OMB BULLETIN NO.
TO THE HEADS OF
EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND ESTABLISHMENTS
of Government Information Locator Service.
This Bulletin establishes a Government Information Locator Service
(GILS), as envisioned in The National Information Infrastructure:
Agenda for Action, Information Infrastructure Task Force (September
OMB Circular No. A-130, "Management of Federal Information Resources,"
Transmittal Memorandum No. 1, dated June 25, 1993 (58 Fed. Reg.
36068, July 2, 1993), reissued on July 25, 1994 (59 Fed. Reg. 37906).
This Bulletin applies to all departments and agencies in the
Executive Branch. Independent regulatory commissions and agencies
are requested to comply.
4. Agency and OMB
Responsibilities. Attachment A hereto sets forth the applicable
definitions, specifications, implementation schedule, agency responsibilities,
and information contacts. GILS will identify public information
resources throughout the Federal government, describe the information
available in those resources, and provide assistance in obtaining
the information. It will also serve as a tool to improve agency
electronic records management practices.
5. Termination Date.
This Bulletin expires three years from date of issuance.
6. Effective Date.
This Bulletin is effective on issuance.
Alice M. Rivlin
Government Information Locator Service
This Bulletin establishes the Government Information Locator Service
(GILS) to help the public and agencies locate and access information
throughout the U.S. government. It is issued in furtherance of OMB
Circular No. A-130, which encourages agencies to ensure public access
to government information regardless of form or medium and to establish
aids to locating agency information, such as catalogs and directories.
Similarly, it addresses a goal of The National Information Infrastructure:
Agenda for Action which called for the establishment of a "virtual
card catalog" of government information holdings.
GILS will identify
information resources throughout the Executive Branch, describe
the information available, and provide assistance in how to obtain
the information. It will improve agencies' abilities to carry out
their records management responsibilities and to respond to Freedom
of Information Act requests. It will also serve to reduce the information
collection burden on the public by making existing information more
readily available for sharing among agencies.
GILS will consist of
decentralized agency-based information locator records and associated
information services. It will use off-the-shelf communications and
information technology products and services so that government
information can be stored and retrieved in a variety of ways and
in a variety of locations.
As used herein:
system" means a discrete set of information resources organized
using information technology as defined in OMB Circular No. A-130
for the collection, processing, maintenance, transmission, or dissemination
of information which include Federal records as defined in 44 U.S.C.
3301. For purposes of this Bulletin, automated information systems
do not include (1) electronic mail and word processing systems,
(2) systems the existence of which are specifically authorized under
criteria established by an Executive Order to be kept secret in
the interest of national defense or foreign policy within the meaning
of 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(1), and (3) systems the knowledge of the existence
of which would interfere with enforcement proceedings or otherwise
be exempt from disclosure under 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(7).
"GILS Core" means a
subset of all GILS locator records which describe information resources
maintained by Federal agencies, comply with the GILS core elements
defined in Federal Information Processing Standards Publication
(FIPS Pub.) 192, and are mutually accessible through interconnected
electronic network facilities.
product" means any book, paper, map, machine-readable material,
audiovisual production, or other documentary material, regardless
of physical form or characteristic, disseminated by an agency to
the public. (OMB Circular A-130).
"Locator" means an
information resource which identifies other information resources,
describes the information available in those resources, and provides
assistance in how to obtain the information.
Section 8(a) of OMB
Circular A-130 provides that agencies have a responsibility to "record,
preserve and make accessible sufficient information to ensure the
management and accountability of agency programs and to protect
both legal and financial rights of the Federal Government... provide
information to the public consistent with their mission... [and]
help the public locate government information maintained by and
for the agency." Inventories and finding aids can be an important
tool to help other agencies and the public identify information
which is available, as well as to help agencies carry out their
responsibilities effectively to manage, schedule for disposition
and archive their electronic records. Inventories also serve both
to increase the efficiency of the dissemination function and to
avoid unnecessary burdens of duplicative information collections.
The inventories of agency automated information systems and information
dissemination products that are reflected in the GILS Core will
serve these ends.
Agencies may provide
access to their GILS Core locator records either using their own
information resources, through an information processing service
organization in another agency, through an interagency cooperative
effort, or through a contractor. Each agency should establish one
or more channels for access to its GILS Core locator records, balancing
the goals of facilitating access by the public, assuring appropriate
security of government information resources, and minimizing costs
to the Government. Direct Internet access to GILS Core locator records
should be free of charge, particularly to depository libraries,
other libraries, and members of the public with Internet access.
Other information dissemination products which include GILS records
should be priced in accordance with the provisions of Circular A-130.
Agency GILS are to
be established and maintained in accordance with FIPS Pub. 192.
As specified in FIPS Pub. 192, the GILS Profile provides the mechanisms
for navigating among Federal government locators through specifications
given for the GILS Core locator records. Direct users of GILS must
be able to use nonproprietary software to access and retrieve information
from information sources conforming to FIPS Pub. 192 and the associated
GILS Profile. Public domain software that supports access to GILS
will be available from the Government Printing Office, the National
Technical Information Service, and the Clearinghouse for Networked
Information Discovery and Retrieval.
GILS will become an
integral part of the Federal government's overall information management
and dissemination infrastructure, and will ultimately facilitate
both identification and direct retrieval of government information.
As a first step, agencies should inventory their existing holdings
and institute adequate information management practices. To the
extent practicable, agency GILS should contain automated links to
underlying databases to permit direct access to information identified
in the GILS.
a. All Federal
Agencies. The head of each agency should:
(1) By December
31, 1995, compile an inventory of its 1) automated information
systems, 2) Privacy Act systems of records, and 3) locators
that together cover all of its information dissemination products.
