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4/6/2011
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GSA Releases Federal Publications On Google Books

Through a partnership with the Government Printing Office, 100 consumer-oriented publications are now available online for free download.

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Government agencies are partnering with Google to release federal consumer-related advice publications online via the Google Books service.

The U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) -- which is responsible for distributing information from all three branches of government, including the release of federal publications -- already is a member of the Google Book Partner Program. Now the General Services Administration (GSA) has leveraged that partnership to offer 100 consumer-oriented federal publications on its Federal Citizen Information Center (FCIC) on Google Books, the GPO said.

Publications now available on the site include ones that provide practical advice on health, government benefits, managing finances, and avoiding identity theft and scams. Titles for the publications include "Food Safety for Seniors," "Restaurant and Take-Out Safety," "Food Safety at Home," "Sleep Disorders," and "Using Medicines Wisely."

People can view and download these and other federal publications on e-readers such as Amazon's Kindle as well as on their PCs. People also can order hard copies of the publications on Google Books, which the GPO's Public Distribution Center will coordinate.

The agency wants to give people more options for obtaining publications because research shows 75% of the public wants access to government information both online and in printed form, the GSA said in a statement.

"We want to embrace the changing environment and provide important consumer-related information where people want to consume it -- on their computers, on their mobile devices, or on paper," said Dave McClure, GSA Associate Administrator of the Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies.

Indeed, the GSA's move supports the Obama Administration's Open Government Directive, which aims to use technology to give people more access to government information. The GSA said it plans to continue to add more publications to the site going forward.

The GPO also bolstered how it provides access to government information recently with an overhaul of its online document system. The agency phased out a nearly 17-year-old system in favor of a new one called FDsys that offers better search and discovery capabilities for official federal government publications.

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