May 21, 2011
ARL Publishes Stats for 2008-2009 Academic Law Libraries (and Academic Health Sciences Libraries), Plus General Stats for ARL Member Libraries
Nothing beats a weekend for pondering law library stats without distractions. Thanks to Gary Price's close monitoring of what's going on by way of his recent INFOdocket blog posts here and here, there is plenty of data to ponder. While readily available to ARL member librarians, it might also make for interesting reading outside of that community.
- ARL has published its 2008-2009 Academic Law Library and Academic Health Sciences Library Statistics (pdf); and
- It's more general ARL Statistics for 2008–2009 (pdf), which describes the collections, staffing, expenditures, and service activities of ARL’s member libraries.
April 28, 2011
The Chesapeake Digital Preservation Group's Fourth Annual Analysis Finds the Pace of Link Rot May Slowing Down but ...
Link rot is still present in more than 30% of the URLs in the Group's sample of URLs originally collected in 2007 and 2008. Do note that the sample includes URLs primarily from state government (.state.__.us), government (.gov), and organization (.org) top-level domains.
The Chesapeake Group conducted its first link rot assessment at the program's one-year mark in 2008. During the program’s first year, 1,266 online titles were harvested preserved within the digital archive. A random sample of 579 titles from the archive was generated for the link rot study, ensuring results at a 95 percent confidence level and confidence interval of +/- 3. When this sample was first analyzed in March 2008, link rot was found to be present in 48 of 579 URLs, or 8.3 percent.
One year later, in 2009, the sample was analyzed a second time as part of the program's second-year evaluation. The second analysis demonstrated that link rot was present in 83 out of the original sample of 579 URLs. In other words, 14.3 percent of the archived titles had disappeared from their original URLs within 12 to 24 months of harvest.
By March 2010, the prevalence of link rot had increased to 160 out of 579 URLs. Within two to three years of harvest, link rot among the sample URLs had increased to 27.9 percent, compared to 14.3 percent in 2009 and 8.3 percent in 2008.
The current March 2011 analysis shows that 176 URLs have succumbed to link rot within a period of 12 to 48 months. This means that 30.4 percent, or nearly one-third, of the archived titles have disappeared from their original URLs. Although this figure is significant, it represents only an additional 2.5 percent of URLs lost to link rot within the past year.
Whereas the prevalence of link rot among URLs in the sample nearly doubled every year during the first three years of the study, it slowed significantly in the fourth year.
Another snip from this very informative Report:
In the original 2008 analysis, link rot was present in 10.8 percent of URLs with state top-level domains, 10 percent of URLs with government top-level domains, and 8.3 percent of URLs with organization top-level domains. Education (.edu) and commercial (.com) URLs were found to have relatively high inactivity levels of 11.8 and 15.4 percent in 2008, respectively.
In 2009, the prevalence of link rot increased among URLs with state, government, organization, education, network (.net), military (.mil), and information-oriented (.info) top-level domains. URLs with organization top-level domains increased significantly in 2009, to 35.3 percent from 11.8 percent in 2008, while no increase in link rot among commercial URLs was observed.
The 2010 analysis of the sample showed link rot to be present in more than 32 percent, nearly one-third, of the URLs with a state-government top-level domain. Link rot was found in more than 22 percent of URLs with an organization top-level domain and in 25 percent of government URLs. Commercial and network URLs both experienced a jump in link rot to nearly 30 percent among .com domains, and to more than 27 percent among .net domains. The single IP address and.uk top-level domain in the sample also succumbed to link rot in 2010.
New and interesting patterns among top-level domains emerged in 2011. While .org and .gov URLs continued to demonstrate an increase in link rot, link rot among state government and academic URLs actually began to reverse.
Link Rot and the Digital Archive Today. Also note that "[f]or the present analysis, a new, separate sample was generated representing all of the content in the archive at the time of the program’s fourth anniversary. In the four years since the program began, 3,246 born-digital online titles were harvested from the Web and preserved within the digital archive. A random sample of 803 titles was selected for the link rot study, ensuring results at a 95 percent confidence level and confidence interval of +/- 3."
