GPO transitioning all new docs to new system

GPO Access to become an archive-only system by March 31

Good-bye, “GPO Access” and hello, “FDsys.”

Federal electronic documents available on the Web are undergoing a transition to the new Federal Digital System (FDsys) platform this month.

After more than 15 years of operation, the Government Printing Office Access electronic access system (GPO Access) for federal documents is becoming an archive-only system by March 31. New documents are being published online in FDsys, the GPO announced.

The change may cause some formatting problems for people accessing government documents. There have been isolated reports of problems with the transition.

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GPO puts content over form in FDsys

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For example, the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security for many months has published a standard list online of items requiring licenses for export. When the list transitioned from GPO Access to FDsys the data apparently became jumbled for people trying to access it, according to a report in the Export Law blog on Feb. 10.

“Sometime in the past several days our friends at BIS removed the old Commerce Control List that was linked on their site, and replaced it with a new one that is, kindly put, an unusable mess,” the blog said.

GPO and Commerce officials were not immediately available for comment.

The GPO launched GPO Access in 1994 to provide online access to electronic documents for all three branches of the federal government. Major documents included in the system are the president’s annual budget request to Congress, the Federal Register and a roster of members of Congress.

The FDsys system has been operating online concurrently with GPO Access for several months.

FDsys provides advanced search capabilities and the ability to refine and narrow search. It includes metadata and information about government publications in XML formats.

Researchers also have the ability to download documents in multiple file formats, and to compress content and metadata into a single file. The new system is a content management system and a preservation repository that conforms to the Open Archival Information System reference model.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.


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