Sharon Traweek’s recent post on the SIGCIS listserv about declassification and US government records has prompted me to make an announcement to scholars who are potentially interested such as those in ICA-Comm History. Please feel free to share.

>For the past eleven years (six years as a grad student and going on five years as a faculty member), I have been pursuing ongoing research on White House information technology policy. To that end, I have been filing regular and persistent requests at Presidential Libraries (Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush (present)) for documents related to a very wide range of ICT keywords. The keyword list is a living list informed by research. In some cases, these records are available but not yet opened and my filing has the effect of fast tracking their availability. In some cases I’ve filed numerous Freedom of Information Act requests and subsequent appeals to open closed record sets. With classified documents I’ve filed mandatory review requests and subsequent appeals to declassify records. This takes time and persistence. The end result is that in excess of 200k pages of documents are opened that were not previously available on request. This work continues as the Bush Library comes online and I have made the initial requests to open records there.

The long and short of this is that there is a very rich documentary record open and available to interested scholars.

Best regards,

John Laprise, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Communication in Residence

Northwestern University in Qatar

Northwestern University