NEWS FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY:
DECEMBER 1995

Table of Contents

  1. Fall Council Meeting Highlights by Susan Tulis
  2. GPO Access Now Free to Internet/Dial-In Users
  3. Depository Libraries Receive Unlimited GPO Access
  4. More Information for Depository Librarians
  5. Government Shutdown Impacts the Depository Program
  6. Is This the Post Office? : a Citizens Kiosk Project Update
  7. Government's Top Three Statistical Agencies Bracing for Major Budget Cuts
  8. Free Data Means Jobs
  9. Government of Canada Primary Internet Site Launched
  10. OCLC Reaches Agreement with European Union


(1) FALL DEPOSITORY LIBRARY COUNCIL
MEETING HIGHLIGHTS

Change, transition, and the future were all discussed during the fall meeting of the Depository Library Council in Memphis, TN, October 16-18, 1995.

Public Printer Michael DiMario started the meeting with an update on legislative activities. In accordance with the 1996 Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, the Public Printer has initiated a study to identify measures necessary for a successful transition to a more electronically based Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP). This study is to be done in conjunction with GPO's budget planning for next year, and involves a wide array of participants. The elements of the study, which include a strategic plan are outlined in Senate Report 104-114.

At this point, the federal government is operating under a continuing appropriations resolution, H.J. Res. 108 (PL 104-31), which allows spending 5% below the average of appropriations in bills already approved separately by the House and Senate. Although President Clinton vetoed H.R. 1854, the Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, 1996, his only objection was timing, not the content of the bill or the funding levels. "It would be inappropriate to provide full-year funding for Congress and its offices while funding for most other activities of government remain incomplete, unresolved and uncertain," Clinton said.

This past summer, Representative Thomas (D-CA) held hearings on GPO. His plan was to introduce his own bill and hold more hearings - neither of which has happened. Lastly, due to various shifts in chair assignments as a result of Packwood's resignation, Senator Warner is now Chair of Senate Rules Committee.

Wayne Kelley, Superintendent of Documents (SuDocs), began by stating that the FDLP is at a crossroads - the future of the program is at stake and all of us must step up to meet the challenge. There are real deadlines, they are short and we can't avoid them. We need to talk about a plan for a transition to a more electronic FDLP. Kelley is coordinating the study mentioned by DiMario; Judy Russell is Chair of the Working Group.

Kelley continued by saying that our talks should keep in mind the environment in which we must operate - new developments in technology and cuts in budgets. We can and we must make certain assumptions if we are to effectively plan for the future:

  1. FDLP will be primarily electronic.
  2. Existing law must be amended to define electronic products as "publications" and include them in the depository program. This inclusion should be mandatory, not voluntary.
  3. Funding from the legislative branch will not exceed current level.
  4. These factors will lead to changes in the current structure of FDLP.

These assumptions may be seen as opportunities by some, problems or challenges by others. But we must and will deal with them. We need to take the initiative in dealing with the inevitable change. Or change will be forced upon us without consultation.

Kelley asked Council to keep in mind some guiding principles as they discussed these important issues. Foremost, preserve public access to Federal government information. Whether you publish it in print, electronic formats, on microfiche, record it, film it, or chisel it in stone - do not deny access to the American people. Almost as important, don't turn against each other or buy false solutions. There may be proposals to let private enterprise do it. To let non-profit organizations do it. To let a few select libraries do it. To let government agencies do it voluntarily. Remember we need a strong central coordinating authority. We need depository libraries as partners committed to public access. We need a government policy that guarantees access. Kelley ended by asking the collected group for its council/advice/recommendations on the future of the Depository Program.

Jay Young, Director of Library Programs Service, presented some highlights from the early results of the Biennial Survey. Of the 332 responses to date, 74.6% monitor Govdoc-L; 302 have Internet for staff use; 22% have no Internet access for the public; over 90% have CD-ROM capability; and 8.7% would drop out if the FDLP was electronic only.

