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This Week's Facts:

  1. National Archives Offers Daily History Tidbits
  2. Cherry Blossom Festival Resources Available Online
  3. DNR Seeks Entries for Annual Photo Contest
  4. Census Bureau Releases 2007 Economic Data

Public Printer Promotes GPO Initiatives

Government Printing OfficeIn an effort to increase the transparency of the federal government, Public Printer Robert Tapella has sent a letter to President Obama stating his support for the initiative and promoting new ideas from the Government Printing Office (GPO). One of these ideas is the increased usage of GPO’s Federal Digital System, or FDSys. While not yet fully released, FDSys is expected to be a cleaner and more efficient search engine than the current system. According to the letter, it is also an ideal system for providing a forum on legislation. One proposal for the “transparency initiative” allows for a comment period on legislation before it is made into law. The functionality of FDSys could allow for this. There is also an effort to create more synergy between FDSys and the White House website.

FDSys employed to its full potential will be an invaluable tool for librarians and patrons. Not only will it allow for easier searching capabilities on a wide variety of government publications, but it will be another avenue to allow citizens to participate in the democratic process.

Friday Facts is a production of the Indiana State Library

Friday Facts Editorial Team:

Katharine Springer
State Data Center Coordinator
Elisabeth O’Donnell
Federal Documents Librarian
Kim Brown-Harden
State Documents Coordinator

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National Archives Offers Daily History Tidbits

The National ArchivesEvery day, Today’s Documents from the National Archives features a different document that represents an event that occurred that day in history. All documents displayed are relevant to American history. However, this is not your traditional Constitution and Gettysburg Address version of history. Rather, it includes pieces of Americana and coverage of other events that citizens may not know about. For example, March 24th featured Elvis Presley’s Acknowledgement of Service Obligation, when he joined the Army in 1958.

Each item in Today’s Document has been digitized, so viewers can see the actual record as it originally appeared. The website also includes links to related documents. In addition to Elvis’s Army agreement, the March 24th page lets viewers access a letter from Elvis fans to President Eisenhower and also gives tips on researching military records. There are also Classroom Resources available.

While you can check in every day to see the latest documents, you can also sign up for updates via their RSS feed.

American Memory Outlines History of Cherry Blossom Festival

National Cherry Blossom FestivalAccording to the Library of Congress American Memory project’s Today in History website, “On March 27, 1912, First Lady Helen Herron Taft and the Viscountess Chinda, wife of the Japanese ambassador, planted two Yoshino cherry trees on the northern bank of the Potomac River” in Washington, D.C.  This event began the idea that grew into the National Cherry Blossom Festival, which takes place every Spring. The trees bloom at a different time every year, but the Peak Bloom Period usually covers late March to early April. Visitors plan their visit around these dates annually.

You can find a history of the festival on its official website. For historical photographs of the festival, use the search box on the American Memory website to search all Library of Congress online collections for “cherry blossom festival”.

DNR Seeks Entries for Annual Photo ContestDivision of Historic Preservation and Archaeology - DNR

In celebration of Historic Preservation Month, the Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology (DHPA) of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is sponsoring its annual photo contest. The Division is asking shutterbugs and photo enthusiasts to capture some of your favorite subjects, especially historic sites or buildings over 50-years old. Indiana has a rich, historic landscape so there should be plenty of willing and available subjects.

The deadline to submit a photo is April 15th. You can view the contest guidelines to learn more about the contest. You can also get some good ideas by looking at the photos from previous contest winners. These photos are on display at the Indiana Statehouse and other historic state sites, as well as viewable online.

Census Bureau Releases 2007 Economic Data

US Census BureauEarlier this month, the first data from the 2007 Economic Census was released by the U.S. Census Bureau. According to a March 17 press release, “The economic census is conducted every five years and is the most comprehensive and detailed profile of the U.S. economy, covering millions of businesses representing more than 1,000 industries. The census provides the foundation and benchmark for gross domestic product, monthly retail sales and other indicators of economic performance.”

The report findings include an increase of more than $1.4 trillion in manufacturers’ shipments from 2002 to 2007, the largest increase of all sectors covered. Manufacturers also experienced the largest decrease of all sectors - in employment - during the same period. More information about specific statistics may be found by viewing the 2007 Economic Census (through 2011) data release schedule.