The birth and development of Find-It: Washington State's government information locator service

Nancy Zussy

Abstract


While the idea of an electronic-based locator system to help citizens easily find information by and about government (commonly known as government information locator systems, or GILS) is not new, Washington State approached the development of its GILS program in a different way. This GILS emerged from the work of a legislatively created, government official/citizen task force designed to increase public access to government information. The Washington State Library (WSL) developed not only a metatag-based locator system, but also a marketing and training program to make government agency participation easier and more attractive. The system itself was developed from the user's point of view to make it more intuitive for users with a variety of computer skills levels.
With the assistance of a National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), Washington State has successfully replicated its GILS system in several other states and raised the visibility of the issue of state library agency leadership in this aspect of information management. As a result, a growing number of states are developing similar systems. A second IMLS grant to Washington State will formally explore and pursue opportunities for interstate interoperability of locator systems.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5210/fm.v5i6.759



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