Flexibility is the Future
The United States Government Printing Office sets the bar high in a new millennium
WORKING HAND-IN-HAND with the president-appointed public printer, Bruce James, is the Government Printing Office's chief of staff, Robert Tapella. Both men, are the driving force behind revolutionizing a 19th century government print factory into a 21st century digital printing and information dissemination powerhouse.
After two years of painstaking study, research and testing, the Government Printing Office (GPO) released its "Strategic Vision for the 21st Century." With 90 percent of government business solutions, amounting to more than half a billion dollars in sales volume, being contracted out to the private sector through the GPO, the vision is wide-reaching and a beacon of light for the industry.
In discussing the development of the strategic vision, Tapella noted, "The first year was about gathering the facts concerning what was occuring internally at the GPO, the federal government and our agencies. Also, we had to take a look at what was going on in the printing industry, the information dissemination industry, the library community and high technology at the universities."
The process may sound long and arduous, but as Tapella explained, "When you are dealing with an agency that has a history such as the GPO's and a critical mission dating back to 1813, providing the documents of our democracy to the public, we took it very slowly. We had to be sure we had it right."
The Start of a Digital Era
The keystone of the GPO's vision is the development of a flexible digital platform. Today, it is estimated that as many as 50 percent of all Government documents are "born digital" and published directly to the Web, never seeing ink on paper. Flexibility is paramount to implementing its vision and will ensure a system that can change with the times and with the latest technology while providing fast, authentic information dissemination that can be safely archived for future generations.