NEWS FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY
Issue 110, July 2005

Table of Contents


  1. GPO LOCKSS Pilot Project

  2. DttP is Now Available Online

  3. Bush Aide Softened Greenhouse Gas Links to Global Warming

  4. Amnesty International Report 2005 Causes Bad Press for U.S.

  5. House Votes to Curb Patriot Act Library Provisions

  6. Expert Exposes NARA Thief

  7. Senate Issues Apology for Its History on Lynching

  8. Political Turmoil at PBS, NPR

  9. Cuts in PBS Funding Sheer Spite?

  10. Are Federal Law Enforcement Agents Reviewing Library Records?

  11. The Perils of Fee-Based Government : the Patent Office

  12. Center for Democracy and Freedom Launches OpenCRS

  13. Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board Established

  14. Rep. John Conyers Jr. of Michigan Leads Unofficial Antiwar Hearing

  15. Can Chernobyl Happen in the U.S.?

  16. The Fading Memory of the State

  17. Lexis Nexis/University of Maryland Teaming Up to Digitize Serial Set Maps

  18. White House to Endorse Most WMD Changes

  19. Fourth of July Celebrated by the Census Bureau and Library of Congress

  20. National Archives Recovers Treasure Trove of Kennedy Materials

  21. What Puts the 'Bang' in Fireworks?

  22. Tracking the U.S. Supreme Court with Blogs

  23. NASA's Project Deep Impact

  24. NSF Celebrates Albert Einstein

  25. Supreme Court Completes 2004-2005 Term

  26. Michigan Ranks 49th in Gross State Product Growth in 2004

  27. Fugitive Documents Elude Preservationists;
    GPO, Library of Congress Turn to Web Harvesting

  28. E-Mail Tool of Choice for Congressional Constituents

  29. National Counterterrorism Center Creates New Terrorism Database
    To Track Worldwide Incidents

  30. 9/11 Public Discourse Project

  31. What's In a Statute Name?

  32. Elliott Ness Padlocks His First Web Site

  33. Government Podcast Directory Now Available

  34. Acquiring Free Tangible Copies of U.S. Government Publications


(1) GPO LOCKSS Pilot Project

GPO is pleased to announce the launch of the GPO LOCKSS Pilot Project. LOCKSS (for "Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe") is open source software that provides institutions with a way to collect, store, and preserve access to their own local copy of e-journal content. LOCKSS was developed by Stanford University, and it is currently maintained by the Stanford University LOCKSS Program Management Office with support from the LOCKSS Alliance. LOCKSS runs on standard desktop hardware and requires minimal technical administration. Once installed, the LOCKSS software converts a personal computer into a digital preservation box that creates low- cost, persistent, accessible copies of e-journal content as it is published. The accuracy and completeness of content stored in a LOCKSS box is assured through a robust and secure, peer-to-peer polling and reputation system.

The purpose of the year-long GPO LOCKSS pilot is to investigate how LOCKSS may be used to manage, disseminate, and preserve access to Web-based Federal Government e-journals that are within the scope of the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) and the International Exchange Service (IES). The following is a list of institutions that have been selected for participation in the year- long pilot: Alaska State Library, Arizona State University, Brigham Young University, Columbia University, Dartmouth College, Deutsche Bibliothek, Georgetown University, Georgia Tech, Indiana University, National Agricultural Library, North Carolina State University, Portland State University, Rice University, Stanford University, University of Connecticut, University of Kentucky Libraries, University of Utah, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Yale Law Library. Additional pilot partners TBA.

Additional information and news about the GPO LOCKSS Pilot Project is available at the following location on GPO Access: http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/fdlp/lockss/index.html.

If you have questions or comments, please use the GPO online help service at: http://gpo.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/gpo.cfg/php/enduser/ask.php.

To ensure that your question is routed to the correct area, please choose the category "Federal Depository Libraries."

You may also contact the GPO Customer Contact Center at 866-512- 1800 (Toll-free), or at 202-512-1800 (DC Metropolitan Area), Monday through Friday, 7:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m., EST.

Source: GOVDOC-L, June 20, 2005.

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(2) DttP is Now Available Online

DttP is now available online for GODORT Members through the ALA web site.

So far, v.31 (2003) - present is available, including the latest issue with all of your conference information, v. 33 #2.

To access the issues:

  1. Go to the ALA web site: http://www.ala.org
  2. Login with your membership number and password
  3. Use the search box and key in: dttp godort
  4. Use the second choice: ALA | GODORT
  5. Click here to go to GODORT's website. GODORT members can view selected issues of DttP in PDF format by clicking the links below.
And there you are. Our thanks to ALA Productions for their work in making this happen!

Source: Andrea Sevetson, Lead Editor, DttP, for the DttP Team, via GOVDOC-L, June 21, 2005

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(3) Bush Aide Softened Greenhouse Gas Links to Global Warming

While reviewing the ten most read articles from the New York Times over the last two weeks (June 22), I came across the following article about a White House official repeatedly editing climate reports in ways that play down links between emissions and global warming. The article includes pictures of the documents with the editorial changes written in.

Source: Article by Andrew C. Revkin, New York Times, June 8, 2005.

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(4) Amnesty International Report 2005 Causes Bad Press for U.S.

Amnesty International's 2005 Annual Report charges the U.S. Government with failure to address longstanding concerns regarding U.S. practices at detention facilities like Guantánamo Bay. According to the report, the United States operates prison camps where people are confined arbitrarily, without charge, trial or access to due process. The report also covers the human rights record of 148 other countries. Needless to say, the report has caused considerable commentary both from the White House and in the press.

For more commentary, see Amnesty official says US running " archipelago" of prisoners around the world. "The United States is maintaining an archipelago of prisons around the world, many of them secret prisons into which people are being literally disappeared and in some cases, at least, we know that they are being mistreated, abused, tortured and even killed." he said. The same article is also available at http://snipurl.com/fdmw.

