GPO makes digital app push

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The Government Printing Office Dec. 3 published a mobile version of its Plum Book--the publication printed following presidential elections that this year lists more than 8,000 federal positions that may be subject to noncompetitive appointment. The application allows users to search the Plum Book by agency, position title, location, appointment type, pay plan and level, tenure and term expiration, and vacancy.

In a statement (.pdf), Acting Public Printer Davita Vance-Cooks said the availability of Plum Book as a public app "makes history," as it was first published back in 1952.

The GPOs latest app builds upon a concerted effort by GPO to move beyond printed materials into digital and mobile services. According to agency Spokesman Gary Somerset, the Plum Book app is the fourth mobile app GPO has developed.

Its first app came in November 2011, when the agency released (.pdf) a mobile guide to members of the House and Senate. In March GPO pushed (.pdf) new features and updates to that app, including official bios of each member, contact information for members' offices, counties and zip codes of the each member's jurisdiction and links to the members websites.

For the first time, in February 2012, GPO made the president's yearly budget request available (.pdf) in a mobile version. And most recently, on Oct. 10, the agency partnered with the National Archives' office of the Federal Register to publish (.pdf) the daily public activities of the president via mobile app. The app makes executive orders, speeches, nominations submitted to the Senate, and other documents searchable by date, category and subject.

Vance-Cooks told a Senate Appropriations subcommittee in March that GPO is focusing less on traditional printing activities and investing more in information technology.

"People expect us to have online, digital technology, because everything now is pretty much turning online," she said.

To that end, GPO partnered with Apple in August to sell federal publications as e-books. GPO also makes e-books available in partnership with Google's eBookstore, Barnes & Noble, OverDrive, Ingram and Zinio.

For more:
- visit the Plum Book mobile site (must be using a mobile device)
- download the press release (.pdf)

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