- By Adam Mazmanian
- Nov 30, 2014
When Jon Quandt started college, he intended to major in computer science. After a semester, however, he wasn't feeling passionate about the discipline and switched to history, eventually earning a master's degree in that area from American University. But life has a way of coming full circle. Today, as a program planner for the public-facing website of the 150-year-old Government Printing Office, Quandt gets to combine his interest in history with his early IT training.
Quandt focuses on the Federal Digital System (FDsys), which provides free online access to official publications from all three branches of the federal government, and he has been a leader in expanding mobile access to GPO content. He led the development of a suite of mobile apps that include access to a directory of members of Congress, presidential documents and the federal budget, which drew 100,000 hits in the first 72 hours after it went live.
"We could continue releasing individual apps for each different collection that we have, but it would just become unmanageable," Quandt said.
Instead, his team is looking to responsive design to adapt FDsys content to a wide range of user devices and screen sizes. The FDsys interface hasn't changed since its launch in 2009, and the redesign is expected to include improved search rankings and a feature that will automatically connect related documents -- for example, a bill passed by Congress and the relevant presidential signing statement. A beta version of the refreshed FDys is scheduled to launch next year.
As a history student, Quandt used to consult GPO materials in his research, and he wants to make sure that government documents are available to future generations of historians.
"The traditional mission of keeping Americans informed appealed to me as a historian and just as a citizen," he said. "I think that what we do here is really valuable in terms of providing access to the publications of government across three branches."
Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.
Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial roles at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, New York Press, Architect Magazine and other publications.
Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.