Young observed this to be the most challenging and interesting period in federal information that he'd seen in 25 years as both player and observer. Change is occurring throughout the government and the program must change to remain viable. He feels that it is a good thing we have the opportunity to be a player and to lead! The Congressional directed study is the centerpiece for a negotiation involving access to Federal information. The study also includes a strategic plan that will assist Congress in redefining a new and strengthened Federal information dissemination policy and program. The opportunity to affect change is certainly at hand since our Program is the centerpiece and the Superintendent of Documents is the Study Chair.

Young feels it is important to think in terms of the new terminology. First, information products and services encompasses the terms publications and documents and includes electronic files, databases, etc., as well as physical electronic products such as CD-ROMs, diskettes. Second, access represents customer and user, encompasses terms distribution and dissemination, and includes the availability of on-line or near- line electronic information (CD-ROMS or optical disks housed at a remote site.) SuDocs has a new draft policy statement - "Electronic Information Access and Dissemination in the FDLP". In this draft, dissemination refers to CD-ROMS or diskettes that would be physically sent to and used in libraries. However, this would change if CDs were mounted at a remote site for near-line access rather than being sent to you. "Access," however, must mean one other thing - "usefulness." Our program is to make Federal information not only available, but useful, to the general public who paid for its creation. Council and various library associations are the link with ultimate users.

Young ended by announcing that LPS has established an Electronic Transition Staff (ETS) consisting of Ric Davis, Maggie Parhamovich, Raeann Dossett, and Joe Paskoski. ETS was created to meet the challenge facing us all.

Ric Davis, Head of ETS, talked about the purpose and tasks of ETS. The purpose of ETS is to identify, assess, and implement information technology solutions as LPS moves to a more electronically based program. ETS's assigned tasks are:

  1. develop electronic policies, procedures and other documentation necessary to support LPS mission, organization and operations.
  2. determine types of electronic information products and services to be maintained for FDLP at sites operated under authority of SuDocs and define requirements for depository library access. Also, initiate and participate in application R&D.
  3. design, develop and implement "Pathway Services" to facilitate access to Federal information.
  4. coordinate WWW applications for LPS and Documents Sales Service.
  5. participate in implementing the recommendations from the "Report of the Serial Set Study Group."

In accordance with these objectives, they drafted the new policy statement already mentioned by Young. The basic tenet of this policy statement is thati> federal information which has traditionally been distributed to depository libraries in paper and microfiche formats will be available *instead* via remote electronic access or will be disseminated in physical electronic format for local access at depository library. This transition will occur as federal agencies continue to originate and publish information electronically and through conversion of paper and microfiche by SuDocs to electronic formats when deemed feasible and cost-effective. (More and more agencies have stated their publications will only be available in electronic format in near future.)

It is envisioned that information will be available to the public through FDLP in 3 ways:

  1. via physical copies of electronic products disseminated to depository libraries (includes CDs and diskettes),
  2. via Internet and dial-up connections, and
  3. via "gateway libraries" which provide off-site access to electronic information.

In order to meet these commitments, depository libraries must offer users access to work stations with graphical interface, CD-ROM capability, Internet connections, and ability to access, download and print extensive documents. Internet capabilities will be critical for providing future depository services to public. Another expectation of depositories is that when Federal information is available at no charge at an agency site via Internet and is identified in Pathway Services, you are expected to provide free public access to that information.

A commitment LPS is making is to provide long-term access to electronic information at sites under our authority as long as usage warrants. LPS will provide access, minimize deterioration and assume technological currency. They will also coordinate with NARA to assure that electronic information which no longer warrants maintaining at SuDocs sites for the FDLP is furnished to NARA. However, transfer of electronic information to NARA for permanent preservation is the legal responsibility of originating agency.

Other commitments include working with Federal agencies to assure that electronic information encompassed in scope of this policy is available to you. Also, when a Federal agency charges for its electronic services, every effort will be made to establish an arrangement whereby access will be provided at no charge to depository libraries.

Again, LPS recognizes this as time of transition from paper and microfiche distribution to the expansion of services required for handling electronic information. It's anticipated that similar but more advanced, technical capabilities as outlined in revised "Recommended Minimum Technical Guidelines (1/15/95)" will become requirements for all depository libraries by 1998.

