THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
THE BUDGET OF THE UNITED STATES NOW IN ELECTRONIC FORMAT Background
The U.S. Department of Commerce in cooperation with the Office of Management and Budget(OMB) will produce the Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 1995 in electronic format using compact disc-read only memory (CD-ROM) and on-line computer delivery methods. This marks the first time the entire budget has been available to the public in electronic format. Budget analysts, public policy researchers, state and local governments, libraries, and other members of the public will find the electronic version to be a useful addition and versatile alternative to the printed version of the budget. Users will be able to display exact images of the printed budget, search for the occurrence of keywords within the text, and copy or print desired portions of the text for further reference or use. And, the same documents will be accessible on personal computers running three popular operating systems -- MS-DOS, Windows, and Apple Macintosh -- thereby making this information available to the vast majority of personal computer users.
Tentative talks on producing an electronic version of the federal budget were first conducted between technical staff at OMB and Commerce's Office of Business Analysis (OBA) in December, 1993. Several factors made this effort feasible. First, commercial software products became available in 1993 that facilitate the electronic transfer or delivery of finished documents. Creators of highly formatted documents originally intended for print distribution could now distribute electronic copies of the same documents with the original print format characters intact. Recipients of the electronic documents could see exact replicas of the original formatted text on their computers without the need to own a copy of the software that originally created the document. These programs greatly facilitate the creation of electronic catalogs, books, and other large information collections where formatted text is important.
Second, OMB uses electronic text composition software that creates PostScript formatted output that is used by the Government Printing Office to produce the printed version of the budget. One portable document delivery software product , Adobe Acrobat uses PostScript formatted documents as the input to create Portable Document Format (PDF) files, which may be read by low-cost readers also distributed by Adobe. Given that the original budget documents are already in PostScript format, it is a relatively simple matter to convert them to PDF format and distribute them in electronic form.
Third, the proper mix of skills and services existed on the Commerce/OMB team to bring this project to completion in a very tight time frame; this project was conceived, implemented, and delivered in 50 days. OMB prepared the budget in the proper format and acquired and learned to use the Acrobat software necessary to create the PDF files. OBA had significant experience in producing CD-ROM titles and offering information through other electronic distribution channels such as dial-up bulletin boards and the Internet, had staff in place to produce the budget CD-ROM quickly, was prepared to offer telephone ordering to ensure prompt delivery to the public, and could provide customer support.
Finally, the new spirit of the federal government encourages agencies to take advantage of electronic tools to broaden access to federal information. New innovative methods to deliver government services to the citizen at low cost both to the government and the recipient are actively encouraged. The Commerce Department is taking a lead role in this endeavor. In short, the technical and organizational chemistry was just right to ensure success of this project.
Electronic Versions of the Budget
The CD-ROM versions of the Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 1995 will be available to the public at the same time the printed budget is submitted to the Congress by President Clinton. The CD-ROM will contain exact page-image replicas of the same documents submitted to Congress. These include:
The Budget CD-ROM will be available for order from the Department of Commerce after official release for $30.00, $24 less than the comparable printed volumes. Discs will be available for pickup, by first class mail, and via overnight delivery ($10 additional.) The CD-ROM will include the budget documents as well as copies of the Adobe Acrobat Reader for MS-DOS and Windows operating systems. A set of diskettes containing the Acrobat Reader will be supplied to users of Macintosh computers.
A supplemental volume, the Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 1995, Appendix contains the detailed budget submissions for each agency. It will be transmitted to Congress later in February and will not appear on the Budget CDROM. However, the complete Budget including the Appendix will appear on the February 1994 issue of Commerce's National Economic, Social, and Environmental Data Bank (NESE-DB) CD-ROM which will be available in late February. In addition to the Budget, NESE-DB will contain PDF images of current Internal Revenue Service tax forms which may be reproduced exactly as the original printed forms and over 100,000 documents containing a core set of economic, social and environmental data. Information on the NESE-DB covers issues of widespread public interest such as Vice President Gore's National Performance Review and the Administration's proposed Health Care Reform legislation.
NESE-DB is also available for free public access in 960 federal depository libraries located throughout the Nation.
Dial-up Bulletin Board
ASCII versions of the Budget documents will be available on the Commerce Department's Economic Bulletin Board (EBB) shortly after official release to the public. PDF and ASCII versions of the Budget Appendix will be added to the bulletin board when they are released by OMB. There will be no charge for obtaining Budget documents via the Economic Bulletin Board. The EBB may be accessed using a personal computer and modem by calling:
2400 BPS : 1-202-482-3870 (N81)
9600 BPS: 1-202-482-2167 (N81)
Users accessing the PDF versions of the Budget via the EBB must supply their own copy of software capable of reading PDF files.
Free access to the Budget documents in PDF and ASCII forms will also be available via the Internet. The Internet version of the EBB may be accessed by using the command
These files will also be available for gopher access by issuing the command.
As in the case of the EBB users accessing the PDF versions of the Budget via the Internet must supply their own copy of software capable of reading PDF files.
How to contact us:
To order Budget and NESE-DB CD-ROMs:1-800-STAT-USA (1-800-782-
For technical assistance:1-202-482-1986 Fax orders:1-202-482-2164
or write to:
Office of Business Analysis Room H4885 U.S. Department of Commerce Washington, DC 20230
Ken Rogers (202) 482-0434 Paul Christy (202) 482-0123
Adobe, PostScript, and Acrobat are registered trademarks of Adobe
Apple and Macintosh are registered trademarks of Apple Computer, Incorporated
Windows and MS-DOS are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation.