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1100.1 - Information Product Planning

This chapter establishes policy for information product planning. Each information producer of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) must develop and adhere to information product plans.

OPR: Geographic Information Office

Date: 02/04/04

Instructions: This replaces Survey Manual (SM) Chapter SM 500.17 - Information Product Planning, dated April 13, 2000. Minor revisions were made to clarify the intent and to bring the language up-to-date with the current organizational structure.


1. Purpose and Scope. This chapter establishes policy for information product planning. Each information producer of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) must develop and adhere to information product plans. The topics to be addressed in a typical plan are described in general terms. This policy applies to all USGS Disciplines, Offices, and activities and all scientific, educational, and outreach information products of the USGS, with the following exclusions: immediate-turnaround, time-sensitive products (e.g., news releases, letters to the editor, and op-eds) and brief or single-use representations of USGS work (e.g., poster session and informal meeting materials). This policy is to be referred to when planning, reviewing, and executing each information product.

2. Authority.

A. Office of Management and Budget Circular A-130
B. U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, Title 44 
C. U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, Title 17 
D. American Technology Preeminence Act 
E. Executive Order 12906 

3. Policy. Planning for information products begins as early as possible during the evolution of a project. A written planning document must be developed prior to production for each information product. An information product plan will ensure adequate management and budgeting for all elements of the information life cycle including planning, development, dissemination, documentation, storage, evaluation, and disposition.

4. References.

A. SM Part 1100 - Publishing 
(1) SM 1100.2 - Approval of Information Products (currently SM 500.8 and SM 500.9)
(2) SM 1100.3 - U.S. Geological Survey Publication Series
(3) SM 1100.4 - Use of Outside Publications, Including Abstracts
(4) SM 1100.6 - Use of Copyrighted Material in USGS Information Products 
(5) SM 1100.8 - Policy for Release of Computer Databases and Computer Programs (currently SM 500.24)
(6) SM 1100.11 - Safeguard and Release of USGS Data and Information (currently SM 500.14)
B. SM 500.5 - Release and Media Relations Policy
C. SM 550.1 - USGS Visual Identity System
D. 432-1.S1 - USGS General Records Disposition Schedule (Chapter 1300 - Publishing Records) 
E. 335-6-H - USGS Working Capital Fund Handbook

5. Definitions.

A. Information Product. An information product is the compilation of scientific communication or knowledge such as facts, data, or interpretations in any medium (e.g., print, digital, Web) or form, including textual, numerical, graphical, cartographic, or audiovisual, to be disseminated to a defined audience or customer, scientific or nonscientific, internal or external.

B. Publishing. Publishing is the deliberate dissemination of an information product to a defined audience or customer, whether in traditional printed formats, audiovisual formats, or electronic formats such as compact disc and the Web. This deliberate dissemination to a defined audience or customer thus distinguishes an Information Product as one subset of information or data in general.

C. Information Product Life Cycle. The information product life cycle consists of the following elements: planning, development, dissemination, documentation, storage, evaluation, and disposition. (See section 7 of this chapter.)

6. Responsibilities.

A. All USGS Managers and Authors. Compliance with all the elements in this policy, and underlying policies, is incumbent on all managers and authors within the bureau, as a fundamental part of the publishing processes set forth in the Survey Manual Series 1100 Publishing. Managers are responsible for ensuring that viable information product plans are submitted with each project proposal. One plan will be submitted for each information product that will result from a project.

B. Information Policy Managers and Publishing Groups. Both information policy managers and publishing groups are responsible for policy visibility. Usually, the first point of contact for product planning is an author's publishing group or information policy manager.

C. Associate Directors (ADs) and Regional Directors (RDs). Each Discipline and Region will annually review its information product planning process for effectiveness and recommend improvements. Disciplines and Regions will incorporate information product planning into the project planning process to help identify and fund the information product life cycle, to ensure that relevant products are produced for the appropriate audiences, and to meet Federally mandated metadata and archiving requirements.

7. Information Product Planning: A Guide to Managing the Information Life Cycle.

Because information products within the USGS are diverse and serve various purposes, different entities within the USGS may be responsible for various elements of the life cycle. An Information Product Plan will thus provide continuity for all parts of the product's life cycle, prevent fragmentation or duplication of effort, and identify funding needs. Life cycle elements include the following:

A. Planning entails the early identification of purpose, targeted audience(s), appropriate media, and costs. To identify audiences and publishing media, use the Communications Framework of the Visual Identity System as a decisionmaking and planning tool. To identify the most appropriate report series, consult SM 1100.3. For assistance in budgeting for products, consider such mechanisms as the USGS Working Capital Fund and the Government Printing Office Deposit Accounts.

B. Development includes information acquisition, creation, peer review, editing, clearances (copyright, image releases, and other legal concerns), design, layout, printing, programming, manufacturing, and other production processes.

C. Dissemination encompasses a range of activities including advertising product availability, serving and maintaining electronic documents, conducting initial mailings (including copies to depository libraries), stocking sales outlets, and managing requests.

D. Documentation entails cataloging, entering bibliographic information into various USGS databases, indexing, and compiling metadata according to national and Federal standards.

E. Storage addresses warehousing, inventorying, and permanent archiving.

F. Evaluation includes determining the effectiveness of products.

G. Disposition is the periodic determination of the need for an information product to be reissued, revised, or removed from inventory.

8. Funding Mechanisms for Producing Information Products. Funding information products is the responsibility of the project or program. Information producers must request the funding to pay for publishing at the time they request funding for the project itself. Sufficient funding must be set aside to cover estimated costs for the information product. This practice will ensure the project's ability to publish. Vehicles exist that allow information producers to set aside funding for information products, either in a single installment or in increments; funds in such vehicles can cross fiscal-year boundaries and therefore be available at the time of publishing.