Achieving Economic Stability: Lessons from the Crash of 1929

Achieving Economic Stability: Lessons from the Crash of 1929


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  • cours - matière potentielle : thought
Achieving Economic Stability: Lessons from the Crash of 1929 Federal Reserve Bank - Minneapolis Discusses various explanations of the crash of 1929 and subsequent policy recommendations. Comparisons are made with the October 1987 stock market plunge, and it is suggested that, with appropriate public policy response, the economy can remain on a stable course although not without challenges. Description: 9,10,11,12Grade Levels: Supplementary MaterialsDocument Type: This document may be printed.
  • upward pressure on interest rates
  • such emphasis
  • significant determinant of economic developments
  • significant wealth effects
  • keynesian view that an inexplicable contraction
  • stock prices
  • economic activity
  • stock market
  • money supply
  • monetary policy



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Information Access Strategy

January 2009

EPA 240-R-09-001 US EPA Information Access Strategy

Table of Contents

1. EPA’s Information Access Strategy ...................................................................................................... 1
Environmental Information Access .......... 1
National Dialogue on Access to Environmental Information ... 1
2. Information Access Needs of EPA Audiences ...................................................................................... 5
Approach for Public Outreach .................................................. 5
Information Access Needs ........................ 5
Finding Information .................................................................................................................................. 6
Understanding Information ....................... 7
Using and Analyzing Information............. 8
New Tools and Access to Experts................................................................................................ 8
3. Recommendations for Improving Access to Environmental Information ....... 10
Recommendation 1: Enable People to Find Environmental Data and Information at EPA and Other
Federal Agencies ..................................................................................................................................... 11
Recommendation 2: Improve People‟s Understanding of EPA Data and Information to Promote
Appropriate Use ...... 12
Recommendation 3: Organize EPA Information and Data into Formats that Promote Better
Understanding and Facilitate Desired Uses ............................................................................................ 13
Recommendation 4: Use New Web Technologies to Empower People to Find, Understand and Use
Environmental Information and Data ..................................... 15
4. Next Steps .............................................................................................................. 16
Develop an Access Implementation Plan 17
Establish an Ongoing Process for Soliciting EPA‟s Information Audience Needs and Monitoring the
Agency‟s Performance in Meeting Them ............................................................................................... 17
Appendix. Issues on Information Access Strategy Recommendations................ 19

US EPA Information Access Strategy | Page 1
1. EPA’s Information Access Strategy
before. EPA and other information providers Environmental Information Access
are producing more environmental information
Protecting the environment is everyone‟s today than at any time in the past. EPA—
business. Our nation‟s environmental success working with these other providers and using
over the past 40 years has been the sum of newly available technology—has an
achievements by many—EPA and other Federal unprecedented ability to make information
agencies; tribal, state, and local government available to people who need it.
partners; environmental groups; communities
In December of 2007, EPA‟s Assistant and concerned citizens; and responsible
Administrator for Environmental Information industry.
and Chief Information Officer (CIO), Molly A.
Environmental regulation reined in the glaring O' Neill, launched a National Dialogue on
problems that served as our call to action on Access to Environmental Information. Between
Earth Day, 1970. Today‟s environmental January and mid-June of this year, EPA‟s Office
problems are more complex, often involving of Environmental Information (OEI) met with
diffuse pollutant sources. More than ever people throughout the country who use
before, environmental solutions depend on environmental information to learn about their
effective action by countless individuals information needs and access preferences. EPA
working voluntarily to address problems that are assembled the thousands of comments received
beyond the practical reach of command and into this Information Access Strategy, offering
control regulation. direction for future efforts to enhance access to
EPA‟s environmental information.
To help protect our environment, everyone—
As the National Dialogue took the public stage
from the Internet-savvy environmental
last winter, EPA heard many comments about
professional to the concerned citizen reliant on
the strategic importance of sound information; printed materials—needs ready access to high
the tremendous opportunities offered by new,
quality information to provide the foundation for
Internet based information sharing technologies; sound decisions. Through this Information
and the growing field of information providers.
Access Strategy, EPA hopes to enhance access
These issues raise three broad questions for this
to environmental information so that we may all
be better equipped to help address our nation‟s
environmental challenges. First, stepping above specific issues of
technology, data and information, how should
EPA frame its overall goal for managing Agency National Dialogue on Access to
information resources? Environmental Information

In recent years, EPA has witnessed sweeping Second, looking back on the progress EPA has
changes in the growth and use of environmental made over the past decade, how can the Agency
information. The thirst for environmental build most effectively on past accomplishments?
information among environmental professionals
and the concerned public is stronger than ever
US EPA Information Access Strategy | Page 2
Third, looking beyond EPA information individual program offices and circles of
resources, what role should the Agency play primary information users.
within the larger community of external
providers of environmental information?
The following discussions of these three Information as a Common Strategic
Resource for Accomplishing EPA’s questions offer general context for the National
Mission Dialogue findings about audience information
access needs and recommendations in this

