All posts by rachel sher

Government Documents: Africa and the State Department

The U.S. State Department and Africa

The United States Department of State (often referred to as the State Department) is the federal executive department responsible for international relations.

The State Department has a blog called, Dipnote where you can read blog entries from State Department officials about their work and international travels.  “Dipnote” refers to a diplomatic note, which is one of the ways with which governments formally communicate with one another.

A recent blog entry from Dipnote featured the winner of Apps 4 Africa, a technology competition inviting entrepreneurs to build tools to serve the needs of local Non-Governmental Organizations and communities in Africa. The winning application, iCow, lets farmers manage the breeding periods of their cows and monitor their cow’s nutrition.

Watch a video on the Dipnote blog of Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, sharing the winners.


Gleeson’s Government Documents collection also has several documents about the State Department and Foreign Aid to Africa.  Below are some links to recent documents in the collection:

*Department of State, foreign operations, and related programs appropriations bill

*U.S. assistance to Africa: a call for foreign aid reform

Documents from the HELP Committee

The U.S. HELP Committee

Gleeson’s Government Documents collection has a number of interesting documents from the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions that goes by the easy-to-remember-acronym, HELP.  The committee presides over the country’s health care, education, employment and retirement policies.

The HELP Committee Reports Affordable Health Choices Act to the Senate.

Here are some examples of HELP documents in the collection:

*If you interested in the health care reform debate, you might start with Principles of integrative health: a path to healthcare reform and move on to Addressing underinsurance in national health reform. The government also recently published a helpful factsheet on the Affordable Care Act.

* Are you interested in Cancer research? Check out the HELP committee’s Cancer: challenges and opportunities in the 21st century, available in print and online.

*Finally, if you followed the recent dramatic story of the 33 miners who were trapped for over 2 months and rescued from a collapsed mine in Chile or the tragic mine explosion in West Virginia, take a look at the HELP Hearing, Two years after the Miner Act: How safe is mining today?, which discusses the 2006 Miner Act to improve health and safety in American mines.

Government Printing Office Comic Book

The Government Printing Office Publishes Its First Comic Book

The U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) recently published the agency’s first comic book, Squeaks Discovers Type, as part of the agency’s 150th anniversary. GPO employees created the comic book as a teaching tool for children to illustrate the important role of printing throughout history.

What is the GPO?

The GPO prints documents produced by and for the federal government and is basically charged with making government information from the 3 branches available to the American Public.  GPO’s Federal Digital System (FDsys) is a digital system still in development that provides free online access to government documents.

Watch a video or read about GPO history in Gleeson’s catalog.

You can also check out the GPO blog, Government Book Talk, which features favorite  publications from the Federal Government.

UFOs and Government Documents

In honor of Halloween, take a look at some of Gleeson’s more unusual, “spooky” government documents.

In addition to the pamphlet pictured here, in which the United States Air Force put together Aids to Identification of Flying Objects, Gleeson Government Documents Print Collection also has materials on the Roswell Report.   This document concerns a series of mysterious incidents in Roswell New Mexico in the Summer of 1947.   Several people reported sighting unidentified flying objects and the alleged debris of extra-terrestrial beings.  After the military claimed the debris was from a high-altitude surveillance balloon from a top-secret project and closed the case with its report, many people claimed it was just a government cover-up.   What do you think?  Take a closer look at the documents for more details!

Climate Change and Proposition 23

On October 10th, 188 countries participated in over 7000 climate action events for the Global Work Party, ranging from local garden plantings to solar panel installations.

Global Warming is also a critical issue in the upcoming November 2nd elections in California with Proposition 23, which proposes suspending certain clean air laws until unemployment drops in the state. The California Government website has a climate change portal where you can read more about California’s climate impact and legislation.

Would you like more information on ways the federal government is involved? Gleeson’s Government Documents collection has documentation from the U.N. climate change conference as well as several interesting hearings from the Committee on Natural Resources:

BP Oil Spill Reports

The Committee on Energy and Commerce has held 9 hearings into the chain of events that caused the BP oil spill disaster and it’s impacts on the Gulf Coast.

Read Chairman Waxman’s Statement on the BP Oil Spill Report.

Full text of the most recent hearings are available on the Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Energy and Environment web page.    As a legislative response, the Committee also crafted the Blowout Prevention Act of 2010 to establish new federal regulatory requirements to prevent future spills from oil and gas wells as well as proposed amendments to the House of Representatives’  Consolidated Land, Energy, and Aquatic Resources (CLEAR) act.

Find full text of the original CLEAR act as well as the amended act in Gleeson’s Government Documents collection:

H.R. 3534, “the Consolidated Land, Energy, and Aquatic Resources Act of 2009” (parts 1 and 2)

Proposed amendments to H.R. 3534 to provide greater efficiencies, transparency, returns, and accountability.

The Energy and Commerce Committee also has a Youtube account if you would like to see video of the hearings.

“I would like to thank, Mr. Chairman, your avatar for holding this hearing.”

Do you think avatars and Second Life virtual worlds are only for geeky teen boys playing World of War Craft?   Well, think again!  The U.S. House of Representatives got in on the action in 2008 when the Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet of the Committee on Energy and Commerce met in Second Life to discuss virtual applications in government.  We have the full document of the hearing in our Government Documents collection.  Each representative had his/her own avatar as they “met” to discuss topics ranging from global commerce to virtual terrorism.

Here’s an excerpt from the introduction:

“I would like to thank, Mr. Chairman, your avatar for holding this hearing. I actually suspect that the real reason we are here is so that you can get some pointers on how to get past the seventh level of the World of Warcraft, but I do think you need to know that chairing this hearing is only worth two experience points.”

Find the full text of the hearing in print and online by clicking on this link:

Online virtual worlds : applications and avatars in a user-generated medium

The Committee on Energy and Commerce is a committee of the United States House of Representatives.  Established in 1795 it is one of the oldest house committees in the United States.  So, what do they do? The short explanation is that the committee deals with issues related to commerce and public health.  Recent examples of issues include the egg recall and the BP oil spill disaster.