Official Federal Government
Information at Your Fingertips
By Robert Frierson
Federal government information in a hurry? The Government Printing
Office has it. Welcome to the world of GPO Access http://www.gpo.gov/gpoaccess
-- its only a few keystrokes away! GPO Access is one
of the few official services that provide access to information
from all three branches of the Federal Government.
has transformed public access to Government information,
not only for Americans, but also for people all over the world.
It provides free electronic access to official Federal information
and assists and encourages Federal agencies to make their information
access to more than 1,300 databases through more than 80 applications,
such as the Federal Register and the Congressional Record. There
are more than 104,000 titles available on GPO Access servers,
while GPO Access links to more than 68,000 additional titles
on other official Federal Web sites. Many electronic documents appear
on the day of publication, exactly as they appear in print, and
are the official published version. Additionally, GPO Access
recently added Bens Guide to U.S. Government for Kids <http://bensguide.gpo.gov>
designed specifically to meet the needs of parents, teachers, and
students in grades K-12 with over 21,000 hits a day.
was carefully designed, developed and implemented so that it is
easy to access and use. Numerous search tools locate Government
information products by topic, title, agency, or keyword within
one database or across multiple databases. An electronic order mechanism
allows for the secure online purchase of print and electronic products.
Additionally, the systems capability to expand to meet the
publics needs and to store information permanently supports
GPOs commitment to providing permanent public access to electronic
Government information products. GPO has saved other Federal agencies
time, money and resources by providing an inexpensive and effective
method for disseminating information. Recent statistics indicate
that GPO Access fulfills approximately 21 million document
retrievals per month, while helping Congress, Federal agencies,
and the Courts to disseminate official Government information quickly,
efficiently, and inexpensively.
supports a wide range of dissemination technologies, from client/server
applications through the Internet to dial-up modem access, including
methods compatible with assistive technologies that comply with
the Americans With Disabilities Act. Federal Depository Gateway
libraries also provide convenient off-site access at the local level.
Even individuals without computers can utilize GPO Access
through public access workstations at one of more than 1,300 Federal
Depository Libraries located throughout the country. Users may also
receive user support from the Government Printing Office s
User Support Team via phone (toll-free 1-888-293-6498 or the DC
metropolitan area 202-512-1530), fax or e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org).
constant efforts to improve and refine the online products and services
available through GPO Access in response to customer feedback
have also resulted in commendations for this service from organizations,
publications, other Web sites, and satisfied users. GPO Access
has been praised for its quick turnaround time of placing information
and newsworthy Federal information from all three branches of government
online, and making federal information accessible to the widest
Albert Gore wrote a letter to the Public Printer of the U. S Government
Printing Office in May 1998, stating, "Your organization continues
to serve as an excellent model for other Federal agencies on how
to provide an interesting and easy-to-use web site, providing consumers
hassle-free access to government services. Your innovative website
encourages consumers to contact your agency and to take advantage
of the many services which you provide." GPO Access
has also been recognized by U.S Representative Steny Hoyer (D-MD),
first recipient of American Association of Law Libraries first annual
Public Access to Government Information Award in 1999, the Center
for Democracy and Technology, OMB Watch, and the Government Executive
Magazine on THE 15 BEST FEDS ON THE WEB, among others.
is now one of the most recognized electronic facilitators of free,
official Federal information and locator services on the Internet.
Information technology is such an integral part of our lives that
GPO has recognized the need to maintain an efficient, but user-friendly
system that continually strives to become an optimum resource for
locating Federal information products and services. Throughout the
U.S. Government Printing Offices nearly 140 years of existence
it has always been a recognized leader of disseminating official
Federal information. GPO Access is the tool of the 90s
that will shape the future of disseminating electronic Federal information
over the Internet to reach the greatest concentration of people
in the shortest period of time!
About the Author
is an Electronic Products and Services Specialist at the U.S. Government