Archive for April, 2008

House Panel Holds Hearing on Preservation of Electronic Federal Records

Friday, April 25th, 2008

On April 23, 2008, the National Coalition for History (NCH) presented testimony to the House Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census and the National Archives on the “Electronic Communications Preservation Act” (H.R. 5811). The legislation addresses both the Federal Records Act and the Presidential Records Act. The bill would direct the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to establish standards for the capture, management, and preservation of White House e-mails and other electronic communications. The legislation would also require NARA to issue regulations requiring federal agencies to preserve electronic communications in an electronic format. Read the full article »

NARA Clarifies Decision Not to “Harvest” Federal Agency Websites

Friday, April 25th, 2008

On March 27, 2008, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) issued a memorandum, stating that it would not conduct a “harvest” of federal agency websites as they exist at the end of President Bush’s term as they did in 2001 and 2005. In response to concerns expressed by stakeholders, last week the National Archives issued further clarification stating “each agency is now responsible, in coordination with NARA, for determining how to manage its web records, including whether to preserve a periodic snapshot of its entire web page.” Read the full article »

NARA & CIA Reach Agreement on Release of Federal Records

Friday, April 25th, 2008

On April 17, 2008, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) announced that it had signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) describing the procedures and conditions that govern the treatment of CIA records once they are transferred to NARA’s legal custody. This agreement sets the stage for the transfer of the CIA’s permanent Federal records that are 50 years or older to the National Archives. Read the full article »

Williams Named Executive Director of NHPRC

Friday, April 25th, 2008

Archivist of the United States (and NHPRC Chairman) Allen Weinstein this week announced the appointment Kathleen M. Williams as Executive Director of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). Ms. Williams, who has been Acting Executive Director since January 2008, replaces former director Max Evans. Read the full article »

Bosanko Named Director of Information Security Oversight Office

Friday, April 25th, 2008

Archivist of the United States Allen Weinstein recently announced the appointment of William Jamieson (“Jay”) Bosanko as the new director of the Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO). Mr. Bosanko’s appointment became effective on April 14, 2008. He succeeds J. William Leonard, who retired in January 2008. Read the full article »

EPA Releases Plan for Restoring Library System

Friday, April 25th, 2008

In the Fiscal Year 2008 omnibus appropriations bill, Congress ordered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to restore the network of EPA libraries that had been closed or consolidated by the Administration since 2006. On March 26, the EPA submitted to Congress its plan on re-opening its closed facilities and restructuring its library network to meet that mandate. Read the full article »

NPS Awards Initial Centennial Intiative Grants

Friday, April 25th, 2008

On April 24, 2008, Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne unveiled the first round of 110 national park improvement projects and programs funded by an equal combination of public and private funds, under President Bush’s National Park Centennial Initiative. The Initiative, announced in 2006, proposed a federal Centennial Challenge matching fund that would be used to match philanthropic contributions for the benefit of national parks between now and the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service (NPS) in 2016. Read the full article »

CIA Issues Proposed Rule Reforming FOIA Practices

Friday, April 25th, 2008

On April 17, 2008, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) issued a proposed rule in the Federal Register to revise its regulations governing the processing of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. The changes are being made in response to the passage of the “Openness Promotes Effectiveness in our National Government Act of 2007,” by Congress in 2007. Read the full article »

Smithsonian African American History Museum Receives $5M Donation from Boeing

Friday, April 25th, 2008

The Boeing Company is contributing $5 million to the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., to support the design and construction of the museum. The Smithsonian’s 19th museum will be the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, art, history and culture. Read the full article »

“Orphan Works” Legislation Introduced in the House and Senate

Friday, April 25th, 2008

On April 24, 2008, leading members of the Senate and House Judiciary Committees introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation (H.R. 5889, S. 2913) to preserve so-called “orphan works” – works that may be protected by copyright, but whose owners cannot be found. Potential users of orphan works often fail to display or use such works out of concern that they may be found liable for statutory damages, amounting to as much as $150,000. Read the full article »

Senate Judiciary Panel Passes “State Secrets Protection Act”

