Congress Punts on Fiscal Year 2009 Budget

Before leaving for their election campaigns, Congress passed a continuing budget resolution for fiscal year 2009 to keep federal agencies and programs running until March 6, 2009. FY 2009 began on October 1, 2008. Aside from defense, homeland security and veterans programs, all other federal agencies will continue to be funded at the current FY ’08 level. In reality, this amounts to a budget cut for federal agencies since they will not receive additional funding to cover increased overhead and salary costs.

New Chair Named of Smithsonian’s Board of Regents

Patricia Q. Stonesifer has been elected chairwoman of Smithsonian Institution’s Board of Regents, effective in January. Stonesifer was chief executive officer of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, where she continues to be a senior advisor. She has been a member of the Smithsonian’s board since 2001. Stonesifer replaces Roger Sant, who has served as chairman of the board’s executive committee since January.

Federal Agencies Establishing Guidelines to Digitize Historical Materials

This week, the Library of Congress announced that a dozen federal agencies are launching an initiative to establish a common set of guidelines for digitizing historical materials. Basing its efforts on a combination of collaborative research and combined experience, the Federal Agencies Digitization Guidelines Initiative will address a variety of issues related to the complex activities involved in the digitization of cultural heritage items.