Task Force: Locals Should Lead Portal Development

Local governments in Virginia should lead the effort to establish portals for their communities and move quickly to identify and select private, public or nonprofit organizations that can perform the task, according to a set of guiding principles to be released March 14 in Charlottesville by a state task force studying electronic communities.

The guiding principles are a precursor to developing a specific blueprint to aid communities in creating and maintaining community portals, said state officials.

The state eventually may form regional hosting centers to facilitate e-communities throughout the state, said Don Upson, Virginia secretary of technology.

The guiding principles for Virginia e-communities are:

* Individuals want to participate in the prosperity of the new economy;

*Local governments should lead the effort to bring their communities online;

*An electronic community should provide a broad spectrum of services;

*An electronic community should be accessible to everyone;

*An electronic community should embrace all identities, cultures and values of the state and nation.

*Virginia communities should work together to develop common standards for e-communities.

Virginia's three-pronged approach to building electronic communities is to engage government officials, build grassroots support that will lead to a single portal for each community, and integrate community portals with the state portal, Upson said.

Local portals are important because citizens do most of their transactions and receive most of their services at the local level, Upson said. So far, local governments have been largely ignored in building electronic environments, Upson told Washington Technology.

The e-communities task force was created last year by Virginia Gov. James Gilmore, who is expected to challenge local governments throughout the state to use the principles in establishing portals for their communities.

About the Author

William Welsh is a freelance writer covering IT and defense technology.

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