NEWS FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY:
MARCH 1995

Table of Contents

  1. Editor's Comments
  2. GPO Under Attack
  3. JCP To Be Abolished?
  4. House Attack on GPO Dramatically Shifted
  5. Georgia Southern University Library Joins GPO Access Program
  6. Two More Gateways Announced by GPO
  7. Texas State Library Announces GPO Access Availability
  8. GPO Releases U.S. Code on GPO Access
  9. Thomas - A New Gateway to Congressional Information
  10. Senate Gives Thomas the Cold Shoulder
  11. Midwinter GODORT Highlights
  12. Wayne Kelly Speaks to Depository Library Directors
  13. More Remarks by J. D. Young
  14. NCJRS Announces Justice Information Electronic Mailing List
  15. OTA Announces Online Access to Publications
  16. Department of State Foreign Affairs Network
  17. POW/MIA Documents Index
  18. Patent Trademark Office Closes Down Free Patent Search Site
  19. National Security Council Subject to FOIA
  20. President Bush Loses Control
  21. President Clinton Planning to Speed-Up
    Government Documents Declassification
  22. Announcing President - The Presidential Idea Network
  23. Internet Community KO's anti-FOIA Provision
  24. STAT-USA Available Free to GPO Depository Libraries
  25. Opennet Provides Access to DOE Declassified Documents


(1) Editor's Comments

Just when we thought the pace of change concerning government information and access could not be any more frantic, the Republicans captured control of both the House and Senate of the U.S. Congress for the first time since Truman's Presidency. As a result, many of the Clinton administration initiatives may be revamped or scrapped as the Republicans attempt to make their mark on the ebb and flow of government information. Has their ever been a time more important for keeping up with RED TAPE? Read on.


(2) GPO Under Attack

Congressman Scott Klug (R-WI) has introduced a resolution calling for radical changes in the information role of Congress and its support agencies, including the Government Printing Office. H. Res. 20 calls for (1) the transfer of executive branch printing out of GPO to the General Services Administration; (2) the transfer of selected GPO functions to the Library of Congress; (3) abolition of the Joint Committee on Printing and the Joint Committee on the Library; (4) reduction of in-house printing capacity of GPO; (5) procurement of congressional printing from the private sector whenever possible; (6) reduction of the GPO workforce to 800 positions; and (7) the elimination of various GPO reports and audits.

Under this proposal the Librarian of Congress would be responsible for distributing government information not requiring a printed format.

Source: Vigdor Schreibmn, GOVDOC-L, January 6, 1995; ALAWON, Vol. 4, no. 4, January 20, 1995.


(3) JCP To Be Abolished?

All professional staff and most of the political staff of the Joint Committee on Printing--including Bernadine Hoduski--were terminated on January 3, 1995 as a part of the Republican pledge to streamline Congress and reduce costs.

The reponsibilities of the JCP since the 19th-century have been to curtail waste and corruption in the public information systems of the United States, and to manage the constitutional information role of the U.S. Congress so that Congress and the American people are adequately informed of the conduct of the government.

However, coming to grips with the ramifications of dismantling the Joint Committee on Printing has proved more difficult than expected. Five staff members were retained to keep the committee working in a transitional mode until Congress decides where to transfer its functions; however three of these employees have since been notified that their jobs will be terminated on January 29.

Source: Vigdor Schreibman, GOVDOC-L, December 27, 1994 and January 6, 1995; James McDonough, EPIN, TXDXN-L, January 26, 1995.


(4) House Attack on GPO Dramatically Shifted

Rep. Scott L. Klug (R-WI) and Rep. Jennifer Dunn (R-WA) have announced that they plan to introduce a bill that would retain the function of the Government Printing Office as a central printing procurement and information dissemination agency of Congress, while terminating in-house printing functions. The legislators would downsize the GPO to 800 persons by eliminating in-house printing functions.

According to testimony before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch, it does not appear that any attention was given to the extensive need for pre-preparation personnel in the process of producing finished printing products for Congress, which outside contractors could not provide.

The legislation would also terminate all agency in-house printing functions except for printing orders requiring less than 4000 copies with a value below $1000, which they claim could save the government as much as $1 billion during the next five years.

The bill would not touch the Superintendent of Documents or the information dissemination function of GPO, which Dunn stated "was the most important function of the GPO." Dunn was heavily lobbied by citizens from her own district, including librarians from the Seattle Public Library and the documents librarian from the University of Washington. Dunn told members of the Subcommittee that "the Depository Library Program was most important, allowing people to walk into their neighborhood library to find out about their government".

The bill Dunn will introduce recommends that "all requests for government printing flow through the GPO" to assure elimination of "fugitive documents" while cutting down on the excessive proliferation of printing equipment (e.g., Xerox "docutech" printing machines that cost $250,000 each) throughout the government. Xerox has been very aggressive in attempting to sell "docutech" machinery. Seventy were sold to the Department of Defense and dozens to the General Services Administration, leading to excessive in-house agency printing at high costs, some 50% greater than the cost of printing the same work through GPO procurement.

