December 7, 1994
OMB BULLETIN NO. 95-01
TO THE HEADS OF EXECUTIVE
DEPARTMENTS AND ESTABLISHMENTS
of Government Information Locator Service.
1. Purpose. This
Bulletin establishes a Government Information Locator Service (GILS),
as envisioned in The National Information Infrastructure: Agenda
for Action, Information Infrastructure Task Force (September 15,
2. Authority. 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).
3. Applicability. 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
Establishment of Government
Information Locator Service
1. Background. 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
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.
2. Definitions. As
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
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).
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
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
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 application
(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 agency.
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.
When information 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.
(5) Continually update
its inventory and GILS Core locator records as new information dissemination
products and automated information systems are identified.
b. Department 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 government information.
(3) Determine the need
for and develop appropriate procedures, as appropriate, to identify
and validate commercial software packages for compliance with FIPS
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 Disposition
d. General Services
Administration. The Administrator for General Services should
include commercial software packages that implement FIPS Pub. 192
on appropriate Federal Supply Schedules.
e. Interagency 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).
f. Information 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
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
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) 395-3630.
Records management 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.
Questions regarding 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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
7. No Private Right of
Action. Nothing in this Bulletin shall be construed to confer
a private right of action on any person.