Prescription for online success
- By Dibya Sarkar
- Mar 28, 2001
To encourage Virginia municipalities to have a greater Web presence, Gov.
Jim Gilmore has outlined principles to guide those communities in setting
up community portals and e-commerce applications.
The principles were presented March 14 during Gilmore's e-Communities Task Force meeting at the University of Virginia. The 26-member
task force, formed in August 2000, plans to release a leadership guidebook
"The point of the guidelines is less to provide a how-to instruction
book than try to address the first thing, which is [that] this is not going
to be successful without leadership in the local level," said Andrew Cohill,
co-chairman of the task force and director of the Blacksburg
The principles say an electronic community should:
* Provide government, education, and business services and information.
* Reflect its identity, culture and values.
* Encourage economic development.
* Be accessible to all people.
* Work with other communities.
Cohill said the task force's guidebook, which he hoped would be revised
yearly, would be "descriptive rather than prescriptive." It would provide
general information about what a community needs to have an effective and
participatory online presence with contributions from government, education
and business leaders.
He said money is not a barrier for communities to get on the Web. "I've
worked with more than 100 communities, and I've never seen money as a first
or second consideration," he said, adding that leadership and vision is
The task force has spurred Blacksburg and three other localities Reston,
Charlottesville and West Point to form a community network association
as a mutual self-help network and to share best practices and ideas, he