Usually, to acquire data products on a government contract, you will need to use the DD Form 1423 to write the requirement and compile the DD Forms 1423 into a "Contract Data Requirements List" or "CDRL." You will need to cite a "DID" or Data Item Description on the DD Form 1423. DIDs are basically government specifications that describe the format and content requirements of a data product. I have included some practical tools on this page to help you acquire data products. You can find them by clicking here Handy Data Management Tools
In the past, data products were acquired in paper format and were usually transmitted by regular U.S. mail. This method was slow and cumbersome. It made people wait a considerable period of time for the required information. It also resulted in situations where data products were so volumnious that they actually outweighed the related product. However, in the early 1990s with the phenomenal growth of the Internet and the World Wide Web (WWW or "web" for short), a revolutionary change occurred in the way information products were acquired and transmitted. Paper has been largely phased out as an information medium, and has been replaced by PC-based digital media.
Currently, the preferred choice in data management is to acquire information products by use of personal computer based networks. Data is usually prepared in an application that is compatible with a version of the Microsoft Operating System (MS Windows 95/98/2000/NT). Frequently used applications include MS Word, MS Excel, MS Access, Adobe Acrobat, Rich Text Format, Text Format, etc. Data are frequently posted in a manner compatible with a version of the SGML (Standardized General Markup Language) format (E.G. HTML, XHTML, XML) and are posted to the Web ( the WWW or "web" is part of the Internet, and its standards and protocols are governed by the World Wide Web Consortium) Data are also posted to other type of WANs (Wide Area Network) or LANs (Local Area Network). Data products can also provided on 3.5 inch computer disks, 100 or 250 MB Zip Disks, or on CD ROMS.
The net affect of this change in information management has been to greatly facilitate and expedite access to data, and to greatly reduce the physical size of information products. For example, literally hundreds of pounds of paper have been replaced by a lightweight disk that fits in your hand. Today, product team members must be comfortable with personal computers, their associated application programs, and end products.