E-gov theme: 'Collect once, use many'

Recreation.gov

Several e-government initiatives are using knowledge management principles as the way to knock down the stovepipes that keep government from operating as efficiently as it could, federal officials said April 24.

The idea of "collect once, use many" is a common theme in several of the 24 e-government initiatives led by the Office of Management and Budget. For the agency managers of the e-Vital, Recreation One-Stop and Geospatial One-Stop initiatives, knowledge management is the driving force behind that idea.

"One of the things that we repeatedly deal with in knowledge management is, 'Knowledge for whom?'" Scott Cameron, deputy assistant secretary for performance and management at the Interior Department, said at the E-Gov Knowledge Management conference in Washington, D.C.

The answer under the President's Management Agenda, which is the basis for the e-government initiatives, is knowledge for citizens, he said. For example, when citizens visits the Recreation One-Stop, "what they want to know is where they can put a boat in the water and whether there will be water there in the first place" — not whether the river is run by the National Park Service, the National Forrest Service, a state park system or some other government organization, he said.

To make that knowledge available on the existing Recreation.gov Web site, the stovepipes created by those different organizations must disappear, Cameron said.

Likewise, the vision for the Geospatial One-Stop is to create a national clearinghouse for the geospatial information collected by federal, state and local governments. Part of this initiative, expected to be online in February 2003, will be a place for agencies to post their geospatial data acquisition plans to help avoid duplication of collection and to take advantage of data collection across agencies, Cameron said.

The federal government spends about $4 billion every year to collect that information — with the state and local governments spending another $8 billion annually — and opportunities abound for saving time and money if all of the agencies can share, he said.

The e-Vital initiative is aimed at "building a hub that will allow [agencies] to access records and query records from all of the 50 states," said Tony Trenkle, deputy associate commissioner for electronic services at the Social Security Administration, which is the lead agency.

The initiative is made up of two systems, the Electronic Verification of Vital Events system and the Electronic Death Records system. Those systems, developed with coordinating assistance from the National Association for Public Health Statistics and Information Systems (NAPHSIS), will bring together all of the state and local birth and death registration systems across the country for common access the federal agency services and benefits that depend on that information, Trenkle said.

"E-Vital is a great example of information sharing," he said.

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