ON THE STATUS OF
                                GPO Access
             A Service of the U.S. Government Printing Office


                      U.S. Government Printing Office
                             December 31, 1997

                    For additional information contact 
      the Office of Congressional, Legislative and Public Affairs
                    U.S. Government Printing Office    
                           Washington, D.C. 20401
                         Telephone: (202) 512-1991
                             TABLE OF CONTENTS



I.       Executive Summary                                     1 

II.      Key Provisions of the GPO Access Legislation          3

III.     GPO Access Objectives                                 4

IV.      Usage Statistics                                      5
V.       GPO Access Services                                   6
          1.   Government Information Databases
          2.   Federal Bulletin Board
          3.   Locator Tools and Access to Collections
               of Government Information
          4.   Improvements to the Superintendent of 
               Documents World Wide Web Pages
          5.   Federal Agency Web Sites

VI.      Permanent Access and Storage of the Collection       13
         of Government Information Products on GPO Access

VII.      User Access and Retrieval                           14
          1.   Supported Methods of Access 
          2.   Public Access Terminals
          3.   Gateways

VIII.    Improving Public Access to Government                16
         Information Through GPO Access
          1.   Case Study: CBDNet
          2.   Case Study: GILS
IX.      Measures of Effectiveness Through Consultation       21
          1.   Focus Groups
          2.   User Survey Results

X.        GPO Access Training and Demonstrations              22

XI.       User Support                                        22

XII.      Future Plans--SGML and OpenText                     23

XIII.     Development Expenditures and Operating Costs        24

XIV.      GPO Access Benefits and Savings From Dissemination  24
          of Electronic Information

XV.       Recognition of GPO Access                           26

List of Exhibits                                              27

Exhibit A: Key Terms and Definitions

Exhibit B: Total GPO Access Retrievals--January 1996-October 1997

Exhibit C: Code of Federal Regulations Retrievals--October
1996-October 1997

Exhibit D: Cumulative Listing of Databases Online Via GPO Access

Exhibit E: Sample Screens of New GPO Access Web Pages  

Exhibit F: Federal Agency Web Sites Hosted By GPO Access
Exhibit G:  GPO Access Databases in Owensboro, Kentucky

Exhibit H:  Federal Depository Library Gateways

Exhibit I: CBDNet: GPO Produces Award-Winning Internet Service
For Commerce Department (Press Release, April 7, 1997)

Exhibit J:  Individual Agency GILS Records Mounted on GPO Access

Exhibit K:  GPO Access User Support Team Inquiries, March-October

Exhibit L: GPO Access Operating System

                               STATUS REPORT

                                GPO Access
             A Service of the U.S. Government Printing Office

I.   Executive Summary

Today's GPO Access is a dramatically different service than it 
was at the time of GPO's last update to Congress. It has grown in
size, scope and usage through the addition of new databases,
search enhancements, locator applications, and a nationwide
series of training sessions and demonstrations. This biennial
report highlights these changes, details enhancements and
improvements, and describes the service's future. 

In accordance with the requirements of Public Law 103-40, the
"Government Printing Office Electronic Information Access
Enhancement Act of 1993," GPO Access was introduced on June 8,
1994 as a combination of subscription services and other services
available without charge. Since December 1, 1995, GPO Access has
offered no-fee public access. Over the 22-month period of January
1996 to October 1997, searches on GPO Access increased 1178%,
while retrievals of information increased 319%.

GPO Access now includes more than 70 databases and a variety of
other electronic Federal information resources. In addition to
these official databases, the service provides access to the
Federal Bulletin Board, several locator tools for accessing
Federal electronic information, and the Sales Product Catalog,
which enables users to locate and purchase Government information
products available for sale by the Superintendent of Documents. 

GPO has also taken responsibility for permanent access to the
Government information products provided via GPO Access. Steps
have been initiated to coordinate permanent public access to
Government information products on GPO Access servers and through
deposits at an electronic storage facility and a distributed
networked system of partner institutions.

GPO strives to ensure comprehensive and equitable public access
to Federal electronic information available through GPO Access.
Consequently, GPO Access continues to support a wide variety of
access methods: from dial-up and telnet to the World Wide Web
(Web) interface, gateway libraries, and public access terminals.
GPO Access reaches people with all levels of technical
capabilities. GPO is constantly improving the GPO Access service
in response to public needs and user feedback. Focus groups and
surveys monitor the usability of the service and pinpoint areas
for improvement. Such monitoring has led to a streamlining of the

GPO Access homepage and secondary pages, as well as numerous
database enhancements.  

As GPO continues to adopt evolving electronic information
dissemination technologies, staff have also educated users about
GPO Access services. GPO Access training classes and
"Train-the-Trainer" classes have been provided for Federal
depository libraries and library networks across the nation.
These classes are in very high demand. The GPO Access User
Support Team (Team) serves as a point-of-contact with the public,
educating users about the many electronic products and services
offered by GPO. Users can contact the Team by phone, fax,
or e-mail for assistance in searching for and using information
available through GPO Access. For just the past six months, the
Team has averaged almost 6,000 inquiries per month.

GPO's electronic information dissemination and innovative, new
electronic applications have provided both benefits and financial
savings. The most significant benefit is expanded public access
for a much larger audience of users than was previously available
through the distribution of paper documents. Because of the
many benefits the GPO Access service provides in increasing the
level of public access to Federal information, GPO Access has
been recognized by several organizations for outstanding service.
The costs of operating GPO Access are recovered from the Salaries
and Expenses (S&E) appropriation provided to GPO for the
Depository Library Program and from reimbursable revenue GPO
receives for services it provides to other Federal agencies. GPO
Access has met the requisites of its original mandate and has
become an invaluable resource to the American public which needs
a diverse variety of Government information. This has been
accomplished at a cost much lower than was originally anticipated
in the GPO Access legislation. 


II.  Key Provisions of the GPO Access Legislation

Summarized below are the key provisions of the U.S. Government
Printing Office Electronic Information Access Enhancement Act of
1993 (Public Law 103-40), which charged the Superintendent of
Documents within the Government Printing Office (GPO) to develop
mechanisms to enhance public access to a wide range of Federal
electronic information products. 

For purposes of this report, key terms and definitions are
included in Exhibit A. 