Information Access Strategy for addressing
from Data
Managing Information as a Common,
Supported by TechnologyStrategic Resource
EPA‟s path through the thicket of technology, Side View
data and information management issues begins EPA Information Management
with a simple, transcendent goal: To manage The Information Access Strategy will improve
alignment of EPA’s Information Management environmental information as a common,
with Important Information Uses. strategic resource for accomplishing the
Agency‟s environmental mission. As the
graphic on this page shows, the strategic
Strategic management of information technology, Planning,
Policy, and environmental data and information resources Program Program
Development Implementationimplies a direct management alignment with the

Research and Public Agency‟s mission to protect human health and
Development Involvement
the environment. The graphic also presents an
example profile of major mission-critical

information uses. These information uses—for
program research, planning, implementation, Top View
and public participation—already receive the Major Uses of Environmental Information
attention of information resource managers for
their individual areas of program responsibility.
Information resources at EPA are usually
Improved access—leading to wider, more developed under one of EPA‟s many specific
diverse secondary uses of EPA data flows, data environmental laws. Agency information
systems and information products—will present owners invest in their information resources as
new challenges for Agency information resource necessary to meet the requirements for programs
managers. In the near term, secondary users implemented under individual laws. A new,
must be adequately informed of the quality and Agency-level goal for information resource
suitability of today‟s resources for uses other management draws the attention of information
than the primary ones for which they were resource managers to mission-critical uses of
originally designed. Ultimately, however, the environmental information outside their
designs of EPA data and information resources
must evolve to accommodate the requirements
US EPA Information Access Strategy | Page 3
of mission-critical secondary uses. EPA‟s new with the Agency‟s vast information resources.
Quality Policy (, EPA‟s information systems—originally
embodies the key principles of data and designed to serve individual program needs for
information management needed to guide EPA twelve major environmental statutes
toward issuance of appropriate documentation administered by EPA—are gradually becoming
supporting secondary uses. interoperable. Each year, more EPA information
resources are digitized by the Agency‟s library
Building on EPA’s Past Success network for easy, electronic access by staff
across the country. An expanding extranet,
Over the past decade, EPA has used advances in
known as the National Environmental
communications technology to build toward a
Information Exchange Network, is starting to
single, virtual work place, connecting Agency‟s
deliver seamless data reporting and provide a
headquarters staff in Washington D.C. with staff
single, convenient point of data access services
located in Regional Offices and research
between EPA and its tribal and state
laboratories throughout the country. Local area
environmental program partners.
networks have been consolidated into a centrally
governed intranet. EPA‟s telecommunications To complete the virtual work place, EPA
services make teleconferencing easy for every recognizes the importance of providing its staff
EPA employee. Video conference equipment is everywhere with fuller, digital access to the
commonplace throughout the Agency. Portable Agency‟s information resources. Thanks to
e-mail devices allow managers and staff alike to technological advances of the past decade, the
monitor work flow in real-time from anywhere. success of EPA‟s work processes no longer
Today, EPA‟s people are digitally connected to depends on the co-location of people. Likewise,
a degree scarcely imagined a decade ago. EPA‟s people should be freed from concern
about the accessibility of Agency information
EPA has also used advances in information
resources they need to do their work.
technology to make headway connecting staff
EPA’s Information Roles

Background Research
US EPA Information Access Strategy | Page 4
opportunity to strengthen key relationships EPA’s Role among Environmental
necessary to promote a landscape more Information Providers and Users
responsive to EPA‟s own information needs and
EPA belongs to a large, growing field of to those of its information audiences. EPA‟s
collectors, disseminators, and users of audiences include not only people who access
environmental information. Like many of these information digitally via the Internet but also
organizations, EPA has an established niche others, like members of low-income
consisting of multiple roles and dependencies on communities, who rely on face-to-face meetings
other information providers. The Agency and access to printed materials.
collects some data, such as the Toxics Release
Inventory, under Federal environmental laws, EPA must seek the advice of key players in the
and relies on other tribal, state, and local field of environmental information collection
collectors for much of its basic regulatory and dissemination on how to help shape the new
compliance monitoring information. EPA information landscape for the common good. .
disseminates information to a wide variety of Only by using such a broadly collaborative
user audiences, who are often also looking for approach involving other government and
complementary information collected or private providers can EPA expect to address the
disseminated by other Federal agencies, such as growing needs of its information audiences.
the Fish and Wildlife Service, and private
Limited discussions on these three questions— organizations, such as the Nature Conservancy.
concerning strategic approach, completing the Other information disseminators, such as some
virtual work place, and external Agency roles— environmental groups, serve audiences using
have already stimulated valuable ideas about the information maintained by EPA.
future of information resources management.
A new information landscape composed of EPA discussions should intensify in the coming
interdependent collectors, disseminators, and months, drawing energy from findings from the
users is now forming in response to the rapid, National Dialogue and direction from the
enabling changes in information technology. recommendations in this Information Access
Through timely engagement, the Agency has the Strategy.

