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UNOFFICIAL DRAFT, November 26, 2008. Sent to Wired Magazine. Click here to read the original blog post. Click here to go back to nickthompson.com
Examples of Agencies Using Online Content and Technology to Achieve Mission and Goals
Agency Action or Tool Description Goal URL
GSA/ Office of Citizen Services USA.gov, GobiernoUSA.gov, governmentwide FAQs, email response, web chat, 1-800-FED-INFO, USA Search and its mashups, email alerts, GovGab.gov blog, RSS, widgets, print publications, kids.gov Through any channel (web browse or search, phone, email, chat, RSS, print), the public can get accurate and timely federal, state, local, and tribal government information -- in English and Spanish. Same database used for FAQs, phone, email responses, and web chat. Some services 24/7, others open 8:00am-8:00pm but go to 24/7 in emergencies such as after Hurricane Katrina. USA Search mashes several government data sources with search results. Make government easy by providing accurate, timely, and easy-to-access government information and services. http://www.usa.gov http://www.gobiernousa.gov, http://answers.usa.gov, http://www.usa.gov/Contact/E-mail-subscriptions.shtml, http://www.govgab.gov, http://www.pueblo.gsa.gov, http://www.kids.gov
GSA/ Office of Citizen Services Webcontent.gov, Web Manager University, Federal Web Managers Council, and web community collaboration tools for the 1500+ web manager community, Search Affiliate Program Realizing USA.gov is only as good as every other government site it points to, OCS expanded its mission to provide leadership to the government web community. Leads an active grass roots Web Managers Forum of over 1500 federal, state, and local web managers (mostly federal). Provides policy and best practices at Webcontent.gov. Provides training through Web Manager University. Provides collaboration through new professional networking site (members.webcontent.gov). OMB relies on this group for advice, draft policy ideas, and to update policy via Webcontent.gov. The Web Managers Council includes top web manager from Cabinet departments and major agencies, yet does not have the same hierarchical support and official status as the CIO council. Make all U.S. government websites the best in the world. http://www.webcontent.gov, http://www.usa.gov/webcontent/wmu http://members.webcontent.gov/
GSA/Office of Citizen Services USA.gov Search Affiliate Program GSA shares USA Search for free with other federal agencies and levels of government, and over 300 sites use it. See http://www.usaservices.gov/websiteservices/USASearch.gov.php Improve the public's ability to search government content online http://search.usa.gov
Treasury/IRS IRS eFile Ability to pay taxes on line. Make it easier for taxpayers to pay taxes quickly and accurately. Costs government less. http://www.irs.gov/efile/index.html
Agency Action or Tool Description Goal URL
Justice/FBI FBI Most Wanted Widgets Widgets for Most Wanted Criminals, Sexual Predators, and Missing Persons. Modules can be embedded in other websites, providing links back to FBI, rather than dynamic content. Protect the public by apprehending criminals and locating missing persons. http://www.fbi.gov/widgets.htm
HHS Pandemic Flu Leadership Blog Temporary (5 week) blog, May-June 2007, blog to involve the public in the critical discussion of vaccine allocation in a pandemic - if there's not enough vaccine to go around, who gets first crack at what's available. Discussion was thoughtful and enlightening and helped shape critical thinking. It broadened the debate, encompassing people who would never have responded to more traditional approaches. Prepare for potential pandemic flu http://blog.pandemicflu.gov/
Social Security Administration SSA.gov Focus on Top Tasks Great example of a government website focused on top tasks of the public, providing many of these tasks online, and making the site easy to use. SSA does a lot of user testing. SSA is addressing its very core mission by putting eServices online (e.g., apply for disability benefits). Because of the impending 80 million Baby Boom retirement workload, SSA will not be able to meet our mission in the way it has been done so since 1937. This means fundamental change in the way SSA does business.
