Tuesday, July 31, 2007


The Whereabill (discussed in the Garvin column mentioned in previous post) is a rare bird that shows WHERE a bill becomes a law, and where it may have wandered along its way. Could be an amusing teaching aid for IRC folks and diplomats who are still in the business of explaining the U.S. legislative process to students and educators.

Insanely useful government websites

A recent posting by the Sunlight Foundation on "insanely useful [government] websites" has inspired Peggy Garvin to write about those sites and some others in her July 27 "Government Domain" column at LLRX.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Government Innovators Network

(an interesting post from Neat New Stuff)
"The news media never talk about government when it's working well, but in
fact, state, local, and regional government agencies are coming up with
thousands of ideas for better service to their communities. You can find
documents, news stories, multimedia, awards, and upcoming events about
them here. Search or browse through broad categories or through
Innovation Awards. (A search for LIBRARIES retrieved nearly 300 items.)"

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Madison Avenue principles for hearts and minds

This sounds vaguely familiar; a new Rand report suggests that Madison Avenue advertising principles might be effective in winning hearts and minds around the world. "Enlisting Madison Avenue: 'The Marketing Approach to Earning Popular Support in Theaters of Operation' extracts lessons from business practices and adapts them to U.S. military efforts in a unique approach to shaping the attitudes and behavior of local populations in a theater of operations. Foremost among these lessons are the concepts of branding, customer satisfaction, and segmentation of the target audience, all of which serve to maximize the impact and improve the outcome of U.S. shaping efforts. Enlisting Madison Avenue also offers insights based on previous operational endeavors to provide a much-expanded blueprint for shaping target audiences."

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

web2.0 forum

For more on the issues raised by Andrew Keen in Cult of the Amateur, visit the Britannica blog's lively forum on web2.0 One of the bloggers, can you believe it, is that unrelenting ridiculer of blogs Michael Gorman - has he found his medium at last?! Gorman's opinionated rants would surely not get a hearing in the refereed and scholarly world he calls home, but he enriches the blogosphere with his contributions - always amusing and well-written, and occasionally insightful.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

GAO Public Diplomacy report

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report yesterday to Senator Richard Lugar on the evolving strategic communications and public diplomacy initiatives at the U.S. Departments of State and Defense, and the Broadcasting Board of Governors. As one might expect of an accountability(formerly accounting) office, emphasis is on measurable results - no touchy-feely stuff. A buzzword is "campaign-style", and one of the recommendations for the State Department is to "Formally endorse and adopt a research-based campaign-style approach to thematic communications." The State Department responds to the report by suggesting that its own “ABCDE” communication process model - a planning tool that can be used to think through the message and the best way to deliver it to a target audience - is essentially the kind of campaign-style approach the GAO is asking for. The ABCDE model is explained/exemplified (not very clearly) in the new PD Strategy document that was posted here last month.

Cult of the Amateur

Andrew Keen's new book "The Cult of the Amateur" takes a dim view of the erosion of authority that is the hallmark of web2.0 - everyone a publisher, anyone an expert. His views are not unlike those former ALA president Michael Gorman set forth in an article on blogs a few years ago, which did little to endear him to web2.0-happy librarians. The Wall Street Journal recently carried a debate between Keen and David Weinberger (author of "Everything is Miscellaneous") which nicely illuminates the pros and cons of the matter. See also Michiko Kakutani's review in the New York Times

Friday, July 13, 2007

State government information

Peggy Garvin provides a useful overview of state government information resources at the LLRX.com website. And while you're at it, check out Sabrina Pacifici's Competitive Intelligence - A Selective Resource Guide

Opportunity 08

Brookings and ABC News have partnered to create Opportunity08, a website that focuses on issues that will shape the 2008 presidential election. Here's how Opportunity 08 describes itself: "Voters say they want to hear more from candidates about the issues and less about partisan politics. As we enter a presidential race with wide-open primaries in both political parties and enormous debate about the direction for the country, there is a unique opportunity to discuss solutions to America’s most pressing policy challenges. Opportunity 08 aims to help presidential candidates and the public focus on critical issues facing the nation, providing ideas, policy forums, and information on a broad range of domestic and foreign policy questions."


You read about Legistorm's salary database here last November, and here's information about the travel database (if you've been wondering what those CODELS do - and buy - when they come to town, here's your chance to find out);
"Our travel database contains roughly 27,000 trips and provides a unique window into how private organizations are trying to gain influence in Washington. No other source of congressional trip data is as comprehensive or accurate or provides the users the same ability to view the original documents.

What's more, you can perform full searching, view each original disclosure form and check out maps of the trips. If that's not enough to keep you interested, we have identified which trips took place at a time and location coinciding with major events - like the Superbowl or Mardi Gras - which may have provided additional travel incentive.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Voter Watch

from Neat New Stuff...
VoterWatch - the Congressional Record You Always Wanted
Because the Congressional Record is not a faithful representation of what
occurs on the floor of Congress, this "nonpartisan nonprofit
organization" has created this searchable database of videos of Congress
at work. Browse by date or topic, or search by keyword of member of
Congress or both.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

PBS series America at a Crossroads

In the site's own words...
"America at a Crossroads is a major public television event that premiered on PBS in April 2007. This ongoing series explores the challenges confronting the post-9/11 world — including the war on terrorism; the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan; the experience of American troops serving abroad; the struggle for balance within the Muslim world; and global perspectives on America’s role overseas."

A program dealing with anti-Americanism in Europe will air in August and examine perceptions of the U.S. role in the world in France, UK and Poland.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Anti-Americanism in Europe

This CBN program looks at anti-Americanism in European media. The site also links to two sites that might be useful for information on European anti-Americanism, Gateway Pundit and David Medienkritic. Obviously these sites and CBC have a clear political agenda, but I found some of the information to be quite interesting, particularly the interview with "Uncouth Nation" author Andre Markovits at http://medienkritik.typepad.com/blog/

web2.0 for the classroom

Here's a review of some web2.0 applications that are useful teaching tools.

Britannica Blog

Here's a blog with some interesting writers and forums...
"Britannica Blog is a place for smart, lively conversations about a broad range of topics. Art, science, history, current events – it’s all grist for the mill. We’ve given our writers encouragement and a lot of freedom, so the opinions here are theirs, not the company’s. Please jump in and add your own thoughts."

Monday, July 02, 2007

Podcast tools (page & RSS feed)

For some easily accessible tips 'n tricks you could do worse to check out and subscribe to
Podcasttools.com . There's an iTunes feed (search for "paul colligan" or "podcast tools weekly update") to get a 5-minute blurb every week. The site provides podcast notes and some useful hints. His site is a useful one to keep an eye on too.