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Smarter search for Minnesota

The state of Minnesota is working with an enterprise search provider to improve its Web sites and to develop a new Web hosting service for state agencies. The Minnesota Office of Enterprise Technology’s Web site will integrate Vivisimo’s Velocity Search Platform into a new content management system.

The project will meld the capabilities of both solutions with the goals of: indexing nearly a million pages of state content, providing federated search of external Web sites, and making the information available through a single search box for public facing sites and on intranet and extranets for state employees and the public.

A current project in the multipronged effort, called License Minnesota, will provide a single point of access for nearly 600 licenses issued by about 50 state agencies. With the help of Velocity’s search and discovery tools, the new site will offer a better user experience by replacing an older site that required residents to call or write for license applications.

"Our new License Minnesota Web site will take e-licensing up a level so that, as we roll this out, our citizens will be able to apply for or renew all licenses issued by all state agencies from one portal," says Eileen Quam, information architect for the state’s Office of Enterprise Technology.

Quam works with the state agencies on taxonomies to help categorize information on their Web sites. The goal is to offer departments options that range from having the Office of Enterprise Technology host the site to a more decentralized model, in which an agency manages its site more closely and customizes search parameters for its site, receiving technical expertise from the Office of Enterprise Technology. "Designing the look of the user interface and making choices about results rankings and relevancy—those are choices that belong under the agency and not in our office," Quam says.

In a recent press release, Vivisimo reports that Minnesota chose its solution because of its flexible user interface and easy configuration.

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