Monday, November 26, 2012

This country has a to do list a mile long, says Courtney

On November 16, 2012 Congressman Joe Courtney went off on members in Congress for basically neglecting the people business and enjoying too many recesses.

“Mr. Speaker, as is obvious in this room, the business for the week has now concluded. This is a week which commenced on Tuesday; and prior to that, the Congress, the House, had not been in session for 7 weeks despite the fact that this country has a to-do list a mile long in terms of the critical issues that affect our health care system."

"Whether it's doctors' fees that are going to hit a cliff on January 1, a 37 percent cut for Medicare providers of all stripes, particularly in the physician community, we have the fiscal cliff, where tax rates are going to go up for almost every American wage earner if Congress fails to act. We have the sequestration, which is a measure which will be the equivalent of a chain saw going through the government, cutting .2 percent from every budget, whether it's defense or nondefense issues", he said.

“We have a farm bill which needs to be acted upon. We have, again, the 2008 farm bill which was a 5-year measure that has expired; and it's critical for rural America. We need to renew the farm bill. And to give one small example, which the dairy industry has reminded people of, that the price of a gallon of milk starting in January could potentially go as high as $7 if we don't restore and reauthorize the system of price supports that we have in our dairy industry. The Violence Against Women Act expires. Again, a critical measure so that law enforcement officials all across the country can continue the progress that we're making in terms of the issue of domestic violence and violence against children”, he complained.

“Again, the list goes on and on. And, incredibly, despite the fact that we have been out of town for 7 weeks -this House convened on Tuesday and is recessing again today for another week's break”, said Congressman Joe Courtney (source: Congressional Record ).

Monday, November 12, 2012

GPO strategy: Publishing from any source, in any format

In an environment in which most documents are created, transmitted and consumed electronically, the Government Printing Office has released a five-year strategic plan focused on turning the government’s printer into a digital information platform.

“The demand for printed publications has declined while there has been exponential growth in digital requirements,” the plan says. “GPO is transforming its business model to a content-centric model, focusing on managing content for customer and public use today and tomorrow.” This calls for increased use of electronic media.

The direction is not a new one for the 151-year-old GPO, which has been shifting its focus from ink-on-paper toward digital documents for the last 18 years. What is new is the speed and extent of the transformation, said Acting Public Printer Davita Vance-Cooks.

“Any agency that has lasted as long as we have has had a history of change,” Vance-Cooks said. “The change we are experiencing today is far more rapid than anything we have experienced before.”
The level of sophistication expected by GPO customers is increasing, she said. “We are putting the information into any format that is wanted. We have to make sure that we watch the trends.”

GPO has been making documents and publications available online since 1994, when it created the GPO Access Web site. This was upgraded to the Federal Digital System (FDsys) portal in 2009, which included the ability to digitally sign and authenticate online documents, giving them the status of official records. This is an important element of GPO’s digital document management, Vance-Cooks said.