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NCH WASHINGTON UPDATE (Vol. 10, #15; 8 April 2004) by Bruce Craig (editor) <email@example.com> National Coalition for History (NCH) Website http://www2.h-net.msu.edu/~nch ***************** 1. Historian Allen Weinstein Slotted By Bush Administration to Be Next Archivist of the United States 2. OFAC Softens Draconian Guidelines 3. Scholar Sues for Free On-line Access to Books, Articles and Films 4. NPS Historians' Jobs Probably Secure Not Subject to Outsourcing 5. Pulitzer Prizes Awarded To Historians 6. Bits and Bytes: NARA Request for Public Comments 7. Articles of Interest: "Embracing Relics and High Tech" (New York Times 4 April 2004) 1. HISTORIAN ALLEN WEINSTEIN SLOTTED BY BUSH ADMINISTRATION TO BE NEXT ARCHIVIST OF THE UNITED STATES On 8 April 2004, the White House announced (see announcement at http: //www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/04/20040408-2.html ) that President George W. Bush intends to nominate historian Allen Weinstein to become the ninth Archivist of the United States. Weinstein currently works at the International Foundation for Elections Systems as Senior Advisor for Democratic Institutions and Director of its Center for Democratic Initiatives. Along with former Archivist of the United State Don W. Wilson, Weinstein is also a trustee of the Boston based Mary Baker Eddy Library for the Betterment of Humanity, which is affiliated with the Christian Science church. Earlier in his career, Weinstein was a Professor at Boston University (1985-89), Georgetown University (1981-1984), and Smith College (1966-1981) where he served as a Professor of History and Chair of Smith's American Studies Program. He earned his bachelor's degree from Columbia College and his master's and Ph.D. from Yale University. In 1985 Weinstein created and served as president of The Center for Democracy, a non-profit foundation located in Washington, D.C. The foundation seeks to promote and strengthen the democratic processes and played an active role in promoting democracy in former Soviet republics following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Weinstein's international awards include the United Nations Peace Medal (1986) for his "efforts to promote peace, dialogue and free elections in several critical parts of the world" and he was twice awarded (1990 and 1996) The Council of Europe's Silver Medal which was presented by its Parliamentary Assembly for Weinstein's "outstanding assistance and guidance over many years." Weinstein is well-known as a historian of espionage. His most recent book (1999) is "The Haunted Wood Soviet Espionage in America -- The Stalin Era." It is considered a controversial work that was co-authored with a Russian journalist Alexander Vassiliev, a former KGB agent. Weinstein's book "Perjury - The Hiss-Chambers Case" is, in many circles, considered the "definitive" work establishing that Alger Hiss was a Soviet spy. Weinstein has also written more broadly with such books as "Freedom and Crisis: An American History," "Between the Wars: American Foreign Policy From Versailles to Pearl Harbor," and "Prelude to Populism: Origins of the Silver Issue" among his credits. Weinstein's articles and essays have appeared in a wide range of scholarly and popular publications. (For more on Weinstein tap into: http://www.centerfordemocracy.org/awbio.html .) Shortly after the White House announcement Archivist of the U.S. John Carlin issued the following statement to all NARA employees. It reads (verbatim) as follows: "Through two Administrations, I have had the honor to lead the National Archives and Records Administration as the Archivist of the United States. Upon taking the position in June 1995, I made a commitment to you and our stakeholders to remain at NARA long enough to see its transition from an agency primarily focused on paper records to one positioned to deal with the challenges posed by the electronic records now being created by our Government. At that time I estimated that such a transformation would take 8 to 10 years. In June I will complete my ninth year as Archivist and as an agency, we have made great strides toward becoming the National Archives of the 21st century. We have not only made progress in using new technologies to preserve Government records, but also in making our invaluable documentary resources more widely available to the American people. This past winter, I informed the White House of our progress and noted that with the completion of a major initiative in the fall, it would be time for me to begin looking for other career opportunities. Today President Bush announced the nomination of Allen Weinstein to be the next Archivist of the United States. Based on the past history of acting archivists running NARA for extended periods of time since we became an independent agency in 1985, the best interests of the agency are served by a smooth transition of leadership. Therefore, I will continue to serve as Archivist while the Senate undertakes the confirmation process. I will submit my resignation to the President effective upon the confirmation and swearing in of the Ninth Archivist of the United States. As the confirmation process moves forward, I ask that you remain focused with me on our critically important work. I want to thank each and every one of you for your sincere commitment to NARA's mission of ready access to essential evidence-records which protect citizens' rights, ensure accountability in Government, and tell the story of our evolution as a democratic nation. I am immensely grateful for the opportunity I have had to lead this uniquely important agency, which serves not only the citizens of today, but all those citizens yet to come." As Carlin states, nominees for the position of Archivist of the United States must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate. At this writing it is unknown how long the confirmation process may take. 2. OFAC SOFTENS DRACONIAN GUIDELINES On 2 April the U.S. Department of Treasury issued a letter somewhat easing barriers on editing manuscript materials from nations that are under U.S. trade embargoes including Cuba, Iran, Libya, and Sudan (for background see "Ruling on Countries Under U.S. Sanctions