New York Times: How to Digitize Your Most Important Documents

New York Times: How to Digitize Your Most Important Documents. “Scanning copies of your personal papers creates a digital archive that can also be used as a backup, especially if you have the files password-protected and stored in a secure location. And even if you don’t have a document scanner, you can create your personal archive with a smartphone, a few apps and a bit of time. Here’s a guide to getting started.”

NARA: Confederate Slave Payrolls Shed Light on Lives of 19th Century African American Families

NARA: Confederate Slave Payrolls Shed Light on Lives of 19th Century African American Families. “They are single lines, often with no last name, on paper yellowed but legible after 155 years, among thousands scrawled in loping letters that make up nearly 6,000 Confederate Slave Payroll records, a trove of Civil War documents digitized for the first time by National Archives staff in a multiyear project that concluded in January. For years, the Confederate Army required owners to loan their slaves to the military. From Virginia to Florida, the enslaved conscripts were forced to dig trenches and work at ordnance factories and arsenals, mine potassium nitrate to create gunpowder, or shore up forts.”

San Diego Union Tribune: San Diego Library giving up federal document depository status after 137 years

San Diego Union Tribune: San Diego Library giving up federal document depository status after 137 years. “Some critics are questioning why the decision was made without more public input and debate. They also say the move will cost the library some prestige and deprive users of access to some federal documents that haven’t been digitized. San Diego is one of only five libraries in the region with federal depository status. The others are the county law library and three universities: San Diego State, UC-San Diego and the University of San Diego.”

BusinessWire: Ancestry® Announces Digitization of All 36 Million Available US Draft Cards, Answering More Members’ Questions About Family History (PRESS RELEASE)

BusinessWire: Ancestry® Announces Digitization of All 36 Million Available US Draft Cards, Answering More Members’ Questions About Family History (PRESS RELEASE). “Today at RootsTech, the largest family history technology conference, Ancestry® announced the release of a game-changing content collection of all 36 million of the nation’s available World War II young man’s draft cards, further empowering customers’ journeys of personal discovery. Available now on Ancestry, the completion of this multi-year project with the US National Archives & Records Administration involved digitizing these valuable records to create a fully searchable collection, including color images.”

Techdirt: Federal Agencies Are Still Abusing Their Favorite, Super-Vague FOIA Exemption Thousands Of Times A Year

Techdirt: Federal Agencies Are Still Abusing Their Favorite, Super-Vague FOIA Exemption Thousands Of Times A Year. “The Freedom of Information Act was supposed to result in, you know, the freedom of information. Obviously, not everything the government produces paperwork-wise can end up in the public’s hands, but far more should be turned over to the public than has been. Using a proprietary blend of stonewalling and excessive fee demands, countless government agencies have managed to keep public documents away from the public. It takes a lawyer to win FOIA lawsuits, which may be why corporations are getting their hands on far more documents than American citizens.”

New York Times: Why You May Never Learn the Truth About ICE

New York Times: Why You May Never Learn the Truth About ICE. “It’s not just ICE. The Department of the Interior and the National Archives have decided to delete files on endangered species, offshore drilling inspections and the safety of drinking water. The department even claimed that papers from a case where it mismanaged Native American land and assets — resulting in a multibillion-dollar legal settlement — would be of no interest to future historians (or anyone else).”

Government Publishing Office: GPO Digitizes Historical Editions of U.S. Government Manual

Government Publishing Office: GPO Digitizes Historical Editions of U.S. Government Manual. “The U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) has digitized historical editions of the U.S. Government Manual (the Manual), the Government’s official handbook of agency organization for all three branches of Government. Years 1935–1994 of the Manual are now freely accessible and available on govinfo, the one-stop site for authentic, published Government information.”