Application of this policy statement will continue to ensure that electronic access will be available through FDLP at no charge to depository library or to public. This new policy establishes guidelines for access and dissemination. Old SOD-13 will continue to address paper and microfiche publications. The next task is to begin work on another SOD statement that will establish policy guidelines for types of publications that should be converted by SuDocs to electronic formats and Davis asked for Council input on this.

Maggie Parhamovich, ETS, began by noting that one new role for GPO is providing access and not just dissemination. It follows that a new role for librarians is to provide access to this information.

Current trend in the information field is to provide timely electronic information to the general public. This is clearly illustrated by the proliferation of Internet providers, development of web pages, including shopping and entertainment, and the bundling of software such as web browsers with Windows 95. Internet has begun to develop "depth", being used for both commercial and government information.

Yet, you can't effectively utilize Internet resources unless you are able to find the information you need. Fortunately, we are seeing the development of indexers such as WebCrawler and search engines to assist individuals in finding information. In order to facilitate the development of depository libraries as electronic centers of government information, it is necessary to create finding tools.

Pathway Services is being developed by LPS to assist depository libraries in locating electronic government information. Pathway Services continues the traditional role of GPO in providing a central catalog of records and indexing tools to government documents - only tailoring the function to the electronic environment.

Pathway Services will utilize advanced indexing, search and retrieval tools to identify, describe and dynamically link users to Federal electronic information. Pathway Services will be an evolving system since indexing and Internet technology is constantly changing. Pathway Services will only analyze government electronic sites. Pathway Services will link to sites by 2 methods : 1) indexer (called "scout") - to find government information on particular topic (like other web crawlers, but limited to government information), or 2) categorize government sites by Subject Bibliography terms. This browse feature will be effective for those who want to see what's available.

"Scout" is the first and primary component of Pathway Services, but the next step is to go beyond finding information and begin to investigate content and provide narrative information on federal sites specifically to identify what information is available at that particular site. Pathway Services will attempt to build relationships with other agencies it points to other Federal sites and solicit information regarding that site.

Future plan for Pathway Services is to develop procedures for identifying and cataloging government information sites. GPO will identify specific documents for long-term access and provide cataloging records for those documents. Pathway Services is an ambitious project which will take a couple of years to fully implement. It is hard to say what it will even be in a year. There is the need to remain flexible and aware of current technology in order to develop a system which is transferable to the next generation of software, Internet and computers.

Raeann Dossett gave more details on Scout. ETS is using a group of Internet tools to provide web based access to government information. A webcrawler is going out to search for specific things, and then ETS is going in and manually editing some files (ie. adding a title trace of what was in paper.) Scout has a minimum of Boolean searching, some natural language searching, and ETS is also looking at fuzzy searching. Scout will be a searching tool, not a browsing tool. It will go narrow and deep in .gov and .mil domains, not broad and shallow. Prototype is up at GPO - will be soliciting comments soon.

Robin Haun-Mohamed, Chief of the Depository Administration Branch (DAB), updated the group on all sorts of odds and ends.

Judy Russell, Director of the Office of Electronic Information Dissemination Services, also gave us odds and ends, but from an electronic point of view.

Other than Council business (Jan Fryer was chosen as Chair- Elect), and updates from various Council committees, the rest of the meeting was devoted to various break-out group discussions. The GPO Study group discussions were devoted to legislative/legal issues, library issues, and GPO issues.

Another set of discussions centered on "Defining 'Depository Libraries' in the Electronic Information Age." Topics for these discussions were :

  1. Servicing the public in an electronic FDLP,
  2. Managing on-site and remote access to multi-media information sources,
  3. Assuring long-term access to government information, and
  4. Cooperation with Federal agencies.
    [Council will have a summary of these discussions in an upcoming issue of Administrative Notes.]

The Council did not have final versions of its recommendations and supporting rationales available before the close of the meeting. The following is the "sense" of the forthcoming recommendations.

REVISED GUIDELINES - Library Programs Service will implement the revised "Guidelines for the Federal Depository Library Program" as adopted by Council (10/17/95) and that Guidelines be reviewed every two years.

CONGRESSIONAL PRIORITY BOXES - To ensure the timely delivery of high demand items, GPO will continue the practice of providing Congressional priority shipments and hot item priority shipments.