Source: Vigdor Schreibman, FINS Special Report, February 23, 1995, GOVDOC-L, February 26, 1995.


(5) Georgia Southern University Library Joins GPO Access Program

Georgia Southern University's Henderson Library has recently announced its participation in GPO's Expanding Gateway Program. The GSU Gateway joins Missouri's COIN System and the Seattle Public Library--both mentioned in the last issue of RED TAPE--in making free dial-in access available to government information users around the country.

To access the GSU system, telnet directly to [gsvms2.cc.gasou.edu]. To establish a high-speed modem connection, the GSU system users may dial into GSnet, the Georgia Southern local computer network, at (912) 681-005 at 9600 baud. Modem settings are 8 data bits, no parity, 1 stop bit; terminal emulation is VT100. To obtain the GSnet prompt, depress (enter) twice. From the GSnet prompt, enter this command to reach the host GSU computer: connect gsvms2. Users with slower modems (1200 baud) may dial into Peachnet, the computer network of the University System of Georgia, at (912) 681-0500. From the PeachNet prompt, enter this command to reach the host GSU computer: [connect gsvms2.cc.gasou.edu.]. Be sure to include all four periods.

Once connected with gsvms2 (the GSU host computer), a user will see a welecome screen which ends with a request for a username. Public users should enter INFO as their username. No password is required. The Public Information Services menu will appear. From this menu, select the choice for "Government Printing Office Access" and follow the directions from that point.

Inquiries about the availability of GPO Access services should be directed to the Access User Support Team at (202) 512-1530, or Internet e-mail [help@eids05.eids.gpo.gov].

Source: Gil Baldwin, GPO, LPS, GPO News Release 95-1, GOVDOC-L, January 6, 1995.


(6) Two More Gateway Sites Announced by GPO

On February 7, 1995, GPO announced the establishment of two additional free public gateways to online Federal information: one in Alaska and one at Penn State.

Alaska's Statewide Library Electronic Doorway (SLED) is a cooperative program between the Elmer E. Rasmussen Librry at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, and the Alaska State Library. Users with Internet connectivity may dial into SLED via the AlaskaNet node nearest their city or village. For questions, dial 1-800-478-4667. Modem settings are 8 data bits, full duplex, no parity, 1 stop bit; terminal emulation is VT100. Once connected with SLED, press the return key to continue; at the SLED main menu, choose Government Information (#5), enter; then choose Federal Government Information (#2), enter; then choose GPO Access under Federal Government Information (#4).

Users outside Alaska will have to telnet to: [sled.alaska.edu]. For help, contact Debbie Kalvie, [ffdhk@aurora.alaska.edu], (907)- 474-7624.

GPO Access databases are also available to offsite users of the electronic Library Information Access System (LIAS) of the Penn State University in University Park, PA. Users with Internet connectivity may reach LIAS by telnetting directly to: [LIAS.psu.edu]. To establish a modem connection (300 - 14.4 baud), users may dial into LIAS at (814) 865-5427. Modem settings are 8 data bits, full duplex, no parity. 1 stop bit; terminal emulation is VT100. Once connected with LIAS, press the enter key, and then respond to th eprompts for terminal emulation. When prompted for a "Penn State ID Number", press the enter key. No password is required. The LIAS Welcome Screen will appear. Type SELECT to go to the selection menu, and then choose "GPO Access". An extensive help message is available by typing "help GPO" at the LIAS prompt.

Please note: only a limited number of simultaneous connections is available. If all connections are in use, you'll be told to "try again later". For help, contact Debora Cheney, [dlc@psulias.psu.edu], (814) 863-1345.

Source: GOVDOC-L, February 10, 1995; February 14, 1995.


(7) Texas State Library Announces GPO Access Availability

GPO ACCESS files are now available through the Texas State Library's gopher LINK (link.tsl.texas.gov).

Source: Sue Troyan, , TXDXN-L, January 25, 1995.


(8) GPO Releases U.S. Code on GPO Access

The U.S. Code database is now available on GPO's WAIS Server. This important new database joins the official government versions of the Congressional Record, Congressional bills, and the Federal Register that have been offered in electronic format over the Internet through the GPO Access service since June 1994. The new database is available free to participating depository libraries and at no additional charge to all Congressional bills subscribers.

The United States Code is prepared and published by the Office of the Law Revision Counsel, U.S. House of Representatives. It is the codification of the general and permanent laws of the United States. The database contains the text of laws in effect as of January, 1994; however, any section that has been affected by laws passed during the 2nd session of the 103rd Congress includes a note identifying the public law that affected that section.

Current subscribers using WAIS client software should create a new soure file with the server address wais.access.gpo.gov, the database name uscode, and the internet port number 210. It has already been added to the menu for SWAIS users.

For additional information, contact the Access User Support Team at tel: (202) 512-1530; fax: (202) 512-1262; or e-mail: [help@eids05.eids.gpo.gov].