For a detailed analysis, see "Link Rot" and Legal Resources on the Web: A 2011 Analysis by the Chesapeake Digital Preservation Group. Highly recommended.
Endnote. Hat tip to Sarah Rhodes, Digital Collections Librarian, Georgetown Law Library, for the heads-up. Participants in the Chesapeake Group include the Georgetown and Harvard Law Libraries and the State Law Libraries of Maryland and Virginia. Professionally speaking, I think we are all indebted to the law librarians who have dedicated their time and effort over the course of the last four years by executing this continuing series which provides an empirically sound analysis of link rot. As noted in the Group's announcement of its latest findings, this is National Preservation Week 2011 and their work product also is a valuable contribution in that context.
The Chesapeake Group is a founding member of the Legal Information Preservation Alliance (LIPA) Legal Information Archive, a collaborative digital preservation program for the law library community. For more information, visit the LIPA Web site or the Chesapeake Group website. [JH]
March 31, 2011
40% of Internet Users Have Accessed Raw Government Data
From the Overview of Pew Internet's Government Online (2010)
Government agencies have begun to open up their data to the public, and a surprisingly large number of citizens are showing interest. Some 40% of adult internet users have gone online for raw data about government spending and activities. This includes anyone who has done at least one of the following: look online to see how federal stimulus money is being spent (23% of internet users have done this); read or download the text of legislation (22%); visit a site such as data.gov that provides access to government data (16%); or look online to see who is contributing to the campaigns of their elected officials (14%).
The report also finds that 31% of online adults have used social tools such as blogs, social networking sites, and online video as well as email and text alerts to keep informed about government activities. Moreover, these new tools show particular appeal to groups that have historically lagged in their use of other online government offerings—in particular, minority Americans. Latinos and African Americans are just as likely as whites to use these tools to keep up with government, and are much more likely to agree that government outreach using these channels makes government more accessible and helps people be more informed about what government agencies are doing.
From the Report's Summary of Findings:
As government agencies at all levels bring their services online, Americans are turning in large numbers to government websites to access information and services. Fully 82% of internet users (representing 61% of all American adults) looked for information or completed a transaction on a government website in the twelve months preceding this survey. Some of the specific government website activities in which Americans take part include:
- 48% of internet users have looked for information about a public policy or issue online with their local, state or federal government
- 46% have looked up what services a government agency provides
- 41% have downloaded government forms
- 35% have researched official government documents or statistics
- 33% have renewed a driver’s license or auto registration
- 30% have gotten recreational or tourist information from a government agency
- 25% have gotten advice or information from a government agency about a health or safety issue
- 23% have gotten information about or applied for government benefits
- 19% have gotten information about how to apply for a government job
- 15% have paid a fine, such as a parking ticket
- 11% have applied for a recreational license, such as a fishing or hunting license
Sounds like a damn good reason to actively support LAW.GOV to me. [JH]
March 18, 2011
Federal Records Management of Social Media Content
The goal of San Jose State LIS prof Patricia Franks' report, How Federal Agencies Can Effectively Manage Records Created Using New Social Media Tools, is to provide:
- An understanding of the unique properties, or characteristics, of records resulting from social media use and the challenges they present.
- A framework for understanding records management issues and the change in the fundamental nature of information brought about by Web 2.0 and social media.
- Recommendations for transforming the way records and records management programs and practices are conducted across the federal government.
Hat tip to beSpacific. [JH]
March 08, 2011
Status of Public Sector Information in the United States
Timothy Vollmer, Creative Commons Policy Coordinator, has published State of Play: Public Sector Information in the United States [ePSI-plus]. The report examines US public sector information policy, the economic effects of open access to public data and recent developments relating to public data re-use.
