Google moves ahead with plan to open up federal Web sites (2/21/07) Government Executive Google is making strides on an initiative to make information stored on public government Web sites more accessible to people looking for it, but challenges remain, officials with the search engine company said Wednesday.
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If and when I'm elected, I'll insure that all documents and data are on the web and structured within a site so the content is accessible for all Internet searches. Furthermore, I'd insist upon Plain Language so as to eliminate jargon in government communications.
I'd use open source tools, creative commons licenses if not plain old public domain, and other goodies such as Sitemaps.org tools so as to remove technical hindrances to search engine Web crawlers.
It took Google months of meeting with officials at many agencies in DC to make progress. Still, Google faces misconceptions. "Literacy about search engines is lower in the federal government than in the private sector." No joke. Literacy about technology and the free exchange of information, yet alone literacy itself, might be low in some corners of governement.
Yesterday I got an answer to my request of last week seeking an electronic file of the nomination papers so I can get onto the ballot. I'll need more than 3,000 signatures on legal sized paper forms. I asked for an electronic version of the form from the election department and was told I can't get one.
Eighty percent of visitors to government Web sites arrive through search engines rather than the home page "front door." Only about 5 percent come directly to the sites, he said, and because about half of all government Web pages remain inaccessible through search engines, a substantial percentage of people are passing up information they would otherwise find.A part-time Web manager was able to implement the Sitemaps tool in eight hours. Jeepers, in turn that utility simply opened 3 million documents to common search engines. That's bang for the buck. That's effiency.
I want to put every element of the lists of lists into Google Maps, for the city and the county. If we can map Mars and Moon -- why not Brookline and Beechview.