LINKAGES WITHIN THE MARC RECORD TO ELECTRONIC VERSIONS - GPO will work with other CONSER libraries to implement a consistent methodology to provide the necessary linking information for titles converted from paper/fiche to electronic format.

TRANSITION TO ELECTRONIC FORMATS - GPO will prepare a transition plan for conversion from paper/fiche to electronic formats, balancing the needs of users with the potential economic benefit of such conversion. Public Printer should clearly state in the congressional study that certain information must be made available to the public in paper at federal government expense for the foreseeable future.

PRESERVATION ISSUES - Public Printer in cooperation with other federal agencies will seek federal legislation to insure the preservation of all electronic public information products from the time of their initial release to the public.

MODEL AGREEMENTS - GPO will develop model agreements that depository libraries can use when negotiating information dissemination partnerships between federal agencies and depository libraries. GPO should be notified when a depository library enters into an electronic partnership with a federal agency.

NO FEE ACCESS TO GPO ACCESS - GPO will make GPO Access available at no charge to the public, except for customized services available by paid subscription.

STAT-USA ACCESS COMMENDATION AND LOGON PROCEDURE - Public Printer suggests that we should express our appreciation to the Department of Commerce and STAT-USA for making free accounts to STAT-USA available to federal depository libraries, but communicate our concern about limiting each depository library to a single free password. The number of passwords available to a library should more properly reflect the high use and diversity of the electronic product once issued to depositories but now only "bundled" through STAT-USA.

ADVANCE NOTICE OF GPO ACCESS CHANGES - Public Printer should provide advance notice to subscribers of GPO Access when new databases are added and when user interfaces are changed.

USER INPUT INTO SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT - GPO should involve the depository library community in the development of the user interface for the GPO Access Phase II software. Council recommends substantive involvement of the user community throughout the development of GPO electronic products, including further development of the Monthly Catalog CD-ROM.

CENTRALIZED ACCESS - GPO should investigate the feasibility of establishing centralized access to CD-ROM products which have been distributed through the FDLP.

SUPPORT SERVICES - There should be an expanded role for GPO in the provision of support services for libraries and end users. These services include but are not limited to: technical, user, financial (grants to libraries), training, documentation preparation and resource sharing. This expanded role should be reflected in the transition plan.

MINIMUM TECHNICAL GUIDELINES IMPLEMENTATION - GPO should establish as minimum technical requirements those guidelines outlined in Administrative Notes, January 15, 1995. These requirements should be effective October 1, 1996.

TRAINING FOR OTHER AGENCIES - GPO should arrange workshops which will assist agencies to publish government information products and provide services suitable for user by the general public.

SOFTWARE STANDARDS - GPO should take an active role in advocating and promulgating open standards related to information processing and access, such as SGML, and ANSI Z39.50.

DLC on the WWW - GPO should include the DLC records on the GPO web page.

IDENTIFYING WEB SITES THROUGH CATALOGING - GPO in cooperation with the other cataloging agencies should consistently utilize existing mechanisms for identifying web sites within cataloging records.

MONTHLY CATALOG - GPO should investigate the inclusion of cataloging records from July 1976-to date on the Monthly Catalog CD-ROM, and add OCLC record numbers to the new paper edition.

FAQs - GPO should establish an information resource on GPO Access consisting of a compilation of Frequently Asked Questions.

FALL MEETING SITE - possible sites for Fall 1996 Depository Library Council meeting include Cincinnati, Denver/Boulder, Ft. Lauderdale, Milwaukee, or Salt Lake City.

Source: Susan Tulis, University of Virginia Law Library, 580 Massie Road, Charlottesville, VA 22903-1789; Phone : 804/924-3504; E-Mail : set7c@virginia.edu; Fax : 804/982-2232; via GOVDOC-L, November 6, 1995.

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(2) GPO ACCESS NOW AVAILABLE FREE
TO INTERNET/DIAL-IN USERS

The U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) announces free use of its award-winning GPO Access online service beginning December 1, 1995. All Internet and dial-in users can now receive electronically, at no charge, the Congressional Record, Federal Register, congressional bills, and a growing list of important government documents on the same day of publication.