From the executive summary:
The U.S. federal information framework is constructed primarily through legislation and regulatory policies, including the U.S. Copyright Act, Freedom of Information Act, Office of Management and Budget Circular A-130, and others. The U.S. federal framework is unique in that under Section 105 of the Copyright Act there exists no copyright protection for information created by the federal government. This policy typically does not extend to information created and disseminated at the state and local levels. At the state and local levels, there is a wide range of policy frameworks, and some rely on restrictive information management schemes in order to maintain control and in theory recuperate costs. However, some states and local entities have been proactively making PSI available.
U.S. federal PSI promotes economic activity because of the lack of intellectual property restrictions and non-adherence to strict cost recovery policies. Information created and shared by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), particularly weather information, stimulates economic activity - approximately $700 million annually - and leads to the creation of other value-added industries.
The U.S. has been active in disseminating and promoting the re-use of its public sector information. Three recent initiatives in the U.S. include Data.gov, the National Institutes of Health Public Access Policy, and the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant Program. These and other projects show a groundswell in government and citizen interest in sharing and re-using PSI.
January 20, 2011
The State of Open Data in Europe
CSC's Unchartered Waters—The State of Open Data in Europe (2011) presents an analysis of the current state of the open data policy ecosystem and open government data offerings in nine European Member States (Germany, France, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Netherlands, Italy and Spain). Besides the policy level, the study assesses existing data portals from an end-user perspective and checks their compliance with a selection of open data principles.
Hat tip to DigitalKoans. [JH]
December 27, 2010
Addressing U.S. National Interests in Cyberspace Security
"The United States’ overriding national interest in cyberspace is to preserve and extend the Internet as a tool for economic efficiency at home and as a facilitator for economic exchange internationally. The current level of criminal activity, espionage, and preparation of the battlefield in cyberspace threatens to stall if not wipe out the economic gains produced by the networking of systems over the past two decades. Moreover, an overreaction to these threats could be equally devastating. In seeking to improve security in cyberspace, the United States must work to preserve the core attributes of the network that make it so valuable for economic exchange: innovation, openness, and limited governance. These attributes make the network flexible, so that new uses can be developed rapidly, and scalable, so that millions of new users and devices can be connected each year, expanding the free flow of ideas and the reach of international commerce. Addressing problems of security in cyberspace at the expense of these attributes would not serve U.S. national interests," writes Robert K. Knake in a Council on Foreign Relations special report entitled "Internet Governance in an Age of Cyber Insecurity."
To actively combat cyber crime, industrial espionage, and cyber warfare threats "while it works to protect U.S. national interests in the preservation and extension of the Internet as a platform for increased efficiency and economic exchange," Knake suggests the federal government should be guided by the following three principles:
- The United States should take a networked and distributed approach to a networked and distributed problem.
- The United States should move toward holding states accountable
- "The United States should lead by example."
About leading by example, Knake writes:
[The federal government] should take steps to clean up its national network, work to stop its systems from being used in international cyberattacks, prioritize criminal investigation of cyberattacks with foreign victims, and make clear that the primary goal of its military efforts in cyberspace is to defend the United States and preserve international connectivity.
For a brief review of the CFR special report which includes a link to download a free copy, see Internet Governance in an Age of Cyber Insecurity. [JH]
July 04, 2010
Give Pause to Failed States This Independence DayAs we celebrate the founding of our country and our civil rights and liberties this Fourth of July, perhaps we also ought to reflect on why states fail while we enjoy fireworks displays, our favorite beverages, and whatever we have tossed on the grill. Check out Foreign Policy's Failed States Index 2010. [JH]
May 11, 2010
Will the Goals of the Semantic Web Be Achieved by 2020? Results of Pew Internet Survey
For Pew Internet's The Fate of the Semantic Web, almost 900 experts and stakeholders were asked to predict the likely progress toward achieving the goals of the semantic web by 2020. The findings are displayed below:
Asked to think about the likelihood that Berners-Lee and his allies will realize their semantic web vision, "these technology experts and stakeholders were divided and often contentious." Some of the major themes that emerged in the answers to the survey include:
Too many complicated things have to fall into place for the semantic web to be fully realized. The idea is a noble one and gives the technology community something to shoot for. But there is too much variation among people and cultures and economic competitors to allow for such a grand endeavor to come to fruition.
