Doesn't rhyme with paper

Steve LeSueur

Information management tool -- that's a new Air Force name for electronic forms.

I'm not crazy about the name, but I like the idea behind it.

Carolyn Watkins-Taylor, who leads the Air Force's publishing office, said the service is trying to do more than just reproduce paper documents in a Web format. Once a static form is digitized, it can become part of a dynamic, interactive process for transmitting information among unlimited numbers of people and systems.

Staff Writer Joab Jackson talked with the technology companies that are helping the Air Force and other federal agencies eliminate paper and move documents to the Web, as required by the Government Paperwork Elimination Act. What agencies are discovering is that GPEA, if done right, goes beyond digitizing paper. It's really about re-examining and revamping workflow processes previously tied to paper information.

And so, if done right, a digitized form becomes a new tool for managing information.

"If you say 'form' you envision paper," Watkins-Taylor said. "If you say 'information management tool,' we're hoping you will envision a more advanced process to transfer information."

Whatever you call it, getting rid of paper is OK with me.

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