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Newsletter of the Federal Depository Library Program

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Cumulative Table of Contents Vol. 1 - present [ PDF ] ( includes current issue )

October 15, 2003

GP 3.16/3-2:24/12
(Vol. 24, no. 12)

Information Dissemination Annual Report
Fiscal Year 2003


The Information Dissemination (Superintendent of Documents) organization participated in a wide range of new initiatives and made many exciting changes during FY 2003. These efforts have all served to improve our ability to carry out our mission and to better position the organization to help the agency in keeping America informed. This report divides FY 2003 Information Dissemination activities into the following major themes: Reorganization, Outside Participation, New Initiatives and Pilot Projects, Transformation Activities, and Cost Saving Efforts.


Senior managers from the Superintendent of Documents organization participated with senior managers from the other areas in GPO in a process that resulted in a reorganization of the agency's structure, including changing the organization's name to Information Dissemination. Information Dissemination then took the lead in carrying out instructions to duplicate this process in each of the new organizational areas that evolved from the reorganization effort.

This effort consisted of tearing down traditional stovepipes and creating a lean, functionally based, Information Dissemination organization that can most effectively carry out GPO's information dissemination needs as we move forward into the future. The Public Printer approved the reorganization plan for Information Dissemination in June and work immediately began on the implementation process, with completion targeted for April 2004. By the end of the year, substantial progress was being made on this implementation and efforts to prepare employees for the transition were well underway.

The plan aligns the Information Dissemination organization into the following four functional areas:

  • Program Development Service: This organization is responsible for planning and coordinating the execution of any new information dissemination program initiatives for GPO.
  • Program Planning and Coordination Service: This organization is responsible for all aspects of planning the strategic direction of GPO's established information dissemination programs and working in collaboration with the operational areas to establish the policies necessary to reach those goals and objectives.
  • Library and Customer Relations Service: This organization is responsible for all aspects carrying out the day-to-day contacts that Documents has with its library partners and various customers.
  • Collections Management Service: This organization is responsible for the day-to-day acquisition, bibliographic control, collection management, and dissemination of tangible and electronic Federal information from GPO's information dissemination collections.

Each of these functional areas has been divided into functional offices to carry out their responsibilities and work was well underway to create position descriptions to staff these areas by the close of the fiscal year as illustrated below:

View a larger, clearer version of the chart above and the entire reorganizational plan )
PDF, 343kb).

A cross-organizational team was charged with arranging assistance for employees in preparing resumes, addressing knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs), and interviewing skills to successfully apply for positions as GPO reorganizes. The team's initial efforts focused on preparing personnel from the existing Superintendent of Documents organization prepare for the transition to the functionally aligned Information Dissemination organization. These efforts included conducting an employee survey so that management could address employee questions and concerns, conducting orientation sessions for employees, bringing in an expert to discuss resume building and KSA development, and hosting career development workshops for staff. In addition, a career development expo was held to provide an opportunity for individualized attention to employees, based on the types of information discussed in the workshops.

Transformation Activities

In addition to the reorganization effort, Information Dissemination played a key role in a number of efforts to transform GPO's information programs to meet the future needs of users and our partners. Most significant among these were the following:

