 16-18
  12. Federal Depository Libraries Conference, Oct. 19-22
  13. Do You Know Where Your Government Information Is?
  14. University of Buffalo Offers Documents Continuing Education Classes
  15. Believe It or Not: Nazi Documents Found in Philadelphia


(1) 2003 U.S. Mint Catalog Now Available Online

The United States Mint's 2003 Annual Catalog, featuring the First Flight Centennial Commemorative Coins and the 2003 American Eagle Proof Platinum Coins, is now available by mail and online.

As a special premium for United States Mint customers, this year's catalog includes a map developed for the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Commemoration. This colorful map is an excellent historical reference, highlighting the priceless natural treasures along the trail and our precious Native American heritage.

"This year's catalog displays the unequaled quality of United States Mint coins. The Platinum Proof American Eagle ranks among the most beautiful coins ever produced," said United States Mint Director Henrietta Holsman Fore. "And the First Flight Commemoratives are so detailed, you can almost hear the engine of Orville and Wilbur Wright's plane."

The 2003 American Eagle Platinum Proof new reverse design marks the first time in history that both the bald eagle and our Nation's flag have appeared together on a United States coin. The coin's patriotic reverse design features the bald eagle, perched vigilantly on a Rocky Mountain pine branch and superimposed over Old Glory -- two of our Nation's most enduring symbols. The coin's obverse design features a striking rendition of Lady Liberty, with a serene gaze that evokes a spirit of freedom and hope. Her torch, valiantly held aloft, appears to light up her face and crown.

The First Flight Centennial Commemorative Coins, the only commemorative coin program for 2003, celebrates the first manned, controlled-powered flight of a heavier-than-air machine, on December 17, 1903. The program features clad, silver and gold coins, ranging in price from $10.75 for the uncirculated clad commemorative half dollar to $375 for the proof gold ten dollar coin. The First Flight Centennial Foundation is authorized to receive a portion of the proceeds from the sale of these limited-edition coins to aid in the restoration, refurbishment and maintenance of the Wright Monument and Visitor Center in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina.

This year's catalog also features the popular National Wildlife Refuge System Centennial Medal Series and many other medals of the United States Mint, including those honoring President George W. Bush, President Thomas Jefferson, John Wayne, President Ronald Reagan and former First Lady Nancy Reagan, and the Navajo Code Talkers. Deluxe presentation cases also are available.

Holiday delivery is guaranteed on any in-stock item, anywhere in the United States, for orders received before deadline. Order deadlines are December 11, 2003, for standard delivery, and December 19, 2003, for expedited delivery.

To order online, visit the United States Mint's secure website at http://www.usmint.gov. To order by mail, request and fill out a order form from United States Mint, P.O. Box 382610, Pittsburgh, PA 15250-8610. To order by telephone, call 1-800-USA-MINT. Hearing- and speech-impaired customers with TTY equipment may order by calling 1-888-321-MINT (6468).

Source: US Mint press release, September 29, 2003.

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(2) Ten Most Wanted List

In an effort to fight increased government secrecy, OMB Watch in concert with several other groups is calling for input from various disciplines for the for the "Ten Most Wanted Project 2004" list. OMB Watch is seeking to identify the ten or twenty government documents (or categories of documents) of 2003 that researchers would most like to see the government make available to the public. An example would be the 28 pages kept classified from the report by Congress on the September 11 attacks, or taxpayer-funded Congressional Research Service reports available to the public only through members of Congress. The organization will cull through the ideas submitted, make a list of the 20 or so best suggestions, and then ask the public to vote on which documents the public most wants the government to make available. The Ten Most Wanted Project 2004 is being prepared by OMB Watch and the Center for Democracy and Technology for OpenTheGovernment.org. OpenTheGovernment.org is a new coalition of over 30 organizations created to fight increased secrecy and promote open government. The Center for Democracy and Technology (http://www.cdt.org) works to promote democratic values and civil liberties in the digital age. OMB Watch (http://www.ombwatch.org) advances social justice, government accountability and citizen participation in federal policy decisions. Please submit your nominations via email to: by 31 October 2003.

Source: Bruce Craig, ed., NCH WASHINGTON UPDATE (Vol. 9, #41; 24 October 2003).

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(3) GPO to Charge for Publications on Web

In an effort to reverse declining sales revenue at the Government Printing Office, Public Printer Bruce James announced Tuesday that the agency will consider charging fees for many of the publications it now offers to the public at not cost.

How are we going to make money at this? James queried attendees during a morning session of the Federal Depository Library Program conference in Arlington, Va.