Another source of commentary on the 2005 report is available from Amnesty International.

. Source: Net-Gold, June 5, 2005.

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(5) House Votes to Curb Patriot Act Library Provisions

On 15 June 2005, in a stunning 238 to 187 victory for the library community, the House approved an amendment to the Patriot Act that bars the Department of Justice from using any appropriated federal funds to search library and bookstore records under provisions of the Patriot Act.

The amendment, remarkably similar to the "Freedom to Read Protection Act" that was attached to the House Science-State-Justice Subcommittee appropriations bill, was advanced by Representative Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and endorsed by a curious coalition of some 38 House conservatives worried about government intrusion and about 200 Democrats concerned about personal privacy. One House aide referred to the victorious coalition as "the crazies on the left and the crazies on the right, meeting in the middle."

Far from being "crazies," the library community has long argued that certain provisions in Section 215 of the Patriot Act are draconian. When the Patriot Act was enacted in 2001 it granted broad new powers to the FBI to access what the law merely defined as "tangible things" from libraries, bookstores, and other records. All that was needed was a warrant issued by the government's secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act or "FISA" court. The effect of the provision was to make permissible what Patriot Act critics characterized as "fishing expeditions" by FBI agents who could investigate, among other things, what library patrons were reading.

The House passed measure mandates that security officials would need to obtain a standard court-ordered search warrant issued by a judge or a subpoena from a grand jury in order to seize records relating to a suspect's reading habits. In other words, the Sanders amendment restores legal standards and warrant procedures for investigations of library and bookstore records that were in place prior to enactment of the Patriot Act.

Administration officials claim that national security officials have never invoked the provision against a library or bookstore; nevertheless, one administration official did not hesitate to declare that "bookstores and libraries should not be carved out as safe havens for terrorists and spies who have, in fact, used public libraries to do research and communicate with their co-conspirators." The House Republican leadership hopes to have the provision removed when a conference committee meets to work out differences between the House and Senate passed versions of the bill.

Source: Bruce Craig, National Coalition for History Washington Update, Vol. 11, #28; June 23, 2005.

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(6) Expert Exposes NARA Thief

In "Expert Outflanks Swindler of History" (Washington Post June 13, 2005) reporter Michael E. Ruane profiles Gettysburg historian Wayne E. Motts whose tip about a Civil War era letter stolen from the National Archives and being offered for sale on e-Bay resulted in the arrest and conviction of a relic hunter/document thief who took and sold more than 100 documents.

Source: Bruce Craig, National Coalition for History Washington Update, Vol. 11, #28; June 23, 2005.

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(7) Senate Issues Apology for Its History on Lynching

On 13 June 2005 the U.S. Senate approved a resolution (S. Res. 39) "apologizing to the victims of lynching and the descendants of those victims for the failure of the Senate to enact anti-lynching legislation." This is the first time the upper chamber has apologized for the American nation's treatment of principally African Americans but also other ethnic minorities who were victims of lynchings going back as far as 105 years. "Lynching," states the resolution, is "the ultimate expression of racism in the United States following Reconstruction...[and with the enactment of this legislation this body] remembers the history of lynching, to ensure that these tragedies will be neither forgotten nor repeated."

Between the years 1882 and 1968 over 4,700 people were lynched throughout this country in all states but four, but most frequently in the deep south. Over the past 65 years, seven presidents asked Congress to outlaw lynching. Congress responded to various request by introducing more than 200 anti-lynching bills. On three occasions, the House passed legislation but every time, southern legislators in the Senate opposed the measures -- often arguing that "states rights" were being infringed. Consequently, they filibustered the bills thus ending any hope of passing legislation.

The resolution was introduced by Senators Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and George Allen (R-VA) and was co-sponsored by 80 of the Senate's 100 members. Notably missing from the list of co-sponsors were the Republican senators Trent Lott and Thad Cochran from Mississippi -- the state that reported the most lynchings. According to a statement issued to the National Coalition for History by Senator Cochran's press representative, Cochran did not agree to the measure as, "I don't feel I should apologize for the passage or the failure to pass any legislation by the U.S. Senate, but I deplore and regret that lynchings occurred and that those committing them were not punished." By contrast, in his remarks on the floor of the Senate, Senator John Kerry (D-MA) stated, "I am personally struck even at this significant moment, by the undeniable and inescapable reality that there aren't 100 senators and co-sponsors."

According to spokesperson in Senator Allen's office, "lynching is a thing of the past" and therefore today there is no pressing need for the introduction of legislation making lynching a federal crime. In reality, the 1968 Civil Rights Act includes a provision for "federal intervention" in the case of lynching should it ever be necessary thus negating the need for federal legislation; in addition, many states have enacted anti-lynching legislation at the state level.

Following three hours of debate on the apology, the moment when the resolution passage lacked any drama: few senators were on the floor, there was no roll call and no accounting for each vote. Nevertheless, for the 200 descendants and family friends of lynching victims that were invited to Washington to witness the historic event, it was an experience they soon will not forget.

Source: Bruce Craig, National Coalition for History Washington Update, Vol. 11, #27; June 16, 2005.

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(8) Political Turmoil at PBS, NPR

For many Americans, public TV means Sesame Street, Masterpiece Theatre and Antiques Roadshow. But for Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, it came to mean liberal bias in its news and public affairs programming. Now Tomlinson's makeover attempts have made their own news: Angry chiefs at PBS and NPR; an investigation of whether his actions amounted to illegal political interference; and questions about whether he may have overreached. But conservative media critic L. Brent Bozell said the corporation's "serious" plans to achieve a better balance on views will allow PBS to "have more success, getting more and more federal funding." Patricia Aufderheide, who teaches at American University's Center for Social Media, says, "The issue should be providing the information that viewers and listeners want and need, not questions of balance. It will be interesting to see how PBS handles this challenge and how the stations handle this intimidation."