1.   Electronic Directory, Online Access and Storage Facility

The Superintendent of Documents (SuDocs) is required to (1)
maintain an electronic directory of Federal electronic
information; (2) provide a system of online access to
the Congressional Record, the Federal Register, and, as
determined by the Superintendent of Documents, other appropriate
publications distributed by the Superintendent of Documents; and
(3) operate an electronic storage facility for Federal electronic
information. Collectively these are GPO Access.

2.   Departmental Requests

To the extent practicable, the Superintendent of Documents will
accommodate requests by department or agency heads to disseminate
their information through GPO Access. 

3.   Consultation

The Superintendent of Documents will consult with users of GPO
Access, and with other providers of information services, to
assess the quality and value of these

4.   Fees

The Superintendent of Documents may charge reasonable fees for
use of GPO Access services, except that Federal depository
libraries will have access at no charge. If fees are charged,
they must be set so as to recover the incremental cost of
dissemination. Depository library access will be paid from the
appropriation provided for the Federal Depository Library
Program. All retrievals and downloads from GPO Access are without
charge to the user. Federal agencies can make information
available through GPO Access, in which case they reimburse GPO
for costs incurred by GPO to convert and periodically update


5.   Status Report; Biennial Report
By June 30, 1994, the Public Printer shall submit to Congress a
report on the status of the GPO Access services. The Public
Printer must submit to the Congress a biennial report, beginning
December 31, 1995, on odd-numbered years. This report shall
include a description of the functions of this Act and a
statement of cost savings in comparison with traditional forms of
information distribution.

6.   Operational Deadline

GPO Access shall be operational by June 8, 1994.

III. GPO Access Objectives

To implement the legislative mandate, the following objectives
have been established for the program. GPO Access allows users to
locate electronic products available via the Internet and to
order Government information products online. The product line
includes, beyond congressional information products, many
important products from the executive and judicial branches such
as the Federal Register, the Code of Federal Regulations, the
Commerce Business Daily, and Supreme Court opinions, as well as
Government Information Locator Service (GILS) records for a
growing number of Federal agencies. 

The primary objectives of GPO Access are as follows:

    Improve access to Federal Government information in
     electronic formats.

    Provide electronic document delivery and online interactive
     services that are well-designed, easy to use, and available
     to the public without charge through the FDLP. 

    Provide access to Government information that is official
     and complete. GPO secures the integrity of its databases to
     insure against unauthorized changes in text or graphics.

    Provide locator tools that assist users in finding
     Government information.

    Assure access to a broad spectrum of users with a wide
     variety of technical capabilities both directly and through
     an active partnership with Federal depository libraries.

    Establish and operate an online interactive service that is
     capable of rapid expansion to meet the needs of Federal
     agency publishers and public users.


    Encourage the use of electronic database standards and
     permit dissemination of the original document, without
     rekeying, in print and/or electronic format.

    Utilize a variety of dissemination media and methods,
     including World Wide Web, bulletin board services and online
     interactive search and retrieval services in order to
     achieve cost-effective information delivery that is
     appropriate to both the type of information being
     disseminated and the needs of users of that information.

    Ensure permanent public access of Government information
     made available through GPO Access and the FDLP via direct
     provision, the electronic storage facility and development
     of a distributed networked system of partner institutions. 

    Provide services to other Federal agencies on a reimbursable
     basis, saving time, money, and other resources.

IV.  Usage Statistics

The month of October 1997 was a new record for the use of GPO
Access.  Nearly 4 million searches were performed via GPO Access
and nearly 8.2 million documents retrieved. Searches for January
through October 1997 are already 273% higher than for all of
1996, while retrievals have seen a 68% increase since 1996. Over
the 22-month period from January 1996 through October 1997,
searches on GPO Access increased 1178%, while retrievals rose
319%. [Exhibit B]

Usage of GPO Access has increased dramatically over time. From
December 1995 to January 1996, retrievals increased by 36%, with
an overall 90% increase in retrievals between November 1995 and
January 1996. 

Until October 1997, the Federal Register consistently had been
GPO Access' most used database, with the Code of Federal
Regulations (CFR) and Commerce Business Daily (CBDNet) not far
behind. In December 1996, document retrievals from the Federal
Register accounted for approximately 58% of GPO Access
retrievals. Throughout 1997, that proportion has been declining
as CFR retrievals have increased. In October 1997, the Code of
Federal Regulations actually surpassed the Federal Register as
the most popular database: CFR retrievals comprised 39% of all
GPO Access retrievals, while Federal Register retrievals 
comprised 32%. This trend can be expected to continue as GPO
continues to add CFR titles to the site, with plans of having all
CFR titles online by the end of 1997, or early 1998. [EXHIBIT C]

Since January 1997, retrievals from CBDNet have averaged 10.9% of

total GPO Access retrievals per month, consistently placing it as
the second or third most popular GPO Access database. For the
first eight months the CBD was online, retrievals increased each
month: in January 1997, the 93,247 retrievals within the CBD
accounted for 3.3% of all GPO Access retrievals. By July of
the same year, this figure was up to a high of 17.3%, with
811,923 retrievals.

As part of GPO Access' original mandate, GPO was required to
provide online access to the Congressional Record, in addition to
other Federal information. The Congressional Record is regularly
among the most popular databases. Between January 1996 and
October 1997, the Record experienced an overall 113.3%
increase in retrievals, with 303,242 documents retrieved in
October 1997. 

V.   GPO Access Services

1.  Government Information Databases

The GPO Access service has met the original goals of Public Law
103-40 which required GPO to provide a system of online access to
the Congressional Record, the Federal Register and other
publications deemed appropriate by the Superintendent of
Documents. The popularity of the GPO Access system is partly
due to the large number of databases available. In fact, the
number of online databases has increased since the introduction
of GPO Access. 

When GPO Access services were made available on June 8, 1994, the
initial online databases consisted of the Congressional Record,
the Federal Register, the Congressional Record Index and Enrolled
Bills. By September 1995, the available databases had expanded to
include Congressional Bills, the History of Bills from the
Congressional Record Index, the United States Code, Public Laws,
and General Accounting Office (GAO) Reports. As of November 1997,
online databases include the Code of Federal Regulations, the
Commerce Business Daily (CBDNet), Congressional Directory,
Congressional Calendars, the Budget of the United States and many
more. A list of all of the GPO Access databases is provided in
Exhibit D.