US EPA Information Access Strategy | Page 5
2. Information Access Needs of EPA Audiences
Approach for Public Outreach
National Dialogue Activities
During the course of the National Dialogue,
At a Glance
EPA studied audience information needs and
preferences through research, dialogue, and
Background Research
observation (see text box to the right). Various
The National Dialogue began with a review of more than groups participated in the process, both internal
100 existing resources on information audience needs. and external to the community of EPA, Federal,
Research included the examination of reports and activities
tribal, state, and local agency employees that are
conducted by EPA and others concerning needs and
engaged in environmental information preferences for access to environmental information
collection, management, and dissemination.
Outreach Activities
Participants were provided with opportunities to
Small, 2-hour information gathering sessions were held with
comment on the findings from the National
each of five targeted audience groups including industry
Dialogue, which were updated regularly on representatives; education professionals; Federal, tribal,
EPA‟s Web site. state, and local environmental and public health
professionals; news media representatives; and
Among the many comments received from environmental and community groups.
Ten listening sessions were held at various conferences National Dialogue participants were a wide
with current and potential EPA audiences. variety of specific information needs. For a
A publicly available Internet Comment Board was created
more in-depth look at individual comments and where participants were directed to provide feedback on
summaries developed by EPA for major their information needs and preferences.
audience groups the reader is encouraged to visit Three internal EPA Web-based comment sessions were
hosted by EPA for EPA staff to communicate important EPA‟s National Dialogue Web site at
access needs and issues.
A Web-based external EPA Partner comment session was
hosted for EPA’s information partners to comment on
access needs. Information Access Needs
Observations on Search and Web Use
During the National Dialogue, EPA collected
information from hundreds of people regarding Two investigations studied use of the EPA Web site:
An analysis of the top search terms and topics entered into their environmental information access needs.
EPA’s search engine EPA heard from a wide variety of individuals
An analysis of which pages were visited most frequently and
who were eager to share the challenges they
how visitors navigate to and around the EPA Web site.
have faced when accessing environmental

information. Many participants expressed why
they were interested in finding environmental
themes relating to EPA audiences‟
information and shared their ideas for improving
environmental information needs emerged: access to environmental information.

Finding environmental information from Based on the information collected from the
EPA is difficult. various National Dialogue activities, four broad
US EPA Information Access Strategy | Page 6
information to be better organized and easier to Understanding EPA‟s information is
navigate. People of all technical backgrounds sometimes challenging.
complained that navigational links are not Using and analyzing EPA‟s information
obvious, information is not categorized in ways often requires assistance.
that are logical to them, layouts are inconsistent, Obtaining environmental information using
and good information is obscured by old content Web-based technologies is a growing trend
and broken links. EPA was also informed that but can often be enhanced with access to
some visitors would benefit from additional help expert people.
(on-line or through personal contact) in finding
information due to differences in technical Finding Information
capabilities or language abilities.
One of the most prominent themes heard
throughout the National Dialogue is that people
cannot find the environmental information they
need. People expressed this as one of their
primary challenges at nearly every information
Find, Understand, and Use gathering session. The problem of finding

