Finding a needle in the Grand Canyon
To help citizens find all the government information they need, the state of Arizona has developed Find-It Arizona, a pilot site for the Government Information Locator Service (GILS).
Already underway in more than 20 states, GILS gathers data across government Web sites, allowing citizens and state agencies to search for information without needing to know which agency provides the information or service.
To help aid the search function for the site, Arizona is using metadata tagging software called TagGen from Hiawatha Island Software (HiSoftware).
“TagGen helped us jump-start the Find-It Arizona project by providing a simple, effective method to index library and state agency content with rich GILS metadata,” says Susan Alden, library consultant at the Arizona State Library and project manager for the Arizona GILS. The project involves a partnership among the Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records, state agencies and public and university libraries across Arizona.
According to the press release, the GILS-specialized search engine provides more relevant search results than full-text search engines because it looks for metatags, which index the content of a Web page, and displays metatagged documents near the top of the search results. GILS also provides subject categories as an alternative search method for users who prefer to browse for information.
According to Alden, TagGen supported the GILS metadata schema without requiring extensive customization.
“We can automatically apply metatags across multiple files and directories,” she says. “As a result, we have dramatically increased both the content and relevancy of information being accessed through Find-It Arizona.
After the pilot project is completed in June, it will be considered as a link from the state of Arizona Web portal, currently under development.