Bridging the digital divide: State government as content provider, the Illinois experience


  • Anne Craig



Three National Leadership Grants (NLG) ( from the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) provide the foundation for the Find-It! Illinois Program ( at the Illinois State Library (ISL): Grant One: "Exporting Washington State's GILS" (October 1998-September 1999) Grant Two: "Find-It! Illinois" (October 1999-September 2001) Grant Three: "Metadata Tools for State Collaboration" (October 1999-September 2001) Based on the successful Government Information Locator Service (GILS) program at the Washington State Library (WSL) (, the ISL began a GILS program of its own in the fall of 1999. State-level GILS projects around the country, based at state libraries and some state archives, are distilled from the federal GILS model ( State GILS programs provide a resource discovery methodology for electronic state government information. Each program includes components for access, organization, design, standard metadata creation, state agency Webmaster education and training, and interface development. Essentially, the state libraries and archives involved in these projects act as clearinghouses for and gateways to electronic state government information. Grant One, awarded to the WSL, provided the ISL and three other state libraries, (Oregon, New Hampshire, and Arizona), with the model framework for starting a GILS program. Grant Two, awarded to the ISL, provided development dollars for the fledgling ISL program Find-It! Illinois. Grant Three, awarded to the WSL and contracted in part to the ISL, provides funding for the enhancement of metadata interoperability and the application of a consortial subject tree. In Illinois, providing access to electronic state government content is manifest not only in the establishment of the ISL GILS program, but also in the creation of the other databases that comprise the Find-It! Illinois portal. Interoperability among these Find-It! virtual libraries will be enhanced by the application of a single controlled vocabulary for subject searching, called the "Jessica Tree." Additionally, work is underway to establish the Jessica Tree as the standard list for state GILS programs with the goal of promoting interstate interoperable subject searching.




How to Cite

Craig, A. (2001). Bridging the digital divide: State government as content provider, the Illinois experience. First Monday, 6(4).