A project of the EPA, Information Renaissance and the Environmental Law Institute

Libraries as a Community Resource for Environmental Information



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Quick Comments Results: Sept. 22

Public Access to Environmental Information:

  • 30 total responses to date.

  • Strategies for EPA to help citizens get the environmental information they want:
  • 60.0% (18/30) Provide staff to respond to email and phone requests for help in locating online resources.
    36.7% (11/30) Provide citizen guides to the EPA bureaucracy.
    36.7% (11/30) Provide help for searching the Federal Register.
    53.3% (16/30) Provide frequently requested FOIA documents online.
    43.3% (13/30) Put draft policies and reports online.
    46.7% (14/30) Put permit notification information online.
    43.3% (13/30) Put paper collections online.
    10.0% (3/30) Provide suggested reading levels for online documents.
    53.3% (16/30) Provide supplemental links to industry, NGO and academic material.
    46.7% (14/30) Provide case studies of citizen involvement in the regulatory and permitting process.
    36.7% (11/30) Provide a choice of formats in databases.

  • Suggestions for improving information accuracy at EPA:
  • 46.7% (14/30) Correct problems with the quality and accuracy of data in reports.
    20.0% (6/30) Provide a uniform Web-wide feature that allows for error corrections.
    23.3% (7/30) Monitor online catalogs with sniffers to hunt down dead links.
    33.3% (10/30) Improve methods for updating data in the IRIS, Heast and Airsdata systems.

  • Ideas for improving web site organization:
  • 30.0% (9/30) Design routine data collections for electronic management.
    76.7% (23/30) Create bibliographic Web sites that lead to books or topical sites.
    53.3% (16/30) Catalogue standard information products according to a common reference system.
    43.3% (13/30) Archive old documents online.
    23.3% (7/30) Post materials on state listserves.
    33.3% (10/30) Catalog all documents approved for publishing before it is released.

  • Suggestions that involve libraries:
  • 50.0% (15/30) Libraries establish small information repositories for community groups.
    60.0% (18/30) Libraries offer real-time reference service to users of their web pages and databases.
    36.7% (11/30) Community groups budget cost of mailing materials to libraries.
    53.3% (16/30) Highlight hot topics using web sites and local news stories.

  • General concerns and ideas:
  • 53.3% (16/30) Printed materials can be hard to find in a timely manner.
    23.3% (7/30) Not everything sent to a depository library stays available at that library.
    30.0% (9/30) Electronic formatting issues and the Americans with Disabilities Act raise real problems for libraries and their patrons.
    56.7% (17/30) Most community members don't go to the library to obtain environmental information.
    46.7% (14/30) The distribution of computer work stations to low-income areas is needed to address the Digital Divide.
    53.3% (16/30) Many people lack computer literacy needed to retrieve online information.
    46.7% (14/30) Rural areas may lack access to online materials.
    60.0% (18/30) Industry has far greater informational resources than citizens or local officials.
    56.7% (17/30) Constant industry pressure can water down good programs that release environmental information to the public.

  • See additional comments


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