During last Friday’s Sunshine Week Webcast at the Center for American Progress (archived here), Gary Bass, Executive Director of OMB Watch, announced the release of a new report, “Assessing Progress: Toward a 21st Century Right to Know.” The report analyzes the Obama Administration’s progress in meeting the more than 70 transparency recommendations issued by the 21st Century Right-to-Know Project in November 2008. More than 100 groups and individuals contributed or signed on to the Right-to-Know recommendations – including AALL, a dozen of our chapters and more than 75 individual law librarians around the country.
OMB Watch found that the Administration has made progress on several high priority recommendations (promoting a culture of government openness; issuing new guidance on the Freedom of Information Act), but little progress in other areas (improving the use and consistency of metadata; addressing records management). In particular, AALL is very concerned about the lack of leadership from the White House on electronic records management and preservation. As OMB Watch states:
Records management is the sine qua non of open and accountable government: If records are not adequately retained, managed, and preserved, they will be inaccessible to the public, whether through FOIA, discovery in legal claims, declassification, internal audits, or any other transparency or accountability mechanism.
As we have done since President Obama took office in January 2009, AALL will continue to to track the Administration’s progress on openness. We will keep you updated on any significant developments.