Happy 150th birthday US Government Printing Office! And to celebrate, here’s a blast form the past: a 1979 report from the Public Interest Research Group entitled “The Peoples’ Printer: A Report on the Government Printing Office” by Shawn kelly. This little known PIRG report was scanned and put online by Carl Malamud who said in a tweet that “it was handed to me in a brown paper wrapper at an event I was speaking at. Remarkable 1979 independent analysis.” Thanks Carl for for scanning and tweeting about this!
The U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) marks a milestone on March 4th when it celebrates 150 years of producing and delivering Government information for all three branches of the Federal Government and the public. GPO opened its doors on March 4, 1861, the same day President Abraham Lincoln took the oath of office. Throughout its history the agency has used constantly changing technologies to meet the needs of the Congress, Federal agencies, and the public. During GPO’s early days, employees relied on ink and paper to set the text for The Emancipation Proclamation. Today, as another President from Illinois leads the Nation, GPO employees are using the latest digital technology to document the actions of our Government while carrying out its founding mission of Keeping America Informed.
While GPO’s past has been about printing, its present and future are being defined by digital information technologies. In fact, GPO today is the product of more than a generation of investment in digital production and dissemination technologies, an investment that has yielded stunning improvements in productivity, capability, and savings for the taxpayers, savings of 66% on the cost of congressional printing alone. Employing just 2,200 staff, fewer than at any time in the past century, GPO now provides a range of products and activities that could only have been dreamed of 30 years ago: online databases of Federal documents with state-of-the-art search and retrieval capabilities available to the public without charge, Government publications available as e-Books, passports and smart cards with electronic chips carrying biometric data, print products on sustainable substrates using vegetable oil based inks, and a public presence not only on the Web but on Twitter, Facebook, and You Tube.