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Working Out Social for .gov

VIEWS: 8 PAGES: 2

In a January memorandum titled "Transparency and Open Government", Pres Barack Obama called for greater transparency in making information available online as well as more citizen participation in federal Web sites. The concepts were embraced by Washington, already abuzz about new possibilities for federal Web publishing. However, experience from the private sector suggests that executing on a strategy of greater transparency combined with public participation will be difficult. Technology vendors talk a good game about offering a unified solution to this challenge, but their architectures have not caught up with their marketing here. Agencies will find that any existing Web CMS infrastructures are largely not up to the challenge of public participation.

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									TONY BYRNE
                                                                                                  technology watch


                                                                         Agencies will find that any existing Web CMS infrastructures
                                                                      are largely not up to the challenge of public participation. Web
                                                                      CMS vendors have begun to incorporate community features, but
                                                                      most CMS platforms are not built to ingest user-generated content

Working Out                                                           (UGC). They have more “inside-out” architectures that apply
                                                                      management services to content behind the firewall but push it
                                                                      out in read-only mode to pubic sites.

Social for .gov                                                          Our research found that user-participation functionality in Web
                                                                      CMS tools tends to get activated behind the firewall, and for good
                                                                      reason. In high-profile public settings, enterprises incorporating
                                                                      UGC must pay serious attention to security, scalability, usability,
      n a January memorandum titled “Transparency and Open            and access control considerations—areas in which best-of-breed

i     Government” (http://tinyurl.com/openg), President Barack
      Obama called for greater transparency in making
information available online as well as more citizen participation
                                                                      community suppliers have a better track record.
                                                                         Meanwhile, although community and social software vendors
                                                                      may effectively support UGC, we’ve found that these suppliers
in federal websites.                                                  generally cannot provide the sorts of workflow and life-cycle
   The concepts were embraced by Washington, already abuzz            services that a public agency needs for publishing official content
about new possibilities for federal web publishing. Friends who       beyond the firewall. Indeed, vendors of community software
work on dot-gov websites began to walk a little taller, and why       often find these “control-oriented” services anathema to their
not? Federal intranets have leveraged blogs, wikis, and other         notions of openness. To them, workflow and records management
new social tools for years, but public federal websites have          are soooo Enterprise 1.0. Yet to you, they may be essential.
remained almost entirely read-only. Obama’s memorandum                   To be sure, some platforms such as Drupal were built
provides the impetus (and cover) to more freely experiment            explicitly for combining traditional online publishing with public
with the kind of Web 2.0 tools and approaches on public               contribution. While at least one federal website, Recovery.gov,
websites as well.                                                     recently went live
								
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