An Updated Lexicon of Government Information Policy

10.31.06 | 1 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

The specialized language of government information policy is itself a reflection of the intricacies and convolutions of that policy.

A newly updated and substantially expanded lexicon (pdf) of information-related terms, prepared by Susan L. Maret, provides a valuable map to the language and the terrain of U.S. government information policy.

Hundreds of entries, ranging from the well-known or obvious (“classified”) to the obscure and recondite (e.g., EPITS), are presented with lucid definitions and pointers to official source documents.

“These terms represent a virtual seed catalog to federal informationally-driven procedures, policies, and practices involving, among other matters, the information life cycle, record keeping, ownership over information, collection and analysis of intelligence information, security classification categories and markings, censorship, citizen right-to-know, deception, propaganda, secrecy, technology, surveillance, threat, and warfare,” Dr. Maret writes.

“The terms reported here — which have often been interpreted widely from one federal agency to another — play a significant role in shaping social and political reality, and furthering government policy.”

See “On Their Own Terms: A Lexicon with an Emphasis on Information-Related Terms Produced by the U.S. Federal Government” by Susan Maret, Ph.D., updated October 2006. (An MS Word version is here.)