Source: Gil Baldwin, GPO, LPS, GOVDOC-L, December 29, 1994.


(9) THOMAS - A New Gateway to Congressional Information

Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and Librarian of Congress James Billington recently announced the creation of a new congressional online public access information system, called THOMAS, in honor of Thomas Jefferson.

Thanks to Thomas, citizens across the country and the world now have access, via the Library of Congress's world wide web server, to congressional information, such as the full text of House bills beginning with the 103rd Congress, the Congressional Record, and the House calendar and summaries of floor proceedings. The URL for THOMAS is [http://thomas.loc.gov].

Since 1993, the Library of Congress has been providing online information about the U.S. Congress through LC MARVEL. THOMAS will vastly expand that information when it becomes fully operational.

RED TAPE readers may be interested in the following developments that have taken place over the last year at the Library of Congress. On October 13, 1994, the Library of Congress opened its Digital Library Visitors' Center, which demonstrates how the Library supports Congress and the nation through technology. The center contains 15 workstations that feature: LOCIS, the Library's online catalog of more than 30 million records; World Wide Web, which offers digitized text and images from the Library's major exhibitions and collections; American Memory, which offers unique collections of the Library on disk and on the Internet; LC MARVEL, which gives users access to the vast amount of information available about the Library and access to other databases around the world; the Global legal Information Network (GLIN), a database of foreign statutes at LC's Law Library that provides electronic access to the international community; and the Copyright ImagingSystem, which allows automated copyright registration. The initiatives are also accessbile to persons with disabilities.

Citizens who do not have access to the world wide web can also access THOMAS through a TELNET connection which allows you to use Lynx, a WWW text-based client running on a Library of Congress server. However, this type of access is limited to 20 simultaneous users. To reach THOMAS via telnet, telnet to [thomas.loc.gov] and login as "thomas".

For more information, call Jill Brett (202) 707-2905 or Guy Lamolinara (202) 707-9217. Comments can also be sent to [THOMAS@loc.gov].

Source: Library of Congress Press Release 94-193, December 29, 1994; shared by Arlene Weible, Willamette University Library, GOVDOC-L, January 4, 1995; Carol Singer, GOVDOC-L, January 20, 1995.


(10) Senate Gives THOMAS The Cold Shoulder

According to James McDonough, the Senate is not participating in THOMAS because of its potential conflict with the GPO Access system and because the House leadership apparently mounted the whole program on their own, without collaboration, and only invited the Senate to participate at the press conference announcing its unveiling at the last moment. Needless to say, Senator Ted Stevens and Senator Wendell Ford, cosponsors of the legislation creating the GPO Access system within GPO, are particularly concerned about how THOMAS will impact on their efforts.

Source: James McDonough, Electronic Public Information Newsletter, January 27, 1995.


(11) Midwinter Godort Highlights

As you might imagine, much of the discussion at the 1995 Midwinter GODORT meetings centered around the activity currently taking place in the 104th Congress. It has been a whirlwind of activity - from the unveiling of THOMAS to the various bills, joint resolutions, and proposals to do away with the Government Printing Office (GPO), Joint Committee on Printing (JCP), as well as amending the Paperwork Reduction Act.

Saturday morning began with an extremely well attended meeting for library directors where representatives from GPO discusssed the future of delivery of federal government information in electronic formats through the depository library program. Unfortunately, due to the snowstorm, GPO was not able to demonstrate GPO Access to the attendees.

At the Federal Documents Task Force (FDTP) Agency Update, Jay Young, Director, Library Programs Service (LPS), discussed the 6 challenges currently facing GPO and what GPO's role in addressing them. GPO will continue to provide the traditional services, as well as providing support services and tools to aid depository libraries. GPO is continuing to put new electronic services on GPO Access, to test the prototype locator, to work on the storage facility so it can serve as a site for on-demand delivery, to provide pathfinders or tools so that depositories can find agency information on the Internet, and to identify and acquire databases to maintain for long-term storage.

Young also outlined the role of depository libraries. Libraries will provide the network, serve as intermediaries by assisting in finding information as well as acquiring necessary hardware and software, service both old and new formats, and provide free access to CD's and paper formats. Young concluded by stating that the minimum technical guidelines for depository libraries currently in existence will become "rquirements" in 1998.

Sheila McGarr, Chief, Depository Library Operations, updated the group on a number of operational issues. Items of note: (1) regional depositories must now return item surveys; (2) please continue notifying LPS about microfiche shipment problems; (3) new items will now be identified as such on microfiche shipping lists; (4) NASA recon records (which will include NASA thesaurus terms) are about to be substituted for GPO records; (5) GPO would like feedback on the proposals for reducing the size of the Monthly Catalog were published in the Dec. 15, 1995 Administrative Notes; and two new inspectors (including Michigan's Carole Callard!) have been hired.