In the past decade, as the printing agency made many of its fee-based publications available at no cost on the Internet like the Congressional Register and Federal Record its revenue has declined by nearly $52 million, GPO Superintendent of Documents Judith Russell said.

"It's not a sustainable model," James said, noting that without additional revenue, GPO must continue to depend on Congressional appropriations for much of its funding. "We will be at the mercy of Congress forever."

Although GPO initially charged for documents available on its Web site, www.gpo.gov, it discontinued the practice within a short time. James criticized the current structure, stating: "Nobody sat down and dreamed up the model we have today, it just happened."

One example of a possible fee structure would be akin to that of newspapers that allow users free access to recent articles, but charge a nominal fee for older items.

"We've got to create a business model that will once again allow us to bring revenue in the door," James said.

Many librarians attending the conference expressed concerns over restricting government publications by charging fees.

"This is the most contentious issue here," James acknowledged.

Grace York, a librarian at the University of Michigan, asserted that providing free government documents is essential to maintaining foreign diplomacy.

"If you begin charging for the basic documents of democracy, you are in fact affecting the whole world," Grace said.

Some attendees suggested various fee-for-printing models like those used at universities and other institutions including the National Academy of Sciences, but others expressed concerns about the viability of a Web-based program.

"E-commerce is scary and risky, and we really don't know the end of the story," said Cass Hartnett, a librarian at the University of Washington.

At the suggestion of a Depository Library Council member, James agreed to convene a meeting to discuss possible fee structures at the FDLP's next biannual meeting, set to take place in St. Louis.

"I'm not looking to take away from our depository partners any advantages they have," James said. GPO will continue to distribute the majority of its information through the depository libraries, he explained. "We don't expect to change that at all."

GPO will likely introduce its first pilot program for a fee structure in about 12 to 18 months.

The fee-for-printing plan is not GPO's first step toward bringing its finances into balance. Within the past few months, the agency shut down nearly all of its remaining bookstores with the exception of the facility at its North Capitol Street headquarters and a warehouse for dealers in Laurel, Md.

During the conference, James also addressed "fugitive documents," those publications printed by government agencies but not supplied to the Federal Depository Library Program.

GPO officials are hopeful a program for executive branch printing created through a compact with the Office of Management and Budget will reduce the number of fugitive documents. The program, now in its pilot stage, will likely be introduced to all executive branch agencies in fiscal 2005.

In addition, James said, GPO Inspector General Marc Nichols is heading a project to encourage agencies to comply with the current laws, including the Anti-Deficiency Act.

"We are going to look at building an effective enforcement mechanism to enforce those rules and laws," James said.

Source: Jennifer Yachnin, Roll Call, October 22, 2003, page 3, via GOVDOC-L, Oct. 22, 2003.

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(4) Judy Russell, Superintendent of Documents, Responds

Regarding your article in yesterday's edition ("GPO to Charge for Publications on Web," October 22), we have no immediate plans for the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) to charge for our GPO Access databases. The GPO is merely exploring options for the sales program as the agency evaluates all of our current services and looks to the future.

Source: GOVDOC-L, Oct. 23, 2003.

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(5) What Is The Matrix? ACLU Seeks Answers on
New State-Run Surveillance Program

On October 30, the American Civil Liberties Union filed simultaneous state “Freedom of Information Act” requests in Connecticut, Michigan, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania about those states’ participation in the new “MATRIX” database surveillance system. It also released an Issue Brief explaining the problems with the program, which also operates in Florida and Utah.

“Congress killed the Pentagon’s ‘Total Information Awareness’ data mining program, but now the federal government is trying to build up a state-run equivalent,” said Barry Steinhardt, Director of the ACLU’s Technology and Liberty Program.

“In essence, the government is replacing an unpopular Big Brother initiative with a lot of Little Brothers,” he added, noting that the program is receiving $12 million from the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security. “What does it take for the message to get through that government spying on the activities of innocent Americans will not be tolerated?”

The ACLU’s requests, which were filed under individual states’ open-records laws, come on the heels of a federal Freedom of Information Act request it filed October 17. A similar request was also filed in Florida, where the program originated. The goal of the requests is to find out what information sources the system is drawing on – information program officials have refused to disclose – as well as who has access to the database and how it is being used.

According to Congressional testimony and news reports, The Matrix (which stands for “Multistate Anti-Terrorism Information Exchange”) creates dossiers about individuals from government databases and private-sector information companies that compile files on Americans’ activities for profit. It then makes those dossiers available for search by federal and state law enforcement officers. In addition, Matrix workers comb through the millions of files in a search for “anomalies” that may be indicative of terrorist or other criminal activity.

