'My N.C.' on the way for citizens

In a cutting-edge move that could signal the next generation of state World

Wide Web portals, North Carolina has signed a contract to build a portal

that will merge the features of Yahoo with state information, allowing users

to customize the site.

A fisherman, for example, could customize his site to showcase weather,

traffic and tide information, license regulations and even sign-up for an

e-mail to remind him when to renew his fishing license, said Melinda Pierson,

spokeswoman for Commerce Secretary Rick Carlisle, who chairs the e-commerce

steering committee.

"If you can customize the site and get all the information you want handed

to you instead of searching for it, then state government is serving you

the best," Pierson said.

The site will be similar to Yahoo's My Yahoo site, where after signing up

and receiving a user identification and password, users can choose what

news interests them the most, organize it by importance and choose its location

on the page. In addition to news, people can choose music releases, sports

scores, stock quotes, travel information, local weather and scores of other

information.

This format will be used by North Carolina for three of its four Web portals,

citizen, employee and business. The fourth portal, local government, will

be added later. The portal will first be available at the end of July, transferring

information at the state's current e-commerce portal, NC @ Your Service

(www.ncgov.com) to the new portal. New features will include items such

as Yahoo general interest information and the Yahoo store, where electronic

payments can be made.

A second release, two months after the first, will add additional features

incorporated from Yahoo.

The contract is with Andersen Consulting, which is subcontracting with Yahoo

for content, and Bell South to host the site. Andersen will be in charge

of a NC @ Your Service Project office, which will be run similar to the

Y2K office, but will manage the state's e-commerce initiatives.

The contract will not exceed $3.5 million for the first six months, when

the portal and office are implemented. It also includes three additional

years for "enhancement" and an optional year to transfer the portal to the

state, if necessary. No figures are included beyond the first six months.

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