The “Minor” Comment Submittal “Glitch” at

August 31, 2009

From July 26th to July 30th of this year, two software defects at prevented over 100 comments directed towards 11 federal agencies to be submitted. Aside from EPA and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services,, itself, has not informed the public of what other agencies were affected by this “glitch.”

In addition to the software problem, the lack of transparency about this issue is very troubling. The failure to file a timely comment could have consequences in a rulemaking proceeding, and the combination of the software difficulties and the lack of openness do not inspire confidence in the system.

You can read more about the problem at

[Submitted by Barbara Brandon, former AALL Government Relations Committee member]

August Edition of the Washington E-Bulletin: Recess Update

August 31, 2009

August is often considered a slow month in Washington, D.C. Congress is out on recess and many people take the opportunity to leave the sweltering heat for vacation in cooler, less swamp-like parts of the country. However, with our recent office move and plenty of  policy developments on the Hill and off, things didn’t slow down much this month for the Government Relations Office.

In this month’s E-Bulletin, we link to a new Issue Brief on Section 215 written by Government Relations Committee member Susan Nevelow Mart; summarize the status of Net Neutrality legislation; and review the “Information Sharing Environment” being developed to ease information sharing in the federal government. In addition, we update you on President Obama’s nomination of David S. Ferriero to be the next Archivist of the United States, and include plenty of reading for all of you Information Policy Junkies out there!

Here is the Table of Contents from the August edition:


-The Government Relations Office Has Moved


-Net Neutrality Picks Up Speed
-New Issue Brief on USA PATRIOT Act Reauthorization and Section 215
-President Obama Nominates New Archivist of the United States
-The “Information Sharing Environment” Gets Another Look


-Chapter Liaisons: Your Link to AALL’s Government Relations Committee and Government Relations Office

FREE TIME WELL SPENT: Further Reading for the Information Policy Junkie Federal Communications Commission’s

-National Broadband Dialogue
-NextGov Turns Spotlight on Executive Branch, Judicial Openness
-EPIC Urges Administration to Maintain Cookie Ban
-THOMAS Adds Two New RSS Feeds: House & Senate Floor Today

THOMAS Adds Two RSS Feeds: House & Senate Floor Today

August 31, 2009

The Law Library of Congress just made it easier to keep track of the the latest action on the floor of the House and Senate: RSS feeds for the House Floor Today and Senate Floor Today. These new RSS feeds join the other 6 feeds offered by the Law Library, including the Daily Digest that launched in April. Updates are available by RSS or email.

[Posted by Emily Feldman]

Sunlight Foundation Announces Apps for America Finalists

August 25, 2009

This year’s Public Access to Government Information (PAGI) Award winner, The Sunlight Foundation, recently named the three finalists in their “Apps for America 2: The Challenge.” Apps for America gives web developers the opportunity to design applications that increase government transparency. This year, all eligible entries were required to use at least one of the data sources or content from

One of the especially interesting finalists is GovPulse, “a Federal Register browser.” GovPulse lets you sort by agency, date published, event date, topic, and location. It also includes a section for “Comments closing soon” and “Comments recently opened.” This app offers many interesting visualization possibilities, so if you’re interested, you might want to spend a few minutes playing with the options!


The other finalists are ThisWeKnow and DataMasher. ThisWeKnow organizes and ranks information that the federal government has about your community, such as areas with the least toxins or highest unemployment. DataMasher allows you to take two different public data sources and mash them up. Sunlight Labs blogger Clay’s favorite is People per US Representative.

You can vote for your favorite application by registering for a Sunlight Labs account and casting your ballot.

[Posted by Emily Feldman]

The AALL Government Relations Office Has Moved!

August 20, 2009

As AALL President Cathy Lemann announced in her first E-newsletter today, the AALL Government Relations Office has a new address. After many wonderful years in the Edward Bennett Williams Law Library at the Georgetown University Law Center, we said farewell to our colleagues last week and we’re now settling into our new office space.

Located just down the street from the Georgetown University Law Library and steps away from Union Station and Capitol Hill, we are subleasing our new offices from the National Association of Counties (NACo). We thank our friends at the Georgetown University Law Library for the memorable years we shared, and we’re enjoying getting to know our new colleagues at NACo.

Our new contact information is:

25 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Suite 500
Washington, D.C. 20001
Fax: 202/737-0480

Mary Alice Baish
AALL Government Relations Office

Emily Feldman
Advocacy Communications Assistant
AALL Government Relations Office

We look forward to hearing from you at our new address. As always, please feel free to contact us at any time.

Your AALL Government Relations Office staff,

Mary Alice and Emily

National Archives Launches New Blog

August 18, 2009

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) recently launched a new blog, NARAtions. The first blog post, “Question: Should we allow the public to tag descriptions in our online catalog? Why or why not?,” generated more than 25 public comments and a lively discussion about the value of tagging.

According to their first post, the bloggers plan to, “post questions periodically and encourage you to share your opinions, ideas, and stories with us.” We’ll keep an eye on the blog and share any interesting posts here on the Blawg.

[Posted by Emily Feldman]

When is the Law THE Law?

August 6, 2009

On Friday, July 31, 2009, AALL Government Relations Office Director Mary Alice Baish participated in a CLE program during the American Bar Association’s Annual Meeting in Chicago, “When is a Law THE Law? Why Authenticity and Quality Matter.” Catherine Sanders Reach, Director of the ABA’s Legal Technology Resource Center, moderated the panel, which also included Denley Chew, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s counsel, and Dr. Janice Hyde, Director of the Global Legal Information Network (GLIN) at the Law Library of Congress. AALL, the ABA Standing Committee on the Law Library of Congress, and the ABA Legal Technology Resource Center were co-sponsors of the program.

Mary Alice’s presentation summarized the findings of AALL’s 2007 State-by-State Report on Authentication of Online Legal Resources and our national leadership on the authentication and preservation of online legal information. She also provided a quick update on progress made since the National Summit. For example, as we have previously reported, the Government Printing Office now digitally authenticates collections of Public and Private Laws and congressional bills.

Linda Edwards, legal affairs writer for the ABA, wrote a nice summary in the ABA Journal about the program and the difficulties of finding official, authentic primary legal resources on the Web.

Mary Alice’s slides are available on AALLNET, and a compiled version of the slides from all of the speakers is available on the ABA’s Web site.

[Posted by Emily Feldman]

July Edition of the Washington E-Bulletin: Annual Meeting Wrap-Up

August 3, 2009

The July edition of the Washington E-Bulletin includes summaries of our successful Day on the Hill Advocacy Training, summaries of G3: Evaluating Federal e-Life Cycle Management—A Town Meeting with OSTP, NARA and GPO and H5: Annual Legislative and Regulatory Update, and several exciting updates from the Hill.

Here is the Table of Contents from the July edition:


-Day on the Hill Participants Advocate for AALL’s Policy Priorities
-AALL Program Summary: G3: Evaluating Federal e-Life Cycle Management—A Town Meeting with OSTP, NARA and GPO
-AALL Program Summary: H5: Annual Legislative and Regulatory Update
-House Passes Bill to Increase Funding for Law Library of Congress
-Senate Committee Approves Bill to Improve Whistleblower Protections


-2009 Chapter Leadership Roundtable: Government Relations

FREE TIME WELL SPENT: Further Reading for the Information Policy Junkie

-National Security Archive Report Illustrates Continuing Overclassification Problem
-Government Computer News: 10 Great Government Web Sites for 2009

[Posted by Emily Feldman]

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