  • New Vision for the Federal Depository Library Program - The spring 2003 meeting of the Depository Library Council to the Public Printer was held April 6-9, 2003 in Reno, Nevada, with a focus on discussing a vision for the Federal Depository Library Program of the future. Several days of intense discussion between GPO and its library partners established a firm foundation for creating a vision of the new GPO and FDLP in the 21st Century. Efforts to build on this foundation continued during the rest of the year and will continue into the future. Some of the important elements of that foundation were:
    • The Government Printing Office, in partnership with Federal depository libraries, meets the needs of the public for no-fee access to official Government information.
    • The new era of partnership between GPO and Federal depository libraries should retain the best aspects of the existing system while incorporating new technologies and services to provide a higher degree of dispersion of government information to the public.
    • A new more flexible FDLP must be developed to meet institutional missions of partner libraries.
    • GPO should become an aggregator for Federal information.
    • Partner libraries should become facilitators in the Federal information dissemination process rather than repositories of printed government publications.
    • Libraries should also maintain their role of facilitator to no-fee public access to Federal information.
  • Transition to a More Electronic Federal Depository Library Program - The transition to a more electronic Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) continued to progress during FY 2003. The percentage of online titles in the FDLP increased to 65% in FY 2003. This Congressionally mandated transition should continue, with the percentage of online information expected to approach 95% by 2005. Through its commitment to ensuring permanent public access to the FDLP Electronic Collection, GPO is transforming the FDLP into a program that can continue to provide public access in the 21st century and beyond.
  • FDLP Training and Consultation Pilot Project - A significant amount of collaborative effort took place in FY 2003 between GPO and its library partners to look for ways to transform the inspection process through which GPO works with depositories to ensure that they provide the best possible service to depository users. The regional depository libraries were encouraged to develop proposals for pilot projects to test a new consultation concept to augment the traditional inspection process. GPO established plans to develop locally based "consultants," who would be assigned responsibility for approximately 40 to 60 depository libraries in a geographic area. They would visit each of those libraries at least once per quarter, some for only a few hours and others for a day or more, depending on the need. They would offer training and attend local, state and regional documents meetings to speak and answer questions. They could assist with self-studies, help train new documents librarians, and advise on problems related to item selection, collection development policies, etc. GPO intends to recruit people from the library community who would serve for a year or two and then return to work in a depository library. Several regional depositories have been contacted to discuss the appropriate role for regional support and participation in this project.
  • Closure of U.S. Government Bookstores - In recognition of the changing way in which sales customers are choosing to do business, GPO closed the remaining U.S. Government Bookstores located outside of Washington D.C. during this Fiscal Year. A concerted effort was made to ensure that customers were kept informed of the process and provided with information on other channels available for purchasing publications, including the U.S. Government Online Bookstore <http://bookstore.gpo.gov>.
  • Re-Design of GPO Access - GPO Access was re-launched with a new and enhanced look and feel and became the agency homepage. This was accomplished as a result of feedback from users, through surveys, usability studies, focus groups, and contacts received through the GPO Access User Support Team. Significant work towards establishing a geographically separate mirror site was accomplished, as was effective work building towards the next generation of the infrastructure supporting GPO Access.

  • Sales Inventory - Advances in print on-demand printing technology began to enable reductions in the number of copies purchased for the sales inventory. An analysis of the current inventory and the possibilities presented by on-demand printing allowed for the formation of a product procurement strategy that should substantially reduce the future cost of unsaleable publications in the sales program. With exception of a small, but significant, number of sales titles that must be ordered and maintained in the traditional way due to their content or construct, using print on-demand technology will allow ordering smaller quantities as needed for many titles. It will also allow for low-demand titles to be kept in the sales offering without financial risk to the program because copies are not printed until a sale is actually made.
  • Laurel Complex Consolidation - The changes in the way inventory is purchased and stored, plus a concerted effort to dispose of unsaleable stock allowed for the consolidation of space at our primary storage and distribution facility. This consolidation enabled GPO to reduce leased space by 180,000 square feet, or almost half of the size of the facility.

Outside Participation

To aid in the reorganization process, prepare for the future, and assume a leadership role in the information industry, the Information Dissemination organization joined or increased participation in a number of significant groups during FY 2003. These included:

  • Book Industry Study Group (BISG) - Information Dissemination staff actively participated as a member of this group and its major subcommittees, including Book Industry Standards And Communications (BISAC). BISG has led the way in setting industry standards and conducting vital industry research on behalf of publishers, booksellers, libraries and vendors. This participation facilitated and will continue to help Information Dissemination and GPO efforts to be industry leaders in standards such as ONIX (ONline Information Exchange) and RFID (Radio Frequency Identification).
  • National Information Standards Organization (NISO) - Participation through NISO allowed Information Dissemination and GPO to play a key role in interagency discussions regarding Electronic Resource Management, Digital Reference Services, Performance Measures and Statistics for Libraries, Reference Linking, Controlled Vocabularies, Interoperability, and Thesauri, Electronic Journals - Best Practices, Scientific and Technical Reports: Spanning the New Technology, and Archiving Electronic Publications.
  • Commerce, Energy, NASA, Defense Information Managers Group (CENDI) - Staff participation with CENDI in numerous discussions and explorations of intellectual property, Web site administration, content management, and other forces at work in the area of publishing and disseminating Government scientific and technical information greatly facilitated the advancement of GPO's information dissemination programs.
  • Coalition for Networked Information (CNI) - Staff participation in CNI's meetings puts them together with representatives of a variety of constituencies to discuss ongoing and new projects and plan for future initiatives pertaining to their three central themes: Developing and Managing Networked Information Content; Transforming Organizations, Professions, and Individuals; and Building Technology, Standards, and Infrastructure.

