Defense site keeps pace on IT industry fast track

For those government technology users who like to stay on the cutting edge of an industry that moves seemingly at the speed of light, point your browser to the Defense Department's Technology Navigator at www.dtic.mil/technav.

This World Wide Web site recently began offering several new features since its debut last summer. Designed to allow national security technologists and government IT managers to track the rapid changes in IT products and services available from industry and academia, this informative site features several new software updates. These features include automatic collection of technology information from the Web, the establishment of a user profile system to provide customized searches and an automatic e-mail notification to tell users about new and pertinent additions to the site.

At the core of the site, which is sponsored by the Defense Technical Information Center, is a searchable, browsable database of products and services and related information about myriad technologies.

The search tool also provides users with access to DTIC's Scientific and Technical Information Network, which contains not only data added every two weeks but also DTIC's library holdings dating to 1985.

For users interested in a broad, general search, this function is conveniently located at the top of the main page. To do a more specific search, choose from the databases listed in the toolbar located at the left on the main page or choose from various search categories such as "information technology," "technical services" or "information papers," all listed at the bottom of the page.

This month, the page featured additions including a new paper on data mining and recommended data mining resources. The site also offers online access to the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association's Corporate Source Book, a technical services directory that contains more than 750 abstracts of IT companies and the products they offer.

While the site does not feature advanced graphics or other nonfunctional features— not surprising for a site devoted to techies— it is well-organized and packed with features designed to narrow search topics. And for users who do not have time to search the site every day, it offers the option of creating a customized technology profile that can filter incoming data mined directly from the Internet.

Special software agents can perform daily searches against the profile parameters and "push" the result directly to the user's desktop, notifying him via e-mail when new results are available.

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