Government Printing Council

promoting cost effective and efficient dissemination of
government publications and information to individuals and businesses

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THE “FUGITIVE DOCUMENTS” ISSUE

As the world has gone digital, GPO and its Superintendent of Documents division have been consistently reporting that the number of “Fugitive Documents” is increasing.  A “Fugitive Document” is a government publication or government information, produced with taxpayer funds, which should be available to the public on the unified FDSYS-GPO Access website and system, but which never reaches GPO. 

There are more than a few of these government documents: some estimates range into the hundreds of thousands. 

Several agencies have responded that the documents or information is available on some agency website or sub-site.  However, the federal government requires that agencies provide digital or electronic copy of the publication to GPO for inclusion into the FDSYS-GPO Access system.  Using FDSYS-GPO Access provides both government and private sector users with one-stop shopping for government documents and information.  No one has the time – nor should they spend the time – looking through hundreds of websites to find information that was generated with taxpayer funds.  Library groups and associations have been on the forefront of the fight to reduce the number of fugitive documents with GPO is the various.  Since some government publications and documents are not in print, getting them to GPO FDSYS-GPO Access in digital format is the only way that a library can fully meet the needs of its customers. 

Of course, if the document or information is printed, GPO typically receives the document or publication in electronic format, and that format is provided to the printer.  The document or information is then available to FDSYS-GPO Access.  However, where the document is not printed, or where an agency prints the document in-house, or contracts directly with a printer to have it produced (in violation of Title 44 of the U.S. Code), the document or publication often never makes its way to FEDSYS-GPO Access. 

An obvious solution is for the government agencies to send more documents and government information to GPO to be printed by private sector printers!  However, even for materials that are not sent to GPO to be printed, those of us who are part of the government printing and information system need to come out strongly in support of a methodology that would force agencies to provide taxpayer funded government publications and government information to FDSYS-GPO Access. 

 

Mission Statement:

The Government Printing Council supports the continuation and improvement of a centralized, open, competitive federal government print procurement system that provides quality printed products, at the lowest total cost to the agencies and the taxpayers

 
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Contact us at: mail@govprintcouncil.com