Forget the skeptics. The semantic web will take shape and launch an “age of knowledge.” Early successes will build momentum.
Improvements are inevitable, but they will not unfold the way Tim Berners-Lee and his allies have sketched out. They will be grassroots-driven rather than standards-driven. Data mining, links, analysis of social exchanges will help drive the process of smartening the web without more formal semantic apps.
The timeline of this question is off. The semantic web is shaping up, but it will take longer than the 10 years the question cited.
The semantic web will not really take off until it finds its killer app – something we all find that we need.
The killer app will come when we can ask the internet questions – and that will make things much more efficient. Conversational search will be the key to opening users’ eyes to the potential for the semantic web.
Creating the semantic web is a difficult thing that will depend on machines that can straighten out the massive confusions and complications that humans create.
The track record of proponents of artificial intelligence is just not good enough to justify the hope that machines will learn to understand the human meaning of things.
Human tendencies, preferences, and habits will determine the extent of the success of the semantic web – and probably thwart full realization of the dream. If people take the time to create sites and databases using information standards, then major progress will be made. Yet plenty of factors could, and likely will, stand in the way.
There will be an upstairs-downstairs quality to adoption and use. Elite and specialized users will be able to take advantage of the semantic web in ways that everyday internet users likely will not. Business applications will have more stakeholders than consumer or social apps. Particular activities will be the norm, rather than activities that appear similar throughout the web.
The very essence of the idea of the semantic web continues to evolve, as does every aspect of the Internet; it is difficult to predict what will happen because the aspirations of its proponents are shifting to take account of new realities and current limitations.
There are some applications and activities online that show the promise of the semantic web, among them: TripIt, Xobni, TrueKnowledge, Wolfram|Alpha, Open Calais, Hakia.
Hat tip to beSpacific. [JH]
May 10, 2010
Link Rot for Law- and Policy-Related Web Resources Nearly Doubles Per Year: Results of the Chesapeake Project Legal Information Archive's Third Annual Study
The Chesapeake Project Legal Information Archive has released the results of its third annual analysis of “link rot” among the original URLs for law- and policy-related materials published to the Web and archived though the Chesapeake Project. "The sample of online publications was first analyzed in 2008 and showed link rot to be present in 8.3 percent of the publications’ original URLs. One year later, in 2009, the same sample showed an increase in link rot to 14.3 percent. The 2010 analysis reveals that nearly 28 percent of the online publications archived between March 2007 and March 2008 are no longer accessible from their original URLs."
The Project found that during the three years the URLs were studied, "link rot increased from about one in every 12 archived titles in 2008, to one in every seven titles in 2009, and finally to about one in every 3.5 titles in 2010. These findings demonstrate a dramatic increase in link rot among archived Web content over time."
State-Gov at Significant Risk for Link Rot. In its analysis of the prevalence of link rot among top-level domains, the Project found "content at state-government URLs (.state.__.us) to be at a significant risk for link rot, compared to resources posted to government (.gov) and organization (.org) Web sites. The current 2010 analysis of the sample showed link rot to be present in more than 32 percent, nearly one-third, of the URLs with a state-government top-level domain. The prevalence of link rot among these state URLs more than doubled in the year following the 2009 analysis, and it nearly tripled in the two years following the original 2008 analysis of the sample." Here's the ratio in the sample of URLs with link rot to working URLs, as of March 2008, March 2009, and March 2010, from the study's top-level domain analysis.
See the Project's findings at "Link Rot" and Legal Resources on the Web: A 2010 Analysis by the Chesapeake Project for details.
A big hat tip to soon-to-be (or maybe now is) new mom, Sarah Rhodes, Digital Collections Librarian, Georgetown Law Library. [JH]
May 03, 2010
Online Government Data Usage and Attitutes Toward Government Openness from New Pew Internet Survey
"Government agencies have begun to open up their data to the public, and a surprisingly large number of citizens are showing interest" according to Pew Internet's announcement of its recent Government Online survey. Key findings include:
Data driven – Efforts by government agencies to post their data online are resonating with citizens. Fully 40% of online adults went online in the preceding year to access data and information about government.
