Volunteers work to preserve access to vulnerable government information, and you can help

Coalitions of government, university, and public interest organizations have been working to ensure as much information as possible is preserved and accessible, amid growing concern that important and sensitive government data on climate, labor, and other issues may disappear from the web once the Trump Administration takes office.

Last Thursday, OTG and the Bauman Foundation hosted a meeting of advocates interested in preserving access to government data, and individuals involved in web harvesting efforts. James Jacobs, a government information librarian at Stanford University Library who is working on the End of Term (EOT) web harvest – a joint project between the Internet Archive, the Library of Congress, the Government Publishing Office, and several universities – spoke about the EOT crawl, and explained the various targets of the harvest, including all .gov and .mil web sites, government social media accounts, and more.

Jess Kutch discussed efforts by Coworker.org with Cornell University to preserve information related to workers’ rights and labor protections, and other meeting attendees presented some of their own projects as well. Philip Mattera explained how Good Jobs First is using its Violation Tracker database to scrape and preserve government source material related to corporate misconduct.  

Micah Altman, Director of Research at MIT Libraries, presented on the need for libraries and archives to build better infrastructure for the EOT harvest and other projects – including data portals, cloud infrastructure, and technologies that enhance discoverability – so that data and other government information can be made more easily accessible to the public.

If there is online government information that you would like to see preserved, particularly data or web sites that may be at risk of disappearing under the incoming Trump Administration, you can use this URL Nomination Tool to make recommendations to the EOT harvest.

Additional Resources:

The full recorded meeting can be viewed here

Information on the EOT crawl and how you can help

Micah Altman’s presentation on Collaboration with Research Libraries and Archives

A guide that shows how Coworker.org is engaging in end-of-term harvesting of federal government information related to workers’ rights and labor protections

Two projects for preserving federal climate and environmental data: Climate Mirror and Data Refuge


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