Education officials seek expert-finder ideas

Ask ED request for information

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The Education Department asked vendors this week for input on crafting a solicitation to move its internal expert-finder system into the second phase, making it available to the public.

The Ask ED system helps the department filter and respond to the more than 20,000 questions it receives each week via telephone, fax, letter and e-mail. It is only available on the Education intranet, although officials are upgrading the system so that, among other things, it can integrate with the department's IBM Corp. Lotus Notes database.

The upgrade should be finished by February 2004. Education officials issued the request for information to get a head start on Phase II upgrades.

Phase II tasks include creating a page for the system on the Education Web site with an Ask-A function to address the influx of e-mail traffic and provide a self-service option for education-related questions.

The department envisions modeling Ask-A after a similar feature on the British Airways site, but officials said they're open to other options. Education officials want input on what other functions to include in the self-service site.

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