Organized around new online platforms – Citizen interactions with government are moving beyond the website. Nearly one third (31%) of online adults use online platforms such as blogs, social networking sites, email, online video or text messaging to get government information.
Participatory – Americans are not simply going online for data and information; they want to share their personal views on the business of government. Nearly one quarter (23%) of internet users participate in the online debate around government policies or issues, with much of this discussion occurring outside of official government channels.
The extent to which citizens go online to access data on the business of government. In total, 40% of internet users have gone online in the past 12 months for one or more of these reasons.
- 23% of Internet users to look online to see how federal stimulus money is being spent
- 22% to read or download the text of legislation
- 16% to visit a site such as data.gov that provides access to government data
- 14% to research campaign contributors and contributions to the campaigns of their elected officials
From "Part Four: Online government data and information" of the Report:
Among internet users, the use of these services also varies somewhat by political ideology and party affiliation. Conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats are especially likely to go online to look up stimulus spending (29% of conservative Republicans and 28% of liberal Democrats have done this) and political contributions (24% and 20% respectively), while political independents (19%) and liberal Democrats (26%) are the groups that are most likely to go to sites such as data.gov that offer access to government data. Overall, liberal Democrats are most likely to access any type of government data online (54% of internet users in this group are government data users, compared with 43% of conservative Republicans and 41% of political independents).
Political attitudes outweigh government data when it comes to views on government openness. From Part Four of the Report:
Self-identified Democrats tend to have more positive views of the federal government’s openness and accountability if they also access government data online, while Republicans tend to have less positive views regardless of whether or not they are government data users. These associations persist even when we control statistically for factors such as demographics, partisan ideology, technology ownership and usage of other online government offerings. The same relationship holds for independent voters who lean towards one party over another. Among Democratic-leaning independents, 59% of government data users feel that the federal government is more open and accountable compared with two years ago, compared with 45% of such voters who go online but do not use government data and 29% of Democratic-leaning independents who do not go online. Among Republican-leaning independents, 26% of government data users have positive views towards the federal government’s openness and accountability; this is little different from the 21% of such voters who go online but do not use government data services who feel the same way. Put simply, political concerns trump access to data when it comes to one’s attitudes towards government openness.
March 26, 2010
Chamber of Commerce Releases 2010 Lawsuit Climate Survey
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) released 2010 Lawsuit Climate Survey which ranks the states with the best and worst legal climates for business. According to the survey, the states with the worst legal climates are California (46th), Alabama (47th), Mississippi (48th), Louisiana (49th), and West Virginia (50th). The states with the best legal climates are Delaware (1st), North Dakota (2nd), Nebraska (3rd), Indiana (4th), and Iowa (5th). The worst local jurisdictions were Chicago/Cook County, Illinois (14%), followed by Los Angeles, California (12%). Check out the interactive map.
Hat tip to Sheila Scheuerman, TortsProf Blog. [JH]
March 02, 2010
Who Do You Trust? Top 20 Most Trusted Companies for Privacy
According to Ponemon Institute’s annual Most Trusted Companies for Privacy Study, the top five are
- American Express (1st place last year)
- IBM (3rd last year)
- Johnson & Johnson (5th last year)
- Hewlett Packard (6th last year)
- E-bay (2nd last year)
Google, which did not make the Top 20 last year, came in 13th place. Facebook drop out of the rankings this year. From the press release:
2009 was a tumultuous year for privacy, as illustrated by Facebook’s drop out of the top twenty in a year when they found themselves at the center of a very public debate over the evolution of their privacy policies and settings,” said Dr. Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder, Ponemon Institute. “Facebook draws a great deal of attention because they have chosen to innovate on the issue of privacy in a highly visible manner, and while they were rewarded for their efforts last year, consumers were less kind to them this year, showing just how important privacy protection is as a brand asset.