Provide the right benefits to the right people at the right time. http://www.ssa.gov and http://ssa.gov/onlineservices/
Commerce/ NOAA/National Weather Service Weather.gov Multiple ways to display, transmit, and share data about weather by geographic location and type of weather. Data shared and used extensively outside government in the interest of all. Keep public informed of weather, and provide early warnings to prevent loss of life and property. http://www.weather.gov/
OMB, OPM, HHS, Labor, Interior, EPA, Others USAJobs, Grants.gov, GovBenefits, Recreation.gov, eRulemaking eGov initiatives overseen by OMB, led by multiagency groups with one agency as lead created cross agency portals which pull information from many agencies to provide public with easier access and some online functionality to find, determine eligibility, apply, and comment. Most can be improved but a good start. Improve electronic government by providing one stop shops for federal jobs, federal grants, financial benefit eligibility, recreation on public lands, and commenting on federal rules. usajobs.gov, grants.gov, govbenefits.gov, recreation.gov, regulations.gov
DHS/Transportation Security Administration TSA's blog, named Evolution of Security (this is one of 35 federal agency public-facing blogs) Five employees of TSA blog to facilitate an ongoing public dialogue on innovations in security, technology, and checkpoint screening process. They get lots of complaints, post them, and use them to make changes (e.g., different airports were screening electronics differently). There are 36 other federal agency active, public-facing blogs Improve security of nation's airports and air travel by informing public and listening to the public. http://www.tsa.gov/blog and Government Blog Library at USA.gov http://www.usa.gov/Topics/Reference_Shelf/News/blog.shtml
Agency Action or Tool Description Goal URL
DHS/ Transportation Security Administration TSA's Idea Factory Launched on April 25, 2007, Idea Factory is a secure intranet site that allows employees (43,000 dispersed nationwide) to offer suggestions for improving TSA. As of March 2008, employees had submitted over 4,500 ideas and offered more than 39,000 comments. TSA estimates 20 ideas solicited from Idea Factory have already been implemented by the TSA as national policy. Improve security of nation's airports and air travel by listening to those on the front lines who better know the problems and possible solutions Internal to TSA but can read about it at http://www.collaborationproject.org/pages/viewpage.action?pageId=5668924
DoD and a dozen intelligence agencies Intellipedia Wiki open to 12 intelligence agencies to share information and data. Uses Mediawiki. Improve intelligence by sharing information. Not open to the public but read about it at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intellipedia
State Department Diplopedia In September of 2006, the Department of State created Diplopedia, an internet encyclopedia for all personnel of the Department of State. This program allowed staff of the department and members of intelligence communities to pass down and share information by posting or editing articles. Especially valuable since employees spread among many agencies, diplomats move frequently and need to share knowledge. Uses media wiki. Improve diplomacy by sharing information. Not open to the public, but read about it at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diplopedia
Commerce/US Patent and Trademark Office Peer-to-Patent Project New York Law School piloted a Peer-to-Patent Project that enables the public for the first time to submit information and commentary relevant to the claims of 250 pending patent applications in computer architecture, software, and information security via the Web. Clear backlog of patent by finding efficient means to gather community information to help USPTO make better and faster patent decisions. http://www.peertopatent.org/
CIA CIA uses Facebook for Recruitment Reaching people where they are, CIA is recruiting via a Facebook Page Bring best talent to work for the CIO http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/pages/Langley-Virginia/CIA-Central-Intelligence-Agency/44423882064?sid=d61a094b54c6f699cc535881ed726e80&refurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fs.php%3Finit%3Dq%26q%3Dcentral%2Bintelligence%2Bagency%26ref%3Dts%26sid%3Dd61a094b54c6f699cc535881ed726e80&ref=s
Agency Action or Tool Description Goal URL
Education College Navigator An easy-to-use college search and comparison tool, which provides latest data on expenses, aid, enrollment, admission and graduation rates, majors, along with a Google map pinpointing location. Allows users to modify search criteria without starting over, to build a list of favorites, and to search by such specifics as distance from home, intercollegiate athletic programs and size of school. Make college more accessible http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