While company officials have refused to disclose details of the program, according to news reports the kind of information to be searched includes credit histories, driver’s license photographs, marriage and divorce records, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, and the names and addresses of family members, neighbors and business associates.

Raising even more issues, the Matrix is operated by a private company, Seisint Inc. of Boca Raton, Florida. Ironically, the company’s founder was forced to resign after information about his own past came to light: according to Florida police, he was formerly a drug smuggler who had piloted multiple planeloads of cocaine from Colombia to the U.S.

“Members of Congress who voted to close down TIA in the belief that they were ending this kind of data mining surveillance must demand more information about The Matrix,” said Steinhardt. “And then they should shut it down too.”

Copies of the ACLU’s state and federal FOIA requests as well as the Issue Brief about The Matrix are online at http://www.aclu.org/Privacy/Privacy.cfm?ID=14240&c=130, and can also be accessed at http://www.aclu.org/privacy.

A special Web feature about the defunct TIA program is online at http://www.aclu.org/Privacy/Privacylist.cfm?c=130.

Source: ACLU News Release, October 30, 2003.

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(6) “Another ‘Hysteric’ Librarian for Freedom” Button Available

On October 31, the American Library Association (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom introduced a new product for the thousands of librarians who fight everyday to protect the privacy rights of library users. “Another ‘Hysteric’ Librarian for Freedom” button acknowledges this important work while referencing the recent misstatement by U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft.

For the last several months, the attorney general has toured American cities, trying to drum up support for the USA PATRIOT Act, which gives law enforcement easy access to library records with minimal judicial oversight. In several of his speeches, he has described librarians—among the first to denounce portions of the act as giving unprecedented powers of surveillance to the government, particularly in libraries—as “hysterics.”

To help raise awareness of the overreaching aspects of the USA PATRIOT Act, ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom will sell the buttons for $2 each. All proceeds support the programs of the office. To order the button, call the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom at 800-545-2433, ext. 4220, or visit its Web site at http://www.ala.org/oif.

For more information on the USA PATRIOT Act, please visit http://www.ala.org/oif/ifissues/usapatriotact.

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(7) Public Access to CRS Reports Temporarily Curtailed?

Each year the Congressional Research Search (CRS) publishes approximately 1,000 reports of which the public may have access to several hundred. In an interesting change of policy, Secrecy News reports that access to selected reports previously provided via the websites of two members of Congress, Rep. Mark Green (R-WI) and Rep. Christopher Shays (R-CT), has been terminated. However, the Committee on House Administration apparently indicated that access via Congressional websites is still permitted with appropriate arrangements.

For background on the CRS and detailed information on how to locate reports, see CRS Reports, by Stephen Young.

See also the U.S. Dept. of State website for links to selected Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports and Issue Briefs from 1999 to present.

In a related vein, the webmaster of The Memory Hole reports that 300 of the CRS reports formerly located on the Congressman Green's web site have been saved there.

Source: Be Specific: Sabrina Pacific's Weblog on Government Documents, Information, etc., Oct. 28, 2003; Suzanne Colligan Buffalo & Erie County Public Library, Central, Buffalo, NY via GOVDOC-L, Nov. 13, 2003.

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(8) Government Website Accessibility Needs Improvement

More than 1,600 local, state and federal websites were reviewed using the free Bobby Accessibility Test.

Several key facts: government data is increasingly migrating to the web; more than 100 million Americans are not online, more than 50 million Americans have "some level of disability," and 90 million adults are identified as "low literate."

"Information on most government websites is skewed to the needs and abilities of highly educated English speakers."

"...47 percent of federal sites satisfied the W3C standard of accessibility, 33 percent of state sites did and 20 percent of city government sites met the test. With the stricter Section 508 guidelines, 22 percent of federal sites were in compliance, compared to 24 percent of state sites and 13 percent of city websites."

Source: Achieving E-Government for All: Highlights from a National Survey, published October 22, by Darrell M. West, Director, Taubman Center for Public Policy, Brown University.

Spotted in Be Specific: Sabrina Pacific's Weblog on Government Documents, Information, etc., Oct. 24, 2003.