Various federal agency speakers discussed their information dissemination activities including steps to make their information available over the Internet: Lars Johanson, Census Bureau; Rachel Van Wingen, Environmental Protection Agency; Heddy Rossmeiss, U.S. Geological Survey; Scott Prindle, Economics and Statistics Administration, Dept. of Commerce; and Mona Smith, NTIS.

FDTP has created two new work groups: one on advocacy to work closely with the GODORT Legislation Committee to get the word out at the local level concerning the depository library program. The other work group will study the structure and organization of FDTF and the internal workings of the task force as it relates to the rest of GODORT.

The Ad Hoc Committee on the Internet has developed the outline for their white paper on government information and the NII/Internet. The white paper will consider the nature of electronic government information, hardware and software access issues, preservation and archival concerns, eductional needs, and legislation and policy considerations. Drafts of the white paper will be completed by April 1, 1995 and will be psosted to GOVDOC-L. The Ad Hoc Committee is also developing a statement for GODORT on the principles of NII.

The Ad Hoc Committee on Access to Federal Government Information was charged with identifying the ideas and concepts published in the report from the "Chicago Conference on the Future of Federal Government Information" (October 1993) and to design a plan of action for implementing these ideas. A progress report on each area was given:

  • A. Expert Help Clearinghouse - by working with the Agency Liaison Program, "experts" who would be willing to be listed as contacts for assistance could be identified. This might also be done in conjunction with establishing a "speakers bureau". Members of Government Information Technology Committee, Ad Hoc Committee on Internet, and Education Committee will be contacted about this activity.

  • B. PR and Outreach - work is progressing to get the Chicago Conference report, as well as a statement of GODORT's actions, concerns, etc., out to state and local associations and new members of Congress. GODORT Legislation Committee will be contacted.

  • C. Creation of a New Organization - decided not to continue to follow-up on this.

  • D. Open Forum - a GODORT sponsored forum is to be held Wednesday, April 12, 1995, beginning at 6:30 pm during the Federal Depository Conference. The broad topic for this open forum is public access to federal government information. The goal of the meeting is to continue our efforts to network with other individuals, government representatives, businesses, community groups, and associations to build a stronger base of support for depository libraries and access to government information.

    The Cataloging Committee asked that the GODORT Chair send a letter to GPO and Depository Library Council stating that the committee supports the abbreviated form of the paper Monthly Catalog provided that GPO continues to produce MARC cataloging records. A cataloging subcommittee is working on a revision of "Cataloging Government Documents". GPO is working on the development of a prototype CD-ROM of the Monthly Catalog.

    Resolutions forwarded for ALA consideration and action:

  • 1. Resolution on the Federal Depository Library Program for the 104th Congress. The essence of this resolution is that as Congress makes any legislative changes in the depository library program, there are a number of things we feel must be included in such a change. The resolution also asks that public hearings be held before any change takes place, and that the depository library community be directly involved in any revision of government information dissemination.

  • 2. Reaffirmation of the Government Printing Office. This resolution commends GPO for the timely development and implementaiton of the GPO Access program, urges Congress to affirm the continuing role of GPO in assuring the dissemination of government information to the public, fully fund GPO Access, and hold public hearings before taking any action to reduce or eliminate or privatize GPO.

  • 3. Resolution Regarding Continued Unimpaired Access to Government Information. This resolution urges Congress to ensure that Federal agencies retain responsibility for implementing government information policies as part of their missions under the oversight of Congress, to ensure that public access to government information not be diminished by any privatization nor commercialization, and that any potential reduction of information collection by subject to prior reivew for its impact on the public and private sectors.

  • 4. Resolution Regarding the Final Draft Report of the Interagency Kiosk Committee (IKC). This resolution commends the IKC for its proposals for delivering federal information services directly to the public; urges the IKC and its parent agency to locate kiosks in libraries, and particularly in Federal Depository Libraries, and to include the library community as a partner in planning, developing, and piloting the interagency kiosk program.

  • 5. Resolution on the Congressional Oversight of Printing and Dissemination of Federal Information. This resolution urges Congress to preserve in a joint oversight committee those responsibilities that pertain to the Federal Depository Library Program and identifies the minimum responsibilities that should be empowered to such a committee. The resolution also urges Congress to retain these oversight responsibilities in the JCP or consider establishing a joint committee on libraries and information.

  • 6. Resolution Commending Bernadine Abbott Hoduski for Her Efforts on Behalf of Depository Libraries and Librarians. This resolution commends and thanks Bernadine Abbott Hoduski for her efforts on behalf of librarians, depository libraries, and the American public, and on the tremendous success she has had, as a professional librarian and staff member of the Joint Committee on Printing, in furthering the cause of free public access to government information, as well as improved organization and utilization of technology.

    Statistical Measurement Committee plans to complete three projects over the next six months and then go out of existence during the summer of 1995. The projects include (1) a citation source for conversion factors, (2) an annotated bibliography on measuring and counting documents, and (3) an informal survey on how libraries are using their on-line systems to compile statistics.

