GSA offers up `home page of home pages'

The General Services Administration last week unveiled the Government Information Exchange (GIX) World Wide Web page an Internet site the agency hopes will serve as the first stop for government employees and private citizens seeking information on federal state local and foreign government programs.

"It's a home page of home pages " said Ron Piasecki deputy commissioner for current and emerging technology implementation at GSA's Federal Telecommunications Service.

The GIX home page gives users options to access a federal directory sites for state local and foreign governments intergovernmental collaborations electronic shopping networks a page listing "what's new " a search engine and other links.

Yet another option "the Federal Yellow Pages " lists 11 subject headings and numerous subcategories covering the realm of government services. Among the headings are business computer/information technology laws and legislation military and science and technology.

The GIX home page can be found at www.info.gov.

Piasecki said GSA worked closely with the National Performance Review to create GIX using seed money set aside from a collaborative networking project involving GSA and Arizona. Additional funding came from the Government Information Technology Services Working Group.

Information resources management officials representing state governments played a minor role in setting up the site but will continue to work with GSA to upgrade GIX.

"We'll be working more and more with them on how we can improve on this "Piasecki said.

`One-Stop Access'

FTS commissioner Bob Woods said GIX will help the government lick one of the most commonly cited problems among Internet users: the difficulty of finding specific information in the deluge of data available on-line.

"We can't just keep throwing information at people " he said. "We have to give them a path into it."Greg Woods team leader for information technology and customer service at the NPR said GIX will give citizens "one-stop access to government" instead of forcing them to go to different sites on the Web for information and services from each agency. "GSA helps everybody out by pointing to the various sources of information agencies are putting out " he said.

Getting the Word Out

NPR's Woods added that the government still must meet the challenge of ensuring the public knows about GIX. "We're not exactly in the business of advertising " he said. "It will depend on word of mouth. But having the resource in place is a good starting point."

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