Web shows IT specs, reinvention ventures

The country's largest network of government and industrial standards went live last week providing on-line access to more than 70 000 development and manufacturing standards - including a large chunk devoted to information technology standards - for government and private-sector users.

Don't expect cutting-edge graphics here (www.nssn.org) just a site jam-packed with useful information for those who buy sell manufacture or build any type of IT product for the federal government.

The National Standards System Network (NSSN) which was funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency through the National Institute of Standards and Technology is a World Wide Web-based network designed to provide users with a wide range of information from major standards developers.

So far the Defense and Energy departments the Environmental Protection Agency and NIST plan to publish standards for various products including telecommunications and other IT products said Sergio Mazza president and chief executive officer of the American National Standards Institute.

ANSI is managing the network which will eventually become self-supporting. Users can access for free a limited version of the network with more enhanced information available to those who subscribe to the service Mazza said.

As the government moves steadily away from military IT specifications toward the adoption of commercial standards government users and private contractors need a mechanism to monitor how federal standards are changing he said.

"The world is changing and these people need tools to cope with the changing world " Mazza said. "We received government funding because the government understands the world needs a better tool because of the vast amount of standards out there."

To access federal government contributions click on "About NSSN" and then on "NSSN Partners." Available on-line is DOD's Single Stock Point for Specifications and Standards which provides the DOD Internet community with access to 50 000 military specifications.

The network also provides access to home pages of a host of associations that set standards and to the home pages of commercial entities that sell a wide variety of products. Among those included were the Information Technology Industry Council the Association for Information and Image Management the Electronic Industries Association IBM Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co.

Access GITSB

Point your browser to www.gits.fed.gov to follow what the Government Information Technology Services Board is up to. The General Services Administration worked with GITSB to develop its new Web site which features details of the "Access America" report. Unveiled by Vice President Gore last month the report includes recommendations for using IT to improve access to government information and services. Click on the "Access America" icon to review what GITSB plans to tackle such as providing all federal payments electronically by 1999.

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