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FGIOne of the most interesting government information sites originates neither from a government agency nor from a depository library.

Free Government Information (FGI) is a private, non-governmental project for encouraging interaction and consensus building among libraries, government agencies, non-profits, researchers, journalists, and others who have an interest in promoting and preserving free and permanent access to government information. Ever since it was launched in 2004, FGI has promoted free government information through collaboration, education, advocacy, and research.

It is a well-known irony of the digital age that the production of information has never been more copious, and the dissemination of information has never been easier, yet finding the information one needs and preserving information for present and future generations seems to grow more and more difficult with each passing year. Although few government documents are published in tangible formats anymore, and access to those documents is theoretically available to anyone in the world who has access to a computer, depository libraries are not obsolete just yet. FGI provides a forum for discussing the evolving nature of the traditional role of depository libraries in acquiring, maintaining, and providing access to government information, and gives every stakeholder a voice in the continuing debate over government information policy.

Here are some of the resources available through the FGI Web site:

FGI Library

This is a list of presentations, white papers, published articles, and major commentaries and analyses by FGI volunteers. Blog posts on FGI provide announcements, commentaries, and rapid, in-depth analyses of and responses to pertinent reports and proposed legislation. They provide up-to-date information and informed discussion on current events, research trends, cutting-edge technologies, and related issues such as copyright, digitization, and the right to privacy.

Less Access to Less Information by and about the U.S. Government

In the 80s and 90s, Anne Heanue and others at the Washington Office of the American Library Association (ALA) published a series of books that chronicled efforts to restrict and privatize government information from the public during those years. This resource contains the texts of those reports, along with more recent FGI posts that document ongoing efforts to restrict, alter, remove, and privatize government information.  Readers are also invited to contribute their own findings.

Lost Docs Blog

Not all federal documents have been cataloged and distributed through the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP). Those documents which have not been cataloged and/or distributed through the FDLP are known as “fugitive documents,” or “lost docs.” Fugitive documents can be reported to the Government Publishing Office (GPO) via their Lost Docs Reporting Form, so that these potentially valuable resources can be cataloged and archived, and thereby saved from permanent oblivion.

The Lost Docs Blog provides a public listing of fugitive documents that have been reported to GPO. Not all federal documents are within the scope of the FDLP, but nearly any published federal document qualifies for GPO’s national bibliography.

Writer’s Guide to Government Information: Creative Promotion

If you are a fiction writer or screenwriter, you know how tricky it can be to get the details right in your stories. Government documents can be an excellent source of this type of information. Although there are exceptions in certain areas of controversy, for the most part government documents provide an objective, balanced treatment of a subject and are written by experts either in the government or in the private sector. For some subject, such as space travel or U.S. military history, you won’t find any more reliable and convenient resources than government documents.

Free State Government Information

Works of the U.S. government are generally not protected by copyright in the United States and are automatically in the public domain (17 U.S.C. § 105); however, there are numerous exceptions and refinements to this rule. For a detailed explanation of how copyright law is applied to government publications, see Frequently Asked Questions about Copyright: 3.0 U.S. Government Works and 4.0 Works Created Under a Federal Contract or Grant on the CENDI Web site.

State documents, on the other hand, are much less likely to be in the public domain. State agencies are free to claim copyright to their publications, and even if they do not actively place a copyright notice on their publications, 17 U.S.C. § 102(a) automatically places them under copyright. Most state laws are ambiguous and often unknown, even by agencies within their state. FSGI is seeking to clarify these policies and ensure the widest possible access and use of state government information.

Best. Titles. Ever.

This Tumblr microblog collects examples of copyright-free government documents that have unusual, attention-getting titles. The titles might be funny, intriguing, convoluted, ingenious, or any combination of the above. Sometimes the title merely contains an amusing typo (e.g., The Impact of Computer Aliens along the Mexican and Canadian Borders). Others provide a look into the attitudes and assumptions of another era (Occupations Suitable for Women).

Here are just a few samples of the titles collected so far:

Would You Like to Know More?

Contact FGI if you would like to join in the effort to make government information a continuing reality or if you have ideas, suggestions, or comments about the site. FGI staff are available for panels and presentations at conferences, workshops, etc.

 

Article by Bobby Griffith, based on information on the FGI Web site.

FGI logo from the FGI Web site.

