Hot Doc: Facts on the Production of the Congressional Record

fdlp_eagleSee the video about the production of the Congressional Record at http://youtu.be/sPC5B-jUTsE. It explains the intricacies performed at GPO, by employees who within hours transform stacks of manuscripts from Congress into the print and Web-ready forms that meet the needs of the information and technology needs of the American public.

On March 17, Public Printer Bill Boarman testified before the Senate appropriations subcommittee on the costs of producing Federal publications, such as the Congressional Record. Subsequently, the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) made a YouTube video on the production of the Congressional Record to illustrate the production process for this important publication.

With origins in the requirement of Article I of the Constitution that “Congress shall keep a journal of its proceedings…and from time to time publish the same,” the Congressional Record contains the proceedings and debates of the Senate and House of Representatives. It has been called “a symbol of our democracy through which the people may observe the making of their laws and may hold their lawmakers accountable for their words and deeds.”

Throughout its history, GPO has adapted to the various needs of Congress and technology changes to produce the Congressional Record in both online and print formats. Technology changes over the past generation have reduced the cost of this publication significantly, and today the vast majority of the cost to produce it-nearly 70%-is in the creation of the digital file for dissemination online and in print. For those print copies requested by Congress, Federal agencies, and the public, production is on 100% recycled newsprint with vegetable oil-based ink.

Lori Gwinett, MLIS

Government Documents Librarian
Georgia Southern University
912 478-5032
lllester@georgiasouthern.edu
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