Source : Article by Steve Goldstein, Philadelphia Inquirer, reported in Net-Gold, June 6, 2005.

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(9) Cuts in PBS Funding Sheer Spite?

It's time to turn the Cookie Monster, Miss Piggy -- and Miss Marple -- loose on the Republican-dominated Congress.

The monster could run rampant through the hallowed halls of the Capitol, shaking some common sense into members. Miss Piggy could give them the classic "what for" and the little gems of mischief Miss Marple would certainly come up with would make headlines -- and get time on the Jim Lehrer News Hour.

In a spiteful action intended to cripple public broadcasting for not swallowing the GOP party line, a House appropriations subcommittee last week took an ideologic ax to funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, cutting funds for public radio and TV stations including our own WITF-FM and WITF-TV.

The cuts of $100 million in direct funding, $23.4 million from public broadcasting's "Ready to Learn" program, $49 million to replace aging technology and another $39 million to help stations convert to digital programming are part of a Republican move to completely elminate all money for CPB within two years.

There's only one description of the committee's action: Mean.

It's meant as punishment, clear and simple, for the PBS' news division for providing news coverage of national politics and foreign policy that doesn't dance to the GOP tune.

Which action is silly, spiteful, and harmful to the community as a whole.

The local PBS outlets offer a cultural treasure of programs, from Sesame Street to the Jim Lehrer News Hour to Nova and Masterpiece Theater on TV; and the popular Prairie Home Companion, Car Talk, All Things Considered, and superb classical music programming on radio.

Meanwhile, Republican congressmen are playing coy on the funding issue, claiming the funding cuts are not an attempt to punish the PBS system for a perceived liberal bias.

That's dodging the obvious. When Newt Gingrich was Speaker of the House during the Clinton administration, there was at least an open, declared attempt to kill the CPB just as there was to eliminate the Department of Education.

Time to let the Republican ideologues on Capitol Hill know that these actions, out of spite, have gone too far. The Cookie Monster is not pleased!

Source: York Dispatch (PA), June 17, 2005.

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(10) Are Federal Law Enforcement Agents Reviewing Library Records?

American Library Association (ALA) announces preliminary findings of study measuring law enforcement activity in libraries Data shows law enforcement interest in library records The American Library Association (ALA) today (June 20, 2005) released the findings of a comprehensive survey demonstrating the significant impact on the public of federal law enforcement activity in America's libraries. Based on the survey findings, ALA believes that public anxiety and librarian concern over law enforcement activity in libraries is justified. Survey results indicate a total of at least 137 legally executed requests by federal and state/local law enforcement in both academic and public libraries have taken place since October, 2001 -- 63 legally executed requests for records in public libraries and 74 legally executed requests in academic libraries.

ALA commissioned researchers to survey public and academic libraries to obtain information regarding the type of contact academic and public librarians have had with law enforcement agencies, and to obtain information about how the potential for law enforcement contact and contact itself has affected the management and operation of the public library. The project was funded by support from the John L. and James S. Knight Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Ford Foundation. The researchers developed a representative sample of more than 1,500 public libraries; 33% responded to the survey. Of the 4,008 academic libraries invited to participate in the survey, 22% responded.

Although most survey respondents indicated that their libraries have not been visited since October 2001 by either federal or state/local law enforcement officials, respondents did report 16 instances of requests for information from federal agencies and 47 instances when state/local law enforcement officials formally requested one or more types of records. Similar to public libraries, most academic libraries responding have not been presented with official legal orders from law enforcement since October 2001. For academic libraries, there were 33 instances of requests for information from federal agencies and 41 instances when state/local law enforcement officials requested one or more types of records.

"For over half a century, the American Library Association has actively sought to protect the freedom of Americans to read without a threat of surveillance as part of their First Amendment rights to free expression," said ALA President Carol Brey-Casiano. "This right to privacy of library patrons has been confirmed by 48 states that have laws that require a legal order to obtain library records. ALA believes the right to read freely is constitutionally guaranteed and seeks to protect it for the people we serve."

Emily Sheketoff, executive director of the ALA Washington Office added, "We now know with certainty that law enforcement is visiting libraries and asking for information on library patrons. We must ensure that the proper oversight is in place to ensure that the government doesn't conduct 'fishing expeditions' at America's libraries."

Almost 10 percent of academic library respondents and 40 percent of public library respondents indicated that patrons had inquired of library staff one or more times about policies or practices related to the PATRIOT Act.

"In light of the survey findings it is more important than ever that Congress work to amend the sections of the USA PATRIOT Act that allow the FBI easy access to library records," said Brey-Casiano. "I urge members of Congress to support the SAFE Act, currently pending in the House and Senate. This legislation curbs the overly broad powers allowed to law enforcement by the USA PATRIOT Act."

Source: ALA Home Page, June 23, 2005.

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(11) The Perils of Fee-Based Government : the Patent Office

Washington Monthly, which, unlike most other Washington-based magazines, has a history of actually paying attention to what happens in the bureaucracy, rakes the Patent and Trademark Office over the coals in its June issue. The piece, by Zachary Roth, highlights another example of the perils of fee-based government. "The 1991 decision to make the PTO pay for itself," Roth reports, "has created a series of perverse incentives that encourage the office to approve undeserving applications, and has made it easier for applicants to game the system. Because each new application now brings in a $380 fee, the agency has an incentive to approve those patents, sending a signal to the market to apply for more. Additionally, patent-holders pay annual maintenance fees for the first 12 years of a patent's life, meaning that each approved patent brings in a total of over $3,000 to the office."

Source: GovExec.com Today, June 7, 2005.

