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The Library of Congress > Digital Preservation > News Archive > Towards Effective Government Communications

February 16, 2011 -- Staff from the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program recently attended a seminar sponsored by GovDelivery, "Drive Mission Initiatives by Directly Connecting to the Public," (external link) held in downtown Washington, DC. The seminar featured success stories involving the latest technology tools and projects used by government agencies aimed at connecting with and getting feedback from the public.

Aaron Smith from the Pew Research Center provided results from the Pew survey about public use of government web sites, which showed an increase in overall usage, but plenty of room for growth as well. For example, results showed 13% of adult internet users read government agency blogs, but only 2% will post comments.

Staff from GovDelivery presented ideas for increasing public engagement with government web sites, especially regarding services, noting the importance of providing opportunities for "signups" as a way to increase effectiveness. They also noted that some types of measurement (number of website "hits" for example) are relatively easy to come by, but real results, in terms of actions or behavior, are much harder to measure.

During the seminar, two "Excellence in Communications" Awards were given out for innovation in government communications – the quarterly award went to NASA, and the annual award going to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Noting the "Cloud First" mandate from the Federal CIO, the seminar also included an overview and panel session on usage of cloud technology in government. Technology managers from several agencies provided examples of how the cloud has helped streamline their operations. A couple of examples – NASA having to move extremely large digital image files, and the "spike" in the amount of data in 2010 for the U.S. Census Bureau – provided good illustrations of cloud technology helping with cost as well as efficiency.