White House site in transition

The incoming Bush administration will post "bare bones content" on the White House Web site shortly after the new president is sworn in, a spokesman said Wednesday.

"It will mark the beginnings and only the beginnings of a Bush administration White House Web site," said Tucker Eskew, Bush's director for media affairs. "We are working with technical support at the White House to prepare for that electronic transition."

When visitors arrive at www.whitehouse.gov soon after George W. Bush's swearing-in on Jan. 20, they will find information about the new first family. In the coming months, the White House site will be renovated to "build a more thorough and even more useful Web site for the nation's highest office," Eskew said.

This marks the first time the question has arisen of what to do about government Web sites in the transition of administrations. When President Clinton took office, government Web sites for the public were virtually nonexistent. When he was re-elected in 1996, Web sites simply continued to showcase Clinton's policies.

Now, Clinton administration Web sites likely will be archived.

"The record of the last four years resides in the last four years. We wouldn't do anything with that," Eskew said. "What we will do is adjust Web sites to reflect the policies and personnel of the new administration."

And he added, "We approach this electronic transition seriously knowing there is useful and needed information available via these Web sites."

Other agency sites will be changed and modified after the Cabinet secretaries are sworn into office.

"Don't look for sites to come down. Look for some content to leave with the departing administration," Eskew said.

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