    Odds and Ends:

  • Allerton Hotel will be the GODORT Hotel in Chicago. The GODORT reception will be held in the Wrigley Penthouse, Allerton Hotel.

  • GODORT programs in Chicago will include one on the 100th anniversary of the Printing Act of 1895 and one on the 50th anniversary of the United Nations.

  • The Education Committee will continue to hold the GODORT Handout Exchange during the annual conference. Cost of a disk will remain $6. Guides from the diskette are available on the University of Michigan gopher.

  • The Government Information Technology Committee will hold a discussion in Chicago of users of private shipping list services.

  • ACRL/Law and the Political Science Section is planning a preconference on "Taking the Mystery Out of Legal Research".

  • The GODORT Chair was requested to write a letter to Alice Rivlin and FinanceNet with regard to OMB Circulars asking that a list of them appear in the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations, that the circulars get into the DLP, and that the circulars also be disseminated through FinanceNet and GPO Access.

  • DTTP is looking for an Advertising Manager and a columnist for State and Local Documents News.

    Source: Susan Tulis, Univ. of Virginia Law Library, GOVDOC-L, February 14, 1995.


    (12) Wayne Kelly Speaks to Depository Library Directors

    "There is an explosion of electronic Government information in the United States. There are big changes ahead for Federal depository libraries....

    It makes good sense for your library to ride the wave and make good use of free government information to serve your user community. Let me note that the word 'free' is often abused in current discourse. As media critic A. J. Liebling noted years ago in his book on The Press, there is no free lunch. Freedom of the press, liebling said, belongs to those who own one....

    This 'free' Government information will belong to those libraries who own appropriate computers. And pay for Internet connections. And train their Government Documents Librarians in new technologies. These things, of course, are not free. But as library directors you can weigh the costs against the ultimate payback to your library and community....

    Over the next few years, depositories should offer users on-site access to computers with graphical interface, CD-ROM capability, Internet connections, and the ability to prin or download extensive documents. Such serves are strongly recommended today, and public demand will undoubtedly make them a requirement before long...."

    Source: Remarks by Wayne Kelly, Superintendent of Documents, to Depository Library Directors, American Library Association Midwinter Meeting, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, February 4, 1995, GOVDOC-L, February 14, 1995.


    (13) Remarks by J.D. Young Concerning
    The GPO Access Gateway Program

    "So far, over 70 depositories have approached GPO expressing interest in becoming "Model Gateway Libraries" to offer the use of GPO Access to remote public users. If every one of these libraries is able to develop a gateway, we would cover 44 states, Washington, D.C., and the Virgin Islands....

    S-WAIS (the current searching mechanism for GPO Access) is very cumbersome, but it is presently the only system practical for use through a gateway.... However, it can be used by the low end user, who is one of our key targets....We are working on this, and we intend to go from a Model-T to a Cadillac with our Phase II software...."

    Source: American Library Association, Federal Documents Task Force, February 4, 1995, GOVDOC-L, February 14, 1995.


    (14) NCJRS Announces Justice Information ListServ

    The National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) has just announced a new online service, the Justice Information (JUST INFO) electronic mailing list. It is designed for criminal justice professionals to obtain accurate, current, and useful criminal justice-related information.

    Subscribers of the service will receive an electronic newsletter on the 1st and 15th of every month. It will report on such relevant topics as:

  • New information from the OJP agencies
  • The latest products and services from NCJRS
  • Updates on Federal legislation
  • Important criminal justice resources on the Internet
  • NCJRS international services

    There is no cost for this service, if you already have access to electronic mail over the Internet.

    To subscribe to JUST INFO, send a message to [listproc@ncjrs.aspensys.com], leave the subject line blank, and type the message "subscribe justinfo yourfirstname yourlastname". Do not include the quotation marks.

    Questions about this new service can be sent via electronic mail to [askncjrs@ncjrs.aspensys.com] or via telephone to (800) 851-3420.

    Source: William Browning, INT-LAW, January 28, 1994.


    (15) OTA Announces WWW Site, ListServ

    In line with current efforts to open up the congressional process to the public, the Office of Technological Assessment (OTA) has announced the inauguration of OTA Online, a collection of electronic resources offered by the agency.

    OTA Online provides general information about OTA and allows users to access OTA publications delivered to Congress. For example, users can access the full text of recent reports, background papers, and report briefs. Also available are press releases, the annual report, and publications catalog.

    OTA is a nonpartisan congressional agency charged with advising the Congress on a wide range of critical issues involving science and technology. These issues include telecommunications, health, defense, space, education, environment, energy, and others. OTA has delivered reports on these topics to the standing committees of Congress, who request most of the agency's work.

