Government Weighs In

If Richard Huffine, of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, is emblematic of my federal government, I’m feeling better about paying my taxes. He may put the lie to Stewart’s comment that no one in the room is a digital native, because if he isn’t one, he sure comes close.

I didn’t realize there was so much business intelligence research going on at the EPA, I suppose I thought it was just science, which of course they do access through scholarly literature. And the EPA’s ability to aggregate and federate is exemplary. The EPA aggregates news, research, and legal information. It also merges internal and external information. Now he’s using flickr’s tagging as an example of open access and individual creation of metadata.

Pricing inconsistencies are rampant, as are platform and format irregularities. He’s running into publisher exclusivity, another concept I thought belonged to the last century. Licensing issues affects portability and re-use, limiting EPA’s ability to create an aggregated information portal.

What does the federal sector need? Staff need the ability to search aggregated content, better IP authentication, easy collection and export of citation to manage staff’s own knowledge. Libraries need partners not adversaries, sliding scale cost models, guide the integration of external content in agency intranets, portals, and other knowledge manaagement environments.

He ended by pointing out that the federal sector is a unique client.

Marydee Ojala
Editor, ONLINE: The Leading Magazine for Information Professionals

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