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National Voter Registration Day logoAre you registered to vote? Every year millions of Americans don’t vote, either because the registration deadline passed them by, or because they don’t know how to register. September 27, 2016 has been designated National Voter Registration Day and set aside to promote awareness of voter registration opportunities and to encourage eligible Americans to exercise this precious obligation to make their voices heard in the upcoming elections.

Voter Registration Facts

Your registration application must be postmarked or received in the Voter Registrar’s Office at least 30 days prior to any Texas election in which you plan to vote. To vote in the November 8 presidential election, you must be registered by October 11. If you miss that deadline, don’t despair! You can still register at any time and vote in any election that takes place at least 30 days later.

Student voters may be uncertain about where they should be registered, since many have a family residence at one location but are living temporarily at or near the campus where they attend school. In general, you should be registered to vote in the county you consider to be your permanent residence. If you consider your parents’ address to be your permanent residence, you may register to vote in that county. If you would like to register to vote at your college address you may do so, but you can’t be registered at both places at the same time.

If you’re registered in Texas but won’t be around to vote in person, you may vote early by mail. If you’re registered in another state but live in Texas, you might be able to switch your registration to the Texas county where you currently reside; otherwise, ask the election office in your state about their absentee voting policies.

If you’re not sure where or whether you are registered to vote, you can search the Texas Voter Registration database or, if you might be registered in another state, search the Can I Vote database.

Registration Events at UNT

The UNT community and visitors can register to vote at two convenient locations on the UNT campus Tuesday. Deputy voter registrars will be available in the lobby of Kerr Hall from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and in the lobby of Rawlins Hall from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

If you are not able to attend either of these events, you may schedule a more convenient time to register by visiting Room 155 in Willis Library or by visiting the Eagle Commons Library service desk in Sycamore Hall. Texans can also obtain a voter registration application online from the Secretary of State.

In addition to registering new voters, we can also help not so new voters with a change of address, information on mail-in ballots (both in Texas and out of state) and information on upcoming elections. We are also available to come to classes to talk about voter registration and register students at any time during the semester.

This event is sponsored by the UNT Libraries Government Information Connection, in partnership with the Eagle Commons Library and the Public Services Division of the UNT Libraries. It is free and open to the public.

For information about parking at UNT, call the Transportation Services office at 940-565-3020.

Would You Like to Know More?

The U.S. Election Assistance Commission provides tips, calendars, maps, and other information to help voters in every state of the U.S.

VoteTexas.gov, sponsored by the Texas Secretary of State, provides voter information resources for Texas residents.

VoteDenton.com provides up to date schedules, statistics, polling site locations, and other resources for Denton County voters. Use the Voter Lookup service to find out if you are registered to vote in Denton County.

The UNT Libraries Election Connection provides links to election information resources for the UNT community.

If you have any questions about Tuesday’s event or wish to learn about any other civic awareness events hosted by the UNT Libraries, please contact us at govinfo@unt.edu

 

Article by Bobby Griffith.

Image: National Voter Registration Day logo.

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United_States_National_Agricultural_LibraryThe National Agricultural Library (NAL) is a veritable cornucopia of information on food, agriculture, and natural resources, catering not only to the needs of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, but also to those of a vast audience of agricultural policymakers, educators, farmers, scientists, and other specialists, as well as the general population.

Rising like a great silo from the landscape of Beltsville Maryland, where it operates as a unit of the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, the NAL houses one of the world’s largest collections of agricultural materials. The NAL collaborates with other agricultural libraries and institutions to provide and promote free public access to the agricultural knowledge of the U.S. and the world.

NAL Digital Collections

The NAL Digital Collections provides public access to NAL collection materials available in digital format—both those that were born digital and those that were digitized from other formats. Reliable, long-term access is provided to selected NAL documents, which can be retrieved by browsing or keyword searching.

Here are just a few examples of the many types of materials available through the NAL Digital Collections:

Historical Dietary Guidance

USDA_-_Basic_7_Food_GroupsThe Historical Dietary Guidance digital collection a plethora of historical recipes and cookbooks, as well as tips on nutrition, diet, and physical fitness that have been produced by the U.S. government for more than a century.