Complete list here. [JH]
February 25, 2010
Findings of the FCC's Broadband Adoption and Use Survey Identify Barriers and Attitudes of Non-Adopters
The FCC conducted a survey of 5,005 Americans in October and November 2009 to understand the state of broadband adoption and use, as well as barriers facing those who do not have broadband at home. The main findings reported in Broadband Adoption and Use in America are:
- 78 percent of adults are Internet users, whether that means broadband, dial-up, access from home or access from someplace other than home.
- 74 percent of adults have access at home.
- 67 percent of U.S. households contain a broadband user who accesses the service at home.
- 65 percent of adults are broadband adopters. The discrepancy of two percentage points between household and individual home use is because some survey respondents are nonbroadband users but live with someone who, at home, is.
- 6 percent of Americans use dial-up Internet connections as their main form of home access.
- 6 percent are Internet users but do not use it from home; they access the Internet from places such as work, the library or community centers.
Barriers to Broadband Adoption. The survey identifies three main barriers to adoption:
Affordability: 36 percent of non-adopters, or 28 million adults, said they do not have home broadband because the monthly fee is too expensive (15 percent), they cannot afford a computer, the installation fee is too high (10 percent), or they do not want to enter into a long-term service contract (9 percent). According to survey respondents, their average monthly broadband bill is $41.
Digital Literacy: 22 percent of non-adopters, or 17 million adults, indicated that they do not have home broadband because they lack the digital skills (12 percent) or they are concerned about potential hazards of online life, such as exposure to inappropriate content or security of personal information (10 percent).
Relevance: 19 percent of non-adopters, or 15 million adults, said they do not have broadband because they say that the Internet is a waste of time, there is no online content of interest to them or, for dial-up users, they are content with their current service.
The survey also found that non-adopters usually have more than one barrier that keeps them from having broadband service at home. Over half of non-adopters, when selecting from a menu of possible barriers to adoption, chose three or more.
Attitudes of Non-adopters. The interaction of attitudes and use of communications goods and services creates four categories of non-adopters:
Near Converts, who make up 30 percent of non-adopters, have the strongest tendencies toward getting broadband. They have high rates of computer ownership, positive attitudes about the Internet. Many are dial-up or “not-at-home” users, and affordability is the leading reason for nonadoption among this group. They are relatively youthful compared with other non-adopters, with a median age of 45.
Digital Hopefuls, who make up 22 percent of non-adopters, like the idea of being online but lack the resources for access. Few have a computer and, among those who use one, few feel comfortable with the technology. Some 44 percent cite affordability as a barrier to adoption and they are also more likely than average to say digital literacy are a barrier. This group is heavily Hispanic and has a high share of African-Americans.
Digitally Uncomfortable, who make up 20 percent of non-adopters, are the mirror image of the Digital Hopefuls; they have the resources for access but not a bright outlook on what it means to be online. Nearly all of the Digitally Uncomfortable have computers, but they lack the skills to use them and have tepid attitudes toward the Internet. This group reports all three barriers: affordability, digital literacy, and relevance.
Digitally Distant, who make up 28 percent of non-adopters, do not see the point of being online. Few in this group see the Internet as a tool for learning and most see it as a dangerous place for children. This is an older group (the median age is 63), nearly half are retired and half say that either relevance or digital literacy are barriers to adoption.
February 17, 2010
Humane Society Ranks 50 States on Laws to Protect Animals
The Humane Society of the United States has released its first "Humane State Ranking," a comprehensive report rating all 50 states on a wide range of animal protection laws. The ranking was based on 65 different animal protection issues in 10 major animal protection categories including: animal fighting; animal cruelty; puppy mills; use of animals in research; equine protection; wildlife abuse; factory farming; fur and trapping; exotic animals; and companion animal laws.
At the top of the list with strong animal protection laws is California. New Jersey comes in second place. Tied for third place are Colorado, Maine and Massachusetts. The states with the weakest animal protection laws are Alabama, Hawaii, Idaho, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio and South Dakota, with South Dakota ranking last.