Friday, April 25th, 2008

On April 24, 2008, the Senate Judiciary Committee, by a vote of 11-8, voted to approve S. 2533, the “State Secrets Protection Act.” The state secrets privilege allows the executive branch to block discovery in civil litigation when the government believes that there is an unacceptable risk of disclosure of sensitive national security secrets. The intent of the legislation is to provide guidance to federal courts in handling assertions of the privilege in civil cases, to prevent the government from using the privilege to withhold evidence that is not actually sensitive. Read the full article »

NARA Names New Director of Eisenhower Presidential Library

Friday, April 25th, 2008

The National Archives and Records Administration recently announced the appointment of Karl Weissenbach as the new director of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum in Abilene Kansas. Mr. Weissenbach, who is currently Deputy Director, will assume his duties on April 27, 2008. He succeeds Dan Holt who is retiring after 18 years as Director of the Library. Read the full article »

NCH Calls for Public Comment on SBU Guidance

Friday, April 25th, 2008

The National Coalition for History recently joined OpenTheGovernment.org and thirty-two other groups in a letter urging the White House to allow public review and comments on new rules governing the designation of Sensitive But Unclassified (or Controlled Unclassified Information — CUI) that are expected to be released soon. Read the full article »

Library of Congress and “History” Announce Multimedia Partnership

Friday, April 25th, 2008

The Library of Congress and History recently announced a multimedia partnership to showcase the Library’s collections to the audience of the History brands including History, history.com and other television properties. Unlike the controversial contract in 2006 between Showtime Networks and the Smithsonian, this is a non-exclusive partnership. Read the full article »

National Park Service Fills Two Senior Posts

Friday, April 25th, 2008

The National Park Service recently announced it was filling two senior positions within the agency. Stephen E. Whitesell was appointed as Associate Director of Park Planning, Facilities, and Lands, and Ronald C. Wilson was named Chief Curator to lead the Park Museum Management Program. Read the full article »

State Department History Advisory Committee to Meet June 2-3

Friday, April 25th, 2008

The Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation will meet in the Department of State, 2201 C Street, NW., Washington, DC, June 2-3, 2008, in Conference Room 1205. The Committee will meet in open session from 1:30 p.m. through 3 p.m. on Monday, June 2, 2008, to discuss declassification and transfer of Department of State records to the National Archives and Records Administration and the status of the Foreign Relations series. Read the full article »

Library of Congress Lowers Age Limit for Main Reading Room

Friday, April 25th, 2008

On April 23, 2008, the Library of Congress announced that the minimum age for use of the Main Reading Room to access the Library’s physical collections for research purposes has been lowered to 16. The previous requirement was that researchers be above high school age. Read the full article »

Historians Protest Relocation of European Reading Room at the Library of Congress

Friday, April 11th, 2008

The Library of Congress announced to its staff in mid-March that it would close the current European Reading Room (ERR) space in April and convert it into an exhibition area. This development caused an outcry in the historical community amid concerns the ERR would be permanently closed or after a lengthy relocation delay that the facility would be moved into smaller inadequate space with a loss of research staff. On April 3, 2008, the Library of Congress announced that “contrary to recent concerns” that the European Reading room would not be closed, but relocated. Read the full article »

NARA Will Not Preserve “Snapshots” of Federal Websites When Bush Administration Ends

Friday, April 11th, 2008

It was revealed this week that the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) does not plan a “harvest” of federal agency websites as they exist at the end of President Bush’s term. Citing cost concerns, NARA will not archive these federal agency website “snapshots” as it did prior the end of presidential terms in 2001 and 2005. NARA also preserved Congressional websites at the end of 2006. The NARA memo noted that there are non-governmental websites that perform the same function. Read the full article »

U.S. Intelligence Agencies Seek Uniform Classification Policy

Friday, April 11th, 2008

U.S. intelligence agencies have embarked upon a process to develop a uniform classification policy and a single classification guide that could be used by the entire U.S. intelligence community, according to a newly obtained report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The story was broken by Steven Aftergood in his on-line publication Secrecy News. Because of its importance, we present his story here with full attribution. Read the full article »