The USDA has been producing food nutrition guidelines since 1894, analyzing the nutritional content of food, categorizing food into various groups, and making recommendations on how to maintain a balanced, healthy diet. These dietary guidelines have been a never-ending source of controversy and have been continually revised over the years. We have seen, for example, the Basic Seven Food Groups, the Four Food Groups, the Food Guide Pyramid, MyPyramid, and most recently MyPlate. Nutrition facts labels and their associated regulations have also provided information to help Americans choose healthful foods.

Recipes and cookbooks authored by the USDA have provided instructions for creating nourishing meals and snacks for families and schoolchildren, and during challenging times such as the Depression or World War II they have helped Americans stay healthy with limited resources. More recently recipes have been developed to promote ethnic diversity or to cater to special diets.

Journal Articles of USDA Authors

The USDA Authors Journal Articles collection contains digital copies of scholarly, peer-reviewed research that has been authored by USDA scientists and published in respected scientific journals. Since the primary audience for this collection is the scientific community rather than the general public, the articles will tend to be rather technical. If you’re doing scholarly research, however, these articles will be more reliable sources than articles published in newspapers or popular magazines.

USDA Pomological Watercolor Collection

USDA-pomological-collectionThe USDA Pomological Watercolor Collection documents various new fruit and nut varieties that were developed by growers or introduced by USDA plant explorers from 1886 to 1942. The plant specimens represented here originated in 29 countries and 51 U.S. states and territories. Technically accurate paintings were used to create lithographs that illustrated USDA bulletins, yearbooks, and other series distributed to growers and gardeners across America.

This stunningly beautiful collection is one of the rarest and most special of all the NAL’s Rare and Special Collections. The artworks include 7,497 watercolor paintings, 87 line drawings, and 79 wax models, including 3,807 images of apples. Most of these artworks were created around the turn of the 20th century, between 1894 and 1916.

A total of about 21 artists were commissioned by the USDA to create these works. The exact number is not known because some of the artworks were not signed.

Do You Want to Know More?

See a list of all the available NAL digital collections at the NAL Digital Collections page. You can also search the collections by subject, author, year, series, or collection name.

 

Author: Bobby Griffith

Image of NAL Abraham Lincoln Building from Wikimedia Commons.

1943 USDA nutrition chart showing the “Basic 7” food groups from Wikimedia Commons.

1908 painting of ripe and green lemons by Ellen Isham Schutt from USDA Pomological Watercolor Collection.

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On April 3-4, 2016, stakeholders from a variety of public and private organizations, including archivists, librarians, technologists, program officers, executive directors, and others gathered in San Antonio for the Digital Preservation of Federal Information Summit.The Summit focused on the important topic of preservation and access to at-risk digital government information.

The aim of the meeting was to 1) engage in a structured and facilitated dialogue with national leaders on these topics, and 2) to begin the development of a national agenda to address the preservation of access for the most pressing categories of at-risk digital government information. The focus was sustaining digital, not print, collections of government information. The summit offered facilitated sessions structured to produce several outcomes, including determining priorities for digital government records and information preservation action, and practical next steps to address these priorities.

A Reflections Report prepared by summit facilitators and edited by attendees is now available for feedback and input from other interested parties. Access the report here: http://blogs.library.unt.edu/untdocsblog/wp-content/uploads/sites/7/2016/05/2016_Digital_Preservation_Summit_ReflectionsReport.pdf

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International Women's Day 1977Observations commemorating the contributions of women to society and culture and encouraging support for women’s equality and other civil rights first emerged out of the early 20th century labor movement in North America and across Europe. In 1975, which the UN had designated International Women’s Year (IWY), March 8 was designated International Women’s Day (in commemoration of a major protest held on March 8, 1857 by New York garment workers demanding better working conditions), and 1975–1985 was designated The United Nations Decade for Women. Every March 8 since then has been set aside throughout the world as a day to recognize women for their achievements without regard to divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political. (See a Chronology of International Women’s Day at the UN Web site.)

Every year the UN designates a specific theme to focus on for International Women’s Day. This year’s theme is Parity for Women, encapsulated in the slogan “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality.” 2030 is the deadline that has been projected for achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) established last year by the UN. Goal 5 is Gender Equality. The United Nations observance on 8 March, 2016 will consider how to build momentum and accelerate progress toward the 2030 goals, and will also focus on new commitments under the UN Women’s Step It Up initiative, as well as other commitments to gender equality, women’s empowerment, and women’s rights.

