GPO Head Seeks to Rebrand Agency to Reflect Changing Mission

    Oct 09, 2013

    In her confirmation hearing to be the public printer and head of the Government Printing Office (GPO), Davita Vance-Cooks spoke of her desire to rebrand the agency as the Government Publishing Office, recognizing how much of the agency's efforts have shifted away from its traditional printing mission and toward the digital distribution of key government documents.

    In testimony before the Senate Rules and Administration Committee on July 24, 2013, Vance-Cooks noted that GPO has been undergoing a transformation from a printing operation to a publishing operation and a provider of secure credentials.

    “We have repositioned our core business to emphasize the development of a digital information platform for the delivery of a growing variety of options for accessing Government information,” she said. “Today we operate in an environment that is dominated by constantly evolving technology, rapidly changing stakeholder expectations, an ongoing shift to digital content via multiple formats and devices, and financial budget pressure.”

    Vance-Cooks had been serving as acting head of the agency since January 2012. She was confirmed unanimously by the Senate on August 2. 

    As the provider of official federal government information in digital and printed formats, GPO produces the Congressional Record, the Federal Register, U.S. passports, and a wide variety of other publications. The agency provides free public access to government information products through federal depository libraries nationwide, as well as free online access via GPO’s Federal Digital System.

    While at GPO, Vance-Cooks’ focus has been on moving the agency from print-centric to content-centric, a strategy she says was validated by a Congressionally mandated study of GPO by the National Academy of Public Administration, issued in January 2013. That study contained 15 recommendations intended to position the federal government for the digital age. Among other things, the study recommended that Congress establish an inter-agency process to develop a government-wide strategy for managing the life cycle of digital government information. To read the full study, click here.

    As part of GPO's focus on digital platforms, it is developing several apps for people who want information readily available at their fingertips. GPO developed its first mobile app in late 2011 and launched an official White House budget app that allowed people access to the president's fiscal 2013 budget request in a mobile-friendly format.

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