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Freedom of Information Day at SIBL - Presentations from Past Years


The sunlight of my heart / words and music by M.J. Fitzpatrick., Digital ID 1256611, New York Public Library"Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants." This banner quotation so often used in connection with the issue of transparency in goverment was written by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis (pictured below) in Harper's Weekly, December 20, 1913 (before he was nominated to the court). [This quote can be viewed in the NYPL database Oxford Reference Online (available from home with a library card). Although NYPL has a database covering old copies of Harper's Weekly, coverage ends with 1912 so the original source for this quote isn't part of that collection].

As we get closer to our FOI Day program on March 16th, I thought this would be a good opportunity to shine a little sunlight on NYPL's past Freedom of Information Days at SIBL. So here are some quick descriptions of the programs for our last two years, plus a list of speakers and presentation titles going back a bit further:

  • Louis D. Brandeis, Associate Justice of the United States Supreme CourtLouis D. Brandeis, Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court2010 - Heather Joseph, Executive Director, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, (SPARC): “Open Access, Open Scholarship – Open Future.” A discussion about the growing momentum towards Open Access—the idea that society is best served when the results of research and scholarship are made immediately, freely available online to anyone who may want to access and use them.
  • 2009 - Rashmi Vasisht, manager of program development for the New York State Attorney General’s Intergovernmental and Community Affairs Bureau: “Project Sunlight: Public Integrity and Information in New York State.” A presentation about the Attorney General’s initiatives promoting New York citizens’ right to know and to monitor governmental decision-making.

Earlier years:

  • Barbara Jones, the Wesleyan University Librarian: "Freedom of Information: an International Perspective."
  • Dr. Patrice McDermott, Director, "Taking Back Access to Government Information."
  • Corey Stoughton, New York Civil Liberties Union Staff Attorney: "The Spy Files Project: Using the Freedom of Information Act to Uncover Government Surveillance of Political and Religious Groups."
  • Rick Blum, Coordinator,; Director, Freedom of Information Project, OMB Watch: "Freedom Brings Security: Rules of an Open Government (and Why We Keep Ignoring Them)."
  • Judith Russell, United States Superintendent of Documents: "Free Access vs. On-Demand Approaches to Government Information."
  • Rebecca Daugherty, FOI Service Center Director, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press: "Twin Veils of Secrecy."
  • Steven L. Clift, Director of Democracies Online: "Electronic Democracy and Government Information: Do Libraries have a Role?"
  • Seth Shulman, a science journalist: "Privatization of Knowledge."
  • Michael Di Mario, United States Public Printer: "Recent and Forthcoming GPO Initiatives that will Facilitate Access to Government Information."
  • Panel: "Access to Government Information: Is Government Information Really Public?" - James P. Love, Director, Taxpayers Assets Project; and Lucinda Sikes, Director, The Freedom of Information Clearinghouse.
  • Panel: "Access to Government Information: Right to Know and Security/Privacy: Is there a Balance?" Walter Fee, New York Newsday; Robert Freeman, NY State Committee on Open Government; and Peter Slocum, NY State Department of Health.

Next time—more details about our March 16th speaker and presentation...


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