Key targets of the 2030 agenda include the following:

  • By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable, and quality primary and secondary education, leading to relevant Goal 4 (Quality Education)
  • By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and preprimary education so that they are ready for primary education.
  • End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere.
  • Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation.
  • Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early, and forced marriage and female genital mutilation.

Here are some things you can do to celebrate International Women’s Day and contribute to the goal of achieving gender equality:

  • See the UN Women: International Women’s Day 2016 Web page for speeches and messages, an interactive timeline of women’s historical contributions, a photo-essay on the lives of women around the world, and opportunities to share your contributions to International Women’s Day on social media.
  • Take the International Women’s Day Pledge for Parity. Go online and make a public commitment to help women and girls achieve their ambitions; challenge conscious and unconscious bias; call for gender-balanced leadership; value women’s and men’s contributions equally; and create inclusive, flexible cultures. A number of online resources are available to guide your Pledge for Parity campaign and help you carry out the goals in a practical manner.
  • Participate in local events. These might include large global gatherings, conferences, awards, exhibitions, festivals, fun runs, corporate events, concerts and performances, lectures, online digital gatherings, and more. The University of North Texas, for example, will be sponsoring a free International Women’s Day Lecture on “Human Rights, Women’s Rights: The Path to Sustainable Peace” at 7:00 p.m. in the University Union.
  • Share your own stories on social media. Do you have a personal experience related to gender equality, or recommendations for public policies? Perhaps you would like to express support and appreciation for women. Hashtags for social media include #IWD2016 and #Planet5050. Consider enhancing your posts and media accounts with infographics, banners, and cover images.
  • Educate yourself on the subject of women’s history. Here are some resources for learning about women’s contributions to history and culture in the United States:

On a side note, and in the spirit of gender equality, you might be wondering if there is also an International Men’s Day. There is! It takes place on November 19th each year and serves to highlight men’s and boy’s health issues, improve gender relations, promote gender equality, and recognize positive male role models.

Today, however, is for women. How will you be honoring the women of the world on this special day?

Article by Bobby Griffith.

Image: International Women’s Day, March 12, 1977. Photo by David Bartho for Sydney Morning Herald.

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FDLP Twitter campaignHave you had any memorable encounters with the Eagle Commons Library Government Information Connection? During the entire month of February, the Government Publishing Office (GPO) will be tweeting fun facts and information about the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP), and we invite our patrons to join in the celebration. Send a shout-out to your depository library or tweet about your experiences here, using the hashtag #lovemyFDL. Let everyone know what you love about your depository library and how your library has helped you. Our Twitter username is @UNTEagleCommons

Access U.S. government information on the go and on the shelf.Never used government documents at the ECL? They are an excellent source of political and legal information, as one would expect, but you might not be aware that the Government Information Connection also has resources on a wide variety of other topics, such as statistics, history, education, business, science, travel, and the arts. We even have cookbooks, coloring books, and comics! Try us out, then tweet about your experience. You can visit us in person at Sycamore Hall, call us at 940-565-4745, or send us an e-mail at govinfo@unt.edu

In addition to Twitter, we encourage you to visit our other social media outlets:

WordPress logo
UNT DocsBlog

 

Facebook logo
Facebook

 

Instagram logo
Instagram

 

Pinterest logo
Pinterest

 

 

Article by Bobby Griffith.

Illustration from FDLP promotional flyer.

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Vote!Are you concerned about the economy, climate change, energy sources, gun control, violence involving the police, health care, privacy, data security, education, immigration, foreign policy, racism, religious freedom? In the coming months you will have an opportunity to make your voice heard by questioning, supporting, and electing the government officials who will be making decisions about how to deal with difficult and controversial issues such as these.

After several months of debates, interviews, and a few primaries, the campaigns for many candidates will reach a critical point on Super Tuesday, the day that most state primaries are held. This year Super Tuesday falls on March 1. In anticipation, we offer some information and advice to help you prepare for these crucial events.

Register

You must be registered at least 30 days prior to any election in which you plan to vote. To vote in the Texas Primary on March 1, you would have to have registered by February 1. If you are not registered yet, don’t despair—you can register at any time and vote in any election that takes place at least 30 days later. As long as you register by October 11, you will still be eligible to vote in the November general election.

