Content is king for fed webmasters

It takes a lot of work to keep content relevant, managers said at a workshop recently.

About 350 managers from more than 30 government agencies convened last week at an e-government workshop in Washington, D.C., to share best practices from standout sites. The event, organized by the Interagency Committee on Government Information's Web Content Management Working Group, was designed to help managers comply with policies issued last December by the Office of Management and Budget.

Last week's workshop focused on Web content rather than technology, Godwin said. Topics included writing in plain language, choosing search engines and focusing on usability. The workshop commended the Bureau of Labor and Statistics for its Web site’s usability.

"You can't just put content out there and forget about it," said Bev Godwin, director of the FirstGov.gov site. "You have to update it. There are times you have to take off content and move it into the archives, so you're not misinforming people or drowning them in too much information."

Web sites have become integral to citizen communications, Godwin said today, discussing the workshop. "In terms of governing Web sites, they've moved out of the CIO's office into the public affairs office,” she said.

Government agency managers are cooperating to achieve metadata standards that will improve search relevancy and aggregate data governmentwide, Godwin said.

The workshop was the second in a series designed to improve the user-friendliness of U.S. government Web sites. A third is planned for September.


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OMB policies for federal public Web sites include:

  1. Establish and Maintain Information Dissemination Product Inventories, Priorities and Schedules
  2. Ensure Information Quality
  3. Establish and Enforce Agency-wide Linking Policies
  4. Communicate with the Public and with State and Local Governments
  5. Search Public Websites
  6. Use Approved Domains
  7. Implement Security Controls
  8. Protect Privacy
  9. Maintain Accessibility
  10. Manage Records

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