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GPO Proposes 21st Century Digital Information Factory

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Press release from the issuing company

Washington, D.C.--The Government Printing Office, which recently reported strong operating results for its last fiscal year, today announced the publication of A Strategic Vision for the 21st Century, which sets forth the agency's plans to transform itself from a 19th century, heavy-metal printing operation into a nimble 21st century digital information factory. "We had to wake up. Last month 50% of all Government documents were born digital and will never be printed by the Government.  But the GPO is still required by law to gather and catalog these electronic documents, to distribute them electronically, and to ensure their perpetual availability to the public," said Bruce James, Public Printer of the United States.  "This task calls for a whole new set of skills and tools; what we call a digital information factory." Central to GPO's plans is trading its existing building complex for new facilities, sized and equipped for its digital future.  "Rather than burden taxpayers with the enormous costs of building and equipping our operations for the future, we believe that we can use the proceeds from the private redevelopment of our current obsolete plant to completely pay the costs of new facilities and still have money left over to return to the U.S. Treasury," James said. The GPO's strategic vision also calls for the reorganization of the agency around six core lines of business ranging from Digital Media Services to Security and Intelligent Documents.  Each business line is to be supervised by a general manager who will have complete responsibility for the operations and financial success of their unit. As it has since 1861, the GPO will continue to manage the content creation of the official journals of Government, such as the Congressional Record and Federal Register, and will print these and other documents for Congress in its new facilities.  But, the majority of the Federal Government's printing requirements will continue to be purchased in the private sector through a competitive bidding process.  Last year, the GPO, which buys 600 to 1,000 printing jobs a day, awarded contracts to 2,568 vendors, that were located in every state in the country.  "We see the Government's printing requirements changing dramatically in the next few years.  Not only will fewer titles be printed, but the quantities will drop as more Government information is accessed through the internet.  Within a few years we will no longer order copies for warehouse storage and later fulfillment, instead relying on demand printing, where our vendors print one copy for each individual customer's order," said Jim Bradley, GPO's Managing Director of Customer Services Judy Russell, Superintendent of Documents at GPO, is responsible for the dissemination of both printed and electronic documents to the public.  "To fully serve the needs of our library partners and the public for finding and using Government information on the Internet, we will need to go back in time.  We are proposing to begin with the Federalist Papers and digitize all significant federal documents following a set of standards that will allow users to search the Web for authentic Federal information," said Russell. For more information or to view GPO's A Strategic Vision for the 21st Century or the 2004 Annual Report, please visit: http://www.gpo.gov/congressional/index.html.




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