When designing the initial WAIS server applications, GPO
identified requirements that this service should:

    Be capable of meeting the operational deadline stipulated by
     the law.

    Where possible, utilize existing equipment in order to

     minimize costs.

    Be compatible and work with the Internet as well as be
     accessible through asynchronous communications (modem and

    Satisfy publisher and public requirements that online access
     to the Record and Register include the complete
     publications, with all tables, graphics, and other

    Include at least one means of access that is compliant with
     the Americans With Disabilities Act (Public Law 101-336).

          A.  The Congressional Record 

The Congressional Record (Record) online via GPO Access contains
daily issues of the Congressional Record from the 103d Congress,
2d Session (Volume 140, 1994) forward. The current year's
database is updated by 11:00 a.m. each day the Record is
published, unless late adjournment delays production of
the daily issue. The Record from the 104th Congress forward
provides access to both ASCII and Adobe Acrobat Portable Document
Format (PDF) files. As an added feature, beginning in 1997, Web
users have the ability to select the Daily Digest of the
current issue in either ASCII or PDF format. 

          B.  The Federal Register

The Federal Register Online via GPO Access contains the daily
issues of the Federal Register beginning with calendar year 1994
(Volume 59) forward. The database is updated by 6:00 a.m. each
day the Register is published. The text of Notices, Final
Rules, Proposed Rules, Presidential Documents, and Executive
Orders, as well as the contents and finding aids in the 1994
Register are included as ASCII files, with all graphics included
as individual scanned-image files in TIFF format. Brief ASCII
text summaries of each major entry are also available. These
summary files are so popular that GPO has added them as an option
in many other GPO Access databases.

From calendar year 1995 (Volume 60) forward, the Register is also
available as PDF files. This allows users with the free Adobe
Reader software to display and print the typeset pages of the
Register, including all graphics. The 1995 database forward also
offers users the ability to search by date and/or page number, as
well as the ability to limit searches to specific sections of the
Register. Since 1997 the current issue of the Table of Contents

is available for Web users in both text and PDF format. The
Office of the Federal Register has added text to the preliminary
pages of the Federal Register stating that the online version of
the Federal Register via GPO Access is the OFFICIAL legal
equivalent to the paper edition. GPO Access is the only such
official site for the Federal Register. 

          C.  The Code of Federal Regulations

The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) online via GPO Access was
introduced in the fall of 1996 and is now GPO's most popular
database. GPO has worked diligently to ensure that CFR volumes
are added to the online service concurrent with the release of
the paper editions. When revised CFR volumes are added, the
prior editions will remain on GPO Access as a historical
reference set.

CFR volumes appear online as WAIS databases, accessible through
the Web, with WAIS client software, or via telnet or dial-in
access. Documents may be retrieved in PDF or ASCII text format.
The Web interface presents users with several different options
for searching the CFR. Users have the option to: "Search the
entire set of CFR databases by keyword," "Retrieve available
CFR sections by citation," and "Search your choice of CFR titles
and/or volumes." If the last option is chosen, a table is
provided which lists the subject of each title and allows
users to choose either current or historical versions.

2.  Federal Bulletin Board

The Senate Report on the GPO Access legislation incorporated the
Federal Bulletin Board (FBB) into GPO Access. Since the
introduction of GPO Access in June 1994, the FBB has undergone
major improvements. The most notable improvement came with the
introduction of the FBB Web interface in the spring of 1996. This
new Web interface is extremely user-friendly as compared to the
dial-in and telnet interfaces. However, for those who still wish
to access the FBB via these methods, that capability remains.

The FBB enables Federal agencies to provide the public with
immediate, self-service access to Government information in
electronic form. It provides a means for on-demand delivery of
information that is not suitable for, or not time-sensitive
enough to warrant online interactive access, such as a database.
As of December 1997, the FBB had approximately 4,700 files
representing more than 20 Federal agencies and organizations from
all three branches of the Federal Government. During October

1997, more than 24,000 files were downloaded from the FBB.
Information from agencies is made available on the FBB in a
variety of file formats chosen by the publishing agencies
including ASCII text, PDF, WordPerfect and dBase.

3.  Locator Tools and Access To Collections of Government

Under the GPO Access legislation, GPO is required to maintain an
electronic directory of Federal electronic information (Locator
Service). This locator service has taken several paths since
1994, those paths being: Monthly Catalog of United States
Government Publications, Pathway Services and GILS (Government
Information Locator Service).

          A.  Catalog of United States Government Publications

Taking responsibility for a Government-wide locator was a logical
extension of GPO's responsibility for publishing the Catalog of
United States Government Publications. Title 44 USC 1711 requires
GPO to "prepare a catalog of Government publications which shall
show the documents printed during the preceding month, where
obtainable, and the price."

The Catalog is now available as a daily-updated GPO Access
database, as well as through a CD-ROM edition of the monthly
catalog. This database is now referred to online as the Catalog
of United States Government Publications. Users can search
for Government information products available in the Federal
Depository Library Program and locate a library in their state or
area code that has that product in its collection. Hot links are
also available to search the Sales Product Catalog if a user
wishes to purchase the product.

          B.  Pathway Services

The GPO Access legislation gave GPO responsibility for providing
a comprehensive directory/locator of electronic information
available from the Federal Government. Consequently, GPO
developed an application called Pathway Services.

Pathway services allow users to locate Government information in
the following ways:

    Browse or search a list of Federal agency Internet sites.


    Browse Government information by topic. (Using SuDocs
     subject bibliographies to categorize Government Web sites
     that fall under that particular category.)

    Browse a list of titles available online by agency. (Titles
     that were typically part of the FDLP.)

    Search the Internet using the Pathway Indexer or Federal
     agency search engines. (Allow users to search the entire
     Internet for official Government or military web pages
     related to the search terms entered and locate products
     available from particular agencies at their sites.)

          C.  Government Information Locator Service (GILS)

OMB Bulletin 95-01 initiated the creation of a Government
Information Locator Service (GILS). GILS is a way to identify,
locate, and describe publicly available Federal information
resources, including electronic information resources. GILS
records identify public information resources within the Federal
Government, describe the information available in these
resources, and help users in obtaining the information. GILS is a
decentralized collection of agency-based information locators
using network technology and international standards to
direct users to relevant information resources within the Federal

GPO has gone to great lengths to make GILS as user friendly and
centralized as possible. These attempts will be discussed in
further detail in Case Study 2 within Section VIII of this

          D.  Sales of Government Information Products Through
              GPO Access

Available through the "Find Products for Sale by GPO" link on the
SuDocs Web page, GPO Access offers the public several resources
for locating and purchasing Government information products.

