Reinventing (Open) Government:
State and Federal Trends

ABSTRACT and CONTENTS page.
DRAFT as returned to Government Information Quarterly, May 26, 1995: Version 8.
Published as:
"Reinventing (Open) Government: State and Federal Trends."
Government Information Quarterly, 12(4):427-455 (Fall 1995).

Jeremy R. T. Lewis
PhD, MA, Johns Hopkins University
MA, BA, Oxford University

Associate Professor of Political Science
Huntingdon College, 1500 East Fairview Ave,
Montgomery AL 36106

ABSTRACT:

Federal open records laws, executive orders on national security classification, and similar policy instruments in the states require that most records at government agencies be available to the public upon request -- subject to exemptions which may entail review. Traditionally this review has been accomplished by redaction (purging) of hardcopy. Resource limitations and increases in the number of requests demand a re-thinking of the process. Offices are experimenting with optical scanning, onscreen purging, and online dissemination. Statutory and common law trends may soon require disclosure of database reports in electronic form, when so requested, rather than printouts. The dissemination of manipulable data of commercial value requires a rationale broader than the "citizenship rights" that justified the Freedom of Information Act. Online publication of agency controlled records also demands careful planning of information systems and public networks. The issues discussed in this article are central to the establishment of an adequate policy for electronic freedom of information.

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

 
 THE POLITICAL ENVIRONMENT FOR ONLINE PUBLIC DATA.
  A New Policy Cycle is Initiated in Freedom of Information.
   Electronic FOIA Investigations in Congress.
   Electronic FOIA Bills in Congress.
  Transition in the White House, 1992-1994.
   Executive Reaction to the Senate’s Electronic FOIA Proposals.
   Clinton Administration Policy on FOIA Issues.
  Leadership Transition in Congress, 1994-1995.
   A Side Issue: Extension of the FOIA to Congressional Records.

 THE LEGAL ENVIRONMENT OF ‘ELECTRONIC’ RECORDS
  Purpose and Scope of the FOIA.
  Definition of Agency Records.
  Database Protection Issues.

 STATE GOVERNMENT TRENDS IN PUBLIC INFORMATION
  Copyright and Intellectual Property Issues
  Public-Private Articulation Issues
  Personal Privacy Issues
  Liability Issues
  Miscellaneous Issues
   New Information System Design

 TOWARDS ELECTRONIC FOIA PROCESSING
  Changes Needed in Government Information Procedures.
  Costs and Benefits of Online FOIA Processing
  Obstacles to Digital FOIA Processing Systems

 NASCENT FEDERAL ONLINE PUBLIC INFORMATION SYSTEMS
  Interagency Declassification Review: Planning a System -- (b)(1)
  Online Publication in Federal Register -- (a)(1)
  Online Public Inspection and Copying -- (a)(2)
   Securities and Exchange Commission: Edgar database -- (a)(2)
  Onscreen Redaction of Requested Documents -- (a)(3)
   State Department: Redac and Inform Systems -- (a)(3) & (a)(2)
   Social Security’s Correspondence System -- (a)(3)
   Justice Department: Juris Database -- (a)(3)

 CONCLUSION

 NOTES AND REFERENCES