Over the past several months the IN.gov team has been researching an available upgrade for WebCMS, the State's enterprise web content management system. After building a separate QA environment, IN.gov installed version 9.0 Service Pack 1. With the help of the IN.gov User Council and agency webmasters, extensive testing was performed on the new environment. The upgrade to 9.0 is being delayed due to the issues that were identified during the extensive testing process. "Our main goal for upgrading the WebCMS system is to gain efficiency in our publishing as well as provide more feature rich options to agency WebCMS users. Although we are delaying our upgrade to 9.0 in production, we did gain invaluable knowledge from our QA install of 9.0. The 9.0 version amongst other things has a more robust set of analytical tools" said Robert Paglia, Program Manager of IN.gov. "Our next step is to move full steam ahead on optimizing our current system using the analytics that we gathered in our upgraded test environment". If your agency would like to be involved in future QA testing procedures, please contact Alvin Wilson (awilson@iot.IN.gov).
In an effort to provide the best level of customer service to State agencies, IN.gov has redesigned Webmasters.IN.gov. The http://webmasters.in.gov website is now integrated into the State design. This provides a higher level of familiarity for the State's webmasters and PIOs as they navigate to complete requests. In addition to the design changes, all request forms have been rewritten to provide instantaneous validation, which will make the completion of forms easier.
IN.gov provides site visitors an additional way to contact the State Information Center and IN.gov Customer Service through the RightNow Online Chat and FAQ services. In late February, the chat tool was upgraded in order to extend the life of the tool and enable us to continue providing assistance to the citizens of Indiana. During regular business hours, visitors to IN.gov can chat online live with an agent to avoid hold times and allow the agency to handle multiple inquiries simultaneously and in an efficient manner.
New Project Request Form
The Indiana Office of Technology (IOT) has created a project request form with the state agencies internal and external customers' best interests in mind. This project request form will streamline the project submission process by collecting all the necessary information upfront. The IN.gov Project team will use the information gathered to expeditiously engage agency sponsor(s). The new form has been made available in coordination with the launch of Webmasters.IN.gov. We look forward to partnering with you on your next endeavor .
IN.gov Domain Naming Convention & Policy
Consistent internet names, or domain names, allow people to search for information on the Internet more easily. An internet domain exists called the .gov domain that is overseen by the federal government and reserved for use by federal, state, and local governments. The State of Indiana has registered the domain names Indiana.gov and IN.gov for use by state and local government in Indiana. Internet names assigned under the Indiana.gov and IN.gov domains will use consistent naming conventions to enhance the accessibility of information regarding state and local government. Details regarding the IN.gov domain policy can be found in the IN.gov Domain Naming Convention & Policy document.
Completed CMS Migrations
CMS Migrations Coming Soon
- Indiana Quitline
- Indiana Intelligence Fusion
- Richmond State Hospital
- IDOI Redesign
ABOUT THE IN.GOV UPDATE
The Update is published quarterly and sent to public information officers, IT personnel, webmasters, and Web CMS users. If you do not receive this Update via another list, please call IOT Customer Service at 317.234.4357 or 800.382.1095 and ask to be added to "IOT All IN.gov Webmasters."
Please send us your thoughts on how we can improve the Update.
WebTrends Application Integration
In a recent upgrade to the WebTrends software, IN.gov has added the ability to track analytics within .Net and Java applications. IN.gov has defined two types of services for implementing WebTrends into applications. These include WebTrends Basic and Advanced Setup.
The features available in the Basic Setup allow agencies to track page hits to their application(s) and create detailed reports depicting visit history, downloaded files, entry and exit pages, etc. These features are the same found within WebTrends implementation for static websites. Basic integration is provided at no-cost to the agency. In order to request Standard WebTrends Setup, users must submit a WebTrends request at http://webmasters.in.gov. (Statewide Solutions --> WebTrends)
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In addition to the features in the Basic Setup, WebTrends has the capability to track the actions of those who visit an application. For example:
- Form Actions
- Link Tracking
- Scenario Analysis
These reporting capabilities require additional code outside the scope of the Basic Setup and will incur a time and material set-up fee. In order to request an Advanced WebTrends Setup, users must submit a New Project request at http://webmasters.in.gov. (Interactive Applications --> New Project) Due to the custom features of the WebTrends Advanced Setup, the process will vary for each implementation. Once a request is received, IN.gov will setup a meeting with the agency to discuss the requirements of the project and develop a custom setup procedure.