"We believe the public should have timely access to vital information about the activities of their government without charge," says head of the GPO, Public Printer Michael F. DiMario. "This service is made possible through the congressional funding of the Federal Depository Library Program at a time when more and more citizens are receiving their information by computer."

The GPO Access service was created by an Act of Congress in 1993 and went online in June 1994. The service earned the 1994 Federal Technology Leadership Award and a 1995 James Madison Award sponsored by the Coalition on Government Information.

Until now, GPO Access has been free only to users on-site in some 600 of the Nation's nearly 1,400 Federal Depository Libraries and to remote users connecting through over 20 depository library "gateways." It was available to others on a subscription basis for a low fee. Under the new program, the subscription fee has been dropped and refunds of unused portions will be sent to current subscribers.

DiMario emphasizes that depository libraries will continue as an essential link between GPO Access and the public. "Citizens lacking either computers or computer skills can visit a local depository for assistance," he explains.

The new system now gives equal and free access to those utilizing a depository library and to those who are linked already by dial-up or Internet connections to electronic information. As the Federal Depository Library Program becomes more electronic in nature, additional databases will be available through GPO Access. Since its creation in 1994, the number of databases offered online via GPO Access has increased from seven to more than two dozen.

Government databases can be reached via the Internet or by dial-in through a modem.

In more than 20 States, users with modems can connect to GPO Access through depository library "gateways" with a local phone call. Listings of depository libraries and "gateways" can be found on the Superintendent of Documents Home Page.

Questions about the GPO Access service can also be directed to a nearby Federal Depository Library. At least one such library is located in each congressional district.

For Orders & Assistance, the public should contact the GPO Access User Support Team: help@eids05.eids.gpo.gov; fax (202) 512-1262 or phone (202) 512-1530

For additional information, call 202-512-1991.

Source: U.S. Government Printing Office Release No. 95-33; November 30, 1995.

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(3) DEPOSITORY LIBRARIES RECEIVE
UNLIMITED GPO ACCESS

Date: Thu, 30 Nov 1995 16:10:16
From: Judy Russell (jrussell@www.access.gpo.gov)
Subject: GPO_Access_Now-Free

Dear Depository Librarian:

The attached (previous) Press Release was just distributed by the GPO Office of Congressional, Legislative and Public Affairs. It announces free public access to the GPO Access services effective December 1, 1995.

If you are registered for GPO Access as a SWAIS user: As a result of the change to a free service, the SWAIS login procedures have changed slightly. Effective immediately, all users, including depository libraries, should type the word guest (lowercase) at the login prompt (no password is required).

Your current SWAIS User-ID and Password will remain valid until December 31, 1995, but you should change your login procedures as soon as you can conveniently do so. The restrictions on the number of simultaneous users for your current User-ID and Password will be lifted as soon as possible (probably by Monday or Tuesday), but there are no restrictions on the use of the User-ID guest.

The following is a list of all databases currently offered via GPO Access.

  • Congressional Bills (103d and 104th Congress)
  • Congressional Calendars (104th Congress)
  • Congressional Directory (1995-96)
  • Congressional Documents (104th Congress)
  • Congressional Record (103d and 104th Congress)
  • Congressional Record Index (1992-1995)
  • Congressional Reports (104th Congress)
  • Economic Indicators (April 1995 forward)
  • Federal Register (1994 and 1995)
  • GAO Reports (FY 1995 forward)
  • Government Manual (1995-96)
  • History of Bills (103d and 104th Congress)
  • Pubic Laws (104th Congress)
  • Unified Agenda (1994 and 1995)
  • U.S. Code

    For more information or assistance, depository librarians should use the NEW e-mail address fdlphelp@eids05.eids.gpo.gov or call (202) 512-1530. Be sure to provide your depository library number.

    Source: Judy Russell (jrussell@gpo.gov), Electronic Information Dissemination Services (EIDS), Mail Stop SDE, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20401, Phone: 202/512-1622; Fax: 202/512-1262; via Mary Karpinski and Ann Sanders, Library of Michigan, GOVDOC-L, December 1, 1995.

