Now playing: NIST on YouTube

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is the latest government organization to use YouTube to reach the public. NIST has created a channel on the video social networking site as part of an effort to expand the amount of information available to the public about its programs.

“This official YouTube channel is the first of several planned NIST Web sites hosted by the private sector,” said Gail Porter, director of NIST’s Public and Business Affairs Office. “The effort is part of a broader, governmentwide effort to encourage openness and transparency and to go to where the people are.”

Users will be able to use the NIST YouTube channel to share videos via e-mail mesages, post links to the videos on their own Web pages and comment on the videos. Subscribers will be notified via their YouTube account when a new video is posted. About a dozen videos are now online, and additional videos are planned.

The Commerce Department. NIST's parent agency, negotiated a contract with Google for its agencies to establish YouTube channels. Other Commerce agencies such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Census Bureau also are participating. Similar additional contracts are under negotiation with other social media sites.

Earlier this year, California launched a video channel on YouTube. Other government entities on YouTube include the syate of Virginia, the Office of National Drug Control Policy and Marin County, Calif. CityTV Santa Barbara, a government access channel, and Arlington County, Va., also are on the site.

As of April 2009 YouTube is the third most visited Web site in the world, according to the Alexa Internet rankings.

About the Author

Kathleen Hickey is a freelance writer for GCN.

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