NEWS FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY:
DECEMBER 1994

Table of Contents

  1. Depository Library Council Highlights
  2. GPO Puts Congressional Bills Online
  3. Kelly Concerned About NPR Printing Proposal
  4. GPO Access Gateway Program Launched
  5. Bernan/UNIPUB Government Publications Network
  6. Consumer Information Center (Pueblo, Co.)
  7. Congressman Ehlers Has a Mission
  8. Primary Documents Available Daily from White House
  9. USPS Unveils Kiosk at NPF
  10. IRS Forms Now Available Electronically
  11. Hotlines Provide Recall Information


(1) Susan Tulis Reports on
Depository Library Council Meeting, October 24-26, 1994

The Fall 1994 Depository Library Council (DLC) meeting began with Public Printer Michael Dimario and Shirley Woodrow, Joint Committee on Printing Staffmember, welcoming the group to the Pacific Northwest....

Wayne Kelley, Jr., Superintendent of Documents, focused his remarks on the GPO Access storage facility, after making a few observations. The current hot topics are the information superhighway and reinvention. The problem with reinventing is that in the end, the agency keeps *doing* the same thing, only changing *how* they do it. The Depository Library Program (DLP) is in the business of delivering information, that our customers want, when they need it, in usable formats. It is GPO's goal to serve more customers, not fewer, to provide more information, not less. The current climate and budget restraints means that GPO will have to work with limited resources, which they feel should be put towards creating the future, not reinventing the past....

GPO is out talking to the agencies to identify products and customers for the storage facility. In the process, GPO is learning lots of interesting things. For example, the Department of Energy currently produces some 15,000 titles per year on microfiche which they distribute to depository libraries. DOE has plans to give up microfiche and create electronic images which they will retain in various labs around the country. The central facility in Tennessee will maintain the bibliographic files and library requests will go there. Kelley asked if this was the best way to serve a depository library inquiry. Other agencies don't see a need for the GPO storage facility; some agencies think there is money to be made with electronic information....

Kelley briefly reviewed GPO's activities with the National Technical Information Service (NTIS). In rules issued by NTIS last year, depository libraries were mentioned quite fondly. NTIS currently has a depository beta test system (NTIS Preview Project) that libraries can monitor to determine what publications not in the depository program they would like to recieve. GPO asked Council to look at this system to 1) determine how useful it is, and 2) when you discover those items that are missing from the DLP, how would you rate the usefulness of the document itself.

NTIS offerred to provide a microfiche copy of every document that hadn't come through GPO; it would then be up to GPO to absorb the cost of reproducing copies for depository libraries. To put it short, GPO wasn't thrilled with this option. Kelley ended his presentation by stating that GPO wants to cooperate with NTIS and eventually will work out a means of doing this.

Jay Young, Director of Library Program Services (LPS), began his presentation by commenting on the greater amount of recognition and visibility the DLP has recently received. The issues previously dealt with by Council and GPO really pale with what we're dealing with today. Back then, the rough choice was to move to microfiche; today, the move is to electronic transmission.

Next Young commented on the Electronic Capabilities Survey conducted in July and August. The purpose of the survey was to assess the computer equipment environment currently existing in depository libraries and to get better information on the capabilities of libraries to handle electronic format products....A final report will be prepared and disseminated later on. Highlights include:

  • 82% of the depository libraries responded.
  • 93% of all respondents had IBM compatible PCs available for use by public depository patrons.
  • 35% plan to purchase model 486 or better PCs for public use within the next 12 months.
  • 76% reported daily usage of depository electronic products by patrons or staff.
  • 88% reported having CD-ROM drives.
  • 80% reported having Internet programs such as Telnet and FTP accessible to staff.
  • 29% reported having Internet programs accessible to the public.
  • Internet access by depository libraries has grown from 53% to 80% in a year's time.
  • Only 63% follow GOVDOC-L regularly.
  • 51% have CD-ROM versions of the Monthly Catalog.
  • 37% are loading GPO cataloging records into their OPACs.
  • 71% have technical experts available to assist patrons or staff in using depository products.

    Sheila McGarr, Depository Services Chief, discussed a draft proposed self-study designed for depositories to complete 6 weeks prior to on-site visits. Council and audience comments were solicited. The self-study document could be used as a strategic assessment document to identify issues which need more investigation. Librarians would review the document on an ongoing basis to keep it up-to-date; it is not intended as a massive chore to be undertaken immediately preceeding an inspection. However, for those that wait to the last minute to do things, LPS anticipates contacting libraries 3 months prior to a visit and asking that the self-study document be submitted to GPO 6 weeks prior to the on-site visit. The inspector would then confirm what's in the self-study, and identify other actions that still need to be taken. The inspectors would still have a regulatory role (identifying areas of strengths and weaknesses), an educational role (acting as a consultant and making recommendations), and a communications role (while conducting the on-site audit).

    Robin Haun Mohamed, Depository Administration Branch (DAB) Chief, reviewed GPO's needs to have a consistent policy for the distribution of materials in multiple formats for selectives and regionals. For materials available in both paper and microfiche, selectives have to choose one format. Not so with electronic products - except for the U.S. Code. GPO hopes to enforce the one copy distribution requirement in the future - starting with publications like the Statistical Abstract, Monthly Catalog, and Monthly Energy Review.

