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Enabling education employees

Employees of the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) in the United Kingdom will gain better access to information in the organization's intranet through the installation of new portal technology.

The department will implement the Plumtree Corporate Portal from Plumtree Software and software from Semio to organize electronic documents and categorize content for information management and discovery.

The portal will be used within the existing DfES intranet to connect a variety of internal communities—teams, projects and functional areas—providing easier access and a cross-organizational view of all the information within the intranet. Semio technology "will systematically crawl and organize data from reports, speeches, policy documents, human resource information, government intranets, Web sites and more, applying appropriate metatags to the data for more organized, centralized access through the Plumtree Corporate Portal interface," according to a recent press release from Semio. Forty-five hundred employees will be able to access the portal.

Says Ian Adkin, e-program manager for DfES, "We were literally drowning in information. Semio helped us very quickly build a taxonomy customized to our unique business requirements. We've been using this taxonomy in our prototype portal to demonstrate and refine information requirements."

DfES expects to roll out the intranet to employees in the fall, with additional work planned to support use by other education sector agencies and partners working with DfES. The department was formed last year to foster and support lifelong learning. Development of the intranet is part of a larger government initiative to develop and implement e-business operations.

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