Mar 24, 2009

Update on

Greg Elin from Sunlight Foundation (and who has been doing some great work helping move the technology solutions forward) writes
In the short 30 days since the President signed the Recovery Act (aka Stimulus Bill) into law and launched:
  • 26 of 28 federal agencies currently handling stimulus dollars have launched websites at identical “/recovery” URLs (example:
  • 83 identically formatted .xls weekly reports were filed by agencies and are downloadable by reporting agency (generally 3 per agency)
  • 42 states have launched their own recovery-related web sites with several adopting the “/recovery” meme (for example:
  • 3,900 hits-per-second loads have been reported for
So, when I finally started to explore the Recovery sites, I grew fond of the incompleteness found in OMB’s 62 page detailed guidance memo to agencies. Inside the typical Washington-ese of the memo was a basic message that came from the Recovery Act and OMB amplified. That message was: “Use the Web, stupid.” Stating this in 2009 is very different that stating in 2004 or even 2006 (when Sunlight Foundation launched). In the, post Obama-campaign 2009 world, all the young professionals grew up on the web. The web-requirements of the Obama administration and it’s new, back-on-the-job CIO Vivek Kundra (a 30-something year old himself) essentially unleashed the web talent inside government agencies that had been shackled by the chains of the way things were always done. VoilĂ ! In 30 days since the Act became law, more than 70 government web “sites” have been launched. (And a lot of non-government recovery sites, too, which I’m not mentioning). Where do we ever see things happen that quickly…except on the web?" --
More on the Sunlight Blog
I especially like his statement that this is evidence of  "unleashed web talent inside government agencies that had been shackled by the way things were always done." Yes we can! And I am going to take him at face value when he call out us "young" professionals who grew up on the web. 

I will also give credit to the Federal Web Managers Council and Web Managers Forum for the ease of implementation of the "/recovery" address. A common subdirectory was first used by all agencies a few years back to help people find and link to Hurricane Katrina resources. This has since become a model for interagency web linking.

In the past few weeks, I was at more than one meeting that included a significant amount of stress--if not quite dismay--at the enormity of the reporting task. And while there is still much work to be done [I am still waiting for that xml schema--I mean, come on, break it up, the schema for major comms is an easy lift and a quick success], the high expectations set from the start is translating into getting the work done. 

1 comment:

  1. I think we've seen the transparency portion of the Open Govt memo take the lead so far. The collaboration and participation portions look like they'll take a bit longer to work.


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