Government Is Back With USA.gov by ProQuest

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Government is back. For 30 years, the mantra has been Saint Ronald's cry to get the government "off the backs" of the American people. Fortunately for everyone who looks to governments at all levels, there is a quick and effective way to get to their information and services: USA.gov. USA.gov, a comprehensive portal to federal, state, local, and tribal information and services, is a strong performer on all counts. USA.gov is not just a directory to static information either. It emphasizes its role as a venue to services, particularly online interactive services. There are separate menus for principal audiences: citizens, businesses and nonprofits, government employees, and visitors to the US.

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									  30        InformationToday
July/August 2009   www.infotoday.com




                    Database Review

           Government Is
           Back With USA.gov
           by MICK O’LEARY       |


          G
                     overnment is back. For 30 years, the mantra has been Saint
                     Ronald’s (Reagan) cry to get the government “off the backs” of the
                     American people.
               But now, when times are hard and scary, where are people turning? They
           are turning to governments: federal, state, local, and tribal. Fortunately for
           everyone who looks to governments at all levels (for whatever reason), there
           is a quick and effective way to get to their information and services: USA.gov             Microsoft Acquisition
                                                                                                FEATURED PRODUCT

           (www.usa.gov).
               USA.gov, a comprehensive portal to federal, state, local, and tribal in-
           formation and services, is a strong performer on all counts. It has a logical
                                                                                               Moves Into World of Life Sciences
           and easily navigated menu structure and a highly effective search system.
           It is clearly designed and easy to use, and, because governments are such
           prolific producers of information, USA.gov is a genuine and refreshing al-
                                                                                               M      icrosoft keeps getting bigger. In a move to help strengthen its position in life
                                                                                                      sciences and see its vision of a “dynamic, patient-centric health system” ma-
                                                                                               terialize, Microsoft recently signed an agreement with Merck & Co., Inc. to acquire
           ternative to the conventional search engines.                                       certain assets of Rosetta Biosoftware, a business unit of Rosetta Inpharmatics, LLC.
                                                                                               Rosetta Biosoftware offers solutions in biological research, drug discovery and de-
                                                                                               velopment, and translational medicine.
                                                                                                  According to the agreement, Merck will become a customer of Microsoft’s Amalga
                                                                                               Life Sciences platform, which was introduced in April and was designed to assist re-
                                                                                               searchers in organizing scientific data collected from their work. Current programs
                                                                                               being used just weren’t designed to handle the complex genome research being done
                                                                                               today. Amalga Life Sciences lets scientists and researchers redesign, manage, and
                                                                                               control the process of their research to increase productivity, reduce errors, and im-
                                                                                               prove decision making.




              USA.gov was introduced in 2000 as FirstGov. It was rushed out the door
           quickly, and it was sloppy and incomplete (January 2001, IT) at first. Since
           then, it has been steadily improving and expanding. In 2007, its name was
           changed to USA.gov, in response to vocal user feedback. USA.gov is an inter-
           agency initiative administered by the U.S. General Services Administration’s
           Office of Citizen Services and Communications.


           Government Content Riches
               One of USA.gov’s major accomplishments is to provide unified access to
           government content at all levels (federal, state, and local) and from hundreds
           of Native American tribes. Given the great range of content production by
           all of these agencies and departments, government information collectively
           is an enormous and distinctive resource for almost any subject. Government             Merck looks forward to “collaborating with Microsoft to develop new bioinformatic
           is well-known as an authoritative publisher in business, commerce, science,         solutions to enable and expedite drug discovery and development,” according to a
           technology, health, and consumer affairs. However, if you spend time roam-          statement from Rupert Vessey, vice president of Merck Research Laboratories. Like-
           ing around USA.gov, you’ll find that is has extensive information on just           wise, Peter Neupert, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Health Solution Group,
           about anything, including unexpected topics such as history, social issues,         reported in a statement that the “newly combined offering [of Amalga and Rosetta
           and even literature and the arts.                                                   Biosoftware] will enable customers to improve the management and analysis of ge-
               USA.gov is not just a directory to static information either. It emphasizes     nomic, biological and research data, helping to bring lifesaving drugs and therapies
           its role as a venue to services, particularly online interactive services. It has   to market faster and accelerate the rea
								
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