Back in 2010, while researching previously unidentified quagmires in the U.S. presidential succession process, a correct and searchable electronic transcript of The Constitution of the United States (The Constitution) was required. Unfortunately, all known online transcripts of The Constitution at that time contained errors, including online transcripts posted by the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (the "National Archives"), the National Constitution Center (the "NCC"), the American Bar Association (the "ABA"), et cetera. In the case of the National Archives, it is the official U.S. Government agency that maintains, secures, houses and displays the original version of The Constitution of the United States, and they are also responsible for distribution of the official transcription of The Constitution of the United States to other branches of the U.S. Government, State and Local Governments, profit and non-profit organizations, et cetera. In other words, our nation's National Archives was itself distributing an erred electronic transcript of The Constitution of the United States.
In light of all the erred electronic transcripts that existed on the Internet, the decision was made to create a fully accurate and correct electronic transcript of The Constitution, where fully accurate and correct means capitalization, punctuation, notations, emends and spelling are reproduced as they exist in the original document. Although not officially validated, it is the first (and presumably only) fully accurate transcript of The Constitution. After completing a fully accurate transcript, the next step was to notify the more prominent organizations that had erred online electronic transcripts of The Constitution so they could act to verify and correct their own errors. Our plan was logical and valid, but what actually occurred over the subsequent years relative to corrections was both illogical and quite disturbing. Instead of simply validating the errors existed and acting to correct them (and we offered the error reference, as well as the correct translation for every error), every organization we contacted, including the National Archives, assumed their versions could not possibly have any errors, and they did absolutely nothing. In the case of the National Archives, it literally took the threat of imminent public exposure of their inaction to finally force them to acknowledge errors existed and to actually act to correct the errors. It is the point upon which we as an organization learned the threat and act of public disclosure of incompetence is the only effective solution to government/corporate idiocy.
In January of 2014, we formatted and posted our error-free transcript of The Constitution of the United States (HTML and PDF versions) online because continued reviews of the online transcripts of The Constitution revealed errors were never corrected, and that included the more prominently visited websites (e.g., the National Archives¹ and the NCC²) that were explicitly informed of the exact nature of their errors, the methodology used to identify such errors and also an error-free process in which they could themselves confirm the existence of such errors.
DISCLAIMER: You are free to read and print our transcripts, as well as refer to/use them as reference material, but we insist that they not be reposted on the Internet "as works" (either in full or in part), they not be used to generate or used as a source of any income/revenue (directly or indirectly), they not be used in business operations of both for-profit and not-for-profit entities alike without express permission to do so with the sole exception of student class-based educational purposes in K-12 educational entities, and also that they not be alter or modified in any manner where the action, intent or outcome is "essentially" a "duplicate work" or a "new work" either in full or in part except when used for the express purpose of validating and correcting an existing transcription or transcriptions of "The Constitution" by its legal owner (i.e., you may self-validate your own "works," but not validate as a service to others) provided such "altered/modified" versions are permanently destroyed (i.e., erase/deleted in full if in an electronic-based format and shredded/ripped up or otherwise rendered useless if not in an electronic-based format); and although this "DISCLAIMER" is realistically in no way all-inclusive of ever possible or conceivable disclaimer instance, its intent to be broad and fully inclusive is clear and unambiguous—you may read and enjoy, including using its feature of being error-free to validate your own existing transcription(s) or to educate the youth, but all other uses are prohibited, including that of using it to "create a work."
†Uploaded an Error-free Printable Version
¹ With respect to the National Archives, the documented errors were personally reported to the Archivist of the United States, Mr. David Ferriero, via a letter. The letter included detailed examples of several of the errors, as well as stating the full list of errors/corrections was available upon request (contact info was provided). The detailed examples were provided so the authenticity of the claim of errors could quickly and accurately be verified by Mr. Ferriero and his staff. The full list was offered rather than included so we would have a high degree of certainty whether Mr. Ferriero and his staff elected to ignore the matter outright or took the matter seriously by actively identifying and correcting the errors. I received an official response via U.S. mail that neither confirmed nor denied the existence of the errors. The letter stated "they" think the transcription was from an earlier publication that was "thought to be correct," and ended with "We will certainly look closely at the transcription and revise where necessary." However, after a year or more, not one error was corrected, which means every entity, including the U.S. Congress, U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Justice Department, the entire Executive Branch, et cetera, still were referring to erred versions of The Constitution of the United States. What finally got the National Archives to acknowledge the errors exist and working to provide a solution to correct the errors was a follow-up message requesting a detailed status of the progress of the correction effort for publication. In other words, imminent exposure of their failure was the only action that got Mr. Ferriero and his staff at the National Archives to take the matter of an accurate and correct transcription of The Constitution seriously. Considering we are talking about errors in the official transcript of the Constitution of the United States, which is the official reference for the U.S. Government, State Governments, our Courts, et cetera, there is absolutely no justification for the apathy and ignorance exhibited by staff and so-called leadership at the National Archives. On the positive side, we did receive a thank you in the response we received, but would have appreciated it more if Mr. Ferriero (our Nation's Archivist) and his staff took the matter of making timely corrections to our Nation's most important document much more seriously.
² With respect to the NCC, the documented errors were personally reported to the CEO, Mr. David Eisner, via a letter that detailed each exact error. Mr. Eisner and his staff elected to ignore the detailed error information, although they gave no reason for refusing to make any of the corrections. Our letter to Mr. Eisner stated the NCC could authenticate each reported error by comparing the errors one-by-one against high-resolution images of The Constitution which are/were available online, ironically posted online by the National Archives (the scans, unlike their transcripts, are not erred). In short, Mr. Eisner and his staff were not the least bit interested in whether or not their online version of The Constitution contained errors or not. In fact, Mr. Eisner authorized the development and release of mobile apps that included the erred transcription in an effort to increase the organization's exposure and fundraising efforts, while ironically claiming the release fulfilled their Mission Statement's demand that they accurately inform and educate the public on matters regarding The Constitution. Late in 2013, Mr. Jeffery Rosen became the new CEO at the NCC, and he was promptly notified of the transcription errors, and that included a copy of the letter sent to his predecessor. The hope was that Mr. Rosen was a more suitable CEO for the NCC. An immediate response was received, which included statements that the matter was taken seriously and that any errors would be corrected promptly (same basic response received from the National Archives). Of course, the errors were not corrected. In Mr. Rosen's defense, upon following up that no errors were corrected, he did seem to want to determine why the errors were not corrected, which ended up being attributed to the fact that the NCC obtained their erred electronic version of The Constitution from the National Archives. In essence, the NCC position was the National Archives certainly would not disseminate a version of The Constitution that contained errors (refer to footnote 1 above). When the errors were finally recognized as existing, the NCC was interested in correcting them on all of their platforms. Because our own online transcription of the U.S. Constitution is not high on any search engine list, and therefore, not readily known to exist by most persons on the internet, we offered (at no cost or obligation other than a presumed Thank You) to provide a correct electronic version of The Constitution to ensure all the errors were properly identified and corrected, which they gladly accepted. The NCC staff kept in contact as the corrections progressed, but once the final error-free formatted electronic version was sent to them, we never heard from anyone at the NCC, and that includes not even receiving any "Thank You" from any one by letter, phone or email. It makes us wonder about the NCC and its so-called leadership.