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  Daily Briefing  

November 2, 2000

Best Feds on the Web winners announced

By Kellie Lunney

The votes have been cast and the results are in for's fourth annual Best Feds on the Web competition. After sifting through dozens of nominations, the judges picked 10 sites deemed worthy of the title Best Feds.

The winners hail from a variety of agencies and cover a range of topics including public health, air traffic control and patents. The winners all excelled at meeting their mission and serving their customers, proving that federal agencies are capable of revolutionizing the way they interact with their customers.

The Best Feds competition is based on the following criteria:

  • Customer Service: Provides excellent service to the public by having a well-designed site that includes a large amount of useful information.
  • Business Practices: Uses the Web to improve business practices in an individual agency or across government.
  • New Technologies: Makes use of new technologies that other federal sites should consider emulating.
The Best Feds competition does not attempt to evaluate all federal Web sites, but relies on sites nominated by users. Also, sites recognized with previous Best Feds awards were not eligible for this year's competition.

The Best Feds on the Web for 2000, in no particular order, are:

National Women's Health Information Center, (Department of Health and Human Services)

This attractive and user-friendly site contains a wealth of information on women's health issues, from domestic violence to breastfeeding. Our judges found that stumping the search engine on a health topic was no easy feat. Information on women's health-related congressional legislation from 1997 to the present is also featured.

AirNow (Environmental Protection Agency)

This site provides public health information on the environmental effects of air pollution, featuring interactive ozone maps, air quality forecasts and health advisories that help keep users in the loop about the air they breathe. Interested in the current visibility levels in downtown Denver or on Chicago's Michigan Avenue? No problem. The site links to regional Webcams showing air quality in various parts of the country.

Federal Technology Service (General Services Administration)

The clean, simple design of this site appealed to our judges, but it's usefulness to the customers it serves is what really won them over. Users can visit the wireless store to buy phones, pagers and other high-tech gadgets. FTS' site also features a "Share-in Savings" section to help contractors determine whether projects qualify for FTS' share-in-savings program and other special contracting strategies.

Energy Department

Scoring major points with lively graphics, and a "Kidz Zone" that explains methane hydrate deposits and cancer radiation treatment in plain language, Energy's newly revamped site proves it's more than just a pretty face. In-depth information on topics such as alternative heating and air conditioning, and perks that include an interactive periodic table of elements and a Q&A with a scientist convinced the judges that DOE is serious about getting the public excited about its work. In the market for a water heater or alternative fuel vehicle? Full information about them is available at the site's shopper's corner.

Lifelines (Navy Department)

This site is the welcome wagon for sailors, their families, and veterans. Lifelines provides information on housing assistance, health benefits, pay issues and relocation policies. The site also provides dating tips for single sailors and advice on how to get along with shipmates. An average of 2,000 people visit the site daily. Lifelines will also soon be available on handheld computing devices.

Patent Electronic Business Center (U.S. Patent and Trademark Office)

This new site does business 21st century-style, allowing inventors to file patent applications electronically with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Digital certificates provide the security necessary for patent applications, and inventors can apply for them online. Users can do patent searches, check the status of their applications and pay fees—all with the click of a mouse.

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (National Institutes of Health)

Visitors to this site will find invaluable information on neurological disorders, ranging from Parkinson's disease to narcolepsy. It includes entire sections devoted to funding programs and patient studies. The site's low-key design is more practical than eye-catching, but the depth of information—particularly on rare disorders—along with its accessibility, make it worth the visit.

Historic Places of the Civil Rights Movement (National Park Service)

This site tells the history of the civil rights movement, against a backdrop of black and white photos depicting powerful images of the March on Washington and Martin Luther King Jr. in a Birmingham, Ala. jail. Our judges were impressed by the site's clear and comprehensive rendering of one of the 20th century's most important movements. Click on a map of the U.S. to view the churches, schools, homes, and neighborhoods where many important civil rights events occurred.

Air Traffic Control (Federal Aviation Administration)

This site bills itself as "the most comprehensive source of air traffic control information available anywhere on the Internet," and judging from the wealth of material on the site, agreed. Designed primarily for air traffic controllers, the site provides jobs and training information with the goal of improving quality and safety within the air traffic community. Take a virtual flight through the nation's hectic air traffic control system with the "Gate to Gate" software.

PLANTS (Agriculture Department)

A botanist's dream, this site offers an extensive database with everything anyone would ever want to know about the plant kingdom—including names, identification information, species abstracts, and crop information. PLANTS serves as ground zero for the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the site's information is fed directly into the Integrated Taxonomic Information System that is used by natural resource management agencies and the Forest Service's Natural Resource Information System.

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