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(12) Center for Democracy and Freedom Launches OpenCRS

The Center for Democracy and Freedom has launched a new web site — OpenCRS: Congressional Research Service Reports for the People — providing links to more than a half-dozen existing collections of nearly 8,000 reports from the Congressional Research Service and centrally indexing them so visitors can find reports containing specific terms or phrases. The project is a response to years of rumbling and wrangling by open-government advocates over a lack of direct accessibility to reports from the policy research arm of Congress.

OpenCRS also encourages visitors to ask their lawmakers to send them any reports not yet publicly available — and gives detailed instructions to do this — so these can be added to the collection. Other sources of CRS reports mentioned include:

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(13) Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board Established

As a result of a recommendation made in the final report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (9/11 Commission), the U.S. government set up a Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board within the Executive Branch to oversee adherence to, and the commitment to defend, civil liberties by the federal government.

The question is, how effective and independent will this Board be? Critics have expressed deep concern that the Board is completely within the control of the Executive Branch – a case of "the fox guarding the hen house."

In March 2005, a bipartisan bill to strengthen the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board was introduced in Congress. The proposal would move the Board out of the Executive Office of the President, giving it subpoena power, and ensuring that it would report to Congress.

Source: Watching Justice: An Eye on the Department of Justice. June 17, 2005.

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(14) Rep. John Conyers Jr. of Michigan Leads Unofficial Antiwar Hearing

Opponents of the war in Iraq held an unofficial hearing on Capitol Hill on Thursday (June 16) to draw attention to a leaked British government document that they say proves their case that President Bush misled the public about his war plans in 2002 and distorted intelligence to support his policy.

In a jammed room in the basement of the Capitol, Representative John Conyers Jr. of Michigan, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, presided as witnesses asserted that the "Downing Street memo" - minutes of a July 23, 2002, meeting of Prime Minister Tony Blair and his top security officials - vindicated their view that Mr. Bush made the decision to topple Saddam Hussein long before he has admitted.

For the full article by Scott Shane, see Antiwar Group Says Leaked Memo Shows Bush Misled Public on His War Plans, New York Times, June 17, 2005.

Although President Bush and defenders say the Downing Street Memo and other released documents are old news, others have compared them to the Pentagon Papers of the Vietnam era. See William Jackson, Jr.'s article British Documents: The Pentagon Papers of Our Time? , Editor & Publisher, June 19, 2005.

In case you are interested, here are links to six of the documents:

Source: Sabrina Specifici's Be Specific, June 19, 2005.

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(15) Can Chernobyl Happen in the U.S.?

Even as we worry about loose nukes in Russia, we might do well to keep a closer eye on nuclear materials at home.

A new study from the National Academy of Sciences -- Safety and Security of Commercial Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage: Public Report, 2005, 125pp. -- argues that pools of spent fuel from nuclear-power plants pose a security risk—less because terrorists might use the fuel to create a dirty bomb (obtaining enough would be extremely difficult) than because an attack could cause the fuel to ignite, creating a Chernobyl-like disaster in which large amounts of radiation are released into the environment.

And plants are doing a dishearteningly "uneven" job of keeping track of their radioactive material, according to the Government Accountability Office report -- NRC Needs to Do More to Ensure That Power Plants Are Effectively Controlling Spent Nuclear Fuel, GAO, April 2005, 42pp. -- which found that during the past five years three plants have reported missing fuel and fuel rods.

Source: Atlantic Monthly, July/August 2005.

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(16) The Fading Memory of the State

"The official repository of retired U.S. government records is a boxy white building tucked into the woods of suburban College Park, MD. The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is a subdued place, with researchers quietly thumbing through boxes of old census, diplomatic, or military records, and occasionally requesting a copy of one of the computer tapes that fill racks on the climate-controlled upper floors. Researchers generally don't come here to look for contemporary records, though. Those are increasingly digital, and still repose largely at the agencies that created them, or in temporary holding centers. It will take years, or decades, for them to reach NARA, which is charged with saving the retired records of the federal government (NARA preserves all White House records and around 2 percent of all other federal records; it also manages the libraries of 12 recent presidents). Unfortunately, NARA doesn't have decades to come up with ways to preserve this data. Electronic records rot much faster than paper ones, and NARA must either figure out how to save them permanently, or allow the nation to lose its grip on history."

Source: The Fading Memory of the State, by David Talbot, July 2005, via Sabrina I. Pacifici's BeSpecific, June 27, 2005.

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(17) Lexis Nexis/University of Maryland Teaming Up to Digitize Serial Set Maps

LexisNexis U.S., a leading provider of news, business and legal information services, and the University of Maryland today announced an alliance to preserve images of the U.S. Serial Set Maps while making the maps easily accessible and searchable online. The U.S. Serial Set is a vast historical resource that contains an ongoing collection of U.S. Government publications compiled under a directive of Congress, and consequently traces virtually all aspects of American history, including trade and commerce, military history, geography, scientific exploration, and anthropology.

Already, LexisNexis® has digitized nearly the entire U.S. Serial Set collection (www.lexisnexis.com/serialset) spanning 1789-1969, including 325,000 documents drawn from nearly 13,000 volumes, 52,000 maps, and the American State Papers. This new project will enhance the quality of the maps section. The University of Maryland is providing the original maps so LexisNexis can rescan the collection into high-resolution digital images in color and black and white. Current scans taken from microfiche cannot provide the color or the same clarity as a scan from the original maps.

"The information in the Serial Set is arguably the most important historical information source in GPO’s long history." said Dr. Charles Lowry, University of Maryland Dean of Libraries and Professor of the College of Information Studies. "LexisNexis and The University of Maryland Libraries have a common goal to preserve this information and make it easily accessible and searchable. We are pleased to contribute to a project that reflects the high standards found in CIS indexes and the cutting-edge technology from LexisNexis."

LexisNexis welcomes the opportunity to work with the University of Maryland on this phase of the Serial Set.

