Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Better Life Index

In yet another of my data is fun series, I bring you the OECD's Better Life Index. What makes your life good? Is it a strong educational system? Good health care? Strong Income? Or maybe a nice work-life balance? The OECD has taken the statistics for the 34 member countries and lets you determine which country matches your rankings, you can use all of the indicators I just mentioned plus a few more. It is a ton of fun.

For all of you who would rather watch a video, how about these two?

This first video is on the index linked above, but if you have no idea who the OECD is and want a longer look at why they are doing this, this second video is great.

I learned that the OECD was formed out of the Marshal Plan from that video. What did you learn? What do you value most in your better life index?

Want to know more about what the OECD has to offer? Why not check out the library's guide.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

GAO Reports and Releases

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) which is often called the investigative arm of Congress. This set of publications from GAO investigates the environment, post office, government spending, and many other issues. If you would like to know more about GAO, check out the library's guide.

  • Joint Strike Fighter: Restructuring Places Program on Firmer Footing, but Progress Is Still Lagging, by Michael Sullivan, director, acquisition and sourcing management, before the Senate Committee on Armed Services. GAO-11-677T, May 19.

    Highlights - 
  • United States Postal Service: Strategy Needed to Address Aging Delivery Fleet, by Phillip Herr, director, physical infrastructure issues, before the Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, Federal Services, and International Security, Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. GAO-11-671T, May 17.

    Highlights -
  • Federal Recovery Coordination Program: Enrollment, Staffing, and Care Coordination Pose Significant Challenges, by Randall B. Williamson, director, health care, before the Subcommittee on Health, House Committee on Veterans' Affairs. GAO-11-572T, May 13.
  • Mortgage Foreclosures: Documentation Problems Reveal Need for Ongoing Regulatory Oversight, by A. Nicole Clowers, acting director, financial markets and community investment, before the Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation, and Community Development, Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. GAO-11-649T, May 12.
  • Federal Workers' Compensation: Issues Associated with Changing Benefits for Older Beneficiaries, by Daniel Bertoni, director, education, workforce, and income security issues, before the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections, House Committee on Education and the Workforce. GAO-11-655T, May 12.
  • Employment and Training Programs: Providing Information on Colocating Services and Consolidating Administrative Structures, by Andrew Sherrill, director, education, workforce, and income security issues, before the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training, House Committee on Education and the Workforce. GAO-11-645T, May 11.
  • Space Acquisitions: DOD Delivering New Generations of Satellites, but Space System Acquisition Challenges Remain, by Cristina T. Chaplain, director, acquisition and sourcing management, before the Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, Senate Committee on Armed Services. GAO-11-590T, May 11.

    Highlights - 
  • Hospital Emergency Departments: Health Center Strategies That May Help Reduce Their Use, by Debra A. Draper, director, health care, before the Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging, Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. GAO-11-643T, May 11.
  • Information Technology: Department of Veterans Affairs Faces Ongoing Management Challenges, by Joel C. Willemssen, managing director, information technology, before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, House Committee on Veterans' Affairs. GAO-11-663T, May 11.

    Highlights - 
  • Managing for Results: GPRA Modernization Act Provides Important Opportunities to Address Government Challenges, by Gene L. Dodaro, before subcommittees of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. GAO-11-617T, May 10.

    Highlights - 
  • Transportation Worker Identification Credential: Internal Control Weaknesses Need to Be Corrected to Help Achieve Security Objectives, by Stephen M. Lord, director, homeland security and justice issues, before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. GAO-11-648T, May 10.
  • Commercial Space Transportation: Industry Trends and Key Issues Affecting Federal Oversight and International Competitiveness, by Gerald L. Dillingham, director, physical infrastructure issues, before the Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics, House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. GAO-11-629T, May 5.

    Highlights - 
  • Budget Process: Enforcing Fiscal Choices, by Susan J. Irving, director for federal budget analysis, strategic issues, before the Senate Committee on Finance. GAO-11-626T, May 4.
  • Recovery Act: Use of Transportation Funds, Outcomes, and Lessons Learned, by Phillip R. Herr, director, physical infrastructure, before the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. GAO-11-610T, May 4.

    Highlights - 
  • Recovery Act: Preliminary Observations on the Use of Funds for Clean and Drinking Water Projects, by David C. Trimble, acting director, natural resources and environment, before the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. GAO-11-642T, May 4.

    Highlights - 
  • Military and Veterans Disability System: Worldwide Deployment of Integrated System Warrants Careful Monitoring, by Daniel Bertoni, director, education, workforce, and income security issues, before the Subcommittee on National Security, Homeland Defense, and Foreign Operations, House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. GAO-11-633T, May 4.
  • VA Health Care: Weaknesses in Policies and Oversight Governing Medical Equipment Pose Risks to Veterans' Safety, by Randall B. Williamson, director, health care, before the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs. GAO-11-591T, May 3.
    Presentations by the Comptroller General
    • The Role of the U.S. Government Accountability Office, by Gene L. Dodaro, comptroller general of the United States, before the House Democracy Partnership for members of parliament from Indonesia, Iraq, Lebanon, and Pakistan, in Washington, D.C. GAO-11-479CG, March 31, 2011 
    • Opportunities to Strengthen Government Performance and Enhance Auditor Communication, by Gene L. Dodaro, comptroller general of the United States, before the annual conference of the Council of Inspectors General for Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE), in Washington, D.C. GAO-11-644CG, May 4, 2011
    • Meeting the Fiscal and Management Challenges Facing Government, by Gene L. Dodaro, comptroller general of the United States, before the annual conference of the Joint Financial Management Improvement Program (JFMIP), in Washington, D.C. GAO-11-665CG, May 9, 2011
    • GPRA Modernization Act Implementation Provides Important Opportunities to Address Government Challenges, by Gene L. Dodaro, comptroller general of the United States, before the spring symposium of the American Association for Budget and Program Analysis (AABPA), in Washington, D.C. GAO-11-679CG, May 11, 2011
    Special Publication

      Monday, May 23, 2011

      If You Can't Survive a Zombie Apocalypse, Don't Blame the CDC

      With most of the socially networked nation worried about the Rapture this past weekend, word spread that the Centers for Disease Control was offering help toward a different kind of crisis (or at least one only semi-related): The Zombie Apocalypse.

