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Kelman: google rules for govt info too

Steve Kelman, a professor of public management at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, wrote a piece about google and govt information in last week’s Federal Computer Week. In surveying his master’s degree students about “e-government”, he found some interesting things:

  • google was the default search tool.
  • all of his students reported visiting a government Web site at one time or another.
  • Every student in the class who has a student loan filed the application online.
  • only about 10 percent of the students knew it was possible to do all three of the following activities online: reserve a campsite at a national park, find out air pollution by ZIP code and comment on an Environmental Protection Agency regulation. In fact, 25 percent thought those kinds of services were not available online.
  • FirstGov, the federal government’s Web portal, is sliding even further into oblivion in student consciousness. Only six of 60 students in the class had ever heard of the site. Only one had ever used it, and she is a former federal employee who used it for benefits information.

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