GPO Launches ‘Google’ for Federal Docs
The Government Printing Office today launches Federal Digital System (FDsys),
the new online home for original federal documents.
Users will eventually be able to search for information from the government’s
50 different collections. The site currently hosts the eight most-popular
collections, including the Federal Register, the Congressional Record and
archive of Congressional hearings. The other collections will be added to the
site by this summer, according to GPO’s chief information officer Mike Wash.
The new site also marks the launch of the Federal Register’s new Daily
Compilation of Presidential Documents, an archive of executive orders,
speeches and other information released by the White House Press Office.
The daily online compilation replaces the printed Weekly Compilation of
“In today’s world, where things are widely expected to be available
immediately and online, we need to have a really good repository of
information to maintain federal publications to get easy access to that
information,” Wash said.
Web users could just as easily use Google or other search engines to find
government information, but FDsys assures access to the original, authentic
versions of government documents.
Work on the site began in 2004 and GPO has spent roughly $20 million so far
on the project.
“What we use is a lot of standard software. We haven’t been doing much custom
software,” Wash said. “A lot of our research was focused on doing search and
content management. Lots of our time was spent on configuring standard tools
to meet our needs.”
Wash’s team consulted congressional staffers, librarians and the federal
agencies as the development process began. More recently, GPO has consulted
with members of the tech-savvy Obama transition and administration.
“I think we’ll be talking with them more, because what we’ve been doing here
is a good example of good open government,” Wash said.
Courtesy of Carol Koenig at NGIC.
Posted by Tom R.