Virginia Portal to Allow Customized Access

Virginia Portal to Allow Customized Access

By William Welsh, Staff Writer

JULY 26 ? Virginia residents who use the state's Web portal now will be able to personalize the portal's home page to obtain the information they most desire.

The ability to customize the Web page is "a significant step toward establishing electronic governance framework in the commonwealth," said Va. Gov. James Gilmore (R).

The announcement was made July 20 at the monthly meeting of the state's Council of Technology Services by Technology Secretary Don Upson and employees of the Virginia Information Providers Network, or VIPNet.

VIPNet provided the expanded portal capabilities. It is operated via a partnership of the commonwealth and Virginia Interactive Inc. of Richmond, Va., a subsidiary of National Information Consortium Inc., Overland Park, Kan.

Funding for network activities comes from revenue generated through the sale of user fees associated with electronic services and does not require new tax dollars, according to VIPNet.

"The application was built completely in-house with our application vendors [and] came at no cost to the state," said Tracy Smith, e-government specialist with VIPNet.

The initial release of the "My Virginia" home page allows users to update or remove channels or links within information categories, which include interactive government services, local public schools, state government entities and traffic information.

The personalizing feature of the state Web portal is part of an overall effort by Virginia to improve electronic service to citizens. A crucial aspect will be to pull together various agency services and make them available through a unified, interconnected portal.

Although citizens can add individual agencies to their personalized state home page, they currently cannot conduct transactions through them. The capability to do transactions and receive reminders through the customized portal eventually will be added, Smith said.

"In the not-too-distant future, Virginians will have the option to request electronic reminders to renew a state license and be able to complete multiple government agency tasks through a single Web site," said Rodney Willet, general manager of VIPNet.

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