"By having local access to a major repository of maps it will allow us to carefully combine our highly regarded cartobibliography with scanned images of color and grayscale maps," said Tim Fusco, LexisNexis vice president of Publishing Operations. "The end result will be a superior electronic map collection that will greatly enhance the researcher’s experience — from viewing maps of westward exploration to Civil War battles."

Source: Lexis Nexis Press Release, June 27, 2005, via Sabrina I. Pacifici's BeSpecific, June 27, 2005.

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(18) White House to Endorse Most WMD Changes

The White House will endorse almost all of the 74 recommendations by the president's commission on weapons of mass destruction, including creation of a National Counter Proliferation Center, according to people familiar with the administration's review.

The broad acceptance of the panel's proposed changes comes after a 90-day review led by the National Security Council's homeland security adviser, Frances Fragos Townsend. The individuals spoke only on condition of anonymity because Townsend's review won't be made public until Wednesday.

Source: Article by Katharine Shrader, WTOP Radio Network, June 28, 2005.

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(19) Fourth of July Celebrated by the Census Bureau and the Library of Congress

The Census Bureau has prepared The Fourth of July 2005 : Facts for Features & Special Editions to help journalists come up with interesting factoids.

A few samples include:

The Library of Congress American Memory Project also provides a Today in History web page pulling together historical documents related to the celebration of the Fourth of July.

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(20) National Archives Recovers Treasure Trove of Kennedy Materials

Archivist of the United States Allen Weinstein announced that the National Archives and Records Administration, on behalf of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, has reached a settlement with the estate of Robert L. White for the return of thousands of pages of documents and artifacts from the presidential and pre-presidential period of John F. Kennedy's career as a public servant. These materials were covered in a 1965 deed of gift from the estate of President Kennedy, which donated official papers and artifacts associated with the President and his life to the National Archives, in trust for the American people.

This settlement follows another important agreement reached last fall, in which a map of Cuba used and annotated by President Kennedy when he was first briefed by the CIA on the Cuban Missile Crisis was returned to the Kennedy Library. Mrs. Evelyn Lincoln, President Kennedy's secretary, improperly removed the map from the custody of the United States. Mr. White obtained the map from Mrs. Lincoln and subsequently sold it. The National Archives was alerted by a researcher in 2002 that the map was for sale on the internet for $750,000. The Justice Department filed a lawsuit on behalf of the National Archives to stop the sale and seek its return, and the case was finally settled last fall.

Among the items that were recovered yesterday from Mr. White's estate are a rocking chair used by President Kennedy in the Oval Office; signing pens used by President Kennedy to sign Public Laws, Executive Orders and International Treaties; a piece of wood originally from the floor of the U.S. Senate that was incorporated into the platform for the 1961 inaugural ceremony; letters, notes, and schedules from President Kennedy and his staff documenting the official business of the White House, as well as important files from his years as a U.S. Senator.

Robert White also obtained this material from Mrs. Lincoln. Mrs. Lincoln was entrusted with the responsibility of safekeeping President Kennedy's personal effects, historical items and writings. Rather than turning over all of these materials to President Kennedy's family and to the National Archives, Mrs. Lincoln kept a large number of these items and eventually gave or sold them to Mr. White.

In making the announcement of these settlements, Professor Weinstein said "I am very pleased that these important documents and artifacts are finally being returned to the Kennedy Library where they belong. It was the intent of the Kennedy family that the American people should have the fullest account of the Kennedy Administration, and these materials are essential in telling that story. I am very grateful for the hard work of all of those involved in making this a success story."

"Careful and excellent work by our archivists, curatorial staff and the National Archives General Counsel meant that these documents and artifacts are back home, where they belong. The Kennedy Presidential Library is committed to offering the full historical record of our 35th President, and these are important and welcome elements of our total collection, which includes 48 million pages of documents," commented Deborah Leff, Director of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library.

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library is one of 11 Presidential libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Administration.

Source: NARA News Release, June 16, 2005.

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(21) What Makes the 'Bang' in Fireworks?

Every year on Independence Day, Americans all around the country are drawn to spectacular fireworks displays.

But what makes the colors, lights and sounds so vivid? Each color in a fireworks display is produced by a specific mineral compound. Bright greens are from barium; blues come from copper; and yellows require sodium. More colors are made by mixing compounds. The role of minerals in fireworks is just one example of our society’s growing reliance on minerals for making products ranging from automobiles to toothpaste.

Want to know more? Visit http://minerals.usgs.gov/minerals to learn about the USGS statistics on production, trade and resources for about 90 mineral commodities from around the world. Enjoy fun facts at http://minerals.usgs.gov/west/factfaq.shtml. For more information, contact Diane Noserale at 703-648-4333 or dnoseral@usgs.gov.

Source: USGS News Release, July 1, 2005.

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(22) Tracking the U.S. Supreme Court with Blogs

Now that Justice Sandra Day O'Connor has announced her intention to retire as soon as President Bush can find a replacement, readers may be more interested in keeping up with the latest Supreme Court news and the nominations process.

If you are into blogs, check out SCOTOSblog and The Supreme Court Nomination Blog, both brought to you by the firm of Goldstein and Howe, P.C.

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(23) NASA's Project Deep Impact

It may not be Armageddon, but a NASA probe will collide with comet Tempel 1 on July 4. In the world of science, this is the astronomical equivalent of a 767 airliner running into a mosquito.

After a voyage of 173 days and 431 million kilometers, a probe launched by NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft will collide with comet Tempel 1 on July 4 – a first-of-its-kind, hyper-speed impact between a space-borne iceberg and a copper-fortified probe.

NASA’s Deep Impact spacecraft and ground- and space-based observatories will record the potentially spectacular collision. Astronomers hope the collision will unleash primordial material trapped inside the comet, which formed billions of years ago.

"We are really threading the needle with this one," said Rick Grammier, Deep Impact project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California. "In our quest of a great scientific payoff, we are attempting something never done before at speeds and distances that are truly out of this world."