You can register to vote in Texas at your county voter registrar’s office. Three deputy voter registrars are also available at the UNT Libraries: Julie Leuzinger in Willis Library, and Robbie Sittel and Bobby Griffith in the Eagle Commons Library in Sycamore Hall. You may also obtain a voter registration application online, fill it out, and mail it to your local county voter registrar.

Student voters may be uncertain about where they should be registered, since many have a family residence at one location but are living temporarily at or near the campus where they attend school. In general, you should be registered to vote in the county you consider to be your permanent residence. If you consider your parents’ address to be your permanent residence, you may register to vote in that county. If you would like to register to vote at your college address you may do so, but you can’t be registered at both places at the same time. If you’re registered in Texas but won’t be around to vote in person, you may vote early by mail. If you’re registered in another state but live in Texas, you might be able to switch your registration to the Texas county where you currently reside; otherwise, ask the election office in your state about their absentee voting policies.

If you’re not sure whether you are registered to vote, you can search the Texas Voter Registration database or, if you might be registered in another state, search the Can I Vote database.

Educate Yourself

As James Madison once wrote, “A popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.”  Before attending any election, take time to educate yourself about the parties, the candidates, and the issues, so that you can make a responsible and informed decision. There are many sources of information, not all of which are reliable, and sorting through them can seem overwhelming. Here are just a few Web sites that can help you become an informed voter:

Vote!

You don’t have to wait until the official day of an election to vote. Avoid the lines and fit your voting responsibilities in with your busy schedule by voting early on a day that is convenient for you. In Texas you can vote in person any time between the 17th day and the 4th day before election day, and no excuse or special qualifications are necessary. You may vote at any of the designated early voting locations in your county. Early voting for the 2016 Texas Primary takes place from February 16 to February 26. If you are 65 or older, disabled, in jail, or expect to be out of the county on election day, you may vote early by mail.

If you choose to vote on the official election day, you must vote at the polling site assigned to your specific voting precinct. The number of your precinct appears on your Voting Registration Certificate. You can also find out the number of your precinct by calling the Denton County Elections Administration at (940) 349-3200, or by searching the Voter Registration Database.

You don’t have to have your Voting Registration Certificate with you to vote, but voters in Texas (except those voting by mail and those with certain disabilities) are now required to present an approved form of photo ID to vote in any Texas election. If you don’t have a photo ID, you may request an Election Identification Certificate (EIC) from the Department of Public Safety to use as a substitute. More information about the photo ID requirement is available from VoteTexas.gov.

In addition to the photo ID (which is required) and the Voting Registration Certificate (which is highly recommended), you may wish to bring to the election a sample ballot that you have marked ahead of time to remind you of which choices you intend to make.

Denton County voters are advised to search their names in the Voter Lookup to obtain a convenient summary of just about everything you will need to be an effective and responsible voter:

  • your personal information, such as address, precinct, and voter ID number
  • your current elected officials
  • dates, polling places, and sample ballots for any elections you are qualified to vote in

Would You Like to Know More?

If you have any questions or concerns about voting or the upcoming elections, we are here to help you at the Eagle Commons Library Government Information Connection.

You can also find more information about elections, candidates, and issues at these Web sites:

 

Article by Bobby Griffith.

Vote Banner courtesy of wpclipart, a source of free, public-domain images.

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The University of North Texas Libraries are proud to unveil Mean Green Mapped!

Mean Green Mapped is an interactive web map utilizing GIS software to illustrate UNT’s history through photographs and other media. Using historic maps, aerials and photographs, we seek to generate interest in the resources available at UNT Libraries and to commemorate UNT’s 125 years of service to students and community. By creating this project, we also hope to show the benefits of GIS services in the library.

Using the ArcGIS Online platform, visitors will interact with a web map to see points of buildings, both existing and historic, in their place in time. Wherever possible, historic photographs, modern photographs, and a handful of architectural renderings provide the context for a dynamic campus. For example, it is interesting to think about campus culture (and clothing) by comparing one photo of a “dorm mother” from Bruce Hall in the 1940s to contemporary campus life. Using the time slider, the web map is set up so that viewers can watch campus change in two year increments. Historic maps dating back to 1891 complement the photographic history by putting campus in its place. This Sanborn map of Denton from 1917 is just one of sanborn map of Dentonseveral early maps included in Mean Green Mapped. We have maps for more or less every decade, except for the years around the Great Depression and WWII. Some maps are not included in the web map because they were drawn at an oblique angle and, thus, cannot be manipulated to fit well into a GIS system. oblique map of UNT campusThe Bulletin from 1968, at right, is a perfect example of a great mapping resource… that we cannot easily put on the web map.

