Straits Times (Singapore): Parliament: Government e-Gazette to be free to public by end-January, says Iswaran. “By end-January, all publications on the Government e-Gazette website will be made available to the public for free, said Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran. In a written parliamentary reply to Workers’ Party Non-Constituency MP Leon Perera on Monday (Jan 6), Mr Iswaran said this includes publications that have been published for more than five days.”
US Department of State: Office of the Historian, Foreign Service Institute Release of Foreign Relations of the United States, 1961–1963, Volumes VII, VIII, IX, Arms Control; National Security Policy; Foreign Economic Policy Microfiche Supplement . “From 1993 to 1998, the Foreign Relations series published 13 microfiche supplements that included images of additional documents expanding upon issues addressed in corresponding print volumes in the Eisenhower and Kennedy subseries, which could not be printed due to space limitations. As an addition to the Office of the Historian’s digital archive of the entire Foreign Relations back catalog, the Office is digitizing the text from the microfiche images of these supplements and enriching it to create a full text searchable digital edition and ebooks.”
California Ancestors Blog: Speak Out Against Exorbitant Fees: Deadline is December 16. “The genealogy world is abuzz with news that U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) has proposed a sharp increase in fees for searches and copies of genealogical and historical records, beginning in 2020…. The records include naturalization certificates, alien registration forms, visa and registry files, and alien files (A-Files), all invaluable resources for researchers. The bureau already charges a nonrefundable $65 fee per search. It proposes to raise that search fee to an exorbitant $240—an increase of 269 percent.”
Foreign Affairs: Trapped in the Archives. “Did the United States have a hand in assassinating Congolese and Dominican leaders in 1961? What did President Richard Nixon’s White House know about a successful plot to kill the head of the Chilean army in 1970? After the Cold War ended, did top U.S. military commanders retain the authority to strike back if a surprise nuclear attack put the president out of commission? The answers to these and other historical mysteries are likely knowable—but they are locked in presidential libraries and government archives and inaccessible to researchers. The reason: the U.S. government’s system for declassifying and processing historical records has reached a state of crisis.” A really important read. Please do not miss this one.
Library of Congress: In the Library’s Web Archives: 1,000 U.S. Government PowerPoint Slide Decks. “PowerPoint presentations have become a nearly ubiquitous form of communication document in the digital era. At the most basic level, PowerPoint files present a sequence of slides containing text, images and multimedia. Today, we are excited to share out a dataset of 1,000 random slide decks from U.S. government websites, collected via the Library of Congress Web Archive, such as the presentation on transporting hazardous materials in Figure 1.”
Just Security: Public Document Clearinghouse: Ukraine Impeachment Inquiry. “Just Security has compiled and curated all publicly available documents in Congress’s impeachment inquiry concerning President Donald Trump in connection with Ukraine. This collection seeks to include significant original source material, including relevant legislation, letters, subpoenas, deposition transcripts, executive branch communications, and litigation documents.” It looks like this is being updated fairly frequently as new documents are released.
Library of Congress: New Website Makes the U.S. Constitution Searchable with Supreme Court Interpretations Throughout History. “With advanced search tools and a modern user-friendly interface, the new website makes the 3,000 pages of the Constitution Annotated fully searchable and accessible for the first time to online audiences – including Congress, legal scholars, law students and anyone interested in U.S. constitutional law.”
Chicago Sun-Times: The FBI Files . “The Chicago Sun-Times has compiled FBI records on people and groups with ties to, or of particular interest to, the Chicago region and Illinois. They can be viewed through this portal, with new ones to be added regularly. Beside shining a light on historical events and people and giving a glimpse of how law enforcement operates, some of the files, as you’ll see, are just plain entertaining.”
MakeUseOf: 5 Freedom of Information Sites Full of Declassified Documents and Secrets. “Leaks from whistle-blowers and informants often lead to damaging exposes like with WikiLeaks. But more and more hidden information is surfacing through common people and activists. The trailblazers leverage the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in the USA and its equivalents in other countries. These portals show how they are forcing changes and making an impact, and even gives you the power and guidelines to dig out data yourself.”
AL .com: Hey, Alabama, public data are public documents, too. “David Simpson is curious, which is a good thing for a researcher to be. Simpson is a PhD student studying political science at Columbia University. Also, he’s an Alabama native. So when it came time to direct his study to a particular interest, he naturally turned his attention to his home state.”
Rapid City Journal: South Dakotans will soon be able to access court records from any computer. “If a South Dakotan wants to see public court records, they can only do that by looking them up on computer at a state courthouse during work hours between Monday and Friday…. So to help improve access to court records, the UJS is currently piloting a program that will eventually allow the public to see records from any computer, said Greg Sattizahn, administrator of the South Dakota Unified Judicial System. The website will be similar to the PACER website, which lets people view and download federal court records for a fee.”
CNET: The FBI looked into Bigfoot legend, and you can read the documents. “On Wednesday, the FBI Records Vault Twitter account brought our attention to an intriguing set of documents involving the agency’s role in a Bigfoot investigation in 1976 and 1977. The collection spans 22 pages of correspondence and newspaper clippings starting with a letter the FBI sent in response to Peter Byrne, director of The Bigfoot Information Center in Oregon. “
Canberra Times: National Archives and ASIO defend long waits for access to documents. “The National Archives of Australia and the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation have defended the long delays faced by people requesting access to historical documents.”
EPIC: National Archives Releases New Kavanaugh Records. “In response to EPIC’s Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, the National Archives has released hundreds of new emails from Justice Kavanaugh’s time in the White House. The emails concern the controversial surveillance programs Total Information Awareness, Computer Assisted Passenger Prescreening System II (CAPPS II), and Secure Flight.”
Motherboard: Researchers Are Liberating Thousands of Pages of Forgotten Hacking History From the Government. “In 1989, just a few months after the web became a reality, a computer worm infected thousands of computers across the world, including those of NASA. The worm showed a message on the screens of the infected computers: ‘Your System Has Been Officially WANKed.’ Late last month—30 years after the ‘WANK worm’ struck NASA—the agency released an internal report that the agency wrote at the time, thanks to a journalist and a security researcher who have embarked on a project to use the Freedom of Information Act to get documents on historical hacking incidents.”