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February 6, 1998



FROM:      Franklin D. Raines

SUBJECT: Guidance on the Government Information Locator Service

The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3511) directs the establishment of the Government Information Locator Service (GILS) to help the public and agencies locate and access information throughout the Federal Government. GILS can also assist agencies in complying with aspects of the Federal Records Act (44 U.S.C. 3301) and the Freedom of Information Act as amended in 1996 (5 U.S.C. 552). Policies such as OMB Circular No. A-130, "Management of Federal Information Resources" (61 F.R. 6428, February 20, 1996) also describe agency responsibilities to help the public locate government information and to ensure management and accountability of agency programs.

OMB Bulletin 95-1, "Establishment of Government Information Locator Service," which guided the initial startup of GILS, has expired; nonetheless the agency responsibilities outlined above continue. Agencies such as the Department of Defense, the Department of Treasury, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Government Printing Office have already demonstrated outstanding initiative and leadership. All agencies will now be describing GILS progress in their annual reporting under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. (See OMB Bulletin No. 98-03, November 18, 1997). Agencies should also routinely solicit feedback on their GILS performance, results, and plans from significant public stakeholders and user communities. Agencies should implement their parts of GILS on the Internet as described in FIPS 192-1, and should link their GILS records to the underlying information resources to the extent that they are accessible on the Internet and its World Wide Web.

The Chief Information Officers (CIO) Council has an important role in the development and implementation of GILS policy. I ask that the CIO Council work with the Government Information Technology Services Board to focus on training agencies in GILS best practices; further developing the U.S. Federal GILS guidelines, search standards and subject keywords; coordinating "one stop" access to multi-agency government services; and coordinating with intergovernmental and other related initiatives.