E-GOVERNMENT

USA.gov adds new Web 2.0 tools

GSA adds a governmentwide news feed service, a gadget gallery of online applications, and a word cloud depicting the most popular online government content.

The General Services Administration’s USA.gov Web site has added three Web 2.0 tools to the portal: a governmentwide news feed service, a gadget gallery of online applications, and a word cloud that depicts the most popular online government content.

The Government News Aggregator allows users to receive consolidated news and information from across the federal government, delivered through really simple syndication (RSS) feeds. The service lets anyone subscribe to news feeds from USA.gov, and receive news updates in industry standard feed readers. Users can also bookmark the Breaking Government News page in their Web browsers.

Users can subscribe to news feeds on business, economics, defense, general government and reference, science and technology topics. Articles are selected for the RSS news feeds by USA.gov content managers. USA.gov is partnering with NewsGator to provide the service.
 
The second tool is a Government Gadget Gallery, a collection of gadgets and widgets organized by topic and created by subject-matter experts across government. The gadgets can be embedded in personalized home pages, blogs, and other sites. Examples of gadgets include the environmental tip of the day, the FBI’s predators and missing persons lists, and the drug finder hosted by the Food and Drug Administration, which allows users to search medications by name and get specific information.
 
USA.gov Word Cloud is a visual representation of the top 75 most popular search terms on the Web site, with the most frequently used words given greater prominence in a larger font. The graphic depiction allows a person to see at a glance which key words are searched the most according to site traffic.

“Using these Web 2.0 tools is a huge opportunity for government to be transparent and save valuable tax dollars,” said Beverly Godwin, director of USA.gov’s Web Best Practices Division. “Tools such as RSS feeds and gadgets allow the public to directly access content from the original source, no matter which Web site they’re on. It reduces duplication across government because an agency creates content once and makes it available for reuse by others."

About the Author

Kathleen Hickey is a freelance writer for GCN.

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