    OTA Online includes many common Internet features such as a World Wide Web (WWW) home page, an FTP collection of OTA report files and other information, and an electronic bulletin board (BBs) accessible via WWW or Telnet that permits file text searches. OTA Online is accessible through the following standard Internet tools:

    WWW: [http://www.ota.gov]

    ftp: [otabbs.ota.gov]; login as anonymous, password is your e- mail address; publications are located in the /pub directory.

    telnet: [otabbs.ota.gov]; login as public, password is public

    Additional features of the BBS are available through client software with a graphical user interface for Microfsoft Windows. This software is available free through the WWW home page or by contacting the OTA Telecommunications and Information Systems Office, (202) 228-6000, or e-mail sysop@ota.gov. Soon the BBS will also be available via telephone dial-in access. Qustions or comments on Internet service should be directed by e-mail to [netsupport@ota.gov].

    OTA also maintains a free electronic mailing list known as OTANEWS which allows anyone with access to electronic mail on the Internet to receive notices of all OTA reports upon their release. To subscribe to OTANEWS, address an electronic mail message to [listserv@ota.gov]. Leave the subject line blank. In the text of the message, type: subscibe otanews [your name].

    After you have sent the message, you will receive confirmation thaty your subscription has been entered. If you encounter difficulties, send an e-mail message to postmaster@ota.gov.

    Source: Mary Lou Higgs, GOVDOC-L, January 19, 1995.


    (16) Department of State Foreign Affairs Network (DOSFAN)

    The Department of State's Bureau of Public Affairs and the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) have collaborated to make a wide range of foreign policy information available over the Internet for the first time.

    The Department of State provides all information for DOSFAN, determines the content, and provides updates to material. The federal depository library at UIC provides access to and support for DOSFAN as an "electronic reading room".

    DOSFAN provides online access to a variety of information including speeches and testimony by the Secretary of State, daily press briefings, online issues of Dispatch going back to January 1993, Background Notes on foreign countries and selected international organizations, the latest Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, International Narcotics Control Strategy Report including information on more than 130 countries, Patterns of Global Terrorism, publications on travel overseas and travel advisories, and contacts and phone Numbers for businesses wishing to conduct business overseas.

    The URL for DOSFAN is [gopher://dosfan.lib.uic.edu/] or [http://dosfan.lib.uic.edu/dosfan.html]. Comments or suggestions can be sent to (john.a.shuler@uic.edu).

    Source: Mary Shearer, TXDXN-L, January 14, 1995; "Dept. of State Press Release, GOVDOC-L, February 10, 1995.


    (17) POW/MIA Documents Index Now Available

    Looking for information on Vietnam Era POWs or MIAs? It is no longer necessary to travel to the Library of Congress to unlock this kind of information.

    A Vietnam Era Prisoner of War/Missing In Action Database has recently been added to the Library of Congress World Wide Web site to assist researchers in identifying U.S. government documents pertaining to U.S. military personnel killed, missing, or imprisoned in Southeast Asia during or after the conclusion of American involvement in the Vietnam conflict. The URL address for this file is [http://lcweb2.loc.gov/pow/powhome.html].

    Thanks to the Internet connection, a researcher can now identify documents of interest by using search terms such as names, country names, service branches, keywords, and descriptive terms like "downed over Laos". Once the documents are identified, the researcher can acquire the items in two ways:

  • By requesting microfilmed copies through interlibrary loan to a public library. This service is free, but the microfilm have to be returned. Or

  • By ordering photocopies or microfilmed copies from the Library's Photoduplication Service. A fee is involved, but copies do not have to be returned.

    More detailed information on how to search records and order doucments can be found at the beginning of the demonstration file.

    Also available online are 25 files containing papers from "Task Force Russia", the attempt to locate Americans throught to have been held in the former Soviet Union.

    Source: Information Today, January 1995, p.41; Internic Scout Report, December 16, 1994.


    (18) Patent and Trademark Office Closes Down
    Free Patent Search Site

    The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has formally objected to Carl Malamud's distribution of the full text of patent documents on the Internet through [town.hall.org]. They believe that the free distribution of patent documents undermines their ability to maintain a viable market for patent documents.

    Believing that the purpose of the U.S. Constitution is to "promote the arts and sciences", not to maintain the coffers of a few corporate sweethearts, the Internet Multicasting Services provided several thousand patent documents per day to the public at no charge throughout 1994.

    However, the lack of cooperation from the Patent Office and the lack of support within the Department of Commerce for this activity led to the decision to drop this database from the Internet for two weeks while a decision is made on whether to continue.

    If you feel that this decision is important, contact Secretary Ronald Brown and let him know whether you think the full text of all U.S. patents should be available on-line free of charge. E- mail messages can be sent to (rbrown@doc.gov).

    In a related note, Greg Aharonian of the Internet Patent News Service reports that posting patent titles only has brought no comment from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

    Source: Christy Hightower, University of California, San Diego, ELDNET-L, January 4, 1995.


    (19) National Security Council Subject to FOIA

    Judge Charles R. Richey of the United States District Court of Appeals for the District Court of Columbia has ruled (February 14, 1995) that the National Security Council is an "agency" of the federal government and is, therefore, required to preserve its electronic mail records under the Federal Records Act.