    Council's assistance was requested in developing policy for those products which tend to appear on NTDB, NESE, etc. Haun-Mohamed posed the following questions:

  • Should a library receive duplicate copies of publications when they are included on a CD-ROM product and available for separate distribution in paper or microfiche?

  • If a library registers for the paid files on the FDBB, should the library be entitled to receive another copy in the shipment boxes?

    Fugitive documents and the relationship to electronic products were also addressed. Some agencies will provide paper or microfiche, but not electronic products. The reasons cited are proprietary software, copyrighted materials, agency determinations that this is a self-sustaining publication. GPO does rely on the depository community to alert them to fugitive publications.

    Suspended or discontinued documents are a related problem. GPO is seeing more and more publications being put into a suspended status or ceasing publication due to staffing or budgetary problems. The latest example is the Monthly Checklist of State Publications issued by the Library of Congress....

    It has been determined that the 1994 U.S. Code will be distributed to depositories in either paper or CD-ROM. This issue may come up again.

    Haun-Mohamed also reviewed the findings of the Serial Set Study Group.... A long term solution would be the production on CD-ROM as an alternative to paper. It would also allow the discontinuation of microfiche versions.

    Tad Downing, Cataloging Branch Chief, spoke about the status of their efforts to publish the Monthly Catalog via the GPO locator and their thoughts regarding publication of CD-ROM and paper pamphlet editions. Acting on Council's recommendation to produce an electronic version of the Monthly Catalog, a GPO General Counsel opinion says that 44 USC 1711 continues to require printing and distribution in paper pamphlet form!

    LPS is about to supplement their initial load of 6 months of complete Monthly Catalog records on the Locator with an additional 5 months of 1994 data. When the Locator becomes operational, LPS plans to provide monthly loads. The ultimate objective is to supplement monthly loads with daily loads.

    LPS believes that a CD-ROM edition of MoCat is essential to assure that records will be available for posterity in a product that retains a discrete and permanent record of their cataloging for specific periods of time. Downing feels that a CD-ROM product is required because during the coming decades the demand for old records of old publications will diminish to a point when online access to a database of such records via the GPO Locator would be impractical. It is proposed that all records in the CD-ROM edition be complete records whether they are in MARC or non-MARC formats. In contrast, records in a pamphlet MoCat product should be abbreviated formats. The chief value of the pamphlet edition would be its function as an adjunct reference tool. Initial cost analyses suggest that the cost of the CD-ROM and pamphlet editions would be cheaper than the current paper edition.

    Gil Baldwin, Senior Program Analyst, spoke about the expanded availability of the GPO Access system to the public. Since passage of the bill, GPO's goal was to bring GPO electronic information to the widest possible audience. GPO has two basic strategies for accomplishing this - 1) by developing a good range of services, and 2) expanding the scope of the GPO Access services available through depository libraries. Initially, depository libraries were restricted to one IP address per depository. Depositories can now obtain up to 10 subscriptions per library. Selection of an online service through the DLP represents a new paradigm, and entails several responsibilities on the part of depository libraries:

  • Must provide no-fee service to the general public.
  • May register for up to ten pre-paid subscriptions. A single workstation may act as a server if the depository will certify that no more than 10 simultaneous sessions will be accessed on the GPO Access system.
  • May register to use either the WAIS client or SWAIS interfaces. You may wish to offer both.
  • Must ensure that the same level of user support and service is made available to the general public as to the library's primary constituents.
  • Should have effective method of outreach and promotion.
  • Ar expected to provide first line of local user support for GPO Access services - including answering basic questions about content or search strategies.

    In addition, GPO has begun the model Gateway project - for libraries who want to offer public access by linking off-site users to a campus or local network server either by Internet or dial-up. The first site was COIN (Columbia Online Information Network). The University of Missouri, Columbia allocated some of their GPO Access user ids to COIN in what must be the first virtual selective housing agreement. Seattle Public Library's Quest system is the second gateway. Both Gateways use SWAIS. UNC-Chapel Hill is working on something which will allow the user WAIS access, but doesn't require the WAIS client be resident on the user's computer. GPO is currently working with 30 libraries now to establish other gateways.

    Baldwin next outlined the methods of connecting to GPO Access services - 1) text based SWAIS interface - no graphic files may be accessed, requires modem, pc, and communications software or 2) wais - provides full access to all graphic files in the database and requires a direct connection to the Internet or by using an Internet service provider and a SLIP/PPP account.

    GPO is assembling a complete back-up server to provide uninterrupted service if the primary server goes down. This back- up server also provides a platform for installing and testing software enhancements or new databases without affecting the performance of the live system.

    Judy Russell, Office of Electronic Information Dissemination Services Director, discussed future plans. Some of the databases GPO is looking at for inclusion on Access are: Congressional reports, public laws, CFR, full text GAO reports, as well as the US Code. Note - these are still open for discussion. Some improvements for the future - Federal Register and Congressional Record headings will include page numbers. Russell asked for input on how to tag inserted and deleted information in the bills database. It is now possible to anonymously access a sample database. Telnet to wais.access.gpo.gov, at login prompt type sample (lower case) and enter. It is more complicated if you are coming in through a WAIS server. GPO is working on a draft Home Page that will be accessible through MOSAIC and WWW. They are also working to get daily Publications Reference File (PRF) information into the GPO Locator.