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    (4) MORE INFORMATION FOR DEPOSITORY LIBRARIANS

    Dear Federal Depository Librarians:

    We hope you noticed yesterday on GOVDOC-L the news release announcing that GPO Access is now available for free use. We are sending a letter to depository library directors with more information about this and also will provide you with the information in a shipment box. In the meantime, here are some of the details.

    We are pleased to advise you that effective December 1, 1995, use of the Government Printing Office electronic information services, GPO Access, became free of charge to all users. The GPO Access online service includes over 20 important Federal databases such as the Federal Register, Congressional Record, and Congressional bills and is growing steadily.

    Registration will no longer be required to use GPO Access. Depository libraries may now connect servers or any number of users to GPO Access, without restriction. Libraries which have previously registered to use GPO Access may continue to use their established user identification numbers, account numbers, or passwords, until December 31, 1995.

    There will be no restrictions on the number of simultaneous users. However, if you use the customized client software, for IBM or Macintosh, sold by GPO, please be sure to notify the GPO Access User Support Team if you plan on installing additional copies. This will enable GPO to pay the proper licensing fees. Each library may request up to 10 copies of the customized WAIS client software from the GPO Access User Support Team.

    Beginning December 1, anyone can connect to GPO Access by using one of several options. Each depository library will be provided in-depth assistance from the GPO Access User Support Team and will receive special information about new databases and developments.

    Based on our direction from Congress, we expect that nearly all of the information provided through the FDLP will be electronic by the end of fiscal year 1998. Library Programs Service (LPS) has advised libraries concerning minimum levels of computer hardware, software, and connectivity required to effectively support the depository operation, most recently in our Administrative Notes newsletter on January 15, 1995, as recommendations to the depository community.

    In light of the impending transition to electronics, and upon advice of the Depository Library Council to the Public Printer, these specifications will become requirements for participation in the FDLP on October 1, 1996. Every depository library should be taking steps now to ensure that it will be able to serve the public effectively in an electronic information environment. Minimum requirements may change as technology progresses. The Recommended Minimum Technical Guidelines for Federal Depository Libraries follow.

    It is our intent to regularly communicate information about GPO Access to all depository libraries via e-mail. With the letter you will be receiving a form asking for you to furnish us with your e-mail address. It is important that all depository libraries take the time to fill out this form because e-mail will become our primary method of communication with the depository community.

    We appreciate your ongoing support of the FDLP, and look forward to working with you as the Program evolves into the electronic future. If you have any further questions about GPO Access, please contact the GPO Access User Support Team.

    Source: GPO/Library Program Service Staff 1; E-mail: (staf1lps@access.digex.net); GOVDOC-L, December 1, 1995.

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    (5) GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN IMPACTS
    THE DEPOSITORY PROGRAM

    For the first time in the RED TAPE Editor's memory, part of GPO's operations were shut down as a result of the recent squabble between the Republican Congress and the Democractic President.

    Because the operations of the Superintendent of Documents were deemed "nonessential", all employees of the Library Programs Service (LPS) and the Documents Sales Service were placed on furlough status effective November 14, 1995.

    As a result, all Federal Depository Library Program operations conducted by LPS were suspended; depository inspections scheduled for West Virginia and Mississippi were canceled; and depository shipments from LPS were temporarily halted.

    However, microfiche and separate shipments handled by contractors and already paid for continued. GPO Access, unlike some other web sites like THOMAS, remained in operation.

    Fortunately, the furlough only lasted a week.

    Source:Gil Baldwin, Chief, Library Division, Library Programs Service, U.S. Government Printing Office, fax : (202) 512-1432; e-mail : (manage@access.digex.net), GOVDOC-L, November 14, 1995.

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    (6) IS THIS THE POST OFFICE?
    A CITIZENS KIOSK PROJECT UPDATE

    The U.S. Postal Service took the first step toward making 24-hour electronic access to government services a reality today by awarding four contracts to develop INTERACTIVE Service to the Citizens Kiosk prototypes.

    Task order contracts were awarded to: Cordant, Inc. (Reston, Virginia); Digital Equipment Corp. (Greenbelt, Maryland); IBM Government Systems (Houston, Texas); North Communications (Marina del Rey, California).