The Sales Product Catalog database--formerly the Publications
Reference File--contains the descriptions, stock numbers, prices,
and availability status of Government information products sold
by the Superintendent of Documents. The Catalog, updated daily,
offers citations on forthcoming products, as well as notes
concerning superseded titles. A variety of Government information
products, including pamphlets, books, print and electronic
subscriptions, diskettes, and CD-ROMs are all available for sale

through GPO Access. Users have the option of searching for
information by title, stock number, and author in the Sales
Product Catalog database. Products that are in stock can be
ordered directly from a hypertext link on the search results

Customers may also browse lists of products to obtain product
descriptions and online order forms. A chronological listing of
"New Products and Services Announcements" links customers to
press releases describing specific products.  

Users can also "Browse Government Information Products for Sale
by Topic." By selecting one of approximately 150 broad subject
headings called subject bibliographies, customers can locate
Government information products about a particular topic. Linking
to "Browse a Catalog of Available Subscriptions," provides
access to information on paper, microfiche, and electronic
subscriptions by both topic and agency listings.  

Finally, "Browse a List of CD-ROM's Available for Purchase"
offers an alphabetical listing of all CD-ROMs available from the
Superintendent of Documents. Each listing provides a product
description, system requirements, stock number, price, and
order options.

For patrons who wish to visit a U.S. Government Bookstore to
purchase Government information products, GPO Access also
provides maps and the hours of operation for each of the 24
stores nationwide.

Customers can order products directly from GPO Access via the Web
order form or they can fax, call, or mail their orders to GPO.
Ordering via Internet order forms, whether directly submitting
orders online or printing out and mailing the online forms, is an
increasingly popular and efficient means by which the public can
purchase GPO's information products. Between mid-1995 and
mid-1997, GPO received 3,455 Internet orders that produced
$78,755 in revenue.

4. Improvements to the Superintendent of Documents World Wide Web

The Superintendent of Documents recently introduced a new GPO
Access homepage for the Web interface, redesigned to provide
users with easier and more efficient access to the online
resources. The new homepage is available at the
following URL:


The GPO Access Web pages have been redesigned to be more
intuitive to users. Redesign efforts focused on creating a new
homepage that provides new users with clear and easy paths for
locating the GPO Access services they need, while still providing
a useful starting point for more experienced users. In addition
to the homepage, several new "second level" pages have been
developed that allow users to quickly and conveniently access GPO
products and services. These pages are available as hot links
from the new SuDocs page, with quick jumps to the most popular
applications and databases. Sample GPO Access pages are
provided in Exhibit E.

Through the Web, files are available in both ASCII text and PDF
formats, and in many cases, specialized search pages are
available for databases that contain fields, multiple years or
some feature that makes the database unique to search. These
specialized search pages allow users to build very specific
searches that result in very concentrated and precise lists of
search results. Unlike the GPO Access customized WinWAIS client,
Web users are not required to update their source files as new
databases are introduced or as older databases are moved to
other servers.

In response to the needs of GPO Access users, new features to the
Web interface are constantly being added and old applications are
being enhanced. The Web interface allows for much more
customization than other methods of access. One example of
customization is the increasing number of databases that contain
lists of documents with hot links to the actual referenced
documents. Both the Congressional Directory and the Government
Manual demonstrate this feature. 

Pathway services applications have been developed and greatly
enhanced to assist users in finding collections of Government
information available at Federal Depository Libraries, and
general administrative information about the FDLP. Pathway
services use advanced indexing, searching and retrieval
tools to identify, describe and link users to Federal
information. One example of this is the Browse Electronic Titles
Page. Browse Electronic Titles provides direct access to
individual Government information products located on servers at
official Federal agency Web sites. A "What's New" page now
provides hypertext links to both current and retrospective
products, and the agency index is being expanded to include
Government publishers of older titles. Steps have been taken to
decrease download time for this page by creating smaller,
interrelated files. 

5. Federal Agency Web Sites

GPO Access hosts 13 Federal agency Web pages. GPO develops and
maintains these sites, and access is offered through direct
connection and through links from GPO Access. GPO also offers
domain name registration services for agencies that would rather
give their site an intuitive and independent uniform resource
locator (URL), ie:  instead of
. GPO staff are working with other
agencies who are interested in using GPO's web development
services and in hosting through GPO Access. [EXHIBIT

VI.  Permanent Access and Storage of the Collection of Government
     Information Products on GPO Access

Traditionally, FDLP Regional depository libraries have provided
the means for permanent access to relatively complete collections
of Government information products dispersed throughout the
country. The GPO Access legislation addressed the issue of
storage or permanent access to electronic Government information
products as one of its major provisions, by mandating an
electronic storage facility. The fundamental purpose of the
storage facility was "to provide a facility for storage of
electronic information made available on the system of access by
the Superintendent of Documents." (House Report 103-108, p. 171) 

At the time of our last status update report to Congress, GPO had
addressed the goal of operating an electronic storage facility
for Federal electronic information. The most visible
accomplishments relative to that goal are the production and
maintenance of th e online Congressional Record and Federal
Register, and the establishment of a remote online computer
information facility at Owensboro, Kentucky. Current editions of
these and other GPO Access databases are located in the GPO's
main facility in Washington, D.C. Earlier editions of major GPO
Access databases, such as the Record and Register, are migrated
to GPO's remote site for permanent public access. [Exhibit G]
Additionally, storage of selected Federal agency electronic
information products are provided as a service to agencies on
GPO's Federal Bulletin Board (FBB). 

By establishing these and other GPO Access databases, GPO has in
effect taken responsibility for permanent access to the 
Government information products residing on GPO Access servers.
GPO also has initiated steps to coordinate permanent public
access to Government information products through a distributed
networked system of partner institutions. This distributed system
provides users with an opportunity to locate and use Government

information products from multiple sources or providers, rather
than from a single source or location. 

Planning for this type of storage is being accomplished through
the development of an FDLP Electronic Collection Plan. The Plan
will provide a policy framework through which the collection of
products is developed and maintained, and defines the near-term
parameters and requirements for the electronic products and
services that constitute the Collection. 