    Russell also reported another initiative - costing out the production of a CD-ROM of Congressional bills. These PDF files take an enormous amount of space online and will probably go to storage facility soon. It also might be nice to have access locally at each depository library. Russell announced that as of October 1994, Acrobat software is making their standard low-end reader available free of charge. (Note: this reader is already available on a number of CD-ROMs that libraries have, such as FAR/FIRMR, IRS tax forms, NESE which include the budget information.) Acrobat has released new software which allows GPO to create an index to the PDF files. This new software will be used on the new IRS tax form CD and allows you to search not only by title and form number, but for any word in the instructions or form as well.

    In conclusion, Russell addressed the issue of training. Since GPO can't get anywhere, they can provide slides and some scripted searches that can be done locally - in essence to train the trainers. GPO seeks feedback on the training sessions they have already done.

    COUNCIL COMMITTEE REPORTS

    GPO OPERATIONS highlighted a number of issues - the need for a good mechanism for communicating back when LPS is working on issues, is there a standard for turn-around time for microfiche (e.g., FBIS), is there a standard for abbreviations in microfiche headers, microfiche claims, item selection surveys. GPO will be returning to the traditional process but no decision as to what will be done about those items added retrospectively, information about items added appearing on Shipping Lists will be in all caps.

    INFORMATION EXCHANGE is working on three projects - 1) collection of testimonial letters from users to continue to document the value of the Depository Library Program, 2) phase two of testimonial project : holding a hearing to draw attention to the value of the program, 3) developing a draft handbook for Council members which pulls together basic information.

    WORKING GROUP ON MONTHLY CATALOG have asked for suggestions with regard to pamphlet edition of the MoCat.

    AD HOC COMMITTEE ON REGIONAL LIBRARIES STRUCTURE - currently working on a report with three parts; 1) vision statement of where we see regional system in ten years, 2) where we are now and a transition process to reach our vision, 3) detailing short and long term steps along the way. Ad Hoc Committee currently has two drafts of its vision statement. Some of the points brought up in the drafts:

    The question is with the wealth of information available
    electronically and the promise of more to come, what will be
    the role of the Regionals with the virtual library so close at
    hand? Major role for Regionals now and in the future is to
    guide GPO policy in a design of an information policy that
    willpermit access and protect the right to know. In the
    coming decade it is imperative that the depository community
    support its members, strengthen morale, and maintain cohesion
    as it addresses the twin burdens of building the library of
    the future while preserving the knowledge of the past. This
    challenge, perhaps a challenge against desperate odds, rests
    first and foremost with the Regional depository libraries.
    Whether the program survives future shock will depend if and
    how the Regional libraries assume a position of leadership
    within the depository community. A final thought for the
    future, the depository community has grown so large and has so
    many responsibilities that it can no longer efficiently manage
    its affairs with volunteer committees.

    AD HOC COMMITTEE ON RESTRUCTURING OF DLP reviewed the points outlined in both the Council and the Chicago conference documents and drafted a discussion outline for this meeting. Ad Hoc Committee recommended only discussing those things that are within the purview of the Public Printer.

    On Tuesday morning, Public Printer Michael Dimario gave an overview of government printing and information dissemination initiatives, starting with the National Performance Review and H.R. 3400 introduced last year through the President's transmittal message with regard to the Legislataive Branch Appropriateions Act for 1995. At present, the Administration has agreed to some sort of status quo with regard to printing and duplicating, in exchange for a willingness on the part of the U.S. Congress to sit down and negotiate some legislative initiatives to reform government printing.

    The rest of Tuesday was devoted to open forums on the following topics: Public Access to GPO Access - Getting Our Users Connected (system and user support services, training for librarians), Regional Libraries and Alternatives for the DLP (redefining interlibrary loan, regionals in the electronic environment), Monthly Catalog, GPO Operations and Cost Savings (non-standard subject headings, inspection process, Serial Set).

    A number of the comments made during these open forums are addressed in the proposed Council recommendations and action items. Training for the electronic environment was a major item - people saw a need for tutorials, cheat sheets for the end users, training the trainers, Internet training, utilizing the state and regional associations for training and distributing materials. Once again the question was raised as to whether a library should be a depository if they can't handle electronic information. It was suggested that "a vision to aspire to" was needed instead of having minimum technical standards that are so low that the library has nothing to shoot for. GPO needs to communicate with library administrators more about the importance of the library being able to handle electronic information and what exactly that means. There appeared to be confusion about GPO's plan to incorporate electronic products into SOD-13. It may be that another directive is needed as opposed to revising SOD-13.

    Proposed Recommendations and Action Items (Preliminary Draft):

    Monthly Catalog: Council recommends that GPO proceed with developing a CD-ROM version of MoCat which will eventually replace the fiche edition. Council also asks that GPO disseminate the report entitled "Data Elements to be Included in Future Issues of Printed MoCat" as widely as possible so that comments on this document can be forwarded to members of the Council Opeations Committee.

    GPO Access Database Enhancements: Council recommended delaying the insertion of page numbers in the electronic version of the Federal Register until January 1995. Council recommended that a mechanism be developed to indicate additions and deletions in the Congressional Bills database on GPO Access. It should also be possible to search using added/deleted language fields.

    NASA Thesaurus Items: Council recommends that GPO move forward with its "proposal to use NASA Thesaurus Terms from the Online NASA/RECON Records on GPO MoCat Records".

