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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.