December 28, 2009
Pew Survey Results: Good Riddance to the 2000s but Technology and Communications Advances Viewed Favorably
Results from The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press survey of the 2000s reveal that more people have a generally negative (50%) rather than a generally positive (27%) impression of the past 10 years. Current Decade Rates as Worst in 50 Years. "There is no significant generational divide in impressions of the current decade: Roughly half in all age groups view the 2000s negatively, while less than a third rates the decade positively. This is in stark contrast to generational differences in views of previous decades. ... Happy to put the 2000s behind them, most Americans are optimistic that the 2010s will be better. Nearly six-in-ten (59%) say they think the next decade will be better than the last for the country as a whole, though roughly a third (32%) think things will be worse."
On the plus side, Pew reports that major technological and communications advances are viewed in an overwhelmingly positive light. See graphic, left. Snips from the Report:
The Internet ... continues to be widely seen in a favorable light. About two-thirds (65%) say the internet has been a change for the better, while just 16% say it has been a change for the worse; 11% say it hasn’t made much difference while 8% are unsure.
Email ... is viewed as favorably as the internet itself. By an overwhelming margin, more say email has been a change for the better (65%) than say it has been a change for the worse (7%); 19% say it hasn’t made a difference.
Cell phones are broadly embraced by the public as a change for the better. Nearly seven-in-ten (69%) call cell phones a change for the better compared with just 14% who call them a change for the worse.
Smartphones ... handheld devices such as Blackberries and iPhones are seen as a good thing by most people (56%). However, a quarter (25%) says these devices have been a change for the worse.
Social Networking. The public is ambivalent when it comes to evaluating social networking sites such as Facebook. About a third (35%) call them a change for the better, 21% say they have been a change for the worse, while 31% say social networking sites have not made much of a difference and 12% are unsure.
Blogs. When it comes to internet blogs, the plurality opinion (36%) is that the emergence of blogs has not made much of a difference. Slightly fewer (29%) call them a change for the better, while 21% think they have been a change for the worse.
Also note the survey findings for green products, surveillance/security and genetic testing. [JH]
December 23, 2009
New ARL-COSLA Commissioned Report Presents Vision for Sustainable Access to Government Information for the 21st Century
The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA) retained Ithaka S+R to conduct a comprehensive study on the state of the Federal Library Depository Program and to recommend how to respond to changes in an increasingly digital, networked environment that have caused a decline in incentives for libraries to participate in the Program. The report from this project, "Documents for a Digital Democracy: A Model for the Federal Depository Library Program in the 21st Century," is now available. Recommendations as reported on the download link cover webpage:
Following a thorough examination of the Program’s current state, this report suggests a vision for the program: seamless, no fee access to government information for a range of potential users at their point of need and appropriate preservation of this material for future generations. To achieve such a vision, the FDLP community must address five key goals:
- Newly issued government information must be made freely available in digital form and must be preserved for the long-term.
- To provide this permanent public access for the historical collection, a significant program of retrospective digitization is required.
- Print will play a significantly reduced role for access by users to the historical collections, so some original print copies must continue to be preserved even though fewer depository library collections overall will be required.
- The print format will continue to have advantages for certain subsets of material types and user communities, so the Program must provide appropriate access to certain historical and new materials in print form, where appropriate via print on demand.
- Depository libraries must reemphasize their commitment to serving user needs for outreach, discovery, and access.
Thanks ARL and COSLA! So where was AALL in this activity? "We support a Washington office with the very important goal of making statements on behalf of our organization. Where are they?" Quoting Betsy McKenzie in On Nudging AALL to Support GPO's Digitization of Legacy Documents. [JH]
November 11, 2009
The Justice Gap, An Updated LSC Report
The Legal Services Corporation has updated its 2005 Justice Gap Report. According to Documenting the Justice Gap in America: The Current Unmet Civil Needs of Low-Income Americans (Sept. 2009) there continues to be a major gap between the civil legal needs of low-income people and the legal help that they receive. From the Report's executive summary:
- Data collected in the spring of 2009 show that for every client served by an LSC-funded program, one person who seeks help is turned down because of insufficient resources.