    Item Selection Surveys: Council welcomes the return to the use of formal item surveys for new item selections and resumption of distribution of item number cards. Council urges that interim practice of adding new titles to existing item numbers be used only when absolutely necessary for time senstivie and/or unaticipated items.

    Serial Set: Council recommended that "Report of the Serial Set Study Group" be distributed as widely as possible. Although Council awaits depository comment on this Report, Council recommended that the following near term action items be adopted: 1) shift from manual binding to machine (book-flow) binding for bound serial set; 2) investigation of commercial procurement of Serial Set binding services; 3) undertake an operations analysis of Serial Set collatin process in the GPO Binding Division. Regardless of the final decision on a suitable format for depository distribution, it seems appropriate to begin the process of developing electronic versions of the Serial Set. Further, Council recommends that GPO develop a prototype Serial Set CD-ROM.

    Self Study In Inspection Process: Council recommends that GPO's proposals to use a self-study questionnaire in the inspection process be implemented. Draft should be published in Administrative Notes and comments on the form should be solicited.

    Documentation for Electronic Products: Council recommends that GPO provide appropriate documentation which fully describes the product or service, hardware or software required, content of product or service, instructions for finding, downloading, or printing information. Examples of support for electronic products could include tutorial, help screens, quick reference guides and help desks. Furthermore, GPO should encourage other issuing agencies to provide same level of support for their products or services.

    Communication with Administrators: Council urges that GPO communicate its vision of the capabilities of and technological requirement for providing government information in electronic formats to key groups of library and institution administrators, as well as individual administrators who determine operating budgetrs or allocation of grant funds, or are responsible for requesting library or agency budgets.

    Training: Council commends GPO for providing training on GPO Access and urges GPO to continue these initiatives and to explore other opportunities to assist librarians to gain proficiency in the use of GPO's electronic products.

    Gateway Services: Council commends GPO for its timely support of gateways to GPO Access and encourages the development of additional gateways. Council also commends GPO for increasing from one to ten the number of free subscriptions allowed each depository library.

    Council Membership: Council commends Public Printer for appointing new Council members prior to the Spring meeting. Council recommends that future appointments continue to reflect the diversity of libraries in the DLP, government information providers, and interested constituents.

    Fall 1995 Meeting Site: Council recommends the following locations for consideration for the Fall 95 meeting: Anchorage, AK; Lexington or Louisville, KY; Nashville, TN; or Raleigh-Durham, NC.

    Action Items

  • Council shall establish a Working Group to review the "Guidelines for the Depository Library System", last revised in 1987, and "Minimum Standards for Depository Library System", last revised in 1976. One of the goals of this project is to incorporate standards for servicing of government information in electronic formats.
  • Council recommends that the recommendations of DLC compiled by John Phillips be preserved and made available in electronic format, such as via the GPO Bulletin Board, and that the Secretary of each Council maintain this file.
  • Council charges its Information Exchange Committee to coordinate a public hearing in conjunction with the Spring Council meeting to present depository library user testimonials.
  • Council shall establish a Working Group to assist in the revision of SOD-13 for incorporating distribution of electronic products and services.
  • Council shall establish a Working Group to evaluate the NTIS Preview Project.
  • Council shall establish a Working Group on Preservation and Archiving to assist in developing standards and procedures for preservation of data placed on the GPO Bulletin Baord and stored at IDEA.

    Source: Susan E. Tulis, University of Virginia Law Library, "Fall Council Mtg Report", GOVDOC-L, October 31, 1994.


    (2) GPO Puts Congressional Bills Online

    The U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) now has all Congressional Bills available online. The Congressional Bills database contains all published versions of House and Senate bills introduced since the start of the 103d Congress.

    The Congressional Bills database joins the official Government versions of the Congressional Record and the Federal Register that have been offered in electronic format over the Internet through the GPO Access service since June 1994.

    The Bills database is updated by 6 a.m. each day bills are published. Bills are available in ASCII text files and in Adobe Acrobat Portable Document Format (PDF) file format. Users with Acrobat viewers will be able to display and print typeset page facsimiles.

    The Federal Register and the Congressional Record are available online by 6 a.m. and by 11 a.m. e.s.t. daily, respectively. Documents in the Register and Record databases are available as ASCII text files with all graphics in TIFF file format.

    Organizations or individuals may subscribe directly from GPO for each of the three databases for $35 per month, $200 for 6 months, or $375 for 1 year for a single workstation. Special rates are available for multiple workstations.

    Information about how to subscribe to the Congressional Bills, Record, or Register databases is available by calling GPO at (202) 512-1530 or by fax at (202) 512-1262. Internet E-mail should be sent to (help@eids05.eids.gpo.gov).

    Users with full Internet access and local WAIS client software will be able to receive both ASCII text and all graphics as individual TIFF files or PDF files in the Congressional Record, Congressional Bills, and Federal Register databases. This is the first time that both text and graphics have been made availble electronically via an online service. GPO's customized WAIS client software, a user- interface program sepcifically designed for GPO's application, is available from GPO for $15.

    Those who do not have full Internet connections can access ASCII text files, but not the PDF files or graphics, by using a phone modem to dial directly into GPO without additional software. These subscriptions provide for unlimited use for a stand alone workstation or an individual SWAIS user ID.