Deep Impact will provide a glimpse beneath the surface of a comet, where material from the solar system's formation is relatively unchanged.

Mission scientists expect the project to answer basic questions about the formation of the solar system by offering the best view ever achieved of the nature and composition of the frozen celestial travelers called comets.

In the early morning hours (EDT) of July 3, the Deep Impact spacecraft will send a 1-meter-wide probe (called an impactor) into the path of the comet, which is about half the size of New York City's Manhattan Island.

Over the next 22 hours, Deep Impact navigators and mission members more than 133 million kilometers away at JPL will steer the spacecraft and impactor toward the comet. The impactor will head into the comet and the flyby craft will pass about 500 kilometers below.

Tempel 1 is hurtling through space at 37,100 kilometers per hour. Two hours before its collision with the comet, the impactor will kick into autonomous navigation mode. It must perform its own navigational solutions and thruster firings to make contact with the comet.

The crater produced by the impact could range in size from a large house to a football stadium, and from two to 14 stories deep. Ice and dust debris will be ejected from the crater, revealing the material beneath.

The flyby spacecraft will have 13 minutes to take images and scientific readings of the collision and the aftermath before it must endure a potential blizzard of particles from the nucleus of the comet.

"The last 24 hours of the impactor's life should provide the most spectacular data in the history of cometary science," said Deep Impact principal investigator Michael A'Hearn of the University of Maryland.

"With the information we receive after the impact, it will be a whole new ballgame,” he added. “We know so little about the structure of cometary nuclei [the permanent part of a comet] that almost every moment we expect to learn something new."

The Deep Impact spacecraft has four data collectors to observe the collision’s effects. The flyby spacecraft carries a High Resolution Instrument, composed of a camera and infrared spectrometer, and a Medium Resolution Instrument.

A duplicate of the Medium Resolution Instrument on the impactor will record the vehicle's final moments before it’s run over by Tempel 1.

"In the world of science, this is the astronomical equivalent of a 767 airliner running into a mosquito," said Deep Impact mission scientist Don Yeomans. "The impact ... will not appreciably modify the comet's orbital path. Comet Tempel 1 poses no threat to the Earth now or in the foreseeable future."

More information about Deep Impact is available at the NASA Web site, along with an encounter animation and an impact experiment video.

Source: U.S. Department of State International Information Programs News Release, June 28, 2005.

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(24) NSF Celebrates Albert Einstein

Exactly 100 years ago today (on June 30, 1905), a 26-year-old patent clerk named Albert Einstein published a strange research paper about a principle he called relativity -- and gave us a whole new way to think about light, matter, energy, space and time.

That paper was just one of four revolutionary research papers that Einstein published in 1905. Taken together, those works laid the foundations for most of modern physics, in addition to microchips, lasers and other modern technologies.

To celebrate the centennial of relativity and to recognize the World Year of Physics, the National Science Foundation offers a new Special Report about Einstein. This new Web site explains what Einstein actually did in 1905, and all that has come of it since then.

Related Websites

World Year of Physics 2005 site

American Institute of Physics' Einstein site

American Museum of Natural History Einstein site

Time Magazine Person of the Century site

Einstein Archives Online

Source: U.S. Department of State International Information Programs, Global Issues, July 1, 2005 News Release.

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(25) Supreme Court Completes 2004-2005 Term

The U.S. Supreme Court ended its last scheduled session for the 2004-2005 term on June 27 with several significant rulings, including two on separation of church and state. During the 2004-2005 term, the court issued rulings on use of the death penalty, medical marijuana, federal sentencing guidelines and property rights.

Despite concerns that age or ill health might prompt retirements, none of the nine justices has announced intentions to do so. Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, who has been undergoing treatment for thyroid cancer, is considered the most likely to step down. [In a surprise move, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor submitted a letter to the President requesting to retire shortly after the term ended.)

There have been no new Supreme Court appointments for over a decade, making this the longest-sitting Supreme Court since the 1820s. With confirmation by the Senate a constitutional requirement, the nomination of a new justice by the president is likely to spark intense debate.

The two cases touching on freedom of religion dealt with displays of the Ten Commandments. The court determined that the legality of such displays depends on where they are placed and how they are designed.

In Van Orden v. Perry, the court found a monument placed outside the Texas State Capitol permissible because it had a secular purpose. The court determined that the monument is one of 17 on the capitol grounds that collectively represent the state’s history. The Ten Commandments can be displayed in a historical and objective manner, the court ruled.

In McCreary County, Kentucky v. ACLU of Kentucky, the Supreme Court ruled that a Kentucky courthouse’s display of the Ten Commandments was an unconstitutional endorsement of a religion because it was located inside the courthouse and because it stood alone.

In another case -- Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Tudios v. Grokster, the court found Internet file-sharing companies to be liable for the distribution of copyrighted material such as songs and movies.

During this term, the court also held that the death penalty was unconstitutional when applied to those convicted of committing a crime when they were under the age of 18. In a 5-4 ruling on Roper v. Simmons, the court decided that the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution, which prohibits “cruel and unusual punishments,” protects juveniles from capital punishment.

Other cases addressed the constitutionality of certain federal laws. At issue in the case of Gonzales v. Raich were states' rights versus federal rights. Federal law enforcement agencies, the court ruled, may prosecute people for using marijuana even if the state allows it for medicinal purposes. Currently, 10 states have laws permitting the medical use of marijuana use with a doctor’s approval.

In two other cases involving federal authority, U.S. v. Freddie Booker and U.S. v. Duncan Fanfan, the court found sentencing guidelines for federal crimes to be unconstitutional. The court ruled that a judge can issue sentences based on a jury’s findings or on information given by the defendant. Use of other information to determine federal sentences violates a defendant’s right to trial by jury as outlined in the Sixth Amendment of the Constitution, the court found.

