Internet 201

In Search of Federal Contracts

Companies throughout the country exploring the different avenues to the federal marketplace can save valuable time and gather valuable tips by linking to a few select sites on the Internet. Alongside the electronic versions of the Commerce Business Daily and Federal Register and access to congressional information, you should visit these places in pursuit of federal dollars.

1. U.S. General Services Administration



At the top of the federal procurement hot list is the GSA, a key agency that sets policy on procurement as well as real property and information resources management. Among the valuable items on this home page are links to the Federal Information Center, GSA regional offices and GSA staff offices. The regional office page features a slick graphic (image map) of the United States if you're using a GUI browser.

2. The Federal Supply Service



As their home page notes, FSS contracts for nearly $8 billion in goods and services annually for government agencies throughout the world -- everything from pencils and paper through trucks and maintenance to travel services. They buy through "supply and service schedules, stock programs, and special orders as well as consolidated purchases and other contracting programs" -- all of which are detailed on this page. The enterprising business person will also find an anchor to the FSS Electronic Mall's Avenue of Goods and Services and information about electronic data interchange (EDI).

3. U.S. Federal Sub-Contractor Directory

(URL: gopher://www.sbaonline.

The small business person can scout for opportunities at this gopher site, which is organized by state. This directory, according to the file atop the Gopher menu, lists "the major Prime Contractors who have contracts with the government.

The Prime Contractors are looking for small businesses with which to subcontract some of their government work." A quick review revealed 278 companies listed in Virginia, 221 in Maryland and 39 in the District of Columbia.

4. The Federal Web Locator at the Villanova Center for Information Law and Policy



Here's an attempt by Villanova to create a one-stop shop to federal government information. No question, it's an impressive start.

They maintain this list of sites,

in their own words, "to bring

the cyber citizen to the federal

government's doorstep." What's here? It should be everything. Finding it takes time, though,

so be prepared to spend the

afternoon and early evening. Once in, you will see three broad categories:

(1) Federal Legislature, covering the House, Senate, OTA and Thomas (from the Library of Congress)

(2) the acronym-rich Federal Independent Agencies, including CIA, EPA, FAA, FCC, GPO, NASA, NAS, NSF, NRC, SEC and USPS

(3) Federal Executive Agencies, that is, USDA, DOC, DOD, DOE, HHS, DOI, DOJ, DOT and the Executive.

John S. Makulowich writes, talks and trains on the Internet. You can reach him at makulow@clark.

net or His home page is

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