The U.S. Federal Government Clearinghouse project focuses on a "global vision for information access that enhances the free flow of information through decentralized information locator services." This report is adapted from the U.S. Federal Government Clearinghouse Partnership agreement. (See further information. http://clear.search.gov/)
The goals of Clearinghouse are to help people easily locate and access U.S. federal government information and electronic services and to encourage the use of standards to create and expand access for information and on-line services. Clearinghouse encompasses all information and services compiled or organized by any source that uses the adopted standards and policies as documented in the collections policy. That policy describes how Partners provide government information and comply with various intellectual property, privacy, security and other constraints in law and policy concerning public access to government information. Examples of interest areas among Partners include technology, content, and services.
The Partnership Organization decides on adoption of standards and policies for Clearinghouse and publishes a description of these in the collections policy. Its works are in the public domain, except that the Partnership Organization may exert copyright over its identity (e.g., "logo") for the sake of clarity. The Partnership Organization is composed of Clearinghouse Partners who have signed this Partnership agreement and agree annually to participate. The Partnership Organization may include, among others: various U.S. federal government agencies, private sector corporations and consortia, nongovernment organizations and representatives of the public interest, voluntary standards organizations, and academic and research organizations or individuals representing those areas. Other organizations may also coordinate with the Partnership Organization. The Partnership Organization conducts most of its deliberations and formalizes all of its decisions through online discussions. Major decisions of the Partnership Organization are reached in online discussion by majority vote of participants who vote on the specific proposal.
The Partnership Organization is an interest group, neither solely a government or private sector entity. Adoption of a standard for the purposes of Clearinghouse does not constitute endorsement by the U.S. federal government, nor does it imply that Clearinghouse has validated the standard.
The Partner will continuously update locator records if offered as a shared Clearinghouse resource. The Partner will help make editorial choices on the contents of shared Clearinghouse resources. The Partnership Organization collaborates with Partners to assure that locator records the Partner maintains are always accessible in any shared Clearinghouse resource. The Partnership Organization also collaborates with Partners to assure that the records are current within a specified number of days. The Partnership Organization makes final editorial decisions and will define the precise format, naming, and maintenance choices for contents of shared Clearinghouse resources.
The Partnership Organization may provide guidelines about automated gathering processes (i.e., "crawlers", "spiders", "robots", etc.). These processes are often used to gather and characterize information on the Internet. The Partner will tell the Partnership Organization about any metadata kept about the resources, whether embedded or separate.
The Partnership Organization makes final decisions on the use of Partner-provided metadata in shared Clearinghouse resources. The Partnership Organization collaborates with Partners to assure that automated gathering processes effectively identify Partner resources and have minimal impact on Partner operations.
Other information resources
The Partner may maintain information continuously accessible for search access using standards endorsed by Clearinghouse. The Partnership Organization collaborates with Partners to assure that any shared Clearinghouse distributed search mechanism operates effectively with Partner resources. The Partnership Organization collaborates with Partners on how searches rank and present results.
Relationships with other organizations
The Partner will act as liaison between the Partnership Organization and other public or private organizations with which the Partner has relationships. These may include international, foreign national, state, tribal, and local government as well as commercial and non-government organizations. The Partnership Organization will involve the Partner liaison in Clearinghouse activities that overlap with these relationships.
The Partner may collaborate with other Partners on new technologies that advance the goals of Clearinghouse. These may include thesauri and gazetteers, cooperative cataloging, distributed search, machine-aided cataloging, indexing and abstracting, metadata techniques, networking infrastructure, privacy and security, among others. The Partnership Organization will operate an electronic mail discussion list and take other actions to help catalyze collaboration among Partners.