The Booker and Fanfan rulings will affect future sentencing but will not necessarily affect the sentences of those already imprisoned. The court declined to hear cases from defendants who were sentenced before the court found these sentencing guidelines relying on inappropriate sources of information to be unconstitutional.

In Kelo v. New Haven, the court reviewed property rights and found that that state and local governments have the right to seize private property for development by a private company if the property use will benefit the public. This ruling opens the door for states to take land for uses that promote economic development, such as offices or shopping malls.

In Jackson v. Birmingham Board of Education, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that a teacher or coach who claims sexual discrimination on behalf of others is protected from firing under the landmark Title IX gender equity law.

In Smith v. City of Jackson it ruled 5-3 that federal law allows people 40 and over to file age bias claims over job policies even if employers never intended any harm.

In Granholm, Governor of Michigan v. Heald, it ruled 5-4 that states that allow in-state wineries to sell directly to consumers may not deny that right to out-of-state producers.

The court declined to hear hundreds of cases that had petitioned for Supreme Court review, including the appeal of two reporters facing jail sentences for not revealing their confidential sources. New York Times reporter Judith Miller and Time magazine’s Matthew Cooper could serve up to 18 months in prison for refusing to divulge who provided them with classified intelligence information.

The Supreme Court has very limited original jurisdiction (it is the first court to hear a case), mainly for cases involving ambassadors and national-level officials, disputes between states, and admiralty and maritime issues. Most of the court’s work is related to its appellate jurisdiction (reviewing decisions issued by lower courts).

Each year, more that 7,000 cases are entered into the Supreme Court’s docket. Of those, only about 100 are granted review, with oral arguments presented to the court by attorneys. An additional 50 to 60 cases are disposed of without the need for oral arguments. Each term, the court issues more than 5,000 pages of written opinions, including dissents.

The Supreme Court’s next term begins October 3, the first Monday in October.

Additional information about the court is available on its Web site.

Source: Michelle Austein, Washington File, U.S. Department of State International Information Program, June 29, 2005.

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(26) Michigan Ranks 49th in Gross State Product Growth in 2004

It will come as no surprise to anyone working for the state of Michigan that our state's growth in gross state product during 2004 ranked 49th in the nation. Only Nebraska fared worse. Anyone interested in the rankings or percent growth figures can take a look at Bureau of Economic Analysis News Release 05-29.

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(27) Fugitive Documents Elude Preservationists; GPO, Library of Congress Turn to Web Harvesting

Government Printing Office officials, who have a significant role in preserving government information, want to capture fugitive publications, which are documents that federal agencies have published on the Web but for which no copy or record exists in GPO's database.

To recover such documents for preservation, GPO officials are interested in new software technologies such as Web harvesting, and they are reviewing proposals from companies that make such software.

Web harvesting is one of three activities that will contribute to what GPO officials say will be the Future Digital System. In addition, GPO officials plan to convert paper-based government information to digital formats and deposit electronic documents in libraries that are part of GPO's Federal Depository Library Program.

For the complete article, see Aliya Sternstein, "Fugitive Documents Elude Preservationists", Federal Computer World, May 9, 2005.

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(28) E-Mail Tool of Choice for Congressional Constituents

You've got mail, members of Congress, about 200 million pieces of it. Nine out of 10 of those missives are e-mail, according to a report that chronicles the rapid shift from postal letters to e-mail as the means of communicating with lawmakers.

And a personal message, either online or on paper, carries more weight than the mass mailings so popular with advocacy groups, says the report from the Congressional Management Foundation, a nonpartisan group working to improve the effectiveness of Congress.

"It's the individual communication that gives a sense of who the constituent is, and is more likely to persuade members," said Kathy Goldschmidt, co-author of the report.

For the full article, see USA Today, July 11, 2005.

For a look at the report, see Communicating with Congress: How Capitol Hill is Coping with the Surge in Civil Advocacy.

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(29) National Counterterrorism Center Creates New Terrorism Database
To Track Worldwide Incidents

The National Counterterrorism Center has developed a new database to track the number of terrorism incidents around the world. In the process the definition of terrorism has been revised, greatly increasing the number of incidents covered.

Using a more stringent definition last April, the State Department and the counterterrorism center had tallied 651 significant international terror attacks last year, with more than 9,000 victims. Using the new definition, the National Counterterrorism Center came up with 3,192 incidents with 28,433 people killed, wounded or kidnapped.

The effort to redefine what can be called terrorism is part of an ongoing project that the counterterrorism center's interim director, John Brennan, called "the most comprehensive U.S. effort to date to track terrorist incidents worldwide."

But he cautioned that comparing the new tally to previous ones was comparing apples to oranges because the terms changed.

Consider Iraq, which led the world last year with 866 attacks against civilians and other noncombatants, according to the new tally. Under the definition used in April, it had 201 attacks. But the new numbers included attacks on Iraqis by Iraqis, a category previously excluded because it wasn't considered international terrorism.

The database indicated there were only five attacks in the United States in 2004, including an arson in Utah for which the Animal Liberation Front claimed responsibility.

Terrorism statistics have become a hot-button issue with the Bush administration's war on terror. Critics have said previous government reports did not reflect an increase in global terrorism.

But Brennan and other government officials blamed human error and a definition of terrorism that had not been updated since the 1980s.

Following the criticism, the counterterrorism center sought to establish a public, searchable database of attacks, starting with attacks from 2004, in part to allow private researchers access to the unclassified information.

Governments have long argued over what constitutes a terrorist attack, and Brennan concedes his center's database is not "black and white and perfect." It will be tweaked as the years go by.

The National Counterterrorism Center Worldwide Incidents Tracking System (WITS) database is available on the National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism (MIPT) Terrorism Knowlede Database Web Page at http://www.tkb.org/Home.jsp.

