NY center to test data portal

Center for Technology in Government

An applied research center in New York will work with state agencies, several municipalities and commercial firms to build and evaluate a prototype Web portal to see if state and local governments can share information and conduct transactions through one gateway.

The Center for Technology in Government (CTG), affiliated with the State University of New York at Albany, hopes to test a State-Local Internet Gateway Prototype in October. Up to 20 local governments will share data with three state agencies via the site.

Project manager Meghan Cook said no one found any such intergovernmental "beast" in other states after the idea was floated last September, although e-government plans are increasingly spending more time on government-to-government transactions. Governments' online initiatives have focused on applications dealing with individuals and businesses.

Basically, the SUNY-Albany center is trying to answer the question: "Does it make life easier for state and local government employees to work on these transactions, to work together?" Cook said. Data shared through the project will include:

* Dog licensing information among municipal clerks and the New York Department of Agriculture and Markets.

* Tax information with the state Office of Real Property Services.

* Local contacts with the Office of the New York State Comptroller.

For example, Cook said, instead of mailing paperwork with contact information for local officials to the comptroller's office each year, the gateway will let participating municipalities submit their information electronically. If it works, the comptroller may eventually share the idea with other agencies, Cook said.

The test will last about a month. The portal will display only data specific to the needs of authorized personnel.

Thirteen municipalities are currently participating, but officials at the center — which is using part of its own budget to pay for the project — hope to get the help of seven more local governments with the proper technology infrastructure. The center is also reaching out to other private sources for additional funding, Cook said.

Montreal-based CGI Group Inc., which will host the prototype gateway, Cook said. Boston-based Keane Inc. is donating consulting and programming services and Microsoft Corp. is donating the software.

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