    The Congressional Bills and the Record and Register databases are also available for free electronic searches to walk-in patrons of many of the Nation's 1400 depository libraries under a "GPO Access" program authorized by law and launched in June 1994. The Depository Library System includes academic, public, law, and Federal libraries. There is at least one Federal depository library in every Congressional district.

    Source: Gil Baldwin, GPO/Library Programs Service; (202) 512-1002; (manage@access.digex.net). GPO News Release no. 94-9, September 27, 1994.


    (3) Kelly Expresses Concerns About
    NPR Printing Proposal

    In a speech before the Telecommunications Roundtable in Washington, D.C., on October 4, 1994, Superintendent of Documents Wayne P. Kelly announced that GPO will provide free 24 hour per day access to the entire product line from GPO Access program, available to anyone with access to the Internet or personal computer and modem.

    Kelly actually spent a major portion of his speech discussing the importance of public access to public information and making a strong appeal for public support for a direct government role in the dissemination of government information, cautioning against various proposals to further privatize the dissemination of public records.

    In particular, he expressed his concerns over the Clinton administration's plans under the National Performance Review (NPR) to break the Government Printing Office's near monopoly over executive branch printing, by allowing agencies to do and/or subcontract out their own printing.

    In short, the Clinton administration and congressional leadership have agreed to introduce legislation early next year to revamp the federal government's printing policy and practices. If successful, the NPR plan will undermine the principle of universal access to federal information as a government responsibility by gutting the Depository Library Program. If the NPR plan, supported by the Office of Management and Budget, the National Technical Information Service, and the General Services Administration, is successful, the responsibility for distribution of government documents to the depository libraries would fall to individual agencies.

    "I wonder how 123 agencies and 4,500 printing entities will relate to 1,400 different depository libraries, each selecting thousands of publications to serve their own community's needs. Particularly when agency staff and printing budgets are being cut", Kelly hypothesized.

    Kelly also pointed out that heavy privatization is a part of the NPR plan as well. According to the NPR plan, federal agencies may try to sell their electronic data at full market prices to defray costs of agency operations and federal documents may be marketed more heavily in private bookstores, undermining the viability of GPO's existing bookstores.

    Some additional highlights from his speech include:

    "...Universal Access to Federal information is a Government responsibility that should not be abandoned or privatized. In the process of reinventing government, we must be careful not to undermine one of democracy's main safeguards -- an informed electorate....This is not a partisan issue. Nor is it a budget issue. It is not a competitiveness or a business issue. It is just as fundamental as the right to vote.

    ...Watch out for anyone who tells you the U.S. Government Printing Office is a monopoly. About 80 percent of all printing done through GPO is procured from competitive, low-cost bids submitted by a list of some 10,000 private sector printers...."

    Sources: Electronic Public Information Newsletter, October 7, 1994, p. 146; James Love, "GPO Access - Free at Last", GOVDOC-L, October 6, 1994.


    (4) GPO Access Gateway Program Launched

    The Congressional Record, Federal Register, and Congressional Bills Database are now available to off-site callers at a number of different locations from coast to coast as part of the GPO Access Gateway Program.

    According to Public Printer Michael F. Dimario, the head of GPO, "in time anyone with a personal computer, a phone modem, and telecommunications software should be able to connect from their home or office to GPO Access databases through depository library gateways. Users may search the databases as frequently as they like, without charge. The full text of the documents should be available the day of publication."

    "It is our goal to establish local outlets to the GPO electronic system in every state. We want these important government publications available to the American public around the clock, 7 days a week".

    GPO is working with a select group of depository libraries to develop model gateways for no-fee public access to GPO's databases. Built on existing campus and public networks, the gateway depositories will serve as models for the nationwide depository library system. The first model gateways will help GPO gather data on usage and the technical support requirements for users and the participating libraries.

    Until more Gateways are set up, expect problems in connecting, particularly if the number of people trying to gain access exceeds the number of access ports. That is why it is extremely important that as many libraries as possible develop gateways as soon as possible to lighten the load currently born by the first libraries to develop such gateways.

    Users may reach the Columbia Online Information Network (COIN) -- the first gateway announced by GPO and located at the Daniel Boone Regional Library in Columbia, Mo. and set up in cooperation with the Regional Federal Depository Library at the University of Missouri at Columbia -- by dialing (314) 884-7000 or by telnet to 128.206.1.3. Login as "guest" and take the following path:

  • Government Center;
  • Access the Government Center;
  • United States of America;
  • GPO Access.

    Be sure to set your terminal emulation to VT100.

    At this point, you will be provided with a numbered list of databases which you can access. To select a database:

  • use the arrow keys to highlight a database, then
  • use the space bar to mark that choice, then
  • hit enter.

    You will be prompted to enter keyword/s to retrieve an index of documents to your screen. [If you are looking for a particular bill, i.e., S.540, use the syntax "s. ADJ 540". (All booleans, such as ADJ (adjacent to), must be in all capitals.)

    The system will return an index of all of the documents that contain the keywords. Enter the number of the document that you want to look at and hit enter.

    To save a document, go back to the index by typing "q" and then:

  • highlight the document by using the arrow keys or typing the document's number (the left most number on the screen), then
  • enter "m" to mail it, then
  • enter your entire e-mail address.

    You must logoff the system before hanging up. To do this:

  • select "q", then
  • select "x", then
  • select "y".

