Rebooting the Government Printing Office: Keeping America Informed in the Digital Age
The National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) independent study of the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO), Rebooting the Government Printing Office: Keeping America Informed in the Digital Age, January 2013"Over the past two decades, the shift from an industrial age to an information age has affected the way both public and private sector organizations operate. For GPO, the demand for federal print products has declined by half over the past twenty years, but the demand for information that government creates has only increased. While conducting this review, the Panel determined that GPO faces challenges in dealing with the movement to the digital age that are shared across the federal government. Critical issues for the federal government include publishing formats, metadata, authentication, cataloging, dissemination, preservation, public access, and disposition. The Panel believes that the federal government needs to establish a broad government-wide strategy to manage digital information through all stages of its lifecycle. The absence of such a strategy has resulted in a chaotic environment with significant implications for public access to government information—and, therefore, the democratic process—with some observers describing federal digital publishing as the “wild west.” Now that approximately 97 percent of all federal documents are “born digital,” many important documents are not being authenticated or preserved for the future, and the public cannot easily access them. GPO has a critical role to play along with other agencies in developing a government-wide strategy that streamlines processes, clearly defines agency responsibilities, avoids duplication and waste, and effectively provides information to current and future generations."