National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) Report on U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO)

The National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) has recently published a 166-page report on the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO), prepared for the GPO, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) and the U.S. Congress — please see:

Rebooting the Government Printing Office: Keeping America Informed in the Digital Age (January 2013)

Among other things, the report contains 15 recommendations:

  • Recommendation 1. To enable the federal government to carry out its role of providing information to its citizens, Congress should establish a collaborative interagency process, and designate a lead agency or interagency organization, to develop and implement a government-wide strategy for managing the lifecycle of digital government information.
  • Recommendation 2. To ensure GPO can carry out its mandate of providing permanent public access to government information, GPO should enhance its position and capabilities by offering an expanded set of services on a cost-recovery basis that contribute to the lifecycle management of government information. These services could include content management, metadata creation, authentication, preservation, and cataloging. GPO should develop strategies to encourage executive branch agencies to provide publications to GPO to enable permanent public access.
  • Recommendation 3. To safeguard the historical documents of our democracy for future generations, GPO should work with depository libraries and other library groups to develop a comprehensive plan for preserving the print collection of government documents. This plan should include cataloging, digitizing, and preserving tangible copies of government publications, a timeline for completion, and options for supporting the effort financially, as well as a process for ingesting digitized copies into the Federal Digital System. Congress should appropriate funds for the purpose of cataloging, digitizing, and preserving the government collection.
  • Recommendation 4. To ensure the long-term preservation and access of digital government publications, GPO and Congress should explore alternative funding models for the Federal Digital System in order to ensure a stable and sufficient funding source.
  • Recommendation 5. To preserve the relevance and viability of the Federal Depository Library Program, GPO should continue to collaborate with depository libraries and the broader library community to develop a national strategic plan for the program that gives libraries the flexibility and tools they need to provide permanent public access to government information in the digital age.
  • Recommendation 6. To ensure the Publication and Information Sales Program continues to play a role in information dissemination and is able to recover costs, GPO should continue to aggressively research and expand into new markets.
  • Recommendation 7. To enable further cost reductions, Congress should consider changes in its demand for print. GPO should develop estimates of cost savings that could be realized through potential changes in the requirements for printing the Congressional Record. GPO should quantify the savings that could be realized through such options as printing fewer copies of the Congressional Record or ending the daily start-of-business print requirement while continuing to provide electronic access.
  • Recommendation 8. To continue to realize government-wide benefits, GPO should continue to perform executive branch printing, while further reducing costs and improving customer service.
  • Recommendation 9. To generate additional revenue, GPO should continue to pursue smart card business. To assist GPO in growing this business and to leverage GPO’s smart card expertise for public benefit, Congress should consider whether to
  • Recommendation 10. To effectively integrate and align the agency’s human resource policies, programs, and practices with its strategies for achieving mission success and desired programmatic results, GPO should develop and institutionalize a human capital planning capacity. GPO should make strategic human capital planning a high priority and use multiple strategies to ensure the recruitment, retention, development, and rewarding of a highly motivated and diverse workforce.
  • Recommendation 11. To ensure it is able to continue to plan for and respond to future changes, GPO should continue its transformation by enhancing its strategic planning capabilities, broadening its change management efforts, and continually reviewing customer product and service needs.
  • Recommendation 12. To achieve future organizational and operational cost savings in the Customer Services program, GPO should further consolidate regional office locations, space, and staff and continue to identify and implement best management practices (such as cross training, telework, work sharing arrangements, and increasing managerial spans of control) and available technologies to the greatest extent possible.
  • Recommendation 13. To realize significant potential savings and enhance revenues (as well as improve customer service), GPO should accelerate the development and deployment of a new automated print procurement system.
  • Recommendation 14. To reduce GPO’s facilities footprint while increasing the leasing of unused building space, GPO should continue pursuing incremental lease arrangements.
  • Recommendation 15. To address workforce skills imbalances, GPO should continue to pursue targeted, gradual staffing reductions in specific areas, as well as functional consolidations, when feasible and appropriate.

Cross-posted at Law Library Blog.

New Pilot Project Will Enhance Public Access to Federal Court Opinions

The U.S. Courts website has just announced a new project to enhance public access to U.S. federal court opinions:

New Pilot Project Will Enhance Public Access to Federal Court Opinions

The full announcement reads:

New Pilot Project Will Enhance Public Access to Federal Court Opinions

May 04, 2011

A dozen federal courts have been selected to participate in a pilot program in which the federal judiciary and the Government Printing Office are partnering to provide free public access to court opinions through the GPO’s FDSys system.

The one-year pilot project was approved by the Judicial Conference in March 2010, and the GPO received approval from the Joint Committee on Printing – often referred to as the oldest joint committee of the Congress – in February 2011.

When fully implemented later this year, the pilot will include two courts of appeals, seven district courts, and three bankruptcy courts. In March, the Judicial Conference approved expansion of the pilot to include up to 30 additional courts.

The judiciary continually has sought ways to enhance public access to court opinions. Free access to opinions in all federal courts is currently available via the judiciary’s Public Access to Court Electronic Records service (PACER).

Building on that success, staff from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts met with GPO management to explore making opinions even more accessible. Fdsys can provide the public with a robust search engine that can search common threads across opinions and courts.

The initial 12 participating courts are the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Second and Eighth Circuits; the U.S. district courts for the Districts of Minnesota, Rhode Island, Maryland, Idaho, and Kansas, the Northern District of New York, and the Northern District of Alabama; and the U.S. bankruptcy courts for the District of Maine, the Southern District of Florida, and the Southern District of New York.

Cross-posted on Law Library Blog.

Access to Congressionally Mandated Reports Act

On Thursday 23 September 2010, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform will mark-up, H.R. 6026, the Access to Congressionally Mandated Reports Act, a bill to require that any report required by statute to be issued to Congress and releasable under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) be posted on a website managed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

OpenTheGovernment.org is circulating the below letter in support of the bill:

Dear Chairman Towns and Ranking Member Issa,

On behalf of the undersigned organizations concerned with government accountability and transparency, we are writing in support of H.R. 6026, the Access to Congressionally Mandated Reports Act.

H.R. 6026 requires that any report required by statute to be issued to Congress and releasable under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) be posted on a website managed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The reports would be available no later than 30 days after their transmission to Congress, and would be searchable by a number of categories.

Congressionally mandated reports contain a wealth of information about how the government is going about its work, and where it is doing, or not doing, well. H.R. 6026 makes it easier for the public to find this information and use it to hold officials accountable for their actions.

We appreciate your time and attention to this issue, and urge that you pass H.R. 6026. If you have any questions or would like to discuss this issue further, please contact Patrice McDermott, Director of OpenTheGovernment.org (pmcdermott@openthegovernment.org or 202-332-6736).

Sincerely,

OpenTheGovernment.org