    According to GPO, the Seattle Public Library became the second gateway offering free public access on October 21. Users may reach the Seattle Public's Quest System by dialing (206) 386-4140 or by telnet to 198.137.188.2. Login as "library", all in lower case, with no quotes, and take the following path:

  • Internet and Seattle Community Net;
  • Internet & Seattle Community Network;
  • Government Printing Office Online Access Service;
  • and finally c, connect.

    Terminal emulation should be set for VT100.

    At this point, you will be provided with a numbered list of databases which you can access. To select the database:

  • use the arrow keys to highlight a database, then
  • use the space bar to asterisk that choice, then
  • hit enter.

    When prompted, enter the keyword or keywords to retrieve an index of documents to your screen. [If you want to look for a particular bill, for example, use the syntax "s. ADJ 540", making sure that all booleans such as ADJ (adjacent to) are in all capitals.

    The system will return an index of documents that contain the keyword/s. Enter the number of the document that you want to look at and hit enter.

    To save a document, go back to the index by typing "q" and then:

  • highlight the document by using the arrow keys or typing the document's number (the left most number on the screen), then
  • enter "m" (to mail it), then,br>
  • enter your e-mail address.

    Logoff by

  • selecting "q", then
  • selecting "q" again, then
  • selecting "3".

    The University of Virginia Library also reports that GPO Access is up and running as a selection within the Social Science Data Center section of its own UVA gwis. The login ID is 06400uva, the password is AllStar, and each must be exactly right. In addition, Barbie Selbie reports that "it is highly recommended that you get the GPO Access manual [GP1.23/4:D26; shipping list 94-0326] and look at it prior to using this database". [The RED TAPE Editor was unable to access this site, but wanted to include it anyway so he could say "GPO Access is now available from coast to coast".]

    Source: Gil Baldwin, (mange@access.digex.net), GPO News Release No. 94-10, October 4, 1994 and GPO News Release No. 94-11, October 21, 1994; Michael Ward, (mike@tap.org), TXDXN-L, November 2, 1994; VLA Shipping List, Volume 21, number 3/4, November 1994.


    (5) Bernan/Unipub Government Publications Network

    Bernan/UNIPUB's Government Publications Network is now available using the popular Gopher Interface. Point your gopher to (kraus.com).

    The Government Publications Network is designed as a locator for government publications. It provides librarians and other Internet users with up-to-date information on the latest releases from the U.S. Government Printing Office and prestigious international organizations.

    Separate catalogs are provided for the U.S. Government Printing Office (including the Publications Reference File, updated twice a month), and numerous IGOs including: GATT, UNESCO, the United Nations University Press, International Atomic Energy Agency, FAO, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, World Health Organization, World Tourism Organization, OECD, International Labour Organization, and Asian Productivity Organization.

    The Government Publications Network is also available as a bulletin board system. This can be reached by sending a telnet-ing to kraus.com and logging in as 'gpn' to start the system.

    For more information, contact Jeff Steinman, Bernan Press, (jsteinmn@bernan.kraus.com) or call 1-800-274-4447.

    Source: Arthur R. McGee, UN-LIB, October 19, 1994.


    (6) Consumer Information Center (Pueblo, Co.)
    Now Available Electronically

    Documents librarians have been familiar with the Consumer Information Catalog and the television advertisements (usually late at night) announcing its availability for a very long time. In case you missed them, they announce that anyone who desires a free Consumer Information Catalog listing over 200 Federal publications covering topics such as Federal benefits, health, cars, children, housing, and money matters should send a postcard to Pueblo, Co.

    To expand public access to this information, the Consumer Information Center (CIC) is now making the Catalog and the publications it covers available electronically by a variety of methods including a BBS, gopher, world wide web, anonymous FTP, telnet, and LISTSERV. For more information, or if you have a question, a comment, or the following instructions don't work properly, send an e-mail message to (catalog.pueblo@gsa.gov).

    Via BBS.

  • Set your communication software to 8-bit, no parity, and 1 stop bit (iN10 with ANSI/BBS terminal emulation.
  • Dial (202) 208-7679.
  • Follow the on-screen instructions.
  • Baud rates of up to 14.4K accepted.
  • Gateways available from FedWorld, SBAOnline, and GEMI.

    Via Gopher.

  • Point to (www.gsa.gov).
  • Change the directory to: [/gopher/staff/pa/cic].
  • A list of Catalog categories appears as subdirectories.

    Via WWW.

  • Point to [http://www.gsa.gov].
  • Look for the Consumer Information Center under "GSA Organizational Components.
  • Click on the Consumer Information Center.
  • Click on any button to view catalog categories, ordering information, participating agencies, or a list of downloadable multimedia files.

    Via Anonymous FTP.

  • Point to (www.gsa.gov).
  • Login with username "anonymous".
  • Use your e-mail address as the password.
  • Change the directory to: [/gopher/staff/pa/cic].
  • A list of Catalog categories appears as subdirectories.

    Via Telnet.

  • Telnet to (SBAOnline.sba.gov).
  • Select "Outside Resources".
  • Select "Gateways to other Online Services".
  • Select "Federal: Public Access (no Fee)".
  • Scroll down and select "General Services Administration - Consumer Information Center".
  • Follow the on-screen instructions.

