Divide-busting ideas online

Virginia has set up a place to nurture good ideas for connecting people who don't have access to advanced telecommunication technologies.

The state's Digital Opportunities Task Force recently launched the Virtual Opportunity Center Web site (www.voc.state.va.us) as a clearinghouse for best practices resources about narrowing the digital divide.

Information can be searched alphabetically, by keyword, by number of participants, by region and by type of organization. Postings include contact information, project descriptions and cost figures.

Originally designed to assist community groups, schools, faith-based organizations, businesses and local governments in Virginia, the site also will include cases from other states.

"We want to encourage people from around the country to look at our site, and hopefully there is something from our site that can help in their state," said Janice Akers, an information technology policy specialist with the state's Electronic Government Implementation Division.

The Virtual Opportunity Center, which displays success stories from nine Virginia-based groups, includes an online form to submit new content. To be eligible for inclusion on the site, a group must show that the solution empowers communities, that it can be replicated and sustained, and that its results are measurable.

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