Agencies lay groundwork for Science.gov portal

Seven Cabinet departments and three independent agencies are preparing a one-stop Web portal to present government science and technology to a broad audience.

Seven Cabinet departments and three independent agencies are preparing a one-stop Web portal to present government science and technology to a broad audience.

The Office of FirstGov has approved Science.gov as a cross-agency portal for the physical and life sciences, said Eleanor G. Frierson, deputy director of the National Agricultural Library in Beltsville, Md. Science.gov received two of the seven fiscal 2001 FirstGov grants for portal development work.

Frierson serves as co-chair of the Science.gov Alliance, an interagency team formed after an April workshop titled 'Strengthening the Public Information Infrastructure for Science.'

Science.gov will contain two types of search tools, Frierson said. One will search selected Web sites of participating agencies. The other, which Frierson called a 'deep Web search,' will access publicly available databases of science-related information using an application developed by the Energy Department.

Frierson called the target audiences 'scientific professionals, students, teachers, business professionals and science-attentive citizens.' Science.gov users will be able to browse site listings by topic and by audience level.

Science.gov Alliance members are now testing a pilot version of the Web site for ease of use as well as compliance with Section 508 accessibility requirements, Frierson said.

The www.science.gov address now contains placeholder information. Frierson said the alliance plans to bring the full site online in early 2002 once the usability testing is completed.

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