Home » Posts tagged 'dot-gov' (Page 2)

Tag Archives: dot-gov

Our mission

Free Government Information (FGI) is a place for initiating dialogue and building consensus among the various players (libraries, government agencies, non-profit organizations, researchers, journalists, etc.) who have a stake in the preservation of and perpetual free access to government information. FGI promotes free government information through collaboration, education, advocacy and research.

Link Rot up to 51% for .gov domains

New Link Rot report from Chesapeake.

For the past six years, the Georgetown Law Library and the Chesapeake Digital Preservation Group have been doing doing studies on “Link Rot and Legal Resources on the Web.” The newest report, for 2013, says that 51% of .gov URLs selected in 2007-2008 are broken. For a larger sample of documents selected 2007-2013 (and including all domains, not just .gov) “link rot has increased to 44.2 percent within six years.” This is a 6.5 percent increase over 2012.

The Chesapeake group gathers information from the web and preserves it for their users and each year they investigate “whether or not the documents in the archive can still be found at the original web addresses from which they were captured.”

The study uses two samples: one sample of 579 original URLs for content captured from 2007‐2008 and a second sample of the full content of the archive at the time the study is conducted. In 2013, the full sample included 842 original URLs for materials captured from 2007‐2013. The study is particularly relevant to government information specialists because more than 90% of the URLs in the original sample and almost 85% of the URLs in the full sample are from state governments (state.[state code].us), organizations (.org), and government (.gov) the top-level domains.

Among the new report’s findings:

This year saw a substantial increase in the number of government URLs (.gov) that no longer worked.

In 2013, the content at .gov domains showed the highest increase in link rot. More than 50 percent of the materials posted to government domains disappeared from the original documented web addresses.

Overall, the results of the six years of systemically checking links have demonstrated that documents posted on web sites will disappear at an increasing rate over time.

For “dot-gov” domains (URLs ending in “.gov”) the studies have shown cumulative link rot of:

2008:    10% 
2009:    13%
2010:    25% 
2011:    31% 
2012:    36%
2013:    51%

The Chesapeake Digital Preservation Group is able to create these reports because it has been actively preserving information from the web for its users for several years. The report is a useful by-product of a preservation effort that is rooted in providing long-term access for its user community to information they need. This is not an academic exercise — the Group also collects data on the use of their harvested content. The report summarizes its conclusion of its experience this way:

The value of harvesting these materials before they are no longer available at their original URLs is demonstrated by the high use of these materials. During March 2013, the time the 2013 sample set was taken, over 84,000 items were retrieved. In 2012, 1.5 million items viewed. It is likely that the value of this project and similar ones will become even more significant in future years.

For libraries that rely on pointing to URLs rather than preserving information in their own digital libraries, the new report from the Chesapeake Project provides sobering, factual data on the reliability of that strategy.

Healthcare.gov: The Innovative Development of a .gov Website

In October, the healthcare.gov website will be the site millions of Americans use to choose their health insurance. The new site has been built in public for months, iteratively created on Github using cutting edge open-source technologies. Healthcare.gov is the rarest of birds: a next-generation website that also happens to be a .gov. It will use Jekyll, which allows developers to build a static website from dynamic components. This will make the website faster and more efficient. A fascinating story!

  • Healthcare.gov: Code Developed by the People and for the People, Released Back to the People, by Alex Howard, The Atlantic (Jun 28 2013).

    First, Bryan [Sivak] pledged, “everything we do will be published on GitHub,” meaning the entire code-base will be available for reuse. This is incredibly valuable because some states will set up their own state-based health insurance marketplaces. They can easily check out and build upon the work being done at the federal level….

    Moreover, all content will be available through a JSON API, for even simpler reusability. Other government or private sector websites will be able to use the API to embed content from healthcare.gov. As official content gets updated on healthcare.gov, the updates will reflect through the API on all other websites.

Feds need to revamp Dot-Gov

As the federal government attempts to consolidate its web presence and reduce the number of dot-gov web sites, it faces a huge task. When the British government did something similar, it reduced the government’s 2,000 websites by more than 75 percent and shifted its online organizing structure from being based on the interests of agencies creating content to focusing on the interests of the citizens consuming that content. That effort took five years. The U.S. Government has 16,000 or more web sites. Currently it is hard for citizens to find the information they need because the sites are so badly done that typical web-wide searches often list government data well below less authoritative, outdated or recycled sources and the agencies themselves have clunky internal search engines.

An article in NextGov about the current state of dot-gov web sites has a number of interesting tidbits of information worth thinking about.

  • Feds aim to serve citizens better by revamping Dot-Gov, by Joseph Marks, NextGov (Jan. 3, 2012).
    • While the government is publishing more information than ever through about 18,000 websites, it’s become increasingly difficult for agency information to reach the public.
    • Much of the dot-gov reform effort has so far focused on eliminating excess government sites that sprouted up during the Web-crazed 1990s and now do little but diminish the dot-gov domain’s gravitas.
    • The federal Web presence is also pockmarked with stand-alone sites such as MLKday.gov, which are officially top-level domains but don’t have much content and aren’t regularly updated.
    • an informal survey in October with a custom-built Web crawling tool showed at least 200 … had likely been unofficially retired.

State of the Federal Web Report

State of the Federal Web Report, .gov Reform Task Force (December 16, 2011).

This report presents a summary of data and findings about the state of Federal websites, collected as part of the .gov Reform Initiative. The report is intended to highlight–for the first time–the size and scope of websites in the Federal Executive Branch, how agencies are managing them, and opportunities for improvement. Though not a comprehensive assessment of every Federal Executive Branch website, this data provides a high-level overview and is the first step to more effectively collecting data to make better decisions about our Federal web operations. The .gov Reform Task Force and its partners will use this data to develop a Federal Web Strategy and create tools, best practices, and other resources that will make Federal websites more efficient and useful for citizens.

hat tip to Sabrina I. Pacifici!

HHS eliminated 36 website domains

Better check your links to MEDLARS, HIV.gov, TheDataWeb.gov, and 33 more HHS websites. They are all gone.

“The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has formally notified GSA that it is relinquishing 21 domains. HHS is in the process of relinquishing additional sites and expects to have relinquished a total of 36 sites, 23 percent of the domains owned by the Department per the base GSA survey, by the end of September.”

  • HHS Interim Progress Report, HHS, Web Communications & New Media, Dot Gov Task Force (DGTF) (9/6/2011)

    The allocation of HHS Web resources is currently so fractured that no one knows the total annual Departmental investment in Web-related activities.

    …HHS is an historically siloed entity, and its Web holdings reflect that legacy. The result is a Web experience that is not only antithetical to the concept of customer-centric design but is undeniably wasteful of precious resources. Like and related content is scattered across multiple office and program Websites, and the Googling customer is left to divine what content is relevant. Overcoming this entrenched culture will be the greatest challenge we face.

  • A Brutal Self-Assessment of HHS’ Web Presence, By Joseph Marks, NextGov (10/07/11).