Government shutdown causing information access problems
by James A. Jacobs and James R. Jacobs is important. It documents the effect of the
Trump government shutdown on access to globally important information:
Twitter and newspapers are buzzing with complaints about widespread
problems with access to government information and data (see for
example, Wall Street Journal (paywall 😐 ), ZDNet News, Pew Center, Washington Post, Scientific American, TheVerge, and FedScoop to name but a few).
Matthew Green, a professor at Johns Hopkins, said
“It’s worrying that every single US cryptography standard is now
unavailable to practitioners.” He was responding to the fact that he
could not get the documents he needed from the National Institute of
Standards and Technology (NIST) or its branch, the Computer Security
Resource Center (CSRC). The government shutdown is the direct cause of
They point out how this illustrates the importance of libraries collecting and preserving web-published information
Regardless of who you (or your user communities) blame for the shutdown itself, this loss of access was entirely foreseeable and avoidable. It was foreseeable because it has happened before.
It was avoidable because libraries can select, acquire, organize, and
preserve these documents and provide access to them and services for
them whether the government is open or shut-down.
Go read the whole thing, and weep for the way libraries have abandoned their centuries-long mission of safeguarding information for future readers.
Thanks David for posting our piece. I hope that we can work on this intractable issue rather than simply lamenting. There are several projects that are indeed working on it. See the PEGI project (https://pegiproject.org) and End of Term crawl (https://eot.cdlib.org) for example. But more libraries and librarians are needed!
Terabytes of Enron data have quietly gone missing from the Department of Energy by Emma Best reports that:
"Government investigations into California’s electricity shortage, ultimately determined to be caused by intentional market manipulations and capped retail electricity prices by the now infamous Enron Corporation, resulted in terabytes of information being collected by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. This included several extremely large databases, some of which had nearly 200 million rows of data, including Enron’s bidding and price processes, their trading and risk management systems, emails, audio recordings, and nearly 100,000 additional documents. That information has quietly disappeared, and not even its custodians seem to know why."
Hat tip to James R. Jacobs.
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