AOL, NIC plan redesign of Government Guide site

AOL, NIC plan redesign of Government Guide site

By Donna Young

GCN Staff

AUG. 29'National Information Consortium Inc., a government Web site developer headquartered in Overland Park, Kan., recently announced a partnership with America Online Inc. to provide state government content and links for AOL's Government Guide.

The site, at www.governmentguide.comcurrently has links to all 50 state portals, but AOL plans to redesign it to make navigation easier.

Otto Doll, chief information officer for South Dakota's Bureau of Information and Telecommunications, cautioned that the existence of a government guide won't solve all of a state's online problems.

'I have vendors calling me every day trying to sell me a solution for our Web site,' Doll said. 'NIC doesn't provide any magic in accomplishing anything new for the 1,000 unique state services that are out there. I don't think anybody has found the magic that is going to get my 1,000 services online.

'So the question becomes what percentage of state services can you provide online, and how many millions of dollars later will that be answered. The services that will be offered online will be based on the degree of how technically difficult it will be to accomplish this stuff.'

Doll said he does not see a time when every state service can be offered on the Web because some registrations and licenses require documentation or notarized signatures that can't be given online.

'I also don't think you should have to pay a premium to get state services online,' he said. 'It might be a good deal for the guy who lives in AOL and doesn't venture out on the Internet much, but I can set up links on my desktop to state sites.'

AOL plans to launch the new design for its government site in mid-October.

NIC currently partners with nine states to design, build and manage their portals and has contracts with Georgia and Iowa for support and material.

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