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New Wire Search Software to Make House Debut Soon

Can you imagine searching for your boss’s name in 22 languages through 8,000 publications from 118 countries?

Press secretaries and other House staffers will be able to use such a system sometime next month. The product, Factiva.com, is a joint venture between Dow Jones and Reuters and will replace the outdated NewsEdge Insight 4 service.

The service will provide a host of new features not currently available on the House’s news wire search software. The number of searchable news sources will increase dramatically, and Factiva allows its service to be integrated into the House intranet, so staffers will be able to link to its functions through HouseNet. The interface is also more easily navigated and provides more at-a-glance features.

According to the House Administration Committee, the House will realize a net savings of about $72,000 in fiscal 2004 because the outsourced service will eliminate the need to buy six new servers and associated personnel costs. Long-term annual savings will also be realized with the elimination of life-cycle hardware replacement and maintenance.

The NewsEdge software is no longer being developed to support newer Web browsers, making it difficult to operate on the House’s system.

After a procurement process that considered two other vendors, Chief Administrative Officer Jay Eagen purchased the service with the approval of the House Administration Committee last month. The multiple, unique features Factiva offers convinced CAO staff that the service was the best technical solution and overall value.

The price tag of $273,000 for the last six months of fiscal 2003 includes $53,000 for the Congressional Research Service portion of the subscription fees. CRS, an arm of the Library of Congress, supports Congressional offices with detailed, nonpartisan reports, and the CAO allowed CRS to essentially piggyback on the deal to leverage buying power. The CRS portion of the subscription fees will come out of its own budget. The House portion came from fiscal 2003 House Information Resources budgeted funds.

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