relevant environmental information involves
Audience needs can be grouped into three main sections: find,
several aspects, which are summarized below. understand, and use.
EPA information must be easy to find on the EPA Web site
Some people are not aware of many of EPA’s or via other channels.
The information should be easily understandable by a vast information resources
variety of target audiences.
EPA should continue to produce a variety of information Even when environmental information
products to facilitate different uses, from data for future
audiences are aware that they need
expert analysis to guidance documents for general
environmental information, they often do not consumption.
know where to go for it. In some cases, people
are not aware that many EPA information
resources are already available on the EPA Web
Some people are not fully aware of
environmental problems that affect them
People cannot easily search or navigate
Some people rely on help from information
through EPA’s Web site
intermediaries—e.g., teachers, librarians and the
news media—to find information about an EPA‟s primary method for providing
environmental concern. Environmental information to its external audiences is through
information intermediaries informed EPA that the EPA Web site. People expressed frustration
their constituents are often not aware of with their experience in using EPA‟s Web site
environmental problems that may affect them. search function. Specifically, participants stated
For example, parents and teachers are frequently that search terms often do not provide valuable
unaware of indoor air quality problems in their results, the organization of the search results is
schools. This lack of awareness can make it difficult to navigate, and they cannot sort their
difficult for people to conduct an informed search results to find what they need. Other
search of environmental information of interest people expressed the need for EPA‟s Web site
to them.
US EPA Information Access Strategy | Page 7
Some people need information alerts on hot Understanding Information
environmental issues and the newest EPA
Throughout the National Dialogue, EPA‟s
actions audiences made the point that EPA serves two
broadly different constituencies—everyday Some of EPA‟s audiences do not have the time
people and technical people—and that a one-or ability to continuously visit the EPA Web site
size-fits-all approach does not offer the different to find new or updated environmental
levels of detail required by both audiences.
information. This may occur because they need
Nevertheless, both lay and technical people the information immediately (e.g., to respond to
reported that they often need help understanding
constituent questions or regulatory obligations)
the information on the EPA Web site. and do not have time to look for it, or because
they are unaware that new or updated
People need context for the information they
information exists. Based on findings from both
find the National Dialogue Comment Sessions and
the Web Use and Search Term Analyses A key to understanding complex environmental
described in the last section, EPA‟s audiences issues is the ability to place data and information
expressed interest in being alerted to information in the proper regulatory, ecological, economic,
about hot topics, the latest EPA actions, or or other context. National Dialogue respondents
current environmental events. They suggested indicated that they need contextual information
mechanisms such as a What’s New button on the to improve their understanding of how
EPA home page, email alerts, and Internet environmental information addresses their
subscription services. specific needs. Some specific contextual
connections that are of high importance to users
Some people experience confusion regarding include the relationships between environmental
the type of environmental information effects and human health, risk assessment
information, and better explanations of the provided by EPA versus information
environmental significance regulatory developed by other Federal, tribal, state, and
compliance status. People also specified their local sources
need for trend data, geospatial data, pollutant
Many environmental information seekers information, and information on organizations
believe that EPA is the source of most, if not all, that affect the environment (e.g., regulated
of the environmental information held by the facilities, owner companies, industry sectors,
Federal government. As one respondent said, etc.). Overall, EPA‟s audiences are looking for
“the „E‟ in EPA is for environment,” and so more information on what environmental data
EPA is where people look for all things mean and how to apply and use these data.
environmental. Many respondents are confused
when an environmental topic is not covered on People want more and improved descriptions
the EPA Web site (e.g., information on of EPA’s information and data
endangered species or local environmental
In addition to specific contextual information, policies and requirements). They often do not
National Dialogue participants broadly know where to look for environmental
expressed the need for better descriptions about information not held by EPA.
the data and information found on EPA‟s Web
site. Improved descriptions are critical to
US EPA Information Access Strategy | Page 8
understanding and analyzing the environmental expressed the desire for assistance in using and
data‟s full meaning, pedigree, reliability, and analyzing environmental information. Many of
quality. Some specific examples from the specific issues in this category relate to a
participants include better explanations and need for improved information about data
documentation of data quality, information on quality, collection, tracking and EPA use.
how the data was collected, reasons for
People expressed a need for faster access to collecting the data, intended use of the data,
level of certainty about the data, year the data data but also want data quality documented
was collected, names of principal investigators,
While people want EPA data to be of high and data sources. Some of EPA‟s external
quality, most feel that data should be made
audience groups were particularly concerned
publicly available as quickly as possible, as long that people may use data or information
as data quality issues and concerns are clearly
inappropriately if descriptions are not clear and
documented. Many audience groups expressed a
desire for timely access to basic data so that they
can conduct their own analyses. Others (e.g., People need summaries that translate
industry representatives) were concerned about complex topics into clear, easy-to-understand
possible misinterpretation of the data and prefer
that EPA conduct and provide the results of its
own data analyses. EPA external audiences frequently stated that
they need help understanding the complex
People need improved tools, models, and
environmental resources that they find on the
databases EPA Web site. They expressed a need for fact
sheets, executive summaries, and other Some National Dialogue respondents have used
documents that focus on key environmental tools, models, and databases that are available
issues or topics (e.g., regulatory compliance on the EPA Web site. While they appreciate
assistance, environmental laws, key access to these resources (e.g., EnviroFacts, TRI
environmental programs). These documents Explorer, Risk-Screening Environmental
should summarize complex issues, be easy to Indicators), they expressed the need for
read, and contain links to more detailed enhancements, including clearer instructions for
resources. They also want these documents in a how to use these resources, easier user interfaces
format that is easy to print (e.g., PDF) and in a and ways to extract data from databases, and
variety of languages. Environmental additional tools to facilitate data analysis.
information intermediaries noted that this
requirement is particularly important to their
New Tools and Access to Experts constituents who may need access to the
information but are not Web-savvy or proficient
Many people are interested in using new
in English.
Web-based technologies to help them find,
understand and use information
Using and Analyzing Information
Most of the National Dialogue respondents are In addition to enhancements that help people
not active users of cutting-edge Web
understand the information they find on the EPA
technologies. They tend to access Web site, many National Dialogue respondents