The federal data base finder Essay

Mathew Lesko, founder and president of Information USA, has made a
career of teling people how and where to get information from the
Federal Government. In this directory, billed as the first of its kind,
Information USA lists fand describes more than 3,000 Federal data bases
and files, from Acid Rain (Oak Ridge National Laboratory) to World
Population (Census Bureau) and includes many Bureau of Labor Statistics series. The authors acknowledge that direct access to many of the
Federal data bases in limited to Government agencies, but suggest that
information from them sometimes is available from the producing agencies
at low or no cost. The book also lists machine-readable data tapes
offered for sale directly by Government agences and reports on
commercial vendors who re-sell Government information at a profit. The
Federal Data Base Finder says that the Federal Government spends
billions of dollars creating data but very little to inform the public
that the data exist. Lesko and his associates have assembled much of
that information and offer to share it with the public for $95.


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