    The ruling is the result of a lawsuit initiated by Scott Armstrong and the National Security Archives (Armstrong et al. v. Executive Office of the President et al.) in 1989, at the end of the Reagan administration, to prevent White House officials from destroying the electronic mail records of the NSC and other agencies in the Executive Office of the President.

    In August 1993, the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the District Court of Columbia held that the White House's practices were unlawful because they permit the destruction of historically valuable electronic mail information, and upheld an injunction prohibiting the government from destroying magnetic tapes and computer hard drives containing electronic mail written by officials of the Reagan, Bush, and Clinton administrations.

    The Court of Appeals also remanded the case to the district court to decide whether the NSC was evading the records laws by classifying many of its records as "Presidential records" which are not subject to the same FOIA requirements or the same protections against improper destruction.

    The Clinton administration claimed in March 1994 that the NSC was not an "agency" and not required to preserve electronic mail records as directed by the Court of Appeals' ruling. The Clinton administration also announced at the time that it was discontinuing the NSC's program for making records available to the public under the Freedom of Information Act. Previous administrations had always defined the NSC as an "agency".

    Judge Richey's ruling rejected the Clinton Administration's definition of the NSC as unlawful, and ruled that the "NSC is an agency subject to FOIA and...must maintain and preserve its records in accordance with the Federal Records Act, except when high level officials of the NSC are acting solely in their capacity to advise and assist the President". The ruling requires the NSC and the Archivist to develop new guidelines for recordkeeping....

    Source: ALAWON, February 15, 1995.


    (20) President Bush Loses Control
    of his Administration's Electronic Records

    Judge Charles R. Richey has handed down another decision (February 27, 1995) concerning federal electronic records, striking down an agreement between the former Archivist of the United States Don Wilson and former President Bush granting the president control over electronic records created by officials of the White House and the Office of Policy Development during his administration.

    On President Bush's last night in office, White House staff members removed these electronic records by extracting more than 140 hard drives from White House computers and transferring them and approximately 5,000 other mainframe computer tapes to the National Archives.

    The very same evening, Archivist Don Wilson, signed an agreement giving Mr. Bush "exclusive legal control" over the records. At the same time he was negotiating to become director of the Bush Center in Houston, an office he was chosen for several months later.

    As a result, a lawsuit was filed by Public Citizen (and other parties including ALA and the National Security Archive) claiming that the agreement unlawfully denied the public and historians access to government records. Bush administration officials were required to preserve their electronic records because of a court order entered by Judge Charles Richey in Armstrong v. Executive Office of the President and because of a subpoena issued by independent counsel Joseph DiGenova in the investigation into the searches of President Clinton's passport files during the election campaign.

    In his ruling, Judge Richey affirmed the plaintiffs' arguments and declared that the Bush-Wilson Agreement was null and void because it was in direct confict with the 1978 Presidential Records Act, a law enacted in response to President Nixon's attempts to prevent the public from gaining access to his records, including the Watergate tapes.

    For more information concerning this case and other issues related to Federal electronic records, send an e-mail to Eddie Becker at (ebecker@cni.org) or call (202) 332-1000.

    Source: GOVDOC-L, December 4, 1994; February 28, 1995.


    (21) President Clinton Planning to Speed-Up
    Government Documents Declassification

    President Clinton is preparing to sign an executive order that promises to speed-up the declassification of government documents.

    According to the final draft ot the executive order, security classifications on most documents would be automatically lifted after 25 years. Current federal policy, established by President Reagan, does not set such a time period. As a result, many scholars complain that valuable material is routinely withheld from them for 40 years or more.

    According to Kate Martin, general counsel for the National Security Archive, "this would be a very important step toward making historical documents available, especially those from the Cold War". The National Security Archive currently markets many declassified documents from the Cold War period to academic libraries.

    In a related area, President Clinton is also expected to sign an executive order that will declassify images taken by spy satellites from 1960 to 1972. Scientists have been pushing for access to these images for a long time since civilian satellites could not provide images of comparable quality until the mid-1970's. By pushing back the envelope for such data, scientists will be able to deduce more accurately changes in the global environment.

    Despite Clinton's stated intentions of making more information available to scholars studying the workings of government during the Cold War era, some are disappointed that the executive orders will not go far enough. According to Richard J. Cox, editor of The American Archivist, "there are still a lot of outs for these agencies if they can say these papers are sensitive to national security".

    With cost-cutting a major theme, many agencies may not want to hire additional employees to review classified materials falling under the executive orders. Time will tell.

    Source: Scott Jaschik, "President Will Order Speed-Up in Declassifying Documents", The Chronicle of Higher Education, February 24, 1995.


    (22) Announcing PRESIDENT

    Worldwide public access to the history found in America's presidential libraries is a goal of a public/private partnership coordinated by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

    Teaming up with the National Archives and Records Administration, its eleven presidential libraries (covering Hoover through Bush), and the Presidency Research Group, American Political Science Association, UNC's Leadership Information Archives has created two information services called PRESIDENT--the PRESidential libraries IDEa NeTwork.

