WASHINGTON, DC - November 7 - Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), in conjunction with a coalition of government watchdog groups, is launching a new online government document database, governmentdocs.org, at a tele-news conference, tomorrow, Thursday, November 8 at 11:00 AM. The call-in number is 866.211.5938.
The database will house Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) responses, and other government documents, from a number of organizations, that can be browsed, searched and reviewed. It is the only one of its kind.
As of today, organizations including CREW, Project on Government Oversight, Public Citizen, Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Sunlight Foundation have contributed documents to the site. The goal of the database is to create a central repository of government documents, promoting greater transparency into the inner-workings of our government.
Traditionally, government watchdog groups have either posted FOIA documents on their websites as unsearchable PDFs, or statically highlighted several pages within a document to bolster their findings. This has historically limited the public's access to FOIA documents, and minimizes the opportunities for use by researchers, journalists and citizen reviewers for further research and disclosures. Governmentdocs.org changes that:
- Each and every document goes through an optical character recognition (OCR) process, so that the text of each document is entirely searchable.
- A powerful search engine provides full-text searches and hit highlighting.
- Citizen reviewers can add information to each document page and highlight important findings, allowing for more robust and targeted searches.
- Every page of every document has its own unique URL so that documents can be linked, shared, or posted onto websites.
- The database is a coalition effort, so all of the organizations’ documents will be housed on governmentdocs.org and searches will work across collections.
The Sunlight Foundation generously supported the creation of the site.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is a non-profit legal watchdog group dedicated to holding public officials accountable for their actions.