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RE: Forgot to mention FW: FYI from Today's Washington Post

From: Owen Ambur <Owen.Ambur@verizon.net>
Date: Thu, 11 Dec 2008 13:40:50 -0500
To: "'eGov IG'" <public-egov-ig@w3.org>
Message-id: <002301c95bbf$fd86f090$f894d1b0$@Ambur@verizon.net>
The Site Map standard is at Stage 1 of the ET.gov process:
http://et.gov/stage1.htm & http://xml.gov/et/FederalSiteMaps.xml 

 

If the eGov IG decides to take up pending use case #7 at
http://www.w3.org/2007/eGov/IG/wiki/Use_Cases#Pending_Cases, the Site Map
standard might be a good candidate for inclusion in the Technical Reference
Model (TRM). http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-egov-ig/2008Oct/0010
& http://et.gov/stage4.htm 

 

Owen

 

From: public-egov-ig-request@w3.org [mailto:public-egov-ig-request@w3.org]
On Behalf Of Novak, Kevin
Sent: Thursday, December 11, 2008 12:24 PM
To: eGov IG
Subject: Forgot to mention FW: FYI from Today's Washington Post

 

All,

One of the solutions that I have used and been involved with previously is
the open site map initiative which was a standards collaboration between
Yahoo, Microsoft, and Google. The Library of Congress and specifically the
American Memory collections was one of the first institutions to pilot the
standard. We experienced great success in getting the content indexed by the
major search engines and thereby also experienced a 20 percent increase in
overall usage.

 

It is something that we should take a look at for our use cases and thereby
the solutions we present for our work and the issues paper.

 

Kevin

 

Kevin Novak

Vice President, Integrated Web Strategy and Technology

The American Institute of Architects

1735 New York Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20006

 

Voice:   202-626-7303

Cell:       202-731-0037

Fax:        202-639-7606

Email:    kevinnovak@aia.org

Website: www.aia.org

 


 
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profession and the resource for its members in service to society.

 

 

From: public-egov-ig-request@w3.org [mailto:public-egov-ig-request@w3.org]
On Behalf Of Novak, Kevin
Sent: Thursday, December 11, 2008 9:03 AM
To: eGov IG
Subject: FYI from Today's Washington Post

 

 

Firms Push for a More Searchable Federal Web

By Peter Whoriskey
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, December 11, 2008; D01

Google
<http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/related/topic/Google+Inc.?tid=informline>
's professed corporate mission is "to organize the world's information."

But for years, the U.S. government, one of the world's largest depositories
of data, has been unwilling or unable to make millions of its Web pages
accessible.

"The vast majority of information is still not searchable or findable either
because it's not published or it's on Web sites which the government has put
up which no one can index," Google chief executive Eric
<http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/related/topic/Eric+Schmidt?tid=informline
>  Schmidt said during a recent presentation at the New
<http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/related/topic/New+America+Foundation?tid=
informline>  America Foundation.

Now Schmidt has a unique opportunity to change that as an informal adviser
to President-elect Barack
<http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/related/topic/Barack+Obama?tid=informline
>  Obama, a tech booster who dubbed his first Senate law "Google for
government" because it aimed to make federal information more accessible.

Today, a wide array of public information remains largely invisible to the
search engines, and therefore to the general public, because it is held in
such a way that the Web search engines of Google, Yahoo
<http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/related/topic/Yahoo!+Inc.?tid=informline>
and Microsoft
<http://financial.washingtonpost.com/custom/wpost/html-qcn.asp?dispnav=busin
ess&mwpage=qcn&symb=MSFT&nav=el>  can't find it and index it. Not
surprisingly, Yahoo and Microsoft officials agree that people would be
better served if more public information became accessible to their search
engines.

A person using one of the search engines, for example, can't find
Environmental
<http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/related/topic/U.S.+Environmental+Protecti
on+Agency?tid=informline>  Protection Agency enforcement actions against a
given company, can't discover the picture of a specific ancient Egyptian
artifact at the Smithsonian
<http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/related/topic/Smithsonian+Institution?tid
=informline>  and can't search by name for the details of a Vietnam War
casualty.

