State debuting dynamic site

The State Department is archiving its current Web site—marking the end of the Clinton administration—and replacing it with a newly overhauled site that, officials say, will be more user-friendly.

The new site—scheduled for debut today—will be more dynamic, according to Colleen Hope, director of State's office of electronic information dissemination.

As the Web site becomes database-driven, "all material released under the Bush administration will be entered into the database and appear within standard basic Web page structure" for State bureaus and offices, Hope said. The new Web site will continue to be found at www.state.gov.

The current site will continue to be maintained after Jan. 20, with links to it from State's new Web site, Hope said.

Some of the archives from the current site will be housed permanently at the Electronic Research Collection at the University of Illinois at Chicago library. The university, the State Department the Federal Depository Library Program and the U.S. General Printing Office are partners in the collection.

The ERC already houses some State electronic archives dating back to the early 1990s, including the Web site of the former Arms Control and Disarmament Agency.

The format changes to the State site are based on usability studies and analysis of feedback from department personnel and the public, Hope said.

The home page will be made up of nine sections: About the State Department; Press and Public Affairs; Travel and Living Abroad; Business Center; Countries and Regions; International Topics and Issues; History; Education and Culture; Employment; and Other Services.

There will also be a "Highlights" section on the page to focus on current issues or services, as well as a link to information released that day, Hope said.

State's current site typically includes five icons or images representing an issue or service the department is highlighting.

"The site was created in 1997, and anything from 1997 is pretty old right now," Hope said in November, when she first talked about the changes.

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