Seeking Ideas for Greater Transparency and Open Government in Federal Departments, Agencies and on Federal Web Sites

In the e-mail below Camilla Tubbs, Chair of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) Government Relations Committee provides useful information regarding efforts by the Obama admiinistration to create greater transparency and openness in and among federal departments and agencies. She is also asking what types of information people want to see on federal agency web sites? These are important questions that merit serious consideration. Although this e-mail was originally directed to a group of law librarians everyone should be concerned about these issues. Comments from both librarians and non librarians are welcome. We will be glad to forward comments on to Camilla upon request.

E-mail from Camilla Tubbs:

In his Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government
President Obama instructed the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to issue an Open Government Directive. Responding to that instruction, on December 8, 2009, a memorandum was issued directing executive departments and agencies on how to take specific actions to implement the principles of transparency, participation,
and collaboration. The memo was broken up into four main points, each having their own action items: (1) Publish Government Information Online;
(2) Improve the Quality of Government Information ; (3) Create and Institutionalize a Culture of Open Government; and (4) Create an Enabling Policy Framework for Open Government
Aside from the major points mentioned above and the action items posted in the memorandum ,
*what types of information would you want to see on agency web sites? *For example, some ideas from the open government community include:

1. List of government agency employees and how to reach them.

2. Visitor logs of each agency and calendars for top-level agency officials should be made public in timely fashion. The public has a right to know who agencies are consulting, and a “timely fashion” needs to be narrowly defined.

3. Contract and award documents include Requests for Proposals,
Contracts, Task Orders, Contract Modifications, etc.

4. Communications between the agency and Congress, including responses to inquires, testimony before committees, reports mandated by Congress, etc.

5. A records retention policy along with a schedule of records that will be declassified and the timetable for such action, as well as a list of all FOIA requests.

*What else would you like to see? What types of documents are your patrons requesting? What suggestions should be passed along to make the federal government more transparent and participatory?

Contact Information