Source: Katherine Shrader, Terror Attacks Near 3,200 in 2004 Count, July 6, 2005.

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(30) 9/11 Public Discourse Project

Sorry, I couldn't resist inserting this tidbit about a federal commission which morphed into a nonprofit organization, particularly since it deals with such an important topic: terrorism/emergency management.

9/11 Public Discourse Project
http://www.9-11pdp.org/
The ten members of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (known as the 9-11 Commission) have initiated a nationwide public education campaign for the purpose of making America safer and more secure. In so doing, the commissioners will give people throughout America the opportunity to participate in a debate that has been limited largely to those inside the Washington Beltway.
Following the July 22, 2004, release of its official 567-page report, the 9-11 Commission, in accordance with its founding statute, disbanded as a government entity on August 21, 2004. All ten commissioners believe, however, that it is critical to educate the public on the issue of terrorism and what can be done to make the country safer. They would like to do so by reaching out, in bipartisan pairs, to communities around the country, encouraging a national conversation on these critical issues. In the absence of such an effort, they are concerned that there will be insufficient public examination of how the lessons learned from the terrorist attacks can be used to shape public policy. The perils of inaction are far too high-and the strategic value of the Commission's findings too important-for the work of 9-11 Commission not to continue.
For this reason, the ten commissioners have formed a 501(c)(3) organization - the 9-11 Public Discourse Project - aimed at fulfilling the 9-11 Commission's original mandate of guarding against future terrorist attacks, while adhering strictly to the same bipartisan and independent principles that have guided it over the last twenty months. This new organization, intended to remain in effect for one year, consists of the same leadership of the 9-11 Commission, including its commissioners, who now serve as the Board of Directors of the 9-11 Public Discourse Project.
(Last checked 07/12/05)

Recent news related to the 9/11 Public Discourse Project includes:

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(31) What's In a Statute Name?

For those who don't normally read the Law Library Journal from AALL, here's an alert from Cass Hartnett, former President of Godort of Michigan, about an informative (and entertaining) essay on how Congress goes about naming laws. According to Hartnett, it would also be appropriate to share with library/information science students or undergrad/grad Poli Sci or Law classes.

The author (librarian Mary Whisner) starts out:

"CAN-SPAM is perhaps the cleverest statute name I have heard. The statute is an effort to reduce the amount of unsolicited commercial e-mail -- the inbox clutter we know as spam. And so someone came up with a statute title (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act) that spells out what the statute is supposed to accomplish. Wow. Thinking about CANSPAM's apt acronym at the breakfast table one morning led to a string of questions. When did Congress start using acronyms that spelled out words suggestive of the meaning of a statute? I thought of the USA PATRIOT Act and the WARN Act. When did Congress start including short title sections in bills? The questions kept swirling in my mind, long after I had finished that morning's cereal."
To read the full essay, go to Practicing Reference.... What's in a Statute Name?".

Want more info on the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003? Check out the Wikipedia entry. Also check out the Federal Trade Commission's CAN-SPAM Act: Requirements for Commercial Emailers .

Now if only the CAN-SPAM act could make an impact on the amount of spam I receive!

Source: Cass Hartnett, University of Washington Libraries, GOVDOC-L, Feb. 2, 2005.

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(32) Elliott Ness Padlocks His First Web Site

Spotted on another webblog : Elliott Ness Padlocks His First Web Site.

According to the annotation, the FBI has shut down a Web site named elitetorrents.com. The site allegedly offered first-run movies, including the new Star Wars movie, via Bit Torrent distribution. But the FBI didn't just shut down the site; they put up a new Web site in its place... They didn't just padlock the perp's joint; they put up a new sign out front. I wonder if this is a first.

Source: Wigblog - Things Internet and Otherwise by Richard Wiggins, May 27, 2005.

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(33) Government Podcast Directory Now Available

As part of our exploration of the universe of US government information, Free Government Information (FGI) has created a directory of podcasts (MP3 audio files available for automated download) being produced by local, state and federal government agencies and elected officials. The "government podcasts" page can be found at http://freegovinfo.info/node/174.

If you know of a government agency podcast not listed here, please let me know by either posting a comment to the "Government Podcasts" page or by e-mailing me at dnlcornwall@alaska.net.

Source: Daniel Cornwall, Government Publications/Technical Services Librarian, Alaska State Library, GOVDOC-L, July 13, 2005.

Postscript from the editor: Ok I created a blog by popular demand. Does this mean I have to create a podcast as well? I think not!

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(34) Acquiring Free Tangible Copies of U.S. Government Publications

Worried about obtaining paper copies of key government publications?

Tim Byrne, Government Documents Librarian at the University of Colorado at Boulder, recently reported on his initial foray into acquiring free tangible government publications outside the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) to the Colorado/Wyoming Government Publications Interest Group (GOPIG).

Needless to say a Google Search using "free government publications" was a little problematic. Numerous sites were retrieved with instructions on how to make your fortune with free government publications. This, of course, amused the government doucments librarians in attendance who have all been making their fortunes in government publications for years! Subsequent attempts yielded three types of web sites offering free government publications: Shopping carts like Amazon, Checklists, and just "let us know what you want." Some sites allow requests for multiple copies, some require an account setup, and some are a mix of free and for cost.

One particularly useful site mentioned was the U.S. Global Change Research Information Office at http://www.gcrio.org/orders/product_info.php?products_id=94 . This site offers a free collection of government publications on climate change from a variety of agencies as well as the United Nations. Most items aren't distributed in paper through the FDLP although, sometimes, they are provided in electronic format.

Tim has also posted some federal government agencies who distribute at least some free publications upon request. Take a look at Source of Free Tangible Copies of U.S. Government Publications.

Let the Red Tape Editor know if you have other sources.

Source: GoPIG Meeting, June 2-3, 2005, Wyoming State Library, Cheyenne, WY.

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