Thinking big

Government Without Boundaries, with its goal of government.wide interoperability, sounds a lot like the federal government's FirstGov portal.

In June, FirstGov added links to Web sites from all 50 states, allowing users to search for both federal and state-based information on government subjects.

Government Without Boundaries has an even more ambitious target: an actual integration of information at all levels of government, rather than just the ability to do extensive searches. By going to the trenches first and getting local communities involved from the beginning, project leaders hope to avoid much of the criticism—such as a lack of user focus—that FirstGov is experiencing.

"State and local governments are at very different levels of maturity when it comes to offering online services," said John Clark, Government Without Boundaries project director. "But one of the advantages of getting those jurisdictions who are at those lower levels involved early is that we can take their views into account right from the beginning."

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.

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