OMB praises agencies' guidelines for providing online information

The Office of Management and Budget on Tuesday sent a memo to the President's Management Council praising federal agencies for issuing new guidelines designed to improve the quality of information given to citizens on the Internet.

OMB's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), which sent the memo, also proposed strategies to improve the draft guidelines. Agencies' final guidelines, which must be approved by OMB, will be available on the Internet by Oct. 1.

"The size and scope of the information released by the federal government is vast, as is its effect on the lives of many Americans," OMB officials said in a statement. "Leveraging the power of the Internet, the government regularly provides citizens with population figures, cost-benefit analysis reports, and economic indicators. Every statistic that government releases could be improved through the implementation of better data quality guidance."

A 2000 law gave OMB the ability to request improved guidelines amid concerns about the quality of agency information disseminated through Web sites and other means.

In the letter, OIRA Administrator John Graham also noted that the government's e-government chief, Mark Forman, is leading work on a content model for presenting government information on the Web.

It will include guidelines on how agencies should identify Web-based material and what information they should make available on the Internet.

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