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(9) Bush Sees Red

What does George W. Bush, the first U.S. President with an M.B.A., really think of the federal government's management performance? The latest "Executive Branch Management Scorecard" -— released by the White House this summer and available at http://www.results.gov (see "The Scorecard—June 30, 2003") -- offers some idea. On the scorecard various agencies and departments receive quarterly grades (red for failure, green for success, and yellow for something in between) on both their current results and their progress in five broad areas selected by the Bush Administration, including human capital, financial management, and budget performance. As can be seen from the left side of the card, the past quarter's results show that the overwhelming majority of agencies and departments are deemed to be failing in most areas. Indeed, eighty-seven of the 130 grades in the "current status" portion of the scorecard are red. (And these failures can be extreme. According to the evaluation criteria, an agency might be graded red in financial management if "its books are such a mess that auditors cannot express an opinion on the agency's financial statements.") The right side of the card, admittedly, paints a brighter picture: the preponderance of green dots here indicates that many agencies are making progress. Still, it's not encouraging that eight of the twenty-six departments and agencies graded, among them the Justice, Homeland Security, and Treasury Departments, are failing in all five areas.

Spotted in Atlantic Monthly, Primary Sources, Nov. 2003.

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(10) Paging Agent Mulder

The conspiracy geeks and Area 51 obsessives are right -— the U.S. government is heavily invested in research projects that brush the borders of science fiction. But many of those ventures aren't top secret, so long as you're willing to wade through the latest budget statement for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, which contains funding estimates for various projects, including some distinctly sinister-sounding ones. The spookiest of these is probably the "Brain Machine Interface Program," which promises to "create new technologies for augmenting human performance through the ability to access neural codes in the brain in real time and integrate them into peripheral device or system operations." In other words, if the project pans out (a rather large "if," to be sure), the soldier of the future will be a functional telepath, controlling equipment from a distance and perhaps even communicating "brain-to-brain" with his fellow soldiers. This may sound implausible, but an article about the project in the journal Nature reports that experiments on rats and monkeys have already yielded remarkable results: electrodes were implanted in the animals' motor cortexes, and when neurons in that region of the brain fired in certain patterns, the electrodes successfully transmitted a signal to operate a simple lever or robot arm. Meanwhile, neuroscientists in another part of the same program are attempting to transmit sounds and images directly into the brain's auditory cortex, and a third group is aiming to discover whether parts of the human brain can be replaced by silicon microchips. Such "memory implants" could enable the military to insert combat experience into a soldier's head—creating, with the other projects, the possibility that a fighter pilot could "upload" his training and then fly a plane from the ground, all the while following orders beamed from headquarters directly to his brain.

Source: Fiscal Year 2003 Budget Estimates, Department of Defense, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

Spotted in Atlantic Monthly, Primary Sources, Oct. 2003.

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(11) Regional Depositories Meeting, Oct. 16-18

Tim Byrne (University of Colorado) recently reported some highlights on the Regional Depositories meeting of October 16-18 where most of the time was spent discussing the future of Regional depositories. This involved SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) exercises that required participation and mixing participants. A report will be issued possibly by Dec.

Judy Russell, Superintendent of Documents, was there for the entire meeting. She reinforced the information that 2003 is a planning year for GPO and they are looking at everything.

There was discussion about the National Collection idea. GPO has been sending duplicates of the regional boxes to National Archives for years. NARA has been carefully storing them, still in the boxes! GPO may build a library from the boxes and/or they'll start using Offers lists to build retrospectively. GPO is also looking hard at "print on demand" rather than warehousing copies of documents.

There was discussion of a "credit" system to allow selectives to request paper copies of documents they choose. It could be based on selection rate with a 50% depository getting 50% of the credit that a regional would get but this is still very much in the discussion stages.

GPO is also looking at IBM software that creates a digital signature. This authenticates with a watermark, any paper copy printed without changes from an electronic file, in the same way that PKI authenticates the electronic file itself.

There is a possibility that only the regionals will get paper copies of all of the essential titles and GPO is talking about paying the costs of adding regionals' holdings to OCLC.

Judy warned Lexis-Nexis and Readex that she expects there will be a public domain digital copy of the Serial Set within the next five years and that they may want to consider making their indexes a separate sales item.

Source: GoPig, Oct. 31.

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(12) Federal Depository Libraries Conference, Oct. 19-22

Here are some notes about the Federal Depository Libraries Conference distributed by GoPig on October 31.

During FY 2003, 68% of the depository titles were electronic and they expect that to be 90% within five years. GPO is planning to digitize all of the publications they have been microfilming and we can expect a big drop within months. As the microfiche contracts are ending, they are not being renewed.

At this time, there will not be a schedule of inspections. The only inspections by GPO will be revisits to libraries on probation. GPO is considering having the regional librarians instead of an inspector visit the selectives. GPO is also considering paying a consultant to support approximately 40-60 libraries in a regional area with support and training.

Lost Docs currently has a backlog covering about a year's worth of messages. If GPO has a Memorandum of Understanding with an agency, the agency is archiving its electronic publications but if not, GPO is doing the archiving. Bruce James is not including the depositories when he talks about paying for access to electronic publications.

