Where to Find Federal Lowdown on Web Masters

John Makulowich

By John Makulowich

In the puree of bureaucratese
found on many government Web sites, the mission of the Office of Information Technology IT Policy On-Ramp is "to promote the strategic management and effective use of federal information technology through the collaborative development and execution of governmentwide programs and functions."

In fact, the organization is part of the General Services Administration, one of three central management agencies in the federal government alongside the Office of Personnel Management and the Office of Management and Budget.

The mission of the GSA is "to provide expertly managed space, supplies, services and solutions, at the best value, to enable federal employees to accomplish their missions." It was established July 1, 1949.

Buried a few levels deep on the OIT IT Policy On-Ramp World Wide Web
page (, within
a directory structure that recalls the days when file transfer protocol ruled the roost, and the Web was only a gleam in the eye of Tim Berners-Lee, you can find some interesting draft documents covering IT professionals, specifically the function of Web master.

For example, among the gems is a
position paper titled, "The Art and Science of the Webmaster: A Core Competency for FTS" (
virtuallibrary/webpositiondescriptions). Another interesting document is the departmental Web manager job description found at the Housing and Urban Development Web site (

You see, reading the site's introduction, that there are two departmental Web managers at HUD. One covers Internet Web products: homes and communities and electronic public information kiosks and answer machines sited in each HUD office. There is another that covers HUDweb, the HUD intranet.

Among the Web managers' duties are to develop and manage the department's Web-based information products, serving as editor in chief of the content and design; represent the department in interagency and intergovernmental policy-making efforts on the content of Web sites; serve as advocates and catalysts for developing and promoting new uses of Internet technology to improve the way HUD does business; and promote the department's Web sites among intended audiences as well as uncover needs and gather feedback.

If you are tasked with writing a position description, you can find more information on the duties and responsibilities of a federal Web master in two key places, the federal World Wide Web Consortium Guidelines (
guidelines.pdf) and the Defense Department Web Guidelines (
The first, a 55-page document in PDF, is titled, "World Wide Web Home Page Guidelines and Best Practices Prepared by the World Wide Web Federal Consortium; Revised Nov. 1996." The second is a 44-page memo from the deputy secretary of defense dated Dec. 7, 1998, with the subject, "Web Site Administration."

To contact John Makulowich, send e-mail to; his Web address is

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