If you would like to learn more about WebTrends, an explanation of reporting functionality and features can be found at http://webtrends.in.gov.
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GovDelivery Implementation Update
In the fall of 2009, the IN.gov program set a goal to implement GovDelivery in all agencies by the end of year. Reaching this goal would allow the state to re-evaluate its relationship with GovDelivery during contract negotiations in 2010. We are proud to report the successful implementation of 37 additional agencies into the GovDelivery system. This brings the total of GovDelivery implementations to 66.
The combined statistics for these 66 agencies includes:
- More than 382,000 registered subscribers.
- More than 6.28 million emails sent.
- 1,100+ subscription topics integrated.
One agency that stands out amongst all others is PLA. PLA implemented GovDelivery in August of 2009. In a matter of 4 months, PLA received 76,500 unique click-backs as a result of their email notifications. This number ranks 11th for 2009's statistics for all GovDelivery clients. If PLA is able to maintain this high amount of click-backs, they will easily take 1st place for 2010.
In addition to this phenomenal ranking for PLA, the State of Indiana was awarded an Excellence in Communications Award. This award recognizes government entities that demonstrate innovation and leadership in proactive government-to-citizen communication. This award was presented to Robert Paglia, Program Manager, for "proactively engaging with the public through multiple communication channels."
Registered Retail Merchant Certificate Application
Effective Jan. 1, 2010, a new Indiana law required the Department of Revenue to post online all businesses who have expired registered retail merchant certificates (RRMCs) due to nonpayment of delinquent sales tax.
On Dec. 31, 2009, IN.gov partnered with the DOR to launch an application that displays registered retail merchant certificates that are expired due to non-payment or delinquent sales tax. This application was featured by more than 50 media outlets throughout the state, and generated more than 350,000 page views within the first 11 days of its launch.
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The list included more than 26,000 businesses that are delinquent in paying their sales tax to the state. In all, these businesses owe Indiana more than $100 million in unpaid sales taxes.
To date, the list has generated more than $500,000 in unpaid taxes, from more than 400 taxpayers. The list will be refreshed and reposted every month, and will include any new businesses in which their registered retail merchant certificates have expired due to failure to pay their sales taxes to the state.
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Social Media & Government
One of the hot topics in web site management today is social media. The term "social media" is often used as a blanket statement for particular web sites such as Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. It can also refer to certain web technologies and strategies like blogging and RSS. What all of these things have in common is that they share a philosophy of emphasizing user generated content and conversations between many people and organizations simultaneously. This is in contrast to a more traditional web strategy of an organization or agency, where the interactions are more directly controlled by the web site owner via pre-defined content and services.
All social media is designed around the ability for users to control their own experience. Content provided via social media avenues can be parsed, accessed, commented on, and shared as the user sees fit. RSS feeds might seem to simply be a different way to display static content. But individuals can use an RSS reader to access, in a single location, information obtained from multiple, unrelated sources. The delivery conditions and user interface can then be defined by the users themselves. Also, because of the standardized, neutral XML data format, RSS feeds can be easily placed into 3rd party websites such as Twitter, to be displayed and read.
Other social media outlets allow users to control their experience within the framework of a host website. For example, YouTube is often cited as a good place to watch videos online. It is also popular because it is easy for anyone, including individuals and both professional and governmental organizations, to post videos. It contains a wide variety of content that is easily searchable, easy to share with others, and even embedded directly into other websites. Users can post comments about a video which others can read and then weigh in with their own opinions.
