Kansas City to host Web conference

2003 Government Webmaster Conference

Kansas City, Mo., and several neighboring municipal governments are hosting a national webmasters conference this fall.

While there are similar local and regional events, the 2003 Government Webmaster Conference, which will be held Oct. 2-3 in downtown Kansas City, is likely the first national one sponsored by municipal users, said Richard Lovett, the city's webmaster.

Conference topics include Web site promotion, accessibility and usability, communicating with citizens, statistics and legal issues. Budget constraints and foreign-language translations of Web sites to deal with the increasing diversity in the Midwest would also be discussed, Lovett said. The keynote speaker is Cathilea Robinett, executive director with the Center for Digital Government.

Although Washington, D.C.-based Public Technology Inc., a national non-profit technology research and development group, sponsors meetings for webmasters at its annual conference, Lovett said the meetings were limited only to the association's membership. He said members expressed a desire to meet more than once a year, talk about a wide range of topics and include others.

"Unless you're a member of some organization to keep you abreast of these issues, it's kind of tough to stay abreast of the technical issues, legal issues, trends, those sorts of things," he said. "We exchange not only ideas, but sometimes even software and programming codes."

In some small municipalities, mayors and other elected officials also act as webmasters, who are responsible for the implementation of a Web site.

Recognizing municipalities may be strapped for cash, Lovett said the sponsors tried to make the conference affordable. Registration is $110, including breakfast, lunch, and snacks for the two-day event.

Besides Kansas City, other municipal sponsors include the city of Overland Park and Johnson County, both in Kansas; the Kansas City Metro Area Government Webmasters, a non-profit organization; and the Mid-America Regional Council, which is a league of governments.

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