    Should market testing prove successful, more than 10,000 kiosks could be online in post offices, libraries, shopping malls, and other convenient locations within the next few years.

    "We have a government which is open from nine to five serving customers who want access from five to nine", said Robert Reisner, Vice President Technology Application, USPS.

    "Technology Application's role is to develop new products and services from emerging technologies."

    "The world is changing fast", Reisner added. "With the Internet and dozens of other sources of evidence proving it, we can all see that the electronic marketplace is dynamic, offering new service opportunities every day. We can now create user friendly access to a government open around the clock."

    Reisner said the firms awarded the contracts will compete to develop integrated software and multi-media applications. One or more firms could eventually create a network of free standing kiosks.

    "We have a competition of ideas and trials with four well qualified vendors", he said. "However, before we are ready to present a single concept nationally, a prudent approach calls for extensive testing, and we want to make sure that we are utilizing the most up-to-date technological advances."

    "From your local post office the electronic service window could register a child for school or access social security benefit information. Perhaps while grocery shopping", he added," you could obtain a loan application from the Small Business Administration or pay a parking fine. Catalog mailers may find the postal kiosk an attractive vehicle for providing a low cost sales channel with unique national reach."

    Since May 1994, the Postal Service has been working with representatives of more than 18 federal agencies and 50 state and local governments to shape a model for government wide service delivery.

    Initially each contractor will be awarded $30,000 in contracts. Individual tasks may raise funding to $5 million pending approval by Postal Service senior management and the Board of Governors. Larger funding levels may be authorized.

    "Advances in telecommunications technology are increasing the risk of creating two information societies: the haves and the have nots", said Reisner. "But the Postal Service can deploy information technology to provide universal service and address this emerging problem".

    "The Postal Service, as the original information highway, has the unique ability through its 40,000 locations to provide electronic access. We're the link to the federal government that has provided the ubiquitous infrastructure of trust, security and privacy for more than 200 years", Reisner stated.

    For more information, consult the

    (7) GOVERNMENT'S TOP THREE STATISTICAL AGENCIES
    BRACING FOR MAJOR BUDGET CUTS

    According to a September 29, 1995 article in the Washington Post, various appropriations committees in both the House and Senate were considering cutting the budgets of the Census Bureau, the Bureau of Economic Analysis, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics in their drive to balance the budget in seven years.

    Katherine Abraham, BLS Commissioner, is quoted as saying that BLS is starting to dismantle major programs in anticipation of these budget cuts. Programs tentatively identified for reductions or elimination include the updating of the industrial classification of businesses in the monthly payroll survey, monthly employment/unemployment figures for 11 large states, the measurement of export prices, the collection of data on worker injuries, and the publication of information about collecive bargaining agreements.

    The Acting Director of BEA, Steven Landefeld said that if the House cuts prevail, the agency would have to eliminate most of its collection of data about investment in U.S. firms or subsidiaries, its publication of regional and state personal income figures, and possibly its data on spending on pollution control. Of course, there is at least one proposal to eliminate the BEA altogether.

    In a related development, Rep. Steve Horn, R-Ca, introduced a bill to consolidate the Census Bureau, the Bureau of Economic Analysis, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. H.R. 2521, the Statistical Consolidation Act of 1995, calls for the creation of a centralized Federal Statistical Services (FSS). When introducing his bill, Horn stated "the new Federal Statistical Service would streamline and improve the quality and efficiency of key data production, which affects not only the apportionment of Congress, the State legislatures, the boards of supervisors and city councils, but also business, the allocation of Federal and State programs, and many industry functions across the country." Source : Alan Zoellner, College of William and Mary, e-mail : afzoel@mail.wm.edu, GOVDOC-L, October 11, 1995; Electronic Public Information Newsletter, December 1, 1995, p. 177.

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    (8) FREE DATA MEANS JOBS

    In their haste to cut the federal budget, some members of Congress are going too far. They are suggesting that the federal government cut back on the collection and distribution of demographic and economic data. This is a painfully stupid idea. It makes about as much sense as draining the oil from your car just before you pull onto the highway. The country would be much better served if we invest in a tune-up of federal data agencies instead.