The Collection will consist of core legislative and regulatory
GPO Access products that will reside permanently on GPO servers,
and additional products either maintained by GPO or other
institutions. Parts of the Collection, other than core
legislative and regulatory GPO Access products, may be maintained
at the remote storage site and partner institutions, including
depository libraries, consortia, or other institutions. For
example, GPO, the U.S. State Department, and the University of
Illinois-Chicago (UIC) recently agreed to insure permanent
storage and accessibility to the electronic Government
information products in the Department of State Foreign Affairs
Network (DOSFAN) through UIC. This and other similar types of
arrangements serve to promote recognition among Federal agencies
that GPO is dedicated to ensuring permanent access to Government
electronic information products, regardless of whether those
products are held on GPO servers, the remote site, or by an
institution with which GPO has a partnership agreement. 

VII. User Access and Retrieval 

1. Supported Methods of Access 

User access and retrieval of Government information products made
available through GPO Access is in accordance with the principle
that the public has a right to access Government information that
has been prepared and published at public expense. One of GPO's
continuous goals for the GPO Access service has been to assure
that access to and retrieval of Government information products
is available to a broad spectrum of users possessing a wide range
of technical capabilities. Consequently, GPO Access can be
reached in a variety of ways. The Web has quickly become the most
popular method of accessing GPO Access. However, direct dial-up
access is available to those without Internet access or who need
to use assistive technologies. Telnet and WAIS client access are
available to persons who do not have access to the Web.  

2. Public Access Terminals

GPO Access users can access and retrieve Government information
products through pulic access workstations available at Federal
depository libraries. This is a critical role for libraries,
assisting users who may not have access to a computer elsewhere.
There are nearly 1,400 Federal depository libraries located
throughout the country, one in almost every Congressional
district as well as in U.S. territories and possessions. These
libraries play an important role as information intermediaries
that can help the public use GPO Access to find information. All
depositories are expected to offer users access to workstations
with a graphical user interface, CD-ROM capability, Internet
connections, and the ability to access Government information via
the Web. 

3. Gateways

Federal Depository Library Gateways continue to provide remote
off-site public access to GPO Access. Through the Gateway
program, Federal depository libraries facilitate public access
without charge by offering off-site access to GPO Access
through their own computer systems or those of partner networks
in their local areas. Users connect to the depository library
gateway host, which in turn establishes a transparent connection
to the GPO Access service. 

The implementation of the Gateway Program has proven to be an
effective model in providing access to Government information at
the local level. Local depository libraries sponsor the program
and assist in supporting its users, who can dial a local number
in their area to connect to GPO Access. Although Gateways are no
longer necessary to gain access without charge to the GPO Access
service, many users still find them to be a viable alternative to
directly connecting to the GPO Access service. Most Gateways
provide users with different types of interfaces, helpful hints,
and other customized options designed to meet the needs of their
local patrons. 

Currently, more than 40 Federal depository libraries in 31 states
and the District of Columbia serve as Gateways and offer GPO
Access through the Web, WAIS, or SWAIS connections. Each Gateway
has selected methods of access that support the majority of its
patrons, as well as its technological level. [Exhibit H]

VIII.     Improving Public Access to Government Information  
          Through GPO Access

Easy access and user friendliness are two of the driving forces
behind GPO's continual improvements to the GPO Access service.
Two applications exemplify these efforts at creating improved
access: CBDNet and GILS.

1. Case Study: CBDNet

The project to revolutionize the Commerce Business Daily (CBD)
began with the transfer of responsibility for the CBD from one
program area to another within the Department of Commerce
(Commerce). This new program area, the Office of Acquisition
Management, developed a vision for a new CBD that worked better,
cost less, and expanded the availability of the procurement
information that CBD contains. The vision focused on utilizing
new information technology and the Internet to accomplish their

A call went out for proposals to satisfy the new vision for CBD.
Proposals designed to fulfill the vision were received from 14
private sector and two Government organizations. Commerce
carefully analyzed the proposals and built a business case
for choosing the optimal organization. This analysis revealed
that the proposal from GPO was superior in all areas.

The GPO proposal provided for improvements in every phase of the
CBD process [EXHIBIT I]. It accomplished this while lowering the
cost for an agency to place a notice in CBD from $18 to $5, a
savings of over 70%, as well as making official notices freely
available on the Internet in real time. 

Commerce and GPO entered into a strategic alliance to implement
the GPO proposal on August 27, 1996. Work on this collaborative
effort began in earnest and the new system, known as CBDNet,
officially went live in January 1997. CBDNet was an immediate
success and use of the new capabilities it provides has
grown steadily. In October 1997 nearly 600,000 notices were
downloaded by the public.

Through CBDNet agency contracting offices are able to submit
notices electronically to the CBD. These contracting offices
receive immediate, electronic feedback on the status of their
notice; whether it is accepted or rejected. If rejected, any
errors are highlighted for correction and re-submission. If 
accepted, the submitter receives a submission acceptance number
including the date and time of acceptance, along with the text of
the submitted notice. That submission acceptance number can then

be used to search the CBD database for that particular notice. 

Two CBD databases are maintained at GPO. The first database is
the Active CBD database, which contains the most current CBD
notices available for searching and browsing. Notices remain in
this database for 15 business days, then are migrated to a second
database, the Archived CBD database. Notices will remain in the
Archived CBD database indefinitely from December 2, 1996 forward.
Users have the option to search either or both of these

Notices submitted electronically are available sometimes as
quickly as within two minutes of being accepted, but always
within an hour. However, these notices will not appear in the
print version for approximately two business days. CBDNet also
allows users of the CBD to either search the database or browse a
list of active CBD notices according to classification code. 

These processes are fully supported by the GPO Access User
Support Team, which is available to assist users; from submitting
a notice, to searching or browsing the database. The Team is
reachable via a toll-free phone number, e-mail or fax. Online
submission and searching instructions are also available in a
variety of formats.

Until CBDNet was created, the only official access to this
information was through a paid subscription to the printed
version of CBD, or through free reference use of the printed
copies distributed to Federal depository libraries. There was no
official electronic access to CBD, although many private vendors
purchased CBD data and created value-added products, which they
made available for a fee. 

