GSA unveils Year 2000 database

In an effort to provide assistance to federal information technology personnel boggled by the number of commercial software offerings now touted as Year 2000-compliant the General Services Administration this week will unveil its Year 2000 COTS Product Database. The database which officially opens for business today not only offers a list of Year 2000-compliant products but also includes the results of Year 2000 compliance testing conducted at several federal software laboratories said Kathleen Adams the Social Security Administration's assistant deputy commissioner for systems. SSA spearheaded the development of the database which will be open to all federal users via the Internet. "The whole purpose of this database is to share information about testing " Adams said. "As more agencies begin to acquire products and test them they can share results. But the intent is not to set up a test facility " she said. SSA alone uses more than 300 commercial products in its data center and the agency tested all those products for Year 2000 compliance. Those results should be shared with other agencies so that officials elsewhere will know a great deal about specific products before opting to reset them Adams said. The database could save agencies "a couple of steps in their research process " said Cynthia Warner the Year 2000 program manager at GSA. The database will list the products that were tested including the version tested and the conditions to which the products were subjected to validate compliance she said. Adams said the CIO Council's Subcommittee on the Year 2000's COTS workgroup has been working with the vendor community to ensure that companies are comfortable with the database. "If we find a product to be noncompliant but the vendor claims that it is compliant before it can be accepted as part of the database the agency will need to go back to the vendor and give the company an opportunity to look at how our tests were done " she said. If agreement cannot be reached the product will be listed as a "dispute." SSA and GSA working on behalf of the council prototyped the online repository last month with the help of 17 vendors three agencies and Mitre Corp. The CIO Council budgeted $180 000 for GSA's maintenance of the database. The council's funding signifies high-level confidence that the database can prove to be a useful resource for agencies Adams said. "This is information that each of us would have to obtain independently " she said. "Sharing the information is going to save the government time and money." The database can be found at y2k.policyworks.gov.

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