Press/Journalists

Press Release
January 28, 2010

National Archives Releases New Datasets on Data.gov and Invites Public Comment on Open Government Plan

Washington, DC…Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero announced this week that the National Archives and Records Administration has added three new high-value datasets to the Data.gov web site and invites public comment on developing an Open Government Plan, focusing on transparency, participation, and collaboration improvements. The National Archives is creating this plan in accordance with the Obama Administration’s Open Government Directive of December 2009, which was issued to promote new lines of communication and cooperation between the Federal government and the American people.

In making the announcement, Mr. Ferriero said, “The Open Government initiative is central to the core mission of the Archives. Making information as widely available as possible and encouraging public input and participation contributes to a strong democracy. The Archives is excited about this program and intends to be among the leaders in supporting the Open Government Directive.”

The first milestone of the Open Government Directive was met on January 22 with the release of new datasets on Data.gov. Each major government agency has uploaded at least three datasets in this initial action. The National Archives released the 2007–2009 Code of Federal Regulations and two datasets from its Archival Research Catalog. This is the first time this material is available as raw data in XML format.

The three Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) datasets consist of the 2007, 2008, and 2009 editions. The CFR contains all of the general and permanent regulations of the U.S. Government, which affect nearly every aspect of life in the United States. The datasets are divided into 50 titles that represent broad areas subject to Federal regulation.

Archival Descriptions from the Archival Research Catalog (ARC) provide descriptions of the permanent holdings of the Federal government in the custody of the National Archives, including information on traditional paper holdings, electronic records, and artifacts.

Organization Descriptions from the Archival Research Catalog (ARC) provide a highly detailed presentation of the evolution of names and administrative histories of Federal and non-federal organizations. It is used by the National Archives to track the organization that created records, and as a source of access points for indexing archival descriptions and/or other authority records with consistent headings.

The National Archives is also creating a plan that lays out what we need to do to further meet the goals of Open Government and how we will get there. To help the National Archives develop its Open Government Plan, we are asking the public to share ideas for a plan, including:

  • Broad recommendations on how to conduct its work more openly
    • Specific changes to internal management and administrative policies to improve transparency, participation, and collaboration
    • Specific improvements to information dissemination practices, including recommendations for prioritization of improvements
    • Specific recommendations for datasets to be published online
    • Specific recommendations for improvements to the National Archives response to FOIA requests, including recommendations for improving the Archives FOIA backlog
  • Broad recommendations on how to improve public participation in and feedback on the National Archives core mission activities
  • Broad recommendations on how to improve collaboration
    • Specific recommendations for improvements to how the National Archives cooperates with other Federal and non-federal government agencies, the public, and nonprofit and private entities in fulfilling the agency’s core mission activities
    • Specific recommendations for how the National Archives should use technology platforms to improve collaboration among people within and outside the agency
    • Specific suggestions for innovative methods, such as prizes and competitions, to obtain ideas from and to increase collaboration with those in the private sector, nonprofit, and academic communities
    • Specific suggestions for a flagship initiative, how it would address the principles of transparency, participation and collaboration, and how it can improve agency operations
    • Specific recommendations for how to engage the public and National Archives staff in the formation of its Open Government Plan and in future modifications of its plan

Submit comments on the National Archives Open Government Plan by March 19, 2010, using any of the following methods:

The Open Government Directive is available at [http://www.whitehouse.gov/open/documents/open-government-directive].

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For further information, the media may contact the National Archives Public Affairs Staff at 202-357-5300.

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