In 1993, the Government Printing Office (GPO) established an electronic bulletin board as an efficient way to retrieve government information. Armed with a PC and a modem, the user can access information from participating federal agencies. The Federal Bulletin Board (BBS) is available 22 hours each day, seven days a week. It is not available from 3:00 am to 5:00 am, EST. Users are allowed to browse complementary files, review product announcements through README.doc files, and receive a free user's manual, all without a time-based charge. E-mail allows users to place orders for all GPO products using VISA MasterCard, or GPO account numbers.
Some of the information available to users includes:
- Daily press briefings from the State Department;
- Background information on 170 countries;
- Congressional policy statements, fact sheets, and testimony;
- Clearinghouses and hotlines for EPA information resources.
To use the system call (202) 512-1387; for user assistance, call (202) 512-1524. A 9600 bps modem should be set to 8-N-1. The system will adjust to the rate of the incoming modem and allow the user to enter the system. A menu-driven program permits the user to log on and enter information for billing purposes (if billable data is accessed), and browse through a bulletin board of serviceable items.