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Weekly News Digest

March 14, 2011 — In addition to this week's NewsBreaks article and the monthly NewsLink Spotlight, Information Today, Inc. (ITI) offers Weekly News Digests that feature recent product news and company announcements. Watch for additional coverage to appear in the next print issue of Information Today. For other up-to-the-minute news, check out ITIís Twitter account: @ITINewsBreaks.

CLICK HERE to view more Weekly News Digest items.

Organizations Support Free Online Access to CRS Reports

More than 30 organizations concerned with government openness and accountability, including ALA, ARL, and SLA, sent a letter to the U.S. Librarian of Congress, James H. Billington, urging him to appoint a Director of the Congressional Research Service (CRS) who will work with Congress to provide online free public access to the unclassified, non-confidential, taxpayer-funded reports produced by CRS.

The letter states:

The public needs access to these non-confidential CRS reports in order to discharge their civic duties. American taxpayers spend over $100 million a year to fund the CRS, which generates detailed reports relevant to current political events for lawmakers. But while the reports are non-classified, and play a critical role in our legislative process, they have never been made available in a consistent and official way to members of the public.

Predictably, to fill the public void left by the CRS, several private companies now sell copies of these reports at a price. This means that non-confidential CRS reports are readily available to lobbyists, executives and others who can afford to pay. Meanwhile, the vast majority of people lack the information necessary to even request reports from their Members of Congress.

Here is a list of the organizations that signed:

American Association of Law Libraries

American Library Association

American Society of News Editors

Association of Research Libraries

Bill of Rights Defense Committee


Center for Democracy and Technology

Center for Media and Democracy

Center for Responsive Politics

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW)

Defending Dissent Foundation, Inc.

Essential Information

Federation of American Scientists

Free Government Information

Government Accountability Project (GAP)

Knowledge Ecology International

Liberty Coalition

National Coalition Against Censorship

National Freedom of Information Coalition

National Security Counselors

No More Guantanamos

OMB Watch

Point of Order

Project On Government Oversight (POGO)

Public Citizen

Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press


Society of Academic Law Library Directors

Society of Professional Journalists

Special Libraries Association

Sunlight Foundation

University of Missouri Freedom of Information Center

Washington Coalition for Open Government

Source: SLA

Send correspondence concerning the Weekly News Digest to NewsBreaks Editor Brandi Scardilli

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