      Brains are not suggested by the CDC for inclusion in an emergency preparedness kit.

      Linked from their Health Matters blog, and the general CDC Emergency Preparedness and Response page, the guide is very cleverly disguised plea to the public to create a disaster plan that includes family emergency supplies and medications, as well as options for meeting places, emergency contacts, and evacuation routes.

      Get A Kit, Make A Plan, Be Prepared.

      The framing of the issue is humorous and informative, but as yesterday's tornado in Joplin, Missouri and other recent events show, a little funny now might save you substantial grief later.

      Thursday, May 19, 2011

      Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports

      Congressional Research Service (CRS) is a research agency of Congress and writes reports at Congress' request. These short reports (usually 10-40 pages long) cover recent topics of concern. This month brings us reports on the earthquakes, flooding, middle east protests, and much more. Although these reports are in the public domain, there is no central database available to the public. To get a copy of a CRS report, you can request it from your senator or representative. These reports were discovered by Open CRS and Secrecy News:
      Interested in historical CRS reports? If you are here at the Boulder campus, check out the LexisNexis Congressional database, which has reports dating back to 1916.

      Not on campus but still want access to additional reports? The library has a guide linking to various additional sources of CRS reports. 

        Monday, May 16, 2011

        Book: Fundamentals of Government Information

        Neal-Schuman Publishers has released this month a new title of interest to Government Information researchers and librarians: Fundamentals of Government Information.

        Subtitled "Mining, Finding, Evaluating, and Using Government Resources," the book is broken into 15 chapters, each detailing high-interest areas of government search. Included are chapters on Congress, Statistical Information, Historical and Archival Information, and How to Think Like a Government Documents Librarian.

        Two chapters within the book are authored by librarians from the CU Boulder campus. Library Faculty Jennie Gerke has authored Environment and Energy Information, while Peggy Jobe, Head of the Government Information Library, contributed Scientific and Technical Information.

        The book utilizes screen captures, scanned documents, data tables, and end of chapter exercises to inform and educate those new to research in government information, while written links to publicly accessible government resources are included throughout. A copy for use at CU's Norlin Library is coming soon.

        Friday, May 06, 2011

        What is The Federal Register?

        Continuing our video series of short, informative videos on popular, useful and sometimes hard-to-understand sources of government information is this latest effort: "What is the Federal Register?"

        We welcome your comments below, and hope that readers will feel free to embed, link to, or share the video if they find it a helpful and useful device in explaining this popular source. These videos will soon have their own pages within the CU Boulder Government Information Library Web site.

        In the meantime, to visit the Federal Register online, or other government sources for regulations, visit our online guide to Regulations, or check out and directly.

        Follow this link to view the previous video in this series: "What is FDsys?" or check out the CU Boulder Libraries YouTube channel.

        Tuesday, May 03, 2011

        Getting away from campus

        The end of the semester is upon us and while it may be hard to imagine that you can get outside when you have been in the library for 24 hours studying, soon finals will be over. Therefore, why not spend some time outdoors in one of the various parks in Colorado.
        Looking back down the Cataract Gulch Trail outside Lake City, Colorado

        There are numerous ways to explore Colorado with a variety of organizations and the alphabet soup can be overwhelming. So here is an attempt to provide you with some of the places to go to find information on parks in Colorado.

        Local Area Open Spaces

        • Boulder City Open Spaces Enjoy walking at Chautauqua or checking out Boulder Falls? These are all Boulder City open spaces and this web site gives you trail maps, closures, and information on pet restrictions.
        • Boulder County Open Spaces Did you know that Boulder County overseas almost 98,000 acres of open space? Not all open space is trails, some of it is used for agricultural purposes. Check out the breakdown of the acreage and find maps, trails and much more on this site.
        Statewide Resources
        • Colorado State Parks With the abundant local and federal resources you may not have explored the 42 state parks we have here in Colorado, but these parks give you access to boating, fishing, and beautiful trails.
        • National Park Service: Colorado There are 13 national parks in Colorado (I've only been to 7 of them), scattered from the eastern plains to the Utah border. This web site gives you information on trails, history and much more on each park.
        • National Forest Service: Colorado The Forest Service manages 13 national forests in Colorado, including the Arapho and Roosevelt National Forests here on the front range. If you don't know the name of your favorite national forest, check out this interactive national map.
        • Bureau of Land Management: Colorado Last, but not least, is the BLM. The BLM in Colorado manages 8.3 million (yes, million) acres in Colorado. The picture above was taken on a BLM managed trail and their field offices provide detailed and useful trail descriptions across Colorado.
        Still looking for more information? Check out the library's guide to parks, forests, grasslands, wildlife refuges, and historic places.