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DLF Government Records Transparency and Accountability Group

What is this?

This is the page for a newly-forming DLF Working Group on Government Records Transparency and Accountability.

Read our announcement blog post.

How to Join

We invite you join this Interest Group! You don’t have to be a DLF member to participate.

Simply request membership in our Google Group to stay current on discussions and meeting dates. Meeting dates and minutes will also be posted to this page.

Next Call

  • Friday 12/1, 1pm EST. Topic: Planning for Endangered Data Week. Facilitated by Brandon Locke and Sarah Melton.
  • Tuesday 1/23, 1pm EST. Topic and facilitators: TBD.
  • Thursday 3/1, 1pm EST. Scheduled to take place during Endangered Data Week; we’re hoping to host a webinar of some sort during this time.
  • Friday 3/30, 1pm EST. Topic and facilitators: TBD.

Please join online here (use Firefox or Chrome for VOIP) and/or by telephone: 202-750-4186.

Special Meetings

21 April 2017 Endangered Data Week webinar, "Endangered Accountability: A DLF-Sponsored Webinar on FOIA, Government Data, and Transparency". A recording of the webinar is available here. Presenters' Slides: Alex Howard; OGIS; Denice Ross

19 May 2017 (agenda & minutes) This meeting featured a presentation by Amy West on "Census 2020 Data Accuracy." A recording of her presentation is available here, and presentation slides are here

18 August 2017 (Title 44 and the Uncertain Future of Free Public Access to Government Info in the US) with James Jacobs (audio recording here).

Regular Meeting Minutes

2017 Group Survey

As we begin to plan for the coming year, we think it would be useful to begin to develop stronger connections between members of this interest group. That is to say, we want to support efforts to get to know each other and outline shared values and directions despite our geographic distance.

To this end, a team of facilitators (Rachel Mattson, Brandon Locke, and Purdom Lindblad) propose that we spend some time in the coming months engaging in a series of one-one one conversations among participants in this group. We are hoping that these conversations will create a strong foundation for our group to expand and develop. We imagine these conversations as a way of beginning to approach three initial goals (and to identify additional goals):

  • To build a shared vocabulary.
  • To begin a process of developing stronger connections between members of this interest group - and supporting more intra-group conversation and collaboration.
  • To create an action plan for the group’s future work.

We want to underscore that this is the first stage; we imagine these conversations as iterative and open to group recommendations.

How can you participate? Just follow the steps outlined below.

Complete survey form (before September 5). To begin, we invite you to complete a survey about what motivates you to participate in this group, what issues are of greatest concern to you, what practices you wish to share or to develop, and so on. We ask you to complete the form by the first week in September. Your responses will be sent to the group’s facilitators and also emailed back to you in order to help prompt reflection in paired conversations.

Meet with your partner (sometime before October 5). After individual surveys are completed, participating members will be matched to another person in the group. Once you have the name of your partner, you should reach out to them via email to set time and platform for shared discussion. We will provide prompts to get you started, but feel free to expand on those prompts. You may use whatever platform you prefer - e.g. email, Skype, or telephone.

For your conversation:

  • Be sure to keep notes so that you can share back with large group later.
  • Reserve a minimum of 30 minutes for this conversation. But feel free to decide together to extend that time. Be sure to clearly indicate your time constraints to your partner to avoid confusion.

Subsequently, participants will have the opportunity to share the results of their one-on-one conversations with the larger group. We will use these reflections to develop a shared set of principles and/or an action plan for the coming year.

Other Possible Directions

The work of this group is still in development, and we invite you to join us as we consider strategies for moving forward together. Some possible directions in which our endeavors might go:

  • Learn, listen, gather info, ask questions. Reach out to organizations already doing smart work in the area of government sunshine, FOIA, public records transparency, and government accountability, and learn all that we can about their work. Where are these groups putting their efforts? What are the central concerns, questions, and debates they consider to be important? Which groups do we want to make connections to? Also: what are librarians and archivists already doing in this area? How might we extend and contribute to this work?
  • Consider, discuss, and outline the ways in which this work, these questions, overlaps with our own areas of expertise and labors. How might we bring conversations about transparency and accountability into our schools, workplaces, and professional communities?
  • Consider, discuss, and work toward understanding how we might use our expertise and situated-ness to support increased public records transparency and accountability at the local, state, and federal levels.
  • Share what we learn with the broader DLF and library/archives community (and beyond?).
  • One project we know we will be supporting is Endangered Data Week. The first annual Endangered Data Week was held April 17-21, 2017. Spearheaded by a dedicated group of collaborators in collaboration with DLF, this distributed event is designed to bring “awareness to different types of threats to publicly available data, engage with the power dynamics involved in data creation, sharing, and retention, and make endangered data more secure and accessible.” For more info, visit