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Library of Congress
Federal Research Division
Strategic Sourcing of Information Products and Services
- Federal spending on 15 product service codes (PSCs) that can be reasonably considered to constitute a federal information market totaled $9.0 billion from fiscal year (FY) 1979 through FY2012, an average of $263 million annually.
- Federal agencies spent an additional $222 million on those 15 PSCs in the first two quarters of FY2013, bringing total spending on information commodities to $9.2 billion from the first quarter (Q1) of FY1979 through FY2013 Q2.
- In the most recent completed fiscal year—FY2012—federal spending on information commodities was $591 million, the third highest annual total in the 34–year period from FY1979 through FY2012.
- In the last five complete fiscal years, i.e., FY2008 through FY2012, total federal spending on information products and services was $2.8 billion, constituting 31 percent of all spending on these commodities from FY1979 through FY2012.
- Average annual spending in the last five completed fiscal years, FY2008 through FY2012, was $559 million, far exceeding average annual spending for the longer period from FY1979 through FY2012.
- Average quarterly spending in the most recent five fiscal years (FY2009 through FY2013) was $135 million, slightly more than double the quarterly average of $66 million for the overall 35-year period from FY1979 through FY2013.
- From FY1979 Q1 through FY2013 Q2, six of the 15 information products and services accounted for 94 percent of federal spending on information commodities: Books and pamphlets (21 percent of total spending), Web-based subscriptions (21 percent), administrative support for federal libraries (16 percent), administrative support for information retrieval (12 percent), newspapers and periodicals (12 percent), and maps, atlases, charts, and globes (12 percent).
- In the most recent five-year period from FY2009 to FY2013 Q2, federal agencies have sharply reduced spending on maps, atlases, charts, and globes. Consequently, the aforementioned five products and services composed 96 percent of the federal information market.
- In the timespan from FY1979 through FY2013 Q2, fewer agencies’ spending exceeded 5 percent of total federal spending on information commodities: Defense (41 percent of total spending), Health and Human Services (10 percent), Commerce (6 percent), Justice (5 percent), and Treasury (5 percent).
- In the more recent period from FY2009 through FY2013 Q2, seven federal agencies each accounted for at least 5 percent of all federal spending on information products and services: Defense (24 percent of total federal spending), Health and Human Services (13 percent), Commerce (9 percent), Justice (7 percent), Veterans Affairs (7 percent), Treasury (6 percent), and Homeland Security (5 percent). Collectively, these agencies’ spending on information commodities constituted 72 percent of the total federal market for those products and services.
- Within the last five fiscal years from FY2009 through FY2013 Q2, 25 vendors received 50 percent of all federal spending on information products and services, and five of those vendors received 25 percent of all such spending: Reed Elsevier ($223 million; 8 percent of all federal spending on information products and services); West Publishing Corporation ($167 million; 6 percent); Arctic Slope Regional Corporation ($135 million; 5 percent); Ebsco ($96 million; 3 percent); and Swets & Zeitlinger ($86 million; 3 percent).
- Federal spending on information commodities is forecast to be between $590 million and $596 million annually from FY2013 through FY2015.
- If federal agencies purchased information products and services through a strategic sourcing process—such as the existing Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative—the federal government could save between $20 million and $360 million on those commodities depending on the amount of federal spending that is channeled through strategic sourcing procurement and the discount rates that are applied to that spending.
Last Updated: 07/25/2014