New Initiatives

Information Dissemination personnel undertook a number of new initiatives during FY 2003. Among the most significant were:

  • Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) - In September 2003, the Deputy Public Printer and the IRM Policy Manager signed the GPO PKI policy. GPO plans to implement Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) technology that will include the use of digital signatures for congressional and other information made available through GPO Access. This will help ensure the protection of data against unauthorized modification or substitution of information. It will also enable GPO customers to verify the authenticity and integrity of the information they are using from GPO Access. Customers with a free software reader will be able to confirm that information was approved for submission to GPO by the appropriate Federal agency and that it has not been altered since it was signed.
  • NARA Archival Affiliate Status - GPO signed an historic agreement with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) on August 12, 2003, making GPO an official "archival affiliate." All of the GPO Access databases are considered the official archival copies, as if they had been physically transferred to NARA, but GPO will continue to maintain them for permanent public access.
  • Electronic Depository Library Pilot Project - In conjunction with Information Dissemination personnel, the University of Arizona began a pilot project to become the first all-electronic selective depository library. Begun in September 2002, the active phase was completed September 1, 2003, and evaluation and documentation by both GPO and the University of Arizona will continue. The project included University of Arizona personnel working with GPO to identify electronic counterparts for all of the items that they select and systematically substituting those items in the place of tangible products. The development of an online depository requires a method of accessing and organizing the online government resources. The University of Arizona relies on GPO's cataloging records, and the persistent uniform resource locators (PURLs) within them, to both access and organize the documents that make up the University of Arizona online depository.
  • On-Demand Inventory - Information Dissemination planned and set in motion an effort to set up a means of utilizing on-demand printing technology to meet dissemination needs without having to produce and maintain costly inventories until the products are actually needed. While this will ultimately benefit all dissemination programs, it should prove particularly effective for the sales program, where inventory has proven to be problematic. A number of tests utilizing both internal GPO capabilities and those of outside companies were conducted and the results were used to anticipate potential issues and fine-tune the use of print-on-demand technology in the future.
  • Establishing a Public Information Collection - A draft collection plan that focused on building a comprehensive, timely, permanent collection of U.S. Government publications was developed. While primarily designed to proactively acquire, preserve, provide online access to, and make available for other GPO dissemination programs, copies of Government publications, the collection would also include paper copies to ensure future access even if a particular document has to be re-digitized. Through access to stored digital objects, and by repurposing those objects for print-on-demand and document delivery services, the Collection will also support other GPO organizations and operations. In conjunction with regional Federal depository library collections, the collection will serve as the collection of record for the FDLP, as well as the collection of last resort for all Federal depository libraries.
  • Integrated Library System Procurement Progress - Substantial work was completed on procuring an integrated library system (ILS) to meet GPO's needs for creating and maintaining bibliographic information. The process should be completed early in FY 2004.
  • Online Bookstore Enhancements - Significant progress was made in enhancing the U.S. Government Online Bookstore customer experience and in preparing for even greater gains in the future. This includes progress towards the identification of a complete e-commerce infrastructure for the sales program that will hopefully be procured in the near future.
  • CRM Software - A customer relationship management package was procured and readied for implementation by the end of the fiscal year. It provides an electronic knowledgebase to help answer frequently asked questions, and also will provide Web chat functionality in real-time. This CRM application will help GPO manage and improve contacts with its many customers, including users of GPO Access, GPO's award-winning Web site.
  • DOE Pilot Projects - Information dissemination personnel worked with our partners in the Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) to develop two new web services modules that will enhance the usefulness of the DOE Information Bridge service.
  • Regulations.gov - GPO was one of the lead partners in the project to establish Regulations.gov <http://www.regulations.

gov>. Regulations.gov was created as the first step in the online rule-making initiative. Citizens can search, review, and comment on Federal agency rules and proposed rules open for comment from the Regulations.gov Web site. The GPO Access User Support Team provides support for the site through a toll-free telephone number and e-mail.

  • Public and Private Laws Listserv - Information Dissemination personnel utilized GPO's list serve technology to establish an e-mail notification service that allows interested parties to sign up to be notified through e-mail when new public and private laws become available on GPO Access. These e-mails include links to the ASCII text and PDF versions of new public or private laws. Users can sign up at <http://listserv.access.gpo.gov/archives/gpo-plaws-1.html>.

    • Search Engines/Paid Positioning - Recognizing that search engines are one of the most popular ways in which users find the resources available via GPO Access, Information Dissemination personnel continued their pursuit of optimizing the visibility of GPO Access pages in major search engines and directories. In addition to ongoing optimization efforts, several successful paid positioning tests were conducted through industry leaders Google and Overture. One example is the campaign conducted on Google for the GPO Access home page, which brought 94,000 new visitors to the site over a three-month period.