The official online CBD database through GPO Access allows timely
electronic access without charge for all users. It can be
accessed through the Web, by using a WAIS client, or through a
modem with  dial-up capability. Access is even available to users
who do not have a computer or Internet connectivity, through
public access workstations at Federal depository libraries.

Improved Service

Because notices appear in the CBD database as soon as they have
been validated by the system, the business community and the
public have real-time access to procurement opportunities being
advertised by Federal agencies. Once validated, a notice will
generally appear in the printed issue dated two days after it has
appeared in the database. Add in the time that a printed copy
would spend in the mail and it is easy to see that the online
database shortens the time between when an agency posts an
opportunity and when a business begins work on a bid.
Consequently, Commerce and the Office of Management and Budget

(OMB) are considering shortening the mandatory advertisement time
for a notice from 15 to 5 days, which will shorten the Government
procurement process.

CBDNet has even afforded improvements for private sector
companies who purchase CBD data and create value-added CBD
products. The new system provides these data subscribers with the
daily issue datafeed much faster than before, in an enhanced
format, and at a 20% reduction in cost.

Service and system improvements are apparent throughout CBDNet. 
They are measurable through financial savings, improved and more
timely access to information, the increased usage of electronic
submissions and an increase in database document retrievals. The
financial savings through CBDNet are most obvious when
considering the reduced cost for the electronic submission of
notices. Between the months of December 1996 and July 1997 a
projected $829,010 will be saved based on reduced submission

The speed at which notices are available in the database is
another obvious service improvement. Previously, CBD subscribers
had to wait for the print product to arrive to take advantage of
procurement opportunities. Now they can access the information
immediately rather than wait for the printed issue to arrive in
the mail. This more timely access shortens the time required by
an agency to procure important products and services and allows
businesses to begin work on an opportunity when it is released by
the issuing agency.

The popularity of CBDNet is most apparent through the heavy use
of the database and in the increasing number of electronic notice

submissions. Just two months after CBDNet went live,
approximately 220,000 notices were retrieved. Two months later
that number jumped to almost 500,000. CBDNet now stands as one
of the most popular of the more than 70 databases available
through GPO Access, just behind the Federal Register and the Code
of Federal Regulations. 

More and more agencies are realizing the financial advantage of
directly submitting notices electronically and are abandoning the
traditional manuscript method. In its first month CBDNet received
82% of notice submissions electronically. By April 1997 that
percentage rose to over 93%. As more agencies gain access to the
Internet and realize the cost savings of online transactions, the
number of electronic submissions is expected to increase even

Current Technology

GPO took advantage of the increased versatility of the Internet

and the Web as well as its own experience with typesetting and
composition to develop CBDNet. From the creation of a notice by
an agency contracting office, to the creation of a database and
the file used to create the printed copy of the CBD, to billing
agencies for notice submissions; all stages are handled
programmatically through GPO systems.

Internet technology allowed for the electronic submission of
notices, both via e-mail and the Web, as well as for the
electronic validation of the notice. Many features on the CBDNet
Web site utilize the newest Web technology. Script programs allow
for the secure submission of notices by only qualified Government
contracting officials. The notices are validated without human
intervention and feedback is automatically provided
electronically to the submitter. 

Web technology allows users to select from a variety of options
to locate and retrieve notices available in hypertext mark-up
language (HTML) format which contain links to related Web sites
and e-mail links to the contracting official. Creating these
links is accomplished using the data submitted by the contracting
officials themselves. Programs and systems utilize this data to
facilitate all facets of the CBD process. This includes
submission, validation, inclusion in the database, typesetting
and composition, printing, datafeeds to subscribing value-added
providers, and billing. Because the same files are used to create
the paper CBD issue, the online CBD via GPO Access is considered
the official and legal equivalent to the paper copy. 

The creation of CBDNet was a lesson in cooperation not only
between two agencies, but also within GPO itself. Many
departments came together, using their expertise to create this
innovative, automated system. Along with other examples of
similar service, the success of CBDNet is used as a
case study to promote the broad scope of skills and services that
GPO has to offer agencies in helping them reinvent their
processes and programs.  

2. Case Study: GILS

Following standards set forth in OMB Bulletin 95-01 and the
National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), in January
1996 the Government Printing Office implemented its Government
Information Locator Service (GILS) online via GPO Access. Not
only did GPO build its own GILS application, but also assisted
other Federal agencies in fulfilling their GILS requirements by
hosting their GILS records on GPO Access. In fact, the Small
Agency Council on GILS recommended that its members take
advantage of GPO Access to make their GILS records available to
the public.  


As mandated by OMB, Federal agencies are required to create
electronic records, or GILS records, to identify public
information resources within the Federal Government, describe the
information available in these resources, and assist the public
in obtaining the information. Thus, GILS is a decentralized
collection of agency-based information locators using network
technology and international standards to direct users to
relevant information resources within the Federal

Because this collection is decentralized, GPO is attempting to
provide a point of access, or link to, all U.S. Federal GILS
databases. In developing its GILS application, GPO laid the
groundwork for assisting other agencies in fulfilling their
GILS responsibilities. Nearly 30 Federal agencies have mounted
their GILS records on the GPO Access server. These agencies are
listed individually in the scroll box located on the GILS search
page. [Exhibit J]

GPO created a series of GILS records, called Pathway Records,
describing the information of cabinet-level and major independent
Federal agencies. Pathway records are designed to assist
depository libraries and their users in locating and
accessing Federal information. Agencies that have mounted their
GILS records on a server other than GPO Access have been asked to
provide a GILS Pointer Record, describing their GILS holdings and
containing links to those holdings. 

As an improvement in its services, GPO has recently added a new
option for searching GILS records that brings a more centralized
nature to a decentralized system. Users are now able to search
all known compliant Federal GILS sites from the GPO Access GILS
site. All results are returned and listed comprehensively on
GPO Access. Another recent improvement to the GPO Access GILS
site is the option to browse GILS records by agency. This allows
users to browse a list of agency GILS records housed on GPO
Access, and access the records directly from the list eliminating
the need for a search. 

The GILS application online via GPO Access is accessible to users
with both high and low-end equipment, making the benefits of GILS
available to everyone. Future plans for GILS include providing
HTML records, where possible, for all agency records housed on
GPO Access, as well as the option to look at a shorter, more
concise GILS record. 

