Monday, April 25, 2011

Is this the Future for all Government Publications?

GSA (General Services Administration) just announced that it will no longer publish the "looseleaf" version of the Federal Travel Regulations (FTR), the regulations that limit the amount of travel costs that contractors can charge the Government (FAR 31.205-46(a)(23)(i)) when traveling within the contiguous United States. 

Looseleaf pages of the FTR were originally made available at a time when it was the only means to view a change to either regulation in context with the existing text until the publication of the next volume of Title 41 of the Code of Regulations (41 CFR title 41) was published the following July 1. Patrons who maintained the regulations in looseleaf could purchase subscriptions from the Government Printing Office (GPO) and when any change to the FTR occurred, they would be sent the new pages. At best, it could be weeks and even months before patrons would receive the latest changes. With the coming of new technology, GSA began producing these pages and sending them to patrons electronically.

Because of today's technologies, those who need and use travel regulations can view and print the latest changes on the day the changes are published in the Federal Register. Even with electronic distribution however, GSA continued to produce the looseleaf pages for these changes while the need for them has become almost nonexistent. GSA finally concluded that the time that it takes to produce the pages for information already available is not an efficient use of government resources and has decided to discontinue the production of the looseleaf versions of the FTR immediately.

Today, nearly everything that the Government prints is readily available in electronic format. Most businesses needing (or preferring) printed material, simply download and print the file rather than order it and wait for the mail to arrive.

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