Each such automated information system, Privacy Act system of
records, and locator of information dissemination products shall
be described by a GILS Core locator record that includes the
mandatory GILS Core Elements, and appropriate optional GILS
Core Elements as defined in FIPS Pub. 192 and 36 CFR 1228.22(b).
Agencies should also supplement the GILS Core Elements with
other data elements suitable for specific agency records management
and information dissemination needs and objectives. Similar
information dissemination products and automated information
systems may be identified by a single GILS Core locator record,
provided that the locator record clearly identifies the number
and scope of items aggregated. Privacy Act systems of records
should, however, be identified individually.
(2) By December
31, 1995, make its initial GILS Core locator records available
on-line in a form compliant with FIPS Pub. 192 and the related
(3) By June 30,
1996, review the information resources identified in the agency
inventory of automated information systems and GILS Core locator
records for completeness and to determine the extent to which
they include Federal records as defined at 44 U.S.C. 3301. For
all Federal records covered by the inventory, the agency shall
determine whether they are covered by a records disposition
schedule authorized by the Archivist of the United States.
(4) By December
31, 1996, submit to the Archivist a request for disposition
authority proposing schedules for unscheduled records in the
information resources described in the GILS Core locator records.
The agency should also advise the Archivist if it believes any
information resource described in the GILS Core locator records
has sufficient historical or other value to warrant continued
preservation after the information is no longer needed in the
The inventories of
agency automated information systems and information dissemination
products that are reflected in the GILS Core should serve as the
foundation for developing the records schedules proposed by the
agency. When an agency needs to retain different categories of
records covered by a GILS Core locator record for different periods
of time, the agency should supplement the GILS Core locator record
by describing each category. Agencies should cite the applicable
disposition authority in the GILS Core element for "supplemental
information" for entries that cover records that have been scheduled.
dissemination products are part of an on-going series, the agency
may submit a proposed records schedule which applies to the entire
series. The schedule entry describing such a series may refer
to GILS Core locator records to supplement the series description
included in the request.
update its inventory and GILS Core locator records as new information
dissemination products and automated information systems are
of Commerce. The Secretary of Commerce should:
(1) Designate an
initial Chair for the Government Information Locator Services
Board, established pursuant to section 5, below.
(2) Maintain FIPS
Pub. 192 specifying a GILS Profile with mandatory application
for Federal agencies establishing locators and inventories of
(3) Determine the
need for and develop appropriate procedures, as appropriate,
to identify and validate commercial software packages for compliance
with FIPS Pub. 192.
c. National Archives
and Records Administration. The Archivist of the Unites States
(1) Publish guidance
and provide, on a reimbursable basis, training to Federal agencies
on the development of records inventories, determining records
retention needs, and on describing information dissemination
products and automated information systems using GILS Core Elements.
(2) Use GILS entries
as an information resource in its records disposition and evaluation
(3) Cooperate with
agencies to reduce reporting burdens and facilitate scheduling
of records by accepting GILS data entries when they provide
the information required on Standard Form 115, Request for Records
d. General Services
Administration. The Administrator for General Services should
include commercial software packages that implement FIPS Pub.
192 on appropriate Federal Supply Schedules.
Committees. Interagency committees which promote access to
and use of Federal information are encouraged to coordinate the
efforts of their participating agencies in developing their respective
GILS inventories and interagency topical locators when appropriate
to their respective missions. Where there is a consensus on the
high secondary use value of basic data maintained by multiple
agencies, interagency committees should coordinate the development
of aggregate information products to meet specific needs identified
by communities of interest. These committees include, but are
not limited to, the Committees of the National Science and Technology
Council, the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC), the Commerce,
Energy, NASA, NLM, Defense Information Committee (CENDI), and
the Federal Information Resources Management Policy Council (FIRMPOC).
Processing Service Organizations. Any agency that operates
an information processing service organization, as defined in
OMB Circular No. A-130, capable of providing on-line access, or
other dissemination service, suitable for providing public and
interagency access to the GILS, may provide such service for other
agencies on a cost reimbursable basis.
5. Government Information
Locator Service Board. There is established a Government Information
Locator Service Board to evaluate the development and operation
of the GILS. Membership on the Board will include representatives
of the Director, Office of Management and Budget, the Secretary
of Commerce, the Secretary of the Interior, the Archivist of the
United States, and the Administrator of General Services. The Public
Printer and the Librarian of Congress will be invited to participate
as appropriate. The Board may ask the heads of other agencies to
designate representatives to serve on the Board or on task forces
established by the Board, and should regularly seek comment from
State and local governmental entities, interested non-governmental
organizations and the public on the operation of the GILS. The Board
will prepare and disseminate publicly an annual report that evaluates
and recommends enhancements to GILS to meet user information needs,
including factors such as accessibility, ease of use, suitability
of descriptive language, as well as the accuracy, consistency, timeliness
and completeness of coverage.
6. Information contacts.
General policy questions:
Peter N. Weiss, Information Policy Branch, Office of Information
and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, Room 10236,
New Executive Office Building, Washington DC 20503. Telephone: (202)
and archival questions: James J. Hastings, Director, Records Appraisal
and Disposition Division, National Archives and Records Administration,
Washington, D.C. 20408. Telephone: (301) 713-7096.
FIPS Pub. 192: Shirley Radack, National Institute of Standards and
Technology, Gaithersburg MD 20899. Telephone: (301) 975-2833.
General technical questions:
Eliot Christian, Information Systems Division, United States Geological
Survey, 802 National Center, Reston, VA 22092. Telephone: (703)
648-7245. Electronic mail: email@example.com.
7. No Private Right
of Action. Nothing in this Bulletin shall be construed to confer
a private right of action on any person.