GPO gets name change to reflect digital times


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Although the Government Printing Office has been investing in and focusing on digital development and production for a decade, it wasn’t until Tuesday evening that the name of the agency actually reflected it. When President Barack Obama signed the continuing resolution omnibus spending bill Tuesday evening, GPO officially became the Government Publishing Office.

“Our middle name has changed now to better reflect what we’ve been doing for years now,” GPO’s Chief Information Officer Chuck Riddle told FedScoop Wednesday. “[We work] to provide the information that we’ve been providing in print electronically for a while, so it’s really symbolic of the digital transformation that we’ve been going through recently.”

Earlier this year, Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., introduced a bill to the Senate that would rename the agency. That bill passed the Senate Rules and Administration Committee but never cleared the Senate floor. The language was instead included in the spending bill.

“The Government Printing Office is hereby redesignated the Government Publishing Office,” the text of the law says. “Any reference to the Government Printing Office in any law, rule, regulation, certificate, directive, instruction or other official paper in force on the date of this Act shall be considered to refer and apply to the Government Publishing Office.”

The provision also changed the name of the agency’s head, formerly the public printer, to the director of the Government Publishing Office, which functions as the chief executive officer of the agency. The name change also applies to the deputy director.

“This is a historic day for GPO,” Davita Vance-Cooks, the director of the Government Publishing Office, said in a release. “The name Government Publishing Office better reflects the services that GPO currently provides and will provide in the future.”

The GPO offers copies of the Federal Register, Congressional Record and president’s schedule all online through apps. (Credit: GPO)

In recent years, GPO has released mobile apps displaying the Federal Register, the Congressional Record and the president’s daily schedule. The agency also launched the first solely digital version of the federal depository library program in North Dakota earlier this year. GPO also hosts the federal digital system, or FDsys — an online portal providing public access to government publications from the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Central Intelligence Agency torture report to the text of H.R. 83, the spending bill that changed GPO’s name.

“[The name change] is really a continuation of a lot of the key things we’ve already started,” Riddle said. “FDsys is just one, it’s our flagship application for the American public.”

According to Riddle, the name change codifies the entire way his information technology department is approaching technological innovation.

“There’s a lot more that we have planned to try to make the agency as technically nimble as possible to support the needs of being able to publish information for the public,” Riddle said. “It’s really exciting for me from the IT perspective because it reinforces what we’re to do here to continue to help the agency transform itself and using IT to do that.”

“From the technology perspective, virtualization, moving things to the cloud and making things more progressive with things related to IT really helps to reflect that, I think,” Riddle said. “It reflects it in a way that helps the American public know what we do.”

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