    OR

  • Telnet to (fedworld.gov).
  • Select "Gateway Systems".
  • Select "Connect to Government "Sys/Database".
  • Type "6" to access the CIC.
  • Follow the on-screen instructions.

    Via LISTSERV.

  • Under construction.

    Source: Duncan M. Aldrich, University of Nevada, Reno, GOVDOC-L, October 20, 1994.


    (7) Congressman Ehlers Has a Mission

    Congressman Vernon Ehlers, the Grand Rapids Republican, has been picked by Speaker-in-waiting Newt Gingrich to serve on the transition team preparing for January's GOP takeover. Ehlers' assignment: get the House up to speed on the information superhighway.

    That means making the members and their work instantaneously available to the public via the Internet.

    "We want to make the information of Congress available to the public so that every bill, every amendment proposed, every committee report, the calendar for the day, the Congressional Record, is all online and it's online immediately," said Ehlers.

    "For instance, if a committee clerk turns in a report to the clerk of the House, they will have to hand in both a paper copy and a version on computer disk." "Our goal", as Newt stated it, "is to make sure that any citizen in the United States who is interested has access that's as good as the highest-paid lobbyist".

    Ehlers was one of the first ten representatives to have an e-mail address back in 1993. More are online now, but he wants to make sure everyone is. He estimates that about 10% of his constituent mail arrives via the Internet.

    Source: Detroit Free Press, November 16, 1994, p.1A, 8A.


    (8) Primary Documents Available Daily
    from White House

    Political scientists (and other interested parties) can now obtain direct feeds of all White House press releases over a new system developed by a team of political and computer scientists at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. This feed contains all the documents published by the White House and does not pass through intermediaries. It is free and the documents are in the public domain.

    An important feature of the MIT publication system is that it allows subscribers to customize their feeds according to a taxonomy of Presidential Documents (160+ categories). That means, you can select documents falling within particular subject areas and document types to be delivered directly to your e-mail address or a mailing list of your choice.

    You can access the system by sending e-mail message to (Publications@Research.ai.mit.edu) with the subject line "help". You will receive an answer itemizing all the different services available from this server.

    This new system replaces an earlier and more primitive system that has served as a distribution hub for these documents since the 1992 Presidential Campaign. In the near future, the new system will replace Clinton-Info in the White House FAQs.

    Source: Gary Klass, Illinois State University, PSRT-L@MIZZOUL, September 6, 1994.


    (9) Sue Davidsen Blows the Whistle
    on the USPS Kiosk Program

    In a speech at the National Postal Forum (NPF) in Washington, D.C. last September, Postal Vice President of Technology Applications Robert A. F. Reisner unveiled a new information sharing program centered on the idea of a kiosk in every post office. According to Reisner, "the Postal Service sees in the kiosk an opportunity to provide a single, accessible and easy-to-use way for citizens to interact with their government in a rapid fashion. It extends our 200-plus-year tradition of providing a trusted, third-party delivery of information and services to everyone, regardless of their financial means."

    Providing more detail, Susan Smoter, Kiosk Program Manager for Technology Integration, stated that the USPS has been exploring ways to provide services electronically via a prototype kiosk for some time and reports that hyperlinks to other government agencies via the Internet have already been developed.

    For example, a kiosk could:

  • consolidate a person's moving experience into a single kiosk visit to change addresses, obtain demographic information and local school listings, and allow for voter registration.

  • help people find a job, apply for benefits, indentify training programs and scholarships, and apply for positions across the country or within their target area.

  • help identify benefits people are entitled to receive when faced with a life or family status change.

    The kiosk would be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week in post offices and other publicly accessible locations. The same system would also be available through cable television systems and portable computers.

    "This would give all our citizens access to government anytime. It would reduce the need to store forms and publications through the use of on-demand printing technology and reduce the load on costly 800 numbers," noted Smoter.

    Despite the fact that thousands of people were at this National Postal Forum, nothing much more was heard about the USPS kiosk program until Al Gore mentioned it in passing late one night on televison. From what I understand, which is not always 100% correct, the main thrust of Gore's comments were to highlight the new Whitehouse Web Server as an example of new ways to deliver government information to the public. Sue Davidsen (of the Go M- Link Project) happened to overhear his comments and shared them the following day over the Internet, expressing her concerns that perhaps once again the library community was being unjustly overlooked.

    Given the number of messages generated as a result of her offering, a lot of other people feel the same way. After all, haven't depository libraries been in the business of providing government information for an equally long time? Who better than librarians could provide assistance in locating government information, certainly not overworked postal employees? And who doesn't wish they had the resources of the United States Postal Service to pull off a project like this?

    In response to all the negative publicity, Jonathon P. Gill, Special Projects Office of Media Affairs, the White House, sent out the following message: "the Administration did not intend that this proposal exclude libraries, but rather that more access points to government information be provided, a goal which we would [should?] all laud. Our goal is to maximize the number of access points made available to Americans without modem equipped computers. This is an AND/BOTH strategy which works with BOTH libraries and kiosks. I am no more in favor of a 'kiosk only' policy that I would hope the library community would be in favor of a "library only" policy. We all do better with MORE access points rather than fewer."

    Further clarifications soon followed, by Sue Davidsen and others, as more information became available. In short, the kiosk idea was never meant to be limited to post offices. The US Postal Service merely was one of the first organizations to take the idea and run, setting aside its own funds to pay for the first 112 machines to be deployed in the Washington, D.C. area and in five test states yet to be determined. An RFP is scheduled for release quite soon, requesting delivery of kiosks that will not require staff assistance, use Internet protocols, but limit access to government services and information.

