State of the Union: The Federal Government Web Scene

By Garvin, Peggy | Searcher, January 2008 | Go to article overview

State of the Union: The Federal Government Web Scene


Garvin, Peggy, Searcher


Government is not a business. Sure, specific government operations may be improved by running them "like a business," a phrase people use loosely to mean "following efficient, competent, and metric-validated practices as a result of which goals are achieved and money is not wasted." All the same, governments are not businesses and information generated by governments is not the same as information generated by businesses. My new column, The Government Online, will focus on the unique world of government information on the Web and how it fits into the larger information universe. As the year progresses, I hope to look at some of the best practices going on at the state and local levels of government, but I will use this initial column to take a broad look at the state of the U.S. federal government web.

**********

It's an exciting time in the online government world. On the search side, the federal government portal USA.gov has implemented Vivisimo's clustering engine and made searching across the vast government web space a much easier task. Use the sort-results-by-agency feature to love your life as a searcher. The National Library of Medicine, always a good place to look for best practices in information retrieval, has recently implemented Vivisimo for its MEDLINEPlus content [http://www.medlineplus.gov]. As you might imagine, Google is not watching from the sidelines. Google led the Sitemap campaign, showing agencies how its "deep web" content could open up to Google's crawlers by implementing the Sitemap protocol. (Yahoo!, Ask, and Microsoft crawlers now also support the Sitemap protocol; for more information, see Sitemaps.org [http://sitemaps.org].) Google made a splash in 2006 with a new look for its government search site: Google Uncle Sam became Google U.S. Government Search [http:// usgov.google.com]. A savvy searcher never relies on only one database, however. So get in the habit of using Google Government Search alongside the USA.gov search engine. Google is also digitizing government print publications, such as the Library of Congress congressional hearings collection, found within the Law Library section [http://www.loc.gov/law/ find/hearings.html], to bring more content into its information banks.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Government websites are sticking a toe into the Web 2.0 pond. In the second half of 2007, several agencies announced new blogs that are open to public comments. The General Services Administration launched GovGab [http://blog.usa. gov/roller/govgab]; the State Department, DipNote [http:// blogs.state.gov]; and the National Agricultural Library, Info-Farm [http://weblogs.nal.usda.gov/infofarm]. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are both establishing a virtual presence in the Second Life metaverse. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals is using a wiki to update its Practitioner's Handbook for Appeals, breaking apart from the stodgy norm for federal court websites. And even the Federal Bureau of Investigation is testing the waters with FBI content, such as the most wanted lists, that anyone can plug into their web page. (The FBI is calling them widgets, although some view that label as a stretch for such static content; see http://www.fbi.gov/widgets.htm for the examples.)

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

If we define Web 2.0 as using the Web for something other than one-to-many communication, then egovernment projects also form part of the Web 2.0 scene. For example, the U.S. government uses the web to accept grant applications online [http://www.grants.gov], collect public input on regulations [http://www.regu lations.gov], and receive input from citizens and industry [http://www.nist.gov/notifyus].

These individual cases of creativity or experimentation exist in an environment that does not lend itself to risk-taking. As I said, government is not a business. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

State of the Union: The Federal Government Web Scene
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.