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Foundations for Integrated Access to Environmental and Natural Resource Information
Project Summary 

The Foundations Project is a multi-agency collaborative project aimed at improving public access to environmental and natural resources data and information.  Developing intuitive and easy to use search tools and strategies is the Project's focus.  Staff and agency participants have added metadata to many kinds of electronic information resources using Dublin Core metadata, including HTML pages, PDF files, and geographic information.  These resources can be used to develop advanced search and retrieval techniques that integrate access to this information across agency Web sites.  Based on project research findings and using principles of information architecture, we have created a "blueprint" that specifies best practices for state environmental agency Web sites.  

In summary, the project has: 

  • Identified consumer-oriented needs for environmental information and data maintained or made available through state agencies
  • Designed an approach that will provide integrated access to environmental information and data consistent with emerging technology standards, guidelines and best practices 
  • Fully evaluated the approach's effectiveness for integrated access, using external reviewers who represent a wide range of public points of view 
  • Designed, evaluated and expedited guidelines for documentation, thesaurus and metadata implementation, which promote responsive search and retrieval procedures 
  • Provided and contintue to provide skilled assistance to state agencies that catalog environmental information 
  • Prepared a workable blueprint, called Best Practice Guidelines for Web Metadata , to improve discovery and retrieval of environmental information resources, based on research and testing throughout the project 
  • Conducted outreach to inform key user groups and promote implementation of the blueprint throughout state government.
The Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources, Information Policy Council and the Environmental Quality Board has received periodic updates.  Completion date for the project was June 30, 2000.  For more information contact: 
Eileen Quam  Information Architect 651.297.2341 
Funding for the Foundations Project was approved by the Minnesota Legislature, ML 1997, Chapter 216, Sec. 15, Subd. 11(a) Public Access to Natural Resource Data, as recommended by the Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources from the Future Resources Fund. 
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Updated May 3, 2006