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The ultimate truth that must be understood when considering social media that it is primarily a question of communication, not technology. The technology enables the exchange. But all of the value, and potential problems, come from the social side of the equation. So when a government agency is considering whether to make the leap into social media, there are questions they must first answer:
"Who is my audience? What value will this bring to them? What sort of things might they say? Am I willing to engage that audience in a relatively equal and open forum?"
One of the most important things to understand is that, by using social media, an agency is giving up much of the control of the delivery and reception of their content. Traditional communication techniques allow an agency a lot of latitude in setting the conditions and boundaries of any interaction. With social media, these become functions of the rules of the social media outlet and how users chose to use, interpret, and respond to the content. Consideration must be made regarding what sort of feedback might be generated and value gained by the venture.
In the right circumstances, social media can be a great tool for government to reach its constituents. Generally, people on social media websites are more likely to engage positively or constructively about things that either interest them on a personal level or provide useful, actionable information. For example, DNR's State Parks and Reservoirs division has a Facebook page with a lot of positive interaction between the agency and public. This is an example of a good use of social media, since it provides an avenue for people who enjoy that service to discuss it both with the agency and amongst themselves. Other positive uses might be creating Twitter Feeds for information the state has, road and weather conditions for example, that many people would find interesting or useful.
However, not all agencies will find equal value in such services. Regulatory agencies or those with missions that do not provide an obvious positive experience for the public might find they have created a forum for people to complain. People on the internet are not shy about making negative comments if they feel the need. Agencies with missions that the public might consider more obscure could find any social media efforts to be met by indifference. Typically, social media outlets provide methods of policing the negative things people might say. However, such efforts are often not seen in a positive light. Censorship and moderation is generally greatly frowned upon unless comments are blatantly offensive.
Social media is still evolving, but it is here to stay. The rules, venues, technologies, and expectations will change over time. What is true today may need to be re-evaluated tomorrow. Whatever form it may take, any use of a social media outlet should be approached as a question of communication policy, not technology. Like any form of communication that is not strictly controlled, if all of the participants find value, then the net result will be positive. If one or more of the parties does not, then problems may arise. With these things in mind, any agency should have a framework for discussing what social media means to their mission and whether it makes sense to engage with their constituents in this fashion.
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IDOI Mortgage Project
The Indiana Department of Insurance has partnered with IN.gov Program to build a confidential database to collect and store information concerning residential real estate transactions. The development and subsequent use of the Residential Real Estate Acquisition of License Information and Numbers "RREAL IN" Database, is mandated by Indiana Code 27-7-3-15.5. The objective is to develop an electronic system for the collection and storage of information concerning persons that have participated in or assisted with:
- A single family residential first lien purchase money mortgage transaction; and
- A single family residential refinancing transaction
The statute mandates that, effective 1/1/2010, all closing agents (as defined by Indiana Code 6-1.1-12-43(a)(2)) are required to submit an on-line form in the RREAL IN database, following the completion of a real estate transaction.
The application provides Closing Agents the ability to submit the details of their transactions. In addition, various state agencies have the ability to search and review the transactions that have been submitted. Immediate access to this information, for some interested agencies like the Secretary of State (SOS) and Attorney General's office, is a very useful tool to help combat, and in some cases prevent residential real estate fraud.
IDOI approached the IN.gov Program to build this online application in April 2009, with the objective of system availability by September 1st, 2009. After the initial deployment in September, Professional Licensing Agency (PLA), Secretary of State, Department of Financial Institutions and SIRCON database information were integrated into the application to provide validation of licensing data entry. The use of these agency data sources will help provide IDOI an additional level of data integrity. The final release of the application was successfully deployed on January 1, 2010.
Indiana Department of Insurance
"Since the inception of the RREAL IN database project, IN.gov Program has provided us with professional guidance and exceptional service. Their responsiveness has led to the timely and successful implementation of the RREAL IN database. During the first 30 days of user interaction, our expectations have been exceeded with nearly 10,000 residential real estate transactions submitted. Thanks to the project team for understanding our needs and helping to ensure that those impacted by the new requirement, have a quality user friendly product to work with."
Indiana Department of Insurance