Riles Publishers and Scholars" in NCH WASHINGTON UPDATE, Vol. 10 #12; 24 March 2004). The letter states that provided certain editorial criteria are met, editors and publishers of scholarly publications may engage in limited peer review and copy-editing of articles written by authors who live and work in such countries without facing fines and imprisonment. Though the letter applies only to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) -- an organization whose members produce about 30 percent of the world's literature in electrical and electronics engineering and computer science -- Treasury officials state the issuance provides other publishers with guidance on what the government deems "acceptable" editing and peer review practices and procedures. The letter also specifies certain editorial functions where there is a necessity to obtain a governmental license to publish. But according to scholarly publishers and other critics of recent Treasury Department rulings, the issuance to the IEEE is overly narrow in defining editing and peer review. More importantly, critics state that mere issuance of the letter that asserts authority over the licensing of author works violates basic First Amendment constitutional guarantees relating to the freedom of the press. The policy clarification was communicated on 2 April 2004 in a letter (to access a redacted version of the letter see document titled, "Publishing Activities Involving Manuscripts from Sanctioned Countries" Ruling number 0404405-FARCL-lA at http://www.ustreas.gov/offices/eotffc/ofac/rulings/index.html ) to the IEEE. The Institute had opted to comply with governmental requirements and last year had requested a "license" to publish from the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). For months the organization had been waiting for a response. In a nutshell, the ruling letter states that the IEEE's framework for peer-review and editing processes is exempt from OFAC regulation. The central issue addressed in the letter focuses on whether the standard scholarly peer review and editing processes "substantively" change manuscripts submitted by authors working or residing in countries under a U.S. sanction or trade embargo. If so, American nationals (i.e. scholarly editors and publishers) could be considered to be assisting enemies of the United States, which, of course, is a prohibited activity. The penalties for violating the so-called Trading With the Enemy Act are steep: fines of up to $1 million and prison terms of up to ten years could be imposed. Though in 1988 Congress exempted "information or informational materials" from government regulation, late last year OFAC issued a series of narrow rulings that exempted only those materials that had been "fully created" by people in the embargoed countries and that had not been significantly altered in the United States. Originally OFAC had ruled that mere "reordering of sentences, correction of syntax, grammar, and replacement of inappropriate words by U.S. persons, prior to publication, may result in a substantively altered or enhanced product, and is therefore prohibited." Furthermore, if a manuscript was "significantly altered" a publisher had to seek a license to publish from the government, which is what the IEEE did. Some publishers have refused to seek licenses to publish, and, as a consequence, articles have not been published and proposed book contracts have been cancelled because of publishers fear of violating OFAC's interpretation of law. Some publishers assert that OFAC's interpretation of law and the newly established procedures violate the First Amendment and constitute a disturbing intrusion into the scholarly publishing process. OFAC's 2 April ruling retreats somewhat from its previous draconian guidelines. In its letter the agency determined that IEEE's specific form of copy and style editing "does not constitute substantive or artistic alteration or enhancement of the informational material." However, a close look at the letter suggests that the exemption from OFAC licensing applies only to a specific type of peer review and style and copy-editing processes. The ruling does not say that peer review or copy editing "in general" are exempt from OFAC regulation, but only those specific procedures engaged in by the IEEE. According to the ruling, peer review for "technical or scientific value...clarity, logic and language" is permitted. Also eight editing activities are specified as "allowable," including correcting grammar, spelling, and slight formatting of text. OFAC determined that such activities do not result in any "substantive or artistic alterations or enhancements of the manuscript" nor do they result in "substantial re-write or revision" of an author's manuscript, hence they are permitted activities. But co-authorship, commissioning, developmental editing, or any form of "collaborative interaction" between a publisher and foreign author is described as prohibited. Critics of OFAC's recent rulings are probably now left with little recourse than to challenge Treasury's assertion of authority in federal court. OFAC has now clearly staked out its position and so have the critics. According to Peter Givler, Executive Director of the Association of American University Presses, "Treasury's continuing assertion that it has licensing authority over publishing is denied by the express language of the Berman Amendment as well as the First Amendment's protection of the freedom of the press." For more on the issue from the perspective of publishers, tap into the Association of American Publishers webpage at: http://www.publishers.org and go to the links posted on the right side of the homepage. 3. SCHOLAR SUES FOR FREE ON-LINE ACCESS TO BOOKS, ARTICLES AND FILMS Lawrence Lessig, a prominent Stanford University law professor, has filed a federal lawsuit in an attempt to make entire books and films available on the Internet. By filing suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Lessig is challenging current copyright law on behalf of two Internet archives. He argues that when taken collectively, the 1988 Berne Convention Implementation Act, the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998, and the Copyright Renewal Act are unconstitutional. At issue is the accessibility of what are known as "orphan" works -- out-of-print books, films, videos, and scholarly articles that have little or no commercial value but remain unaccessible to the public because of copyright restrictions. The lawsuit has been filed as Lessig began promoting his new book, Free Culture in which he claims that large media interests conspire to "lock down culture." Lessig's book is available free online at http://www.free-culture.cc . 