Priorities and Schedules for Posting Content
Agencies must develop an inventory of information to be published on their websites, establish a schedule for publishing information, make those schedules available for public comment, and post the schedules and priorities on the website. Agencies should develop their website inventories based on the wants and needs of both intended audiences and citizens as a whole. Consider current and anticipated information needs, as well as historical or legacy materials, when establishing priorities.*
Why It's Important
Section 207(f)(2) of the E-Government Act of 2002 requires each agency ("agency" here is defined in the Act) to:
- Establish a process for determining which information will be made available on the Internet and by other means;
- Develop priorities and schedules for making that information available;
- Make those priorities and schedules available for public comment;
- Post the priorities and schedules on the website; and
- Report the priorities in their annual report to OMB on implementing the E-Government Act.
How to Implement
The E-Government Act required agencies to establish priorities by December 17, 2004. These recommendations suggest how to implement this requirement.
- Create an inventory of content that all intended audiences need or want. Identify general categories of information, such as press releases, publications, and budget documents—not specific documents.
In general, set priorities as follows:
- Priority 1: required by law, regulation, Presidential directive, or other official directive or to ensure national security
- Priority 2: mission-critical and essential for program operations, but not required by law, regulation, or Presidential directive (that is, information or services that are directly tied to an agency's mission and/or strategic plan)
- Priority 3: frequently requested information or services that would improve business processes and/or customer service to the public (for example, most commonly used forms, documents, applications, transactions, etc.)
- Priority 4: other information
- If information fits in two or more priorities, assign it the highest priority.
To determine the schedule for posting additional content, start with Priority 1 content and work down. Consider:
- The frequency of use by the intended audience(s); and
- The level of effort and time required by the agency to convert the information for the Internet. There may be some "low hanging fruit" that might warrant a higher priority, such as content that is already available in another format that easily could be converted to the Web. Conversely, there may be some older "legacy" documents or databases that might be assigned a lower priority if converting them to the Web would pose an undue burden on the organization.
- Incorporate this requirement in management plans and monitor performance.
- Reinforce (or develop) policies to ensure that appropriate review and approval processes are in place for web content.
- Post the inventory, priorities, and schedule for posting additional content on your website for comment. Comments should be collected by email or a web-based comment form.
- When developing the inventory, use this guideline: If it can be public, and is of interest to the general public, it should be public. Agencies dealing with national defense and law enforcement should weigh security needs with the public's need to know.
- The agency's web content manager(s) must be included in the process of establishing the inventory, priorities, and schedule.
- Post the agency's full inventory, showing both content that already is available to the public, and the publication schedule for additional content. Link to this information from the page containing agency Web policies and important links.
- Adopt a routine review process (monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annually) to identify obsolete content and remove it.
*These requirements apply to executive departments and agencies and their public websites. Check the specific law to see if it also applies to the judicial or legislative agencies or to intranets.