    The first service is the Gopher PRESIDENT curently found, temporarily, at gopher sunsite.unc.edu 9431. Soon, PRESIDENT will reside on sunsite.unc.edu under its "sunsite archives by subject" section.

    In addition, PRESIDENT has a web service at LIA -- [http://sunsite.unc.edu/lia/president].

    For more information about PRESIDENT, send an e-mail message via (president@unc.edu), use "ear-mail" via (919) 962-0413, or you can even use the U.S. Government's low baud, universal access internet system (you know the postal service) via Professor Terry Sullivan, Department of Political Science, CB#3265, Hamilton Hall 324, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, N.C. 27599-3265.

    Source: PSRT-L, February 27, 1995.


    (23) Internet Community KO's Anti-FOIA Provision

    On February 6, 1995, Congress introduced legislation (H.R. 830), as part of the House Republican's "Contract for America", which contained several provisions that would curtail public access to government information, including a special interest provision inserted on behalf of West Publishing. By February 10, 1995, Congress had held one hearing and two mark-up sessions and reported the bill out of the full committee for floor action. However, thanks to numerous messages circulated over the Internet during this week, including messages on GOVDOC-L, enough opposition was presented to cause the "West Provision" to be struck from the bill after a most dramatic and heated debate.

    Since my fingers are growing tired, the Red Tape Editor suggests that you take a look at some of these Internet postings for the rest of the story, in particular those of James Love entitled "Help! West Publishing Seeks Broad Change in FOIA", GOVDOC-L, February 9, 1995; "Update: West Attack on FOIA", GOVDOC-L, February 9, 1995; "Protect Your Right to Know", GOVDOC-L, February 13, 1995; and "Internet Community KO's Anti-FOIA Provision", GOVDOC-L, February 16, 1995.


    (24) STAT-USA Available Free to GPO Depository Libraries

    In cooperation with the Department of Commerce, the U.S. Government Printing Office is pleased to announce the availability of the STAT-USA database over the Internet for depository libraries. STAT-USA is a comprehensive information service providing economic, business, and social/environmental program data produced by more than 50 Federal sources, including the National Trade Data Bank and the National Economic, Social, and Environmental Data Bank.

    Depository libraries desiring a free account number and password to access STAT-USA over the Internet are being asked to sign a contract restricting access to a single workstation in the library. The library will not be allowed to share the account number and password with organizations or individuals outside the library, nor will they be allowed to connect to STAT-USA by dialing into the library's local area computer network. Any violation of these terms will result in the termination of the account.

    The first stage of STAT-USA focuses on economic, financial, and trade data. This includes worldwide listings of businesses interested in buying U.S. products, analyses of export opportunities in specific industries and countries, tens of thousands of research reports, labor statistics, and price indexes. These reports are of immediate use to a broad cross section of the business and professional community, including: American businesses, economic and business analysts, educational institutions at every level, exporters and trade specialists, financial analysts, government economic policymakers, and state, local, and private economic development authorities.

    In the near future, STAT-USA will add many more reports on the economy and trade, and on a broad spectrum of domestic programs. Coverage will include demographic and social statistics, Government procurement opportunities, calendars of events, news releases, Federal rules and regulations, economic and business conditions in specific U.S. localities, Federal trade laws, health care and welfare proposals, legislation, and much more.

    (As of February 22, 1995, over 250 federal depository libraries have applied for STAT-USA/Internet accounts. Each has been duly recorded, assigned a username and password.)

    For more information on this service, call STAT-USA (formerly the Office of Business Analysis) at (202) 482-1986; or send a fax to (202) 482-2164.

    Source: GOVDOC-L, December 7 and 21, 1994; February 22, 1995.


    (25) OPENNET Provides Access to DOE Declassified Documents

    In keeping with Secretary O'Leary's commitment to improve public access to previously classified documents, the Department of Energy has created a new database called OpenNet. Available on the DOE "home page", OpenNet enables interested stakeholders to identify thousands of recently declassified documents which are available for public inspection.

    The on-line index will guide inquirers through documents covering topics such as human radiation experiments, nuclear testing, radiation releases, fallout and historical records. The bibliographic database will contain references for all publicly releasable documents declassified by DOE after October 1, 1994. In addition, it povides information on more than 265,000 documents from collections at the DOE facilities at the Hanford Site near Richland, Washington; the Coordination and Information Center, Las Vegas, Nevada; and the Office of Scientific and Technical Information, Oak Ridge, Tennessee. While not a complete listing of all the documents which are currently available to the public, this database will be continuously updated to include other documents as they are released.

    OpenNet provides the DOE site location and person to contact to obtain access to the referenced documents. The Internet address for OpenNet is : [http://www.doe.gov].

    For more information, contact DOE news at (702) 295-1821.

    Sources: Maggie Parhamovich, GOVDOC-L, December 15, 1994; Ruth Murphy, , GOVDOC-L, December 21, 1994.


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