- New state legal needs studies have added depth to a body of social science knowledge that has produced consistent findings for a decade and a half, documenting that only a small fraction of the legal problems experienced by low-income people (less than one in five) are addressed with the assistance of either a private attorney (pro bono or paid) or a legal aid lawyer.
- Analysis of the most recent available figures on attorney employment shows that nationally,on the average, only one legal aid attorney is available for every 6,415 low-income people. By comparison, there is one private attorney providing personal legal services (those meeting the legal needs of private individuals and families) for every 429 people in the general population who are above the LSC poverty threshold.
- New data indicate that state courts, especially those courts that deal with issues affecting lowincome people, in particular lower state courts and such specialized courts as housing and family courts, are facing significantly increased numbers of unrepresented litigants. Studies show that the vast majority of people who appear without representation are unable to affordan attorney, and a large percentage of them are low-income people who qualify for legal aid. A growing body of research indicates that outcomes for unrepresented litigants are often less favorable than those for represented litigants.
November 03, 2009
Developing Data Transparency Portals at the State Level
The National Association of State CIOs has published A Call to Action for State Government: Guidance for Opening the Doors to State Data as initial guidance and recommendations to help state governments get started with data transparency portals. From the Report:
State governments have been leaders in the establishment of state transparency and accountability portals and are now considering including high priority datasets in the mix. The next phase in this open government transformation is the democratization of data as evidenced by the federal government’s creation of www.data.gov. With vast data resources, States are in a similar position to create a new kind of relationship with their citizens. ... The difference now is the availability and provision of raw, machine-readable data, structured to allow manipulation and analysis electronically. This allows the combining of multiple public datasets using mashups to create new information, data and services. Data within the context of these discussions is unabridged data; data that has not been aggregated, summarized or interpreted.
See also NASCIO's 2009 Best Practices in the Use of Information Technology in State Government. The publication contains summaries of innovative state government programs in the following areas: Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery ; Cross-Boundary Collaboration and Partnerships; Data, Information and Knowledge Management; Digital Government – G to B; Digital Government – G to C; Digital Government – G to G; Enterprise IT Management Initiatives; Information Communications Technology Innovations; Information Security and Privacy; and IT Project and Portfolio Management. [JH]
October 27, 2009
Barriers to Broadband Adoption in the U.S.
The Advanced Communications Law & Policy Institute (ACLP) at New York Law School is a public policy program that focuses on identifying and analyzing key legal, policy, and regulatory issues facing the advanced communications sector. ACLP co-directors Charles Davidson and Michael Santorelli have submitted their report, Barriers to Broadband Adoption (October 2009), to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for use during the development of its national broadband plan. The Report focuses on two demographic groups, Senior Citizens and People with Disabilities, and on four sectors of the economy, Telemedicine, Energy, Education and Government, that face a number of barriers to further adoption of broadband and broadband-enabled technologies.
Overview of Broadband Adoption Barriers
- For senior citizens, a general lack of adequate education and training are key contributors to a relatively low broadband adoption rate;
- For people with disabilities, widespread negative perceptions regarding the accessibility of broadband impedes further adoption and use of this technology;
- In the telemedicine sector, a number of outdated legal and policy frameworks hinder more robust adoption and use of broadband-enabled telemedicine services by patients and healthcare providers;
- In the energy arena, the highly regulated and conservative nature of many energy utilities challenges the dynamic nature of broadband and the ecosystem of innovation that it fosters;
- In the education space, lack of targeted funding and inadequate training impede further adoption and usage of broadband and broadband-enabled educational tools in schools across the country; and
- For government entities, institutional inertia and a lack of crossgovernment collaboration regarding best practices has slowed the effective integration of broadband into many government processes.
Hat tip to beSpacific. [JH]