Good night

I went to a lecture in Harvard last night in Emerson Hall by Cory Doctorow from Boing Boing. He is an incredibly good speaker, his speech was on the subject of copyright and DRM.

Interestingly enough I bumped into Dan Gillmor at it, who I hadn’t seen since arranging a get together back in 2003 in London. I had a quick chat with both Dan and Cory, as well as a few beers with Jon Petitt from Bostonist – a really interesting chat and a really hospitable guy.

Having a great time thus far.

Treasure Trove?

My trawl through government departments has been an interesting one thus far.

For example, you might be interested in reading:

The handbook for Government Ministers in Cabinet.(PDF)

Or here is a request for tenders for Servers for the Department of the Taoiseach in 2002. (PDF).

Or a recent Treaty between the US and Ireland. (PDF)

Or these statistics on wells.

A list of Teagasc Organic advisers, with emails and phone numbers.

A list of people who work at the Department of the Marine/Natural Resources, in the Exploration and Mining Division.

Some kind of list of licences for something related to fishing.

Various annexes from the Budget, like this one. Or this one. (I think these are freely available anyway)

Some Benchmarking stats for Civil Servants from the Department of Finance

All the liason officers for decentralisation.

It gets juicier.

Here is a letter from TCD Professor Werner Blau to Minister Noel Dempsey (CC’d to Enda Kenny), in which he disagrees with comments Dempsey made in the Dail with regard to the Corrib Gas Line. It also includes a detailed analysis from May last year about the reviews carried out on the Pipeline project.

Here is a PPP table of costs related to projects in the State.

Here is the minutes of a meeting concerning the Corrib Gas Pipeline.

Here is a draft letter from the Government to the now defunct Media Lab Europe from 2004, you can see the edits in red.(.DOC)

Here is a letter written by Catherine McDonald of Com Reg to Irish Times journalist Jamie Smyth concerning an FOI request in 2004.(.DOC)

Here are the Licensing Terms (generous to the extreme, I believe written when Ray Burke was Minister) for Offshore and Oil an Gas, Exploration and Development, 1992.

Here is a 2002 proposal by Digiweb to the Department of Communications for the Louth WLAN project. (.PDF)

Here is a letter written by Dermot O’Kane of Airtricity to Bob Hanna, Chief Technical Advisor, at the Department of Communications, in May 2005. (.PDF)

Finally, here is a confidential memorandum written by Andersen Management International experience as the lead consultant in the GSM2 tender in Ireland 1995, written in 2002 to the Moriarty Tribunal.

I have found dozens more documents, and may update shortly.

The government Robots.txt file

Does anyone notice anything strange about the Robots.txt file on irlgov.ie?

Does the 13th of May 1999 ring a bell? The Public Accounts Committee of that date appears to be disallowed.

Might be nothing. Just wondered.

Update:
Thanks to the commenters below for their efforts in relation to the PAC documents. I have been looking at the Foreign Affairs website to see why certain Press Releases appear to have been disallowed. There appears to be no logical order (besides chronologically upwards from 1 or thereabouts) to the archive of the press releases on the current Foreign Affairs website, especially in the early years. I found this one, numerically one above one of those blocked. It relates to the period Ray Burke was Minister for Foreign Affairs.

If you go here http://foreignaffairs.gov.ie/Press_Releases/19970718/318.htm, it seems to follow the logical order that the ASP referral to 317 precedes this release. There are a slew of press releases missing from that period, at least in as far as the archive system seems to be constructed.

At one point it appears the website was moved from one system to another, converting ASP pages into HTML, though my expertise in that is sorely lacking.

Any technical help would be appreciated.

Update 2
: I found this quite funny. Apparently Dermot Ahern was not only alive in 1899, he was also the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

# robots.txt for www.irlgov.ie
# mail webmaster@irlgov.ie for comments

User-agent: *
Disallow: /webguide
Disallow: /webkit
Disallow: /scripts
Disallow: /topic
Disallow: /entemp
Disallow: /statelab
Disallow: /ngi
Disallow: /nli
Disallow: /valtrib
Disallow: /valoff
Disallow: /environ
Disallow: /FOREIG~1
Disallow: /_private
Disallow: /_cgi-bin/
Disallow: /aras/_private
Disallow: /aras/_vti_bin/shtml.dll/
Disallow: /committees-99/c-publicaccounts/990513/debatebot.htm
Disallow: /garda/_vti_bin
Disallow: /iveagh/mediacentre/display.asp?ID=271
Disallow: /iveagh/mediacentre/display.asp?ID=277
Disallow: /iveagh/mediacentre/display.asp?ID=316
Disallow: /iveagh/mediacentre/display.asp?ID=317
Disallow: /tec/_private
Disallow: /tec/_vti_bin/shtml.dll/