4. NPS HISTORIANS' JOBS PROBABLY SECURE NOT SUBJECT TO OUTSOURCING Some 200 federal historians employed by the National Park Service (NPS) appear to have won a modest victory in the Bush administration's ongoing effort to "out-source" federal jobs. An NPS advisory group has accepted a recommended classification revision that groups all job-series 170 historians as "core to mission." If the recommendation is approved by the NPS Director and also passes muster with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), historians, like park rangers and some of their cultural resource-related colleagues (archivists for example), would not be forced to compete with private sector contract employees in order to keep their jobs. Prior to the reclassification, only a handful of historians with supervisory duties and a few others with unique job responsibilities were deemed exempt from A-76 assessment review. Although historians are now deemed "core to mission," some may still find their positions included in what the bureau terms "pre-assessments" internal, area-specific personnel review studies designed to maximize efficiency of human resources. As a result of those studies, some historians could find their work loads reduced, expanded, or shifted to other operational units and areas. The bottom line, though, is that it will not be possible for Bush administration officials to replace NPS historians with private sector contractors on a wholesale basis as some would have liked. Contracting for historical services from private sector sources has been an important function of many NPS history professionals regular job duties for years. Park administrative histories, historic resource studies, and other special history-based assessments often have been prepared by a host of highly competent contractors under the supervision of NPS regional and park historians. These activities are expected to continue if not increase in coming years. Critics of the NPS's A-76 outsourcing initiative had feared, however, that to save money some NPS superintendents and central office managers would like to see far more cultural resource work performed by outside contractors and would use the government's outsourcing initiative to accomplish this task. 5. PULITZER PRIZES AWARDED TO HISTORIANS This last week the Pulitzer Prizes in History, Biography, and General Non-fiction were awarded to scholars and journalists. Each winner will receive a cash prize of $10,000. Historian Steven Hahn won the History prize for his "A Nation Under Our Feet: Black Political Struggles in the Rural South From Slavery to the Great Migration." Hahn's book already had received the Bancroft Prize for the best book on American History and the Merle Curti Prize for the best book in social history earlier this year. Hahn's book is published by The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. Finalists for the prize included David Maraniss's "They Marched Into Sunlight: War and Peace, Vietnam and America" and Daniel Okrent's "Great Fortune: The Epic of Rockefeller Center." For Biography, the prize went to William Taubman for his "Khrushchev: The Man and His Era." Finalists nominated included James Gleick for his "Isaac Newton" and Hayden Herrera for "Arshile Gorky: His Life and Work." The General Non-Fiction prize went to Anne Applebaum for "Gulag: A History." Finalists nominated for the prize included Steven Nadler for "Rembrandt's Jews" and Dana Priest's "The Mission: Waging War and Keeping Peace with America's Military." 6. BITS AND BYTES Item #1 -- NARA Request for Public Comments: On 31 March 2004, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) published a proposed revision to its research room rules in the Federal Register (page 16863). NARA proposes to revise its regulations on research room procedures. Included in the proposal is new language on access to unclassified records and donated historical materials, as well as access to national security information. This proposed rule will affect both scholarly researchers and the general public. The online text of the proposed rule appears at: http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/14mar20010800/edocket.access.gpo.gov/2 004/04-7169.htm All comments must be received on or before 1 June 2004. 7 . ARTICLES OF INTEREST One article this week: In "Embracing Relics and High Tech" (New York Times 4 April 2004) reporter Glenn Rifkin shows how a software entrepreneur has opened access to "some of the nation's most valuable relics from the obscurity of storage rooms and displaying them on the Internet," including "more than 33 million books, prints, recordings, periodicals, works of art, photographs and personal objects from the famous and the not-so-famous" that otherwise not be accessible to the public at the Boston Public Library. For the article, tap into: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/04/business/yourmoney/04prof.html . *********************************************************** The National Coalition for History invites you to subscribe to this FREE weekly newsletter! You are also encouraged to redistribute the NCH Washington Updates to colleagues, friends, teachers, students and others who are interested in history and archives issues. A complete b backfile of these reports is maintained by H-Net on the NCH's recently updated web page at: <http://www2.h-net.msu.edu/~nch>. To subscribe to the "NCH Washington Update," send an e-mail message to firstname.lastname@example.org with the following text in the body of the message (and only this text): SUBSCRIBE H-NCH firstname lastname, institution. To unsubscribe send an e-mail message to: email@example.com according to the following model: SIGNOFF H-NCH. 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