GPO outlines digital conversion plans

The Government Printing Office over the next two years will transform the way it collects, authenticates, stores and shares federal documents.

By December 2007, GPO will implement the Digital Content System and update processes for collecting and storing past, present and future government records.

GPO officials today outlined their plans in a new strategic plan.

"Last month, 50 percent of all government documents were born digital and will never be printed by the government," public printer Bruce James said. "But 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. This task calls for a whole new set of skills and tools?what we call a digital information factory."

The agency, along with the Federal Depository Library Program, will set standards for digitizing well-known public documents and assuring their quality. GPO plans by 2008 to digitize 70 percent of all historical documents dating back to the 1787 Federalist Papers.

GPO also will relocate its main facilities in Washington and create a backup facility at the Energy Department's Nevada Test Site for housing security- and intelligence-related documents. The agency will develop special Web search tools and training so librarians can locate federal information. It also will consolidate 53 regional depositories into two databases, one on the East Coast and one on the West Coast.

To help with the changes, GPO will open a Digital Media Services Office to provide training for GPO employees on the new technologies. It also will reorganize around six lines of business, agency officials said.

Finally, the agency will consolidate its financial, human resources and procurement applications into one enterprise system, which GPO also plans to have ready by December 2007.

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