Copyright Office to install Siebel

The Library of Congress' Copyright Office has joined a growing number of federal agencies in buying customer relationship management (CRM) software to improve service to the public.

For 40 years, the Copyright Office had not changed its copyright registration procedures, said Robert Dizard Jr., the agency's chief operating officer. But having recently completed an overhaul of its copyright registration procedures, the agency now plans to use CRM software to automate the new procedures, Dizard said.

Copyright officials selected citizen response and electronic case management software from Siebel Systems Inc. SRA International Inc. is the systems integrator for the project.

Citizens typically wait 90 days from the time they contact the Copyright Office until they receive a certificate of registration. Dizard said he hopes the new electronic registration procedures will cut the wait time in half.

The agency registers about 600,000 works each year, and processing those registration applications consumes the greatest portion of the agency's budget and staff members' time, he said. What is not widely known, he added, is that the library selects for its collection only about half of the works that are registered each year.

When the CRM copyright project is completed, the public will be able to log on to the agency's Web site, create an application form, indicate a form of registration payment and attach an electronic file of the work being registered. "It could be an MP3 file or a bit-mapped photograph," Dizard said.

Until recently, CRM software was mainly used in the federal government to make intra-agency and interagency relationships more efficient, said Esteban Kolsky, a research director at Gartner Inc., which specializes in information technology research and consulting.

The Internal Revenue Service was an exception, Kolsky said, having early adopted CRM software to operate its call centers for taxpayers. But now, he said, more and more federal agencies are looking to CRM for improving citizen services.

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