The OMB controversy is over. The agencies will have the option of picking from GPO contract printers and working more directly with the printer. GPO will receive 3.5% of the cost of the printing rather than the 7% it has received as the intermediary. Much more printing may offset this drop in revenue since the agencies will be expected to use the system rather than bypassing GPO. James says this will greatly reduce the number of fugitive documents. This new process will be piloted for one year with the Department of Labor. As part of this, GPO is partnering with the Dept. of Labor in several efforts to make Labor's information more accessible. This may include digitizing retrospective DOL reports. The three Mission Critical Areas James discussed were 1.) fugitive documents, 2) authentication and 3) digital preservation. GPO is looking at the Inspector General system to help catch fugitives and is trying it with the IG for the Labor Dept. to help find fugitive documents. GPO will be responsible for paying the bills from the printers but will only do so if they receive an electronic copy. There are 2560 printer/contractors working with GPO now and that will climb with the new printing system. James wants the St. Louis meeting to include the depository librarians and printers. He then introduced Rep. Bob Ney from Ohio, the chair for the Joint Committee on Printing.

There was later discussion of the definition of a document, whether the legacy collection could just be an electronic image (.tiff) or should be searchable (.doc). The committee on the Essential Titles lists is working on lists by type of library and expects to have a report by the ALA Midwinter meeting. The user support team for GPO Access has been increased and DTSearch will be replacing WAIS but the URL's and paths will remain the same. You can preview the new software at http://fr.gpo.networkats.com/, but be aware this is just a test and doesn't have all of the Federal Registers. The new software will probably come up with the completed mirror site.

Partnering was the major theme of the conference and some of the partnerships were presented at the conference. The University of Arizona presented its electronic collection but noted that they are still getting paper documents in case the test project fails. They have three library science students who are paid by GPO to check URLs. The people who attended weren't sure how their efforts are different from the things the rest of us are doing.

GPO has a number of information dissemination pilot projects that have begun or are in the discussion stage. They include:

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(13) Do You Know Where Your Government Information Is?

For those of you interested in a very succinct and well written article about recent restrictions on access to government information, see Mary Mallory's article on Do You Know Where Your Government Information Is? published in the August 2003 issue of Publici, an electronic newsletter by the Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center. Note: the article starts on page 7. The article also includes some interesting posters!

Special thanks to Cathy N. Hartman, Associate Fellow, Texas Center for Digital Knowledge, Head, Digital Projects Dept., University of North Texas Libraries, for spotting this article and highlighting it in GOVDOC-L, November 11, 2003.

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(14) University of Buffalo Offers Documents Continuing Education Classes

The University of Buffalo School of Library and Information Science is offering a whole range of continuing education classes, including documents classes, via the Internet.

A computer with Internet access and a Web browser are all that's needed to access these self-paced instructional modules, accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week during the posting period. New workshops include:

Full descriptions of these and other workshops can be accessed from http://informatics.buffalo.edu/faculty/robinson/ce/descriptions.htm. Course modules are posted on the Web and accessed via a password sent by E-mail to registrants. Participants proceed at their own pace through course modules accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week during the posting period. Questions and assignments are fielded by the instructor via a Web Bulletin Board or by E-mail.

These non-credit courses do not require enrollment at the University at Buffalo and will not appear on university transcripts. They accrue Continuing Education credits BB CEUs.

For more information contact Judith Robinson, Department of Library and Information Studies, School of Informatics, 534 Baldy Hall, Buffalo, NY 14260?1020; (716) 645?2412 ext. 1166; FAX (716) 645-3775; E-mail: lisrobin@buffalo.edu; URL: http://informatics.buffalo.edu/faculty/Robinson/index.htm

Source: GOVDOC-L, November 12, 2003.

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(15) Believe It or Not: Nazi Documents Found in Philadelphia

The fate of about 30-thousand Nazi documents found by a man cleaning the suburban Philadelphia home of a former war crimes prosecutor will be decided by a kind of draft selection process. Both the man whose cleaning business found the records and the U-S Holocaust Memorial Museum have claimed ownership.

After months of negotiations, the sides have decided to separate the trove of World War Two correspondence and battle plans into 289 thick folders, then let the two sides take turns claiming them one by one.

Walt Martin, whose brother, William Martin, operated the business that found the records, says it will be like a football draft.

The papers detail Hitler's plans to conquer the Soviet Union.

They were kept for decades by a German who fled to America and later served as a prosecutor of top Nazi officials during the Nuremberg trials.

Source: 6 Action News (WPVI.com, Philadelphia), November 7, 2003.

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