Kiosk program fades as group forms

Interagency Kiosk Forum

The Office of Personnel Management is phasing out one of the federal government's largest computer kiosk programs just as a group has formed to promote interagency kiosk efforts.

The Interagency Kiosk Forum met for the first time last week, bringing together officials from more than two dozen federal organizations.

The group is forming just as OPM confirmed that it is phasing out its USAJobs touch-screen computer kiosk network, which provided access to federal job listings. OPM officials did not have a count of the agency's kiosks, but others knowledgeable about the program say there were more than 250 machines, which are located in federal buildings and at some colleges and universities.

Less than 4 percent of visits to USA-Jobs were from the kiosks. Most people access the site via the World Wide Web, an OPM official said.

Some of the kiosks are 10 years old and difficult to maintain, according to the spokesman. Unlike modern kiosks, the OPM machines do not have Internet connections and have to use dial-up connections to update their data, which is a time-consuming process.

OPM officials who attended the Interagency Kiosk Forum meeting said they are investigating replacing the program. The forum is still hammering out its goals — the group just agreed on an official name last week — but the initial idea is to foster cooperation among agencies.

"The future of kiosks does not reside in having citizens entering malls and being assaulted by 15 different kiosks" for different agencies, said Sam Gallagher, deputy Web manager at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Gallagher, who also works on the HUD Next Door kiosk program (pictured at left), spearheaded the interagency group.

The group formed a committee that will create an inventory of federal kiosks and how they are used.

Some agencies use kiosks extensively, some have only tested such programs and others do not have any kiosks but joined the group in the hopes of teaming with other agencies.

Dorobek is a freelance writer based in Arlington, Va.

About the Author

Christopher J. Dorobek is the co-anchor of Federal News Radio’s afternoon drive program, The Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, and the founder, publisher and editor of the DorobekInsider.com, a leading blog for the Federal IT community.

Dorobek joined Federal News Radio in 2008 with 16 years of experience covering government issues with an emphasis on government information technology. Prior to joining Federal News Radio, Dorobek was editor-in-chief of Federal Computer Week, the leading news magazine for government IT decision-makers and the flagship of the 1105 Government Information Group portfolio of publications. As editor-in-chief, Dorobek served as a member of the senior leadership team at 1105 Government Information Group, providing daily editorial direction and management for FCW magazine, FCW.com, Government Health IT and its other editorial products.

Dorobek joined FCW in 2001 as a senior reporter and assumed increasing responsibilities, becoming managing editor and executive editor before being named editor-in-chief in 2006. Prior to joining FCW, Dorobek was a technology reporter at PlanetGov.com, one of the first online community centers for current and former government employees. He also spent five years at Government Computer News, another leading industry publication, covering a variety of federal IT-related issues.

Dorobek is a frequent speaker on issues involving the government IT industry, and has appeared as a frequent contributor to NewsChannel 8’s Federal News Today program. He began his career as a reporter at the Foster’s Daily Democrat, a daily newspaper in Dover, N.H. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California. He lives in Washington, DC.


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