GPO has taken GILS far beyond its initial basic requirements to
provide user-friendly, comprehensive access for the public. GILS
development continues, and GPO is committed to continuing to
improve the usefulness of this valuable information resource.

IX.  Measures of Effectiveness Through Consultation

Many improvements that have been made to the GPO Access service
in the past two years are in response to feedback GPO received
when assisting users, and from focus group sessions and user
surveys. These mechanisms, used together with comments about our
service that were sent directly to the GPO Access User Support
Team, have proven to be very effective methods for monitoring
user requirements and gathering information used for improving
the GPO Access service. 

1.   Focus Groups

Beginning in 1997, GPO started conducting regular focus group
sessions on the GPO Access service. Focus groups have been held
at several Federal depository library conferences, as well as at
GPO. These sessions were in-depth roundtable discussions that
examined how customers make use of the GPO Access service,
as well as the degree of ease or difficulty experienced in
finding information. Participants in these sessions included
Congressional staff, Federal depository librarians, members of
trade and professional organizations, and private sector
representatives. These individuals, representing a broad
cross-section of the American public, shared candid insights that
have proven invaluable in revising the GPO Access Web pages and
improving the service. 

2.   User Survey Results

GPO recently conducted two separate GPO Access User Surveys. The
first survey was directed to all Federal depository libraries. 
The second survey, which began in November 1997, was made
available on the GPO Access Web site for all users to complete.
Both surveys were used to collect information about several
critical areas of the GPO Access service, including functionality
and user support. 

The final results of the first survey of depository libraries
suggest that GPO Access received its strongest positive ratings
for providing users with the information that they were looking
for (87%) and the timeliness of that information (98%).
Aditionally, 81% of respondents stated that they had contacted
the GPO Access User Support Team. Ratings for GPO Access user
support, particularly about product knowledge (95%); providing
timely/accurate responses (82%); and complaint resolution (81%)
were also favorable. The second survey is being conducted as of
this report. GPO plans to continue surveys of the GPO Access

service on a regular basis. 

X.   GPO Access Training and Demonstrations

With the transition to the electronic dissemination of
information, the need to educate users about the many services
offered through GPO Access has continued to expand. GPO's Office
of Electronic Information Dissemination Services (EIDS) works
with Library Programs Service (LPS) to provide that education.
Demonstrations of GPO's electronic services are given at national
and regional library conferences and hands-on GPO Access training
classes are conducted nationwide for Federal depository
librarians. This summer, "Train-the-Trainer" courses were added
to increase the audience reached by utilizing the talents of
individuals outside of GPO.    

Demonstrations, usually conducted at Government agencies, at GPO
and at conferences, provide an overview of the GPO Access service
while showcasing the major components of the site. Training
classes are one-day, 8-hour sessions that cover the background of
GPO Access and its components, as well as database search
strategies. The classes demonstrate the utility, ease, and
efficiency of GPO Access to depository librarians, to assist them
in locating Federal information for their patrons.

Train-the-Trainer classes were introduced in the summer of 1997.
These intensive two-day classes involve teaching techniques for
conducting GPO Access classes. In this way, the training efforts
of GPO can be further distributed and reach more people. Students
in the Train-the-Trainer class receive a more in-depth training
class with additional information on teaching strategies and
technical background.  

GPO continues to receive many requests for GPO Access training
from depository libraries and other interested groups. There were
approximately 20-25 requests for training and demonstrations last
year; this figure is expected to increase in 1998. EIDS averages
approximately twelve training trips per year across the nation,
often combining multiple classes in different locations during
one trip. The aim has been to cover the widest possible
geographic area to support comprehensive public access to Federal

XI.  User Support

The GPO Access User Support Team provides technical support and
assistance to users. Users can contact the Team via toll-free
telephone, fax, or e-mail. Every page on GPO Access contains

these numbers as well as a direct e-mail link to the Team.
Immediate telephone assistance is provided Monday through
Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST, except Federal holidays.
E-mail inquiries are answered within 24 business hours of
receipt. Team members provide assistance in searching and
locating information in GPO Access databases, answer inquiries
about GPO's electronic products, and offer technical support for
these products. With their knowledge of the Government
information and products on GPO Access, these specialists are
also valuable resources to users who may not know where to start
a search for particular topics.

Generally, inquiries follow the trend of GPO Access user
sessions, displaying monthly anomalies and seasonal variations in
the number of inquiries the Team receives. For the latter part of
1997, however, a trend regarding phone versus e-mail inquiries is
emerging. While the instantaneous assistance provided by  a phone
call makes phone inquiries more popular than e-mail, we have seen
a disproportionate increase in e-mail messages relative to the
increase in phone calls for the past several months. For example,
between September and October 1997, user sessions for GPO Access
increased 6.2%. Phone calls increased 9.2%, while e-mail
inquiries rose 22.5%. If this trend continues, it could be an
indication that users are becoming more experienced with GPO
Access and require less "urgent" help, choosing rather to send
their questions by e-mail.

Since March 1997, the User Support Team has averaged 5,912
inquiries per month, with an average of 4,073 phone calls and
1,839 e-mail messages, as demonstrated in Exhibit K. 

XII. Future Plans - SGML and OpenText

GPO continues its efforts toward "Phase II" of GPO Access. Phase
II is an enhanced online interactive service that will use
standardized data structures to provide greatly enhanced search
and retrieval capabilities.

Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML) was selected as the
appropriate means to accomplish the above stated capabilities.
The use of SGML offers a greater potential for savings throughout
the Federal sector, than methods presently employed. The SGML
structure can begin at the authoring level and remain usable
throughout the publishing processes, whether for electronic or
traditional print format. 

The SGML-based build/search/retrieval software system, purchased
from Open Text Corporation, was delivered to GPO on February 5,
1996. The first prototype database expected to be offered using
SGML and the Open Text software will be volume one of the

permanent (usually referred to as the bound) Congressional
Record for the 105th Congress. Documents are expected to be made
available in four formats: SGML, HTML, PDF, and the KWIC (Key
Word in Context). The prototype is expected to be presented for
widespread evaluation/comment in March 1998.

In addition to providing a greatly enhanced search and retrieval
capability, the SGML database structure will permit: 

    The creation of databases at the authoring stage that are
     suitable for publication via conventional printing methods, 
     online interactive access and CD-ROMs, without the need for 
     GPO to manipulate the data to produce one product or the 
     other, and with the online CD-ROM versions capable of   
     employing the same user interface. In other words, it
     allows the same information to be extracted, re-ordered, and
     merged from structured databases.

