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New GSA Web Site Has 400 Commonly-Used Federal Forms

October 2, 1998 - The General Services Administration has put almost 400 federal forms on a one-stop web site. These GSA forms, Standard Forms, and Optional Forms can be viewed, filled in, printed, e-mailed or faxed directly from the Internet. This unique site eliminates the need for users to purchase costly formfill packages and makes many commonly used government forms easily accessible to federal agencies as well as the public.

Johnny Young, Director of Reproduction Services in the Office of Communications at GSA, hopes this is the first step toward a web-based repository of all federal forms used by the public or federal employees

GSA Turned a Major Problem into a Visionary Solution

"When a previously-used proprietary forms package became obsolete with the introduction of Windows 95 and NT technologies," Young said, "GSA was faced with the enormous task of redesigning hundreds of widely used federal forms. We were determined to avoid any proprietary limitations in the future, so we sought a software solution which would digitally capture existing forms images from virtually any design package and make them quickly available to agencies and the public on the Internet.

"Many agencies have made significant investments in design software with links to internal databases," Young continued. "Our goal is to provide the current, legally correct images electronically for all government agencies without interfering with their preferred design or workflow procedures. "

Web Forms Has Features to Help the User

Through a development partnership with Intercon Associates in Rochester, New York, this vision became reality in the Spring of 1998. The GSA Web Forms site includes free DocNet TM web-fill software developed by Intercon which can be downloaded once and launched as a helper application each time a form is chosen to view or fill. John C. Paroda, President, Intercon stated, "We took on a challenge by government and delivered. We feel very proud that our small business can make an impact on decreasing government costs and help to streamline work processes."

Those unfamiliar with official form titles or numbers can use the Query Screen to search by Agency, by keyword in the title, or by form type (i.e. personnel, legal, budget and appropriations) to obtain a listing of all forms matching the criteria selected. Additional forms being added daily to the repository.

Jan Wendler, in GSA's Office of Communications, said "It is not unusual to receive a call from a customer requesting an urgently needed form to meet a contracting deadline. I can now map the fields and make the forms available on the web within minutes rather than weeks. Where electronic images are not available, I can scan the existing paper forms and quickly map them as well."

People Love It

Response from federal agencies and the public has been overwhelmingly positive. GSA has received numerous e-mail letters from federal employees and the general public. "They report time savings on key projects and express appreciation for the convenience of accessing these documents," Wendler said. "For example, a recent message from Juanita Garretson, a SEE (Senior Environmental Employment) Program Enrollee in support of the EPA, indicated "During our end-of-year crunch we downloaded these forms to desktops throughout the agency and made use of the quick forms fill-in capabilities. It was a tremendous help to us during a time of extremely tight deadlines."

Continued enhancements by GSA will include XML data field tagging, which will make it possible to compile and/or transmit information and data from the forms absent the form image itself. For example, a customer survey could be conducted over the Internet and data easily extracted to a database for marketing and customer service requirements. XML is quickly gaining recognition as the industry standard for data handling on the Internet.

Attention Federal Agencies:
Putting Your Public Use Forms on Web Forms Can Please Your Customers and Save You Plenty

Young believes that a governmentwide site for all federal forms with related regulations and instructions (in simple language) is one way to help meet the Vice President's goal of interagency colaboration to achieve It solutions to serve the public better. "Customers constantly express frustration that there is no one location to search for documents. They spend hours jumping from site to site hitting roadblock after roadblock," Young said that cost savings in the millions of dollars could clearly be realized based on the following factors:

  • Reduced need for printing and warehousing of paper forms
  • No more obsolescence cost
  • Reduced mailing costs
  • Increased accuracy due to validation rules in the forms as they are filled
  • Faster routing of information/transactions without traditional "paper-passing"
  • Elimination of duplication of effort across agencies to make the same forms and documents available in many formats
  • Reduced software license fees for desktop filler packages.

For More Information

You can obtain more information on this project from:

GSA Office of Communications:
Jan Wendler, 404-331-7325,
Johnny Young, 202-501-1961,
Ted Freed, 202-501-0492,

Intercon Associates:
John C. Paroda, 716-244-1250,