Education Federal Student Financial Aid Forecaster Online calculator provides early estimate of a student's eligibility for federal student aid, including grants. Reduces the time it will take to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Make college more affordable http://www.fafsa4caster.ed.gov/
DoD TroopTube The U.S. military (with help from Seattle startup Delve Networks) launched a video-sharing website called TroopTube to help connect service men and women and their families and supporters. A year and a half after restricting access to YouTube, the new site enables users to register as members of one of the branches of the armed forces, family, civilian Defense Department employees or supporters, upload personal videos, and respond to others' videos. Connect service men and women with families and supporters. http://www.trooptube.tv/
Library of Congress LoC Flickr Stream Library of Congress has collaborated with Flickr to increase awareness of LC special materials collections by sharing photographs from the Libraryƕs collections with people who enjoy images but might not visit the Library or the Library's Web site.To date, LC has updated over 500 LC catalog records with information provided by the Flickr community through comments. We've also increased the awareness of the collections (through over 11 million views). Allow the world to use the library's holdings by bringing the holdings to where users are http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress
DoD Virtual Worlds Use of virtual worlds to simulate terrorism and disaster for emergency planning Be better prepared for emergencies Federal Consortium on Virtual Worlds has a lot of examples of federal use of virtual worlds http://www.ndu.edu/IRMC/fedconsortium.html
HHS/Centers for Disease Congrol Many examples of Interactive media use in CDC: user generated contnet, social networks, viral video, blogs, egames, wikis, virtual worlds incl those for kids. Use of interactive media for outreach, education, and health promotion. Prevent disease through education, awareness, and health promotion. See separate PowerPoint.
Veterans Affairs Electronic health records Not yet accessible to veterans but shared among VA facilities Improve veterans health http://www.myhealth.va.gov
Agency Action or Tool Description Goal URL
Department of Energy and EPA partnership Energy Star Program and EnergyStart.gov In 1992 EPA introduced ENERGY STAR as a voluntary labeling program designed to identify and promote energy-efficient products to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Computers and monitors were the first labeled products. Through 1995, EPA expanded the label to additional office equipment products and residential heating and cooling equipment. In 1996, EPA partnered with the Department of Energy for particular product categories. The ENERGY STAR label is now on major appliances, office equipment, lighting, home electronics, new homes and buildings. Through 12,000 partnerships and EnergyStar.gov, delivers the technical information and tools that organizations and consumers need to choose energy-efficient solutions. ENERGY STAR saved consumers and businesses about $16 billion in 2007 alone. Over the past decade, ENERGY STAR has been a driving force behind the more widespread use of such technological innovations as efficient fluorescent lighting, power management systems for office equipment, and low standby energy use.

Help us all save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices. http://www.energystar.gov/
Environmental Protection Agency National Dialogue and Jam Sessions EPA Chief Information Officer Molly O'Neill launched the National Dialogue on Access to Environmental Information in November 2007. It's an initiative to solicit ideas from agency employees, stakeholders, and citizens that will improve access to EPA's environmental information. Jam Sessions and a Partnership Blog have both been used to spark discussion, which EPA will use in its strategic plan Improve access to environmental information http://www.epa.gov/nationaldialogue/
DHS and other agencies Hurricane Informaiton Widget DHS facilitated content "lanes" with relavant agencies and developed a federal hurricane information widget with links to the lanes in different lead agencies. DHS Secretary reached out to MySpace and others to promulgate use. Get hurricane information to those in need of it. http://www.dhs.gov/xprepresp/programs/gc_1220128923561.shtm
Department of Justice Law Enforcement Information Sharing The technology allows the dept to share law enforcement information with state, local, tribal and other federal law enforcement and homeland security partners. Improve law enforcement by sharing data www.leisp.gov
National Academy of Public Administration See More Examples at NAPA's Collaboration Project Case studies of government using collaboration tools. Also hosted a national dialogue on health IT and privacy Good government. http://www.collaborationproject.org, http://www.thenationaldialogue.org/, and http://www.napawash.org
Back to information on Nicholas Thompson's upcoming book The Hawk and the Dove about Paul Nitze and George Kennan.