Web Mining Public Debt

For the National Park Service, interactive doesn't necessarily mean talking to a park ranger, but the service oversees a pair of Web sites that offers up-to-date information on the nation's public parks.

At Recreation.Gov, users find a screen with some two dozen menu items, from camping and water sports to horseback riding and climbing, as well as resources for groceries, lodging and pet accommodations.

The site is a venture sponsored by the National Park Foundation and Hewlett-Packard Co., which donated the server to set up the site.

The Park Service maintains the infrastructure of the site, said Park Service Webmaster Steve Pittleman.

Last week, the service launched a new site, called Visit Your Parks, which enables users to search for park facilities by theme as well as location. For example, you can check off a box for presidents, click on search, and browse a list of national parks dedicated to U.S. presidents, or you can develop a list of Civil War-related parks. Each item on a list links to the Web site generated by that park and includes visitor information.

"It improves our service to the public by making information dissemination easier and much more immediate," he said. "It's amazing the numbers of people coming in every day — globally — and we get information to them immediately that normally they would have to request in writing."

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