PTI recognizes public institutions that excel at engaging citizens, demonstrating government accountability and enabling department operations online. Criteria for the award includes: measuring specific tools, goals, participation rates, system integration, standards and policies, interoperability, data access and sharing, channel coordination and performance metrics.
“In this third year of the awards program,” said Dale Bowen, Deputy Executive Director for Program Development of the Public Technology Institute, “the Web 2.0 and social media applications demonstrate a new level of sophistication.”
Utah.gov won the award for its Master Data Index, which connects citizens to vital information and critical government services. It encourages cross-agency information sharing; enables real-time, efficient and interactive communications; engages the public in government decision-making, and empowers government staff through data access and streamlined processes.
Utah is the first state to build a Master Index of all state online services, websites, data sources, and social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Instagram, Pinterest, SlideShare, etc.), including 30 different content types, giving applicable state employees the capability to add new types as needed from a convenient user interface. All sources are tagged so that they can be utilized across multiple platforms and portals. The top categories currently indexed are business, health, jobs, voting and elections, public safety and corrections.
“The result is two fold,” said VanOrden. “New websites can easily pull applicable social media feeds based on multiple points of data. The Master Index also allows staff to aggregate social media feeds to one page, the Connect Portal where citizens can see all the social media. In addition, the new Master Index allows us to generate customized webpages to display data to citizens in an infinite number of ways.”
Government employees aware of new social media accounts or data sources now have the ability to maintain and add any indexed item, without requiring additional resources from the Utah.gov design team. This not only saves time, it also allows for the most current and relevant data to be displayed to citizens. Citizens benefit from enriched searching due to tagged data and the structure allows for more qualified, up to date, and relevant information.