Another purpose of Mean Green Mapped is to make history fun and interesting. For example, did you know that UNT owns a former Nike nuclear missile base? While the Cold War ended before most current undergraduate students were born, the vestiges of that period of time are still around, sometimes in unexpected ways and places.

By the time you’ve read this, the first round of Mean Green Mapped has now gone live. There are many, many more resources that could have been incorporated. However, we wanted to get this first round up for you — the UNT and north Texas community — to use and, as a not-so-secret hope, to contribute some of your own photos and memories. It’s a proven fact that the more contributions we have, the more interesting Mean Green Mapped will be!

Tell Us More: If you have photographs or stories you would like to share, please contact: gis@unt.edu

In the meantime, we will continue to explore and expand resources as they are identified. We also acknowledge that there may be gaps in the data or conflicting information based upon currently identified data. While every effort was made to ensure accuracy of data, the quality of information varies and accuracy cannot be guaranteed. After all, history itself is imperfect. Therefore, this project is intended to be a living document that brings together the collective resources of the UNT Libraries, alumni and the Denton community. For example, in the next phase of the project, one element we would like to include is music samples to enrich the photography and maps we already have. UNT has a world-renowned music program, notably jazz, which is integral to UNT’s identity.

Fouts Field aerial photoMean Green Mapped did not happen by itself. Historical information, data, maps, and photography have been provided by the UNT Libraries. A special thank you goes to the UNT Libraries Special Collections team for providing access to archival materials. Denton County provided historic aerials from 1958 (see image of the newly built Fouts Field and I-35E), 1964 and 1990; TNRIS provided historic aerials for X years; the USDA NAIP program provided contemporary aerials. The UNT Libraries Digital Projects Unit provided assistance by digitizing archival materials, which will be made publicly available on the Portal to Texas History. Modern photography has been provided by UNT’s Division of University Relations, Communications and Marketing (URCM). Hardware and software support has been provided by UNT Libraries Technology and Computer Operations (Lib-TACO) and UNT Facilities. Support for Mean Green Mapped has also come from a 2015 Green Light to Greatness grant award.

Resources

La Forte, Robert S., and Richard L. Himmel. Down the corridor of years: A centennial history of the University of North Texas in photographs, 1890-1990. 1st ed. Denton: University of North Texas Press, 1989.

Rogers, James L. 2002. The story of North Texas: From Texas Normal College, 1890, to the University of North Texas system, 2001. Denton: University of North Texas Press, 2002.

“The Portal to Texas History.” University of North Texas Libraries. Last modified September 29, 2015. http://texashistory.unt.edu/

“University Libraries.” University of North Texas Libraries. Accessed October 09, 2015. http://www.library.unt.edu/

“University Relations, Communications & Marketing.” University Relations, Communications & Marketing. Accessed October 09, 2015. http://urcm.unt.edu/

Article by Douglas Burns

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View of Capitol Dome from Smithsonian American Indian MuseumIn 1990 President George H. W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating November 1990 “National American Indian Heritage Month.” Similar proclamations, under variants on the name (including “Native American Heritage Month” and “National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month”) have been issued each year since 1994. Most recently, President Obama issued a presidential proclamation declaring National Native American Heritage Month in November 2015.

The following agencies have all joined together to pay tribute to the rich ancestry and traditions of Native Americans:

Here are some of the most popular federal government publications related to Native American culture:

Indian Reading Series

In 1972, the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory received funding from the National Institute of Education for the development of a community-based reading and language arts program especially for Indian children. Twelve Northwest Indian reservations actively participated in the program from its beginning. For the next 11 years, the NWREL Indian Reading & Language Development Program produced 140 culturally relevant stories written by local Indian authors and illustrated by Indian artists.

The result of this work was a unique supplementary reading and language development program for Indian and non-Indian children. The materials were authenticated by the participating tribes and field tested with over 1200 Indian and non-Indian children in 93 classrooms throughout the Northwest.