    Incorporation of data from one publication into another with
     different printed formats (such as Bills into the
     Congressional Record or Federal Register documents into the
     Code of Federal Regulations) without manipulation.

    Publishing customers to submit validated machine-readable

    Automated composition (print on demand) of data extracted
     from electronically disseminated databases in the same
     format as the "official" printed publication, or in a
     variety of format(s) chosen by the user.

XIII.     Development Expenditures and Operating Costs

The GPO Access system is much more efficient than originally
expected, and as a result, has been less costly than originally
estimated by the Congressional Budget Office. In 1993, the
Congressional Budget Office estimated that creating and operating
the on-line computer system that subsequently became GPO Access
would cost about $6 million in appropriated funds over the next
five years. In addition, it was expected that provisions allowing
depository libraries free access to the on-line system could cost
between $2 million and $10 million per year, assuming
appropriation of the necessary amounts. It was anticipated that
starting in FY 1995, GPO would incur costs of $750,000 annually
to keep the directory of publications up to date and to maintain
the electronic storage facility. 
Capital expenditures for equipment and software for GPO Access
amounted to $85,700 in FY 1996 and $273,900 in FY 1997. The

$273,900 in FY 1997 includes the start-up costs for the Commerce
Business Daily online, CBDNet, which comprised $101,500 or 37% of
the total for the year. The Department of Commerce fully
reimbursed GPO for the capital expenditures for CBDNet. 
Operating costs for GPO Access, which were recovered from the
Salaries and Expenses (S&E) appropriation were $1,736,328 in FY
1996 and $2,475,420 in FY 1997. 

In addition, GPO provides information through GPO Access
dissemination services for other agencies on a reimbursable
basis. For example, GPO operated CBDNet for the Commerce
Department which generated revenue of $761,000 for GPO. GPO,
at the request of agencies, develops and maintains Web sites for
agency use on GPO Access. Costs incurred are fully reimbursed by
the ordering agency. 

Capital expenditures for equipment and software for GPO Access
amounted to $133,100 in FY 1994 and $171,500 in FY 1995. In
addition, there was a one time expense of $380,000 in FY 1994 for
the Prototype Locator Contract. Total GPO operating expenditures
for FY 1994 were $563,600 and for FY 1995 were $1,222,700.
Publishing agencies incurred additional expenses in developing
databases for the online services and participating in the
Locator Service. 

XIV. GPO Access Benefits and Savings from Dissemination of
Electronic Information

The dissemination of electronic information through GPO Access
has provided both tangible and intangible benefits, as well as
real cost savings for the GPO. While it is not possible to
calculate these benefits and savings for all of our products,
CBDNet presents an example of this trend. CBDNet has provided
cost savings both to the public and throughout the Government.
When the Commerce Business Daily was distributed only in paper,
it cost $2.2 million a year, and distribution was limited to
those individuals who could afford a subscription. Prior to
CBDNet, agencies paid $18 per notice submitted to CBD. Now
agencies who submit notices electronically are only charged $5
per notice. It is estimated that this electronic submission
option is saving the Government, on average, over $130,000 per
month, or over $1.5 million per year. These financial savings and
the many other benefits mentioned previously have made CBDNet a
huge success. 

GPO Access has created new avenues for timely access to
Government information products, and has also expanded public
access to a much broader audience of users than was previously
available through the distribution of paper documents. As noted
earlier, GPO has recurring operating costs associated with

providing permanent public access to information through GPO
Access. However, GPO Access information services now include not
only products available on internal servers, but also electronic
information resources on other Federal agency sites that are
linked at no cost. Additionally, GPO has entered into a number of
partnerships with other organizations that provide permanent
access to Government information products through GPO Access,
thus reducing direct costs incurred by GPO. 

It is expected that in the future, as the Government moves toward
the adoption of format standards for electronic information,
costs will continue to be minimized. To assess the current
situation, GPO recently signed an Interagency Agreement with
the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science
(NCLIS) to survey Federal agency practices and plans for
electronic medium and format standards. 

XV.  Recognition of GPO Access

GPO Access, as well as several of its databases and services, has
been recognized by a number of different organizations over the
past two years. 

In 1996, GPO Access was named Best Government Site by
"", a monthly newsletter for legal professionals
using the Internet. Additionally, The WebCrawler Select Editorial
Team chose the Code of Federal Regulations available through GPO
Access as an "Outstanding Web Site." Also in 1996, Harcourt Brace
Professional Publishing selected the GPO Access GILS site as one
of its Top Five Web Sites for the week of October 28 through
November 3.  

In 1997, GPO Access was chosen as a select site by the editors of
the Dow Jones Business Directory. The Web site has been included
in the National Research Foundation's (NRF) Small Business
Innovative Research (SBIR) Internet Resources Catalog. The Weekly
Compilation of Presidential Documents available on GPO Access was
recently chosen as a selection for the Scout Report for
Social Sciences. GPO received an Affirm Leadership Award for
creating a single point of entry or access to all components of
the Government Information Locator Service (GILS). 

The National Performance Review (NPR), under the leadership of
Vice President Al Gore, presented GPO's CBDNet Team with a Hammer

Award for its effort in creating CBDNet, and making the Commerce
Business Daily (CBD) available free of charge to the public via
GPO Access. 

                                    26                             List of Exhibits

                     [AVAILABLE AS SEPARATE PDF FILES]

Exhibit A: Key Terms and Definitions

Exhibit B: Total GPO Access Retrievals--January 1996-October 1997

Exhibit C: Code of Federal Regulations Retrievals--October
           1996-October 1997

Exhibit D: Cumulative Listing of Databases Online Via GPO Access

Exhibit E: Sample Screens of New GPO Access Web Pages  

Exhibit F: Federal Agency Web Sites Hosted By GPO Access

Exhibit G: GPO Access Databases in Owensboro, Kentucky

Exhibit H: Federal Depository Library Gateways

Exhibit I: CBDNet: GPO Produces Award-Winning Internet Service
           For Commerce Department (Press Release, April 7,

Exhibit J: Individual Agency GILS Records Mounted on GPO Access

Exhibit K: GPO Access User Support Team Inquiries, March-October

Exhibit L: GPO Access Operating System