And for many Web users, if an online item can't be found with a Web search
engine, then for all practical purposes it doesn't exist.

"Unfortunately, too much of the public information provided on government
Web sites just doesn't show up when the average American does a Google
search," said J.L. Needham, Google's manager of public-sector content
partnerships. "As a result, information that is intended for the public's
use is effectively invisible."

To be sure, much of the information that the search engines are asking for
is already digitized and available on the Web. EPA enforcement actions can
be found through a portal on the agency's site, details on Egyptian
artifacts can be found through a search of the National
<http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/related/topic/National+Museum+of+Natural+
History?tid=informline>  Museum of Natural History and details of a Vietnam
War casualty may be found by searching the National Archives site.

The trouble, as the search engines see it, is that most Web users have
become accustomed to finding information by typing queries into one of the
engines -- and if they don't find it there, they give up.

Needham estimates that 1,000 federal government Web sites are inaccessible
to search engine "crawlers," the programs that are run to discover what
information is available on the Web.

Much of the inaccessibility stems from the fact that so much federal
government data, while public, can be accessed only after users fill out an
online form. The search engines' crawlers generally can't look into such
databases.

For example, Google notes that a user seeking details on an Environmental
Protection Agency enforcement action against Anheuser-Busch
<http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/related/topic/Anheuser-Busch+Companies+In
c.?tid=informline>  can't be found by entering a simple search query such as
"EPA enforcement Anheuser-Busch." Instead, a person needs to know to go to a
particular EPA enforcement Web site and enter "Anheuser-Busch."

To make those databases visible to search engines would require the federal
government to make each item into a Web page and then to provide a list of
those Web page addresses to the search engines.

Microsoft is working with more than 25 federal agencies to make their Web
sites "crawlable" by search engines.

"I do agree with Google," said Molly O'Neill, chief information officer of
the EPA, which has more than 200 Web sites. "When people search, they should
be able to find the data."

But information technology officials in the federal bureaucracy said that
the transition may require significant manpower and that the costs could be
large.

"We have been working very closely with Google," said Francisco Camacho of
the Web services division of the Smithsonian. "With limited resources as
always, it's a little bit hard."

The National Archives expects that its entire database containing
descriptions of its holdings will be available to Google by January, said
Pamela Wright, a program manager for the National Archives and Records
Administration. The EPA has made some sites accessible, too, and the
Smithsonian has sent Google the links for 78,000 pages, Camacho said.

Some federal officials have grumbled, however, that Google is making this
push purely for financial reasons: The more that is available to search
engines, the more people will use search engines, letting Google show
advertising to more people.

"The more information is available, the more people are likely to use
Google," said Danny
<http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/related/topic/Danny+Sullivan?tid=informli
ne>  Sullivan, editor in chief of http://SearchEngineLand.com. "It does help
Google in the end."

But Needham said the company's motive in the federal Web site effort isn't
the money; it's making sure customers find what they want.

"We don't care because there is monetization value," Needham said. "It's
because if we fail to answer a question, then our users are disappointed
with us, not their government."

 

Kevin Novak

Vice President, Integrated Web Strategy and Technology

The American Institute of Architects

1735 New York Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20006

 

Voice:   202-626-7303

Cell:       202-731-0037

Fax:        202-639-7606

Email:    kevinnovak@aia.org

Website: www.aia.org

 


 
<http://outlook.aia.org/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=http://www.webbyawards.com
/>
http://outlook.aia.org/exchange/knovak/Inbox/sharepoint%20access-2.EML/1_mul
tipart/image001.jpg?Security=2

AIA NAMED BEST ASSOCIATIONS WEBSITE FOR THE 12th ANNUAL WEBBY AWARDS!


America's Favorite Architecture
<http://outlook.aia.org/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=http://www.favoritearchite
cture.org/>  Tops the Shortlist for International Honor for the Web

 

The American Institute of Architects is the voice of the architectural
profession and the resource for its members in service to society.

 

 






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Received on Thursday, 11 December 2008 18:52:27 GMT

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