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Much Government Information Still Not Searchable on Google, etc.

Firms Push for a More Searchable Federal Web, By Peter Whoriskey, Washington Post,December 11, 2008; D01.

Here is another article about the problem that commercial search engines have in indexing government information.

Google chief executive Eric Schmidt says that the “vast majority” of U.S. government information is still not searchable or findable. J.L. Needham, Google’s manager of public-sector content partnerships, estimates that 1,000 federal government Web sites are inaccessible to search engine crawlers.

A person using one of the search engines, for example, can’t find Environmental Protection Agency enforcement actions against a given company, can’t discover the picture of a specific ancient Egyptian artifact at the Smithsonian and can’t search by name for the details of a Vietnam War casualty.

And for many Web users, if an online item can’t be found with a Web search engine, then for all practical purposes it doesn’t exist.

What’s the problem? Often, it is simply a matter of agency budgets. “[I]nformation technology officials in the federal bureaucracy said that the transition may require significant manpower and that the costs could be large.” One official said that “With limited resources as always, it’s a little bit hard.”

CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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