"The System."

Over a year in the making. Featuring a cast of thousands and state-of-the-art technology. Directed by Bob Harar.

The latest Hollywood blockbuster?

No -- the fifth annual Federal Office Systems Conferences and Exposition that moves into the Sheraton-Washington Hotel next weekend for a three-day stand that formally opens a week from today.

More than 15,000 persons from the government and the private sector are expected to attend this information management extravaganza that will feature three exhibit halls with equipment from 150 manufacturers. Participating companies include Bell & Howell, Desk & Furnishings, Dictaphone Corp., Exxon Information Systems, IBM Corp., 3M, Lanier, Pitney Bowes Inc., Sony Corp. and Wang Laboratories Inc.

The conference segment of the show will run for three days and will feature 40 workshops and 85 speakers, headed by former comptroller general of the United States, Elmer Staats. The workshop sessions will deal with everything from in-depth descriptions of information technology to career opportunities in the information field.

In addition, the latest word in word processors, computers, micrographic equipment, dictation systems, automated filing and retrieval systems will be on exhibit Tuesday and Wednesday only.

Bob Harar, president of National Trade Productions Inc. and conference chairman, is the man behind the show. National Trade Productions puts on 10 shows a year -- the Federal Office show is the largest. In the fall there are four smaller "satellite" programs to address specific segments of the information market.

The popularity of the Federal Office show is evidenced by the fact that attendance has grown from 3,000 to 15,000. This year for the first time, exhibit space has sold out completely.

"It's almost too much. We don't have enough space," Harar said. "Essentially we're sitting back waiting for the convention center to open."

Harar said that expositions of this kind are extremely competitive. "It takes about a year to plan it," he said. "First you have to contract the hotel and then you start approaching the companies, convincing them that this is the show for them."

Harar explained that the theme "The System" was adopted to reflect the total integration of automated office equipment. "You no longer buy just a typewriter," he said. "You buy a word processor and a computer and a printer. It's all tied together."

The show was designed to help professionals keep up with every-changing and improving technology.

"The advances that have taken place in the information field are just amazing. If you see any major advances in the '80s, it will be in information -- in the home and in the office," Harar said.

Harar attributes the tremendous interest his shows have generated to the fact that more people now can afford to purchase information and word processing equipment. He also cited the enormous growth of the information industry in the Washington area.

Although the show is billed as the Federal Office Expo, visitors from the commercial sector outnumbered government personnel last year.