State lines

Blue-ribbon IT. The Illinois State Fair this month added technology to its annual celebration of the state's bounty. Alongside the usual attractions'such as a 500-pound cow sculpted out of unsalted butter'rose Tech Town, a model of a virtual town.

Tech Town offered a cyber caf' for attendees to surf the Web and check e-mail, video links to the Brookfield Zoo and Shedd Aquarium, information on the state's public-key infrastructure initiative, and links to state colleges and government agencies.

Sign up here. State and local governments itching to change their Web addresses to end with the .gov suffix can visit www.nic.gov/index.html to see if the address they want is available. Officials can register for domain names through the site, which is run by the General Services Administration.

Most states already have signed up for .gov domain names, but many large cities, such as Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles and Portland'both Oregon and Maine'do not have .gov addresses. Counties and Native American tribes also are eligible for the .gov domain.

Make it better. The District of Columbia should improve its plans for integrating Child and Family Service Agency computers with those of the Family Court of the Superior Court, the General Accounting Office said.

The district's child services programs have come under fire following several serious lapses, one of which led to the death of a child.

GAO investigators found that many problems must be solved before the systems can be integrated, and that the city had not fully analyzed those problems. They include the need for requirements analysis, project milestones, means of keeping data confidential and ways to assure data quality.

Opportunity. The U.S. Geological Survey forms partnerships with state and local government agencies for geospatial data production and mapping science research. Through such partnerships, USGS seeks to ensure geospatial data standardization and currency, eliminate duplication and reduce costs. For more information, visit mapping.usgs.gov/www/partners.

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