Building a Single Government Portal

by Cary C
The journal article I read focuses on designing government web portals using ASP.NET.  One of the largest problems the writers came up with was that the sub-websites of the various branches, levels, and agencies that make up the government as a whole, have not been properly planned so that they can be navigated and efficiently share data.  The developers mention that government web sites are more like data islands that are isolated from one another.  The goal that they have proposed is to redesign all of the web sites with a singular government database serving as the “basement” of the foundation.  In other words, the data would be consistent because there would only be one copy.  Their functional design is to create a top level government portal and then having lower level sub-sites sit below the portal.  Each site could be managed independently, but a set of standards would assist in easing communication between the sites.

No one can doubt that the Internet has become a vital source of information for people seeking to find out what Lady Gaga is planning to wear on her next public outing, but who knew that other people use the Internet to find out about public services offered by their governments.  While many governments ranging from local to federal have created portals for their constituents, this has not necessarily been done with planning nor has it been done in the most efficient of ways.  In other words, it was done the way you would expect an ineffective bureaucracy to accomplish things.  The goal of the writers of this journal is to design a single portal that will link the user who signs in to other sites that he or she maybe interested in visiting.

I know there are often fears about the government or private companies having too much information about people, but I do think there could be a lot of savings and also a higher level of security if governments were to adopt a single portal.  For example, I could log into the State of California portal with my name and driver’s license number and the portal would be able to show me all of the services that I have at my disposal and I would be able to enter other information so that the portal would also know what my hometown was so I easily see the local services and information I might need.  So you would no longer have to go to a separate DMV site to get some information about your driving record, another site to see about the jury summons you received, and you would not have to visit the DOC website to look up that uncle who is doing twenty to life.  Of course all of this would be very efficient for the end user, but the security of the underlying data would also go up because you would only have to have one copy in a single database and it could secured using the latest methods as opposed to have twenty or more copies of your data stored in various facilities with varied levels of security.  Another simple benefit would be the fact that a single copy of your personal data, would be more likely to have less errors in it.  Maybe someday, the governments will start to move forward on some of these simple ideas that can save a lot of time, money, and potentially lives.

 

Reference:

Bao-juan, C.; Chang-li, Z; Wei-zheng, S.; Wu, Y. (2010) The Design of Website-group for Government Based on ASP.NET. E-Business and E-Government (ICEE) 2010 International Conference on, 6, (717-720).

3 thoughts on “Building a Single Government Portal”

  1. I think that updating government websites is a good idea because just navigating them and finding what you need is a usually daunting experience. Centralizing all the data probably will probably be a great help to users or at the very least not affect them negatively so long as effective security measures are taken. Honestly, I don’t really have much of opinion on updating government websites aside from it would be nice because I rarely use government websites, but I could only hope that the websites don’t get screwed up worse.

  2. This sounds like a great idea. Its really annoying going through different websites and having different requirements for each website. It would be nice to see something different, but how much would it cost. I am only asking because I am sure that's going to come out of our pockets.

  3. This is a good article. Often times, government websites are hardest to navigate through. Sometimes its very difficult to find what you are looking for. Although it is a very good idea to simplify the database process, I imagine it would be very lengthy and costly.

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