We, the First Americans

This U.S. Census publication provides a descriptive profile of the American Indian and Alaska Native populations. Characteristics such as population size, family composition, education, labor force status, occupation, income, and poverty status are presented in three sections:

  • Characteristics of the American Indian, Eskimo, and Aleut Population
  • Characteristics of the American Indian, Eskimo, and Aleut Population on 10 Largest Reservations and Trust Lands
  • Characteristics of the Alaska Native Population (American Indians, Eskimos, and Aleuts) in Alaska

The most recent profile of Native American populations, based on the 2010 Census, is available online at the Bureau of the Census Web site under the title The American Indian and Alaska Native Population: 2010.

Many Nations: A Library of Congress Resource Guide for the Study of Indian and Alaska Native Peoples of the United States

The Library of Congress has a wealth of information on North American Indian people but does not have a separate collection or section devoted to them. This guide aims to help the researcher to encounter Indian people through the Library’s collections and to enhance the Library staff’s own ability to assist with that encounter.

The guide is arranged by collections or divisions within the Library and focuses on American Indian and Alaska Native peoples within the United States. Each section includes an introductory description, information on using the collections and their reading room, and descriptions or annotations for selected books and collections.

Handbook of North American Indians

This is a 20 volume encyclopedia of North American Indians to be published over a period of several years. When completed, the Handbook will give an encyclopedic summary of what is known about the prehistory, history, and cultures of the aboriginal peoples of North America who lived north of the urban civilizations of central Mexico. Each volume in this set is independent of the other volumes and contains separate chapters on all the tribes within a geographic area.

Most of the contributing authors are scholars, anthropologist and historians, but the articles are written for the general public, as well as for teachers, students, researchers, and the Native American people themselves.

Bulletins and Annual Reports of the Bureau of American Ethnology

The Bureau of American Ethnology (originally, Bureau of Ethnology) was established in 1879 by an act of Congress for the purpose of transferring archives, records and materials relating to the Indians of North America from the Interior Department to the Smithsonian Institution.

Under the leadership of the Bureau’s founding director, John Wesley Powell, the Bureau promoted the burgeoning discipline of anthropology by producing documentation (published mostly in its bulletins and annual reports), through text and illustrations, of Native American history, culture and linguistics of a depth rarely seen today. This work lasted nearly a century and played a defining role in the development of American anthropology as a discipline.

Bulletins no. 1–24 from the Bureau of Ethnology and the Bulletins 25–200 from the Bureau of American Ethnology are available online from the Biodiversity Heritage Library Web site.

Annual Reports for the years 1879 to 1894 from the Bureau of Ethnology and Annual Reports for the years 1895 to 1964 from the Bureau of American Ethnology are also available online from the Biodiversity Heritage Library Web site.

Cohen’s Handbook of Federal Indian Law

As Assistant Solicitor at Interior in the late 1930s, Felix Cohen undertook the herculean task of compiling and organizing a century and a half of treaties, statutes, judicial opinions, and administrative rulings on Indian law. His handbook, first published in 1941, provided a coherent statement of rights based on tribal and has become known as the “bible” of federal law related to Native Americans.

In the early fifties, the federal government assumed a new policy of terminating all tribes and ending federal services to Indians. The Department of the Interior under Eisenhower suppressed Cohen’s original version of the Handbook and issued a “revised” and expurgated version in 1958. The 1958 edition stressed the plenary power of the federal government over Indians and Indian tribes and de-emphasized tribal sovereignty, which was seen as a thorn in the side of the federal government.

The federal courts have exploited these differences in tone to support various points of view. For example, the Supreme Court majority opinion in the infamous Nevada v. Hicks decision in 2001 cites the anti-sovereignty edition of the handbook, while the authors of the dissenting opinion cite the original.

Congress mandated an updating of the work in the Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968, and the project was finally completed with substantially new content in 1982.

Another edition was begun in 1993 and published by LexisNexis Matthew Bender in 2005. The editors promise that this latest edition will be updated every two years. This latest edition is available online to the UNT community through LexisNexis Academic.

Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties

Compiled and edited by Charles J. Kappler

This is a historically significant, seven volume compilation of U.S. treaties, laws and executive orders pertaining to Native American Indian tribes. Volume II covers U.S. Government treaties with Native Americans from 1778-1883. The other volumes cover U.S. laws and executive orders concerning Native Americans from 1871-1970. The work was first published in 1903-04 by the U.S. Government Printing Office. Enhanced by the editors’ use of margin notations and a comprehensive index, the information contained in Kappler’s Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties (often referred to as “Kappler’s”) is in high demand by Native peoples, researchers, journalists, attorneys, legislators, teachers and others of both Native and non-Native origins.

Indian Health Service

The Indian Health Service (IHS), an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services, is responsible for providing federal health services to American Indians and Alaska Natives.

The provision of health services to members of federally-recognized tribes grew out of the special government-to-government relationship between the federal government and Indian tribes. This relationship, established in 1787, is based on Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, and has been given form and substance by numerous treaties, laws, Supreme Court decisions, and Executive Orders.

The HIS is the principal federal health care provider and health advocate for Indian people, and its goal is to raise their health status to the highest possible level. The HIS currently provides health services to approximately 1.9 million American Indians and Alaska Natives who belong to 566 federally recognized tribes in 35 states.

We hope you will explore these and other resources to learn more about these rich and diverse cultures. Please don’t hesitate to contact the UNT Government Information Connection if you need help with locating resources or doing research related to this topic.

Article by Bobby Griffith

Photo: View of Capitol Dome from Smithsonian American Indian Museum by Architect of the Capitol

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nvrd-logoToday is National Voter Registration Day. If you are not yet registered to vote, take this special opportunity to prepare so that you will be eligible to participate in the next election.

Two Denton County deputized voter registrars, Robbie Sittel and Julie Leuzinger, will be registering new Denton County voters, helping with changes of address, providing information on mail-in ballots, and answering election-related questions on Tuesday, September 22 in the following locations on the UNT campus:

Kerr Hall Lobby       10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Rawlins Hall Lobby  6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

It’s Never Too Late to Register

National Voter Registration Day isn’t the only time to register! You can register to vote any time, although your Texas voter registration will not become effective until 30 days after your application is received (or on your 18th birthday).

UNT students, faculty, and staff can contact Robbie Sittel or Bobby Griffith at the Eagle Commons Library, or Julie Leuzinger at Willis Library, to schedule an alternative time. We are also available to come to classes to talk about voter registration and register students at any time during the semester. Help us spread the word by sharing with your departments.

You can also register by mail, but be aware that your application must be received by October 5, 2015 to vote in the upcoming November 3, 2015 constitutional amendment election in Texas.

  • Use the National Mail Voter Registration Form to register to vote, update your registration information with a new name or address, or register with a political party in any state in the U.S.
  • Eligible Texas residents may register to vote by mail by filling in a Texas voter registration application online or in paper and mailing it to the Voter Registrar in your county of residence.
  • If you wish to vote absentee and are a uniformed service member or family member or a citizen living outside the U.S., contact the Federal Voting Assistance Program to register to vote.

Do You Want to Know More?

The National Voter Registration Day Web site has information about the origin and history of this special day, information on registering to vote, lists of special events going on in your area, and resources to help you spread the word about National Voter Registration Day via social media and e-mail.

Most questions about voting in Texas can be answered by going to http://votetexas.gov/

The League of Women Voters has provided information about voting in every state of the U.S. at Vote411.org . Enter your address in their database to obtain personalized voting information. You will be able to see the races on your ballot, compare candidates’ positions, and print out a “ballot” to keep track of your preferences—you can even take it with you into the polling booth as a reminder on Election Day!  Information for military and overseas voters is also available here:  https://vote411.overseasvotefoundation.org/vote/eod.htm

The UNT Libraries Web site lists many resources useful to voters. The following are especially relevant:

  • Civic Engagement Portal: Learn how to become active in your nation, your state, your local community, and at UNT.
  • Elections Portal: Register to vote and find information on candidates for national, state, and local elections.
  • Politics and Elected Officials: Information about politicians and their activities; elections, campaigns, and voting; and political activism.
  • Political Science: Resources available from the UNT Libraries related to the study of politics and government.

Visit the Government Documents Department in the Eagle Commons Library to find out more information about voting and elections.

Article by Bobby Griffith.

Logo from the National Voter Registration Day Web site.