    Some argue that if businesses need numbers to make decisions, they should pay the full cost of collecting those numbers. But the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey--to just give one example--is based on interviews with 60,000 households every month. This enormous sample is needed to gather reliable data on counties and other small geographic areas. Who else but the government could collect data on such a scale? Only the largest corporations in the U.S. could even attempt it--and if they did, they wouldn't give the results away. Some are even saying that government statisticians are really spies. In their view, the statistical agencies are doing reconnaissance work for liberal do-gooders, and federal statistics are one reason for federal meddling in markets that should be free. the truth is that data-gatherers do their work for everyone. Justice Department lawyers in Washington must know the races and incomes of new mortgage-holders in order to enforce certain civil rights laws. But mortgage bankers all over the country use those same numbers to decide where to open new branches. Cut off the numbers, and both users have a higher risk of making an expensive mistake.

    New jobs depend on new business investments, which depend on accurate assessments of risk. Demographic and economic data reduce investors' risks, thereby encouraging new investments and jobs. Data users may take their numbers for granted, but the economic engines of an information-based economy cannot run without them.

    Source : Editorial, American Demographics, December 1995, p.2. Reprinted with the permission of Brad Edmondson, e-mail : editors@demographics.com. By the way American Demographics has a web site you might want to check out.

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    (9) GOVERNMENT OF CANADA
    PRIMARY INTERNET SITE ACTIVATED

    The Government of Canada Primary Internet Site was launched today on the World Wide Web. The "Canada Site" will provide Internet users in Canada and around the world with a single electronic access point to general information about Canada and to a wide variety of federal government information and services, including details on the workings of the Canadian government and its parliamentary, judicial and vice-regal institutions.

    Government Telecommunications and Informatics Services (GTIS) of Public Works and Government Services Canada has been designated as the federal government's Primary Internet Site.

    "The Internet is fast becoming the world's largest source of information and the standard for distribution of information," said the Honourable David C. Dingwall, Minister of Public Works and Government Services. "The introduction of the Canada Site supports the federal government's pledge to provide affordable, accessible and responsive government services through the use of updated telecommunications and computer technology."

    The Canada Site is accessible in both official languages and currently features seven major headings:

    1. What's New: summary of new information added to the home page, including news releases and major reports provided by contributing departments.
    2. Government Overview: description of how the government operates, including information about the Governor General, the Prime Minister, the House of Commons and the Supreme Court.
    3. Programs: enables users to obtain further information about federal government programs and services.
    4. Federal Institutions: lists these alphabetically, with electronic links to those that have sites and descriptions of those that as yet do not.
    5. About Canada: gives descriptions of Canadian symbols.
    6. Other Governments: provides links to Internet sites of provincial and municipal governments.
    7. Comments: where users can post comments.
    The Site also features a search tool that assists users to find required information.

    Approximately 35 federal organizations already have their own Internet sites. These sites will be linked to the Canada Site so that all existing government information and services can be accessed through a single Internet address. Eventually, links will be provided to many more federal government organizations. GTIS will provide Internet implementation and support services to federal departments, agencies and institutions.

    For further information, please contact : Ms. Diane Basso, Public Works and Government Services Canada, Communications Branch; (819) 956-2310.

    Source: Eric G. Snyder , INET-NEWS, December 14, 1995.

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    (10) OCLC SIGNS AGREEMENT TO ADD
    EUROPEAN UNION PUBLICATIONS TO OCLC PRISM

    As a result of an agreement reached with the Office for Official Publications of the European Communities (EUR-OP), OCLC will launch a one-year pilot project beginning in 1996 to catalog European Union publications for the global library community.

    During this pilot year, OCLC expects to add 2,500 EUR-OP records to its Online Union Catalog. If EUR-OP, EUROLIB, and OCLC are happy with the results, the project will continue adding more and more EUR-OP bibliographic records to OCLC's database.

    Phyllis Spies, OCLC vice president, member services, sales and international, said she sees the agreement as strengthening the European Union's presence in the global online union catalog. "EUR-OP publications will become more widely known, and European research backed by libraries throughout the world will have better bibliographic support."

    Source: Helen Sheehy, Penn State University, GOVDOC-L, December 1, 1995.

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