    The American Library Association also reports that the USPS expects to consider libraries as sites in early tests of their citizen kiosks. In fact, according to ALA's contacts, post offices are not the only sites for the kiosks, nor even the primary focus. A detailed study in each test community will determine the appropriate public site. A draft report with the title The Kiosk Network : an Electronic Gateway to Government Service will be released in late November. ALA plans to participate in a meeting with USPS officials on the kiosk initiative in mid-December.

    Time will tell how the Postal Service kiosk program turns out. However, in the RED TAPE Editor's opinion, it is yet another sign that as far as information delivery goes, the times are still a'changin and librarians (rightly so) are anxious about what role they will play in those changes.

    With a little technical know how, like that shown by Sue Davidsen, we can all take part, sharing our views far and wide. As for me, I look forward to hearing about any further government information initiatives that she uncovers.

    Bruce Maxwell, GOVDOC-L, October 25, 1994; Steven Kerchoff, FLICC/FEDLINK, October 26, 1994; ALAWON, Vo. 3, No. 67, November 13, 1994.


    (10) IRS Forms Now Available Electronically

    Under an agreement with the Internal Revenue Service, NTIS FedWorld will begin offering free World Wide Web, FTP, telnet, and dialup access to about 500 IRS forms and their supporting publications. These forms and publications will be available in at least four different formats, including Postscript, SGML, PDF, and the HP laser printer format.

    To help reduce the anticipated demand for these publications, particularly during the tax season next year, FedWorld Staff are soliciting volunteer sites where these materials may also be accessed, either for world use, or institutional use. Contact Tim Feinstein at or call (703) 487-4808.

    Source: "IRS Tax Forms and Pubs on FedWorld", GOVDOC-L, October 4, 1994.


    (11) Hotlines Provide Recall Information

    Uh-oh. That toaster-oven you got for your birthday isn't working and your're wondering if it's safe. Maybe there has been a recall, but you didn't send in the registration card, so the manufacturer couldn't alert you.

    Or maybe you have some concerns about that used car you bought. Has it been subject to any recalls? Were the repairs made?

    What to do?

    The quickest way to get information is to call the manufacturer.

    To find out if there has been a recall on a product under the Food and Drug Administration's jurisdiction, call your local FDA office. Or take a look at the FDA Enforcement Report, available at many federal depository libraries, which contains information on recalls. Or if you have a computer and a modem, you can get the enforcement report -- and other information -- free via the FDA's electronic bulletin board at (800) 222-0185. Set your modem at full duplex, 7-(NU)-1. At the log-in prompt, type BBS. Or better yet, if you have access to the Internet, take a look at the FDA gopher or web server. Or maybe FEDWORLD.

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration oversees recalls involving vehicles. The offer of a free repair for a recalled vehicle extends eight years from the time the recall if issued.

    To receive information on recalls involving automobiles or light trucks, consumers should call the toll-free Auto Safety Hotline, (800) 424-9393. A voice menu will explain the procedure. The TTY number for the hearing-impaired is (800) 424-9153. The agency has information on recalls from 1966 to the present.

    You will need to provide the make, model, and year of the vehicle for which you want recall data. You'll receive the information in the mail.

    But you also can call the automobile manufacturer's customer- service line to get recall information on specific models. Usually the call is toll-free.

    The NHTSA's hotline also provides crash-test information; tire quality grading; and an explanation ofother safety literature that's available, including a child safety seat recall package.

    And consumers can reprot suspected defects in vehicles. Such complaints can help identify defects and lead to recall campaigns.

    If you know that the used vehicle you're buying or already have bought was recalled, how can you determine if the repair was done? Call the previous owner and ask. Or take the car or truck to a dealer -- preferably the one where the automobile was first purchased. The dealer is obligated to make the repair if it has not been made. (The manufacturer picks up the tab, so it really doesn't matter which dealer does the work.)

    Car manufacturers are obligated to mail recall notices to new owners, and they try to track down subsequent owners as well.

    The Consumer Product Safety Commission has all the recall announcements that have been issued since the agency's inception in 1973. If you have a computer, modem, and access to the Internet, the agency's gopher server at info@cpsc.gov has recall information from the past decade or more. For recall information about an older product, call the agency's public affairs office at (301) 504-0580.

    Both computer users and hotline callers can register safety complaints and products.

    To keep up to date on product safety, write to CPSC, Washington, D.C. 20207, and request the commission's bimonthly brochure -- a compilation of all press releases issued by the agency the previsous two months. Include your name, address and phone numbers, and just write "mailing list".

    For Help

    There are three federal agencies that handle recall information.

  • Food and Drug Administration oversees food, drugs, cosmetics, medical devices, products that emit radiation, animal drugs, animal feed.

  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration can tell you about recalls on cars and trucks and tell of secret warranties, which are technical service bulletins manufacturers send to dealers; also has recall data on child safety seats.

  • Consumer Product Safety Commission handles almost everything else, including appliances, furniture, electronics, toys, tools.

    Source: Richard Des Ruisseaux, Gannett News Service, via Lansing State Journal, Sept. 15, 1994, p.5B.


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