News Notes


DATA.GOV GETS A BOOST - In a directive from the Office of Management and Budget, all federal agencies have been ordered to place at least three high-value and not previously available datasets online within the next 45 days, and register them at DATA.GOV. This has the potential to start changing the landscape on public data availability, and it's just the beginning. Read the entire directive here.

GOOGLE TAKES STOCK - Word has it that Google Product Search (formerly Froogle) will soon start offering retail store inventory information, both in online and mobile formats. Find the vendor, find the nearest location, see if the product is in stock - this is powerful stuff. Intriguingly, Google is playing catch-up in the retail inventory space, as a number of fierce competitors roll out similar offerings. And where B2C leads, B2B will surely follow.

THERE OUGHT TO BE A LAW - A blogger has unearthed the fascinating fact that the U.S. Department of Justice spends well over $4 million buying public domain court decisions from the federal court system each year, using a creaky online site called PACER. Apparently the federal courts rake in over $50 million annually selling public documents to the public (and those other pesky co-equal branches of government). Don't like it? Tell it to the judge. Of course, being the federal government, there's even more to this story. Since PACER doesn't have comprehensive case coverage, the U.S. Department of Justice also pays legal publishing giant Thomson-West $5 million a year to get access to the rest of those cases.

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