PRESIDENT CLINTON AND VICE PRESIDENT GORE:
Improving Citizen Access to Government
With Launch of New White House Web Site
White House Press Release
July 7, 2000
Today, the White House announced the launching of its newly updated web site, "Welcome to the White House," at www.whitehouse.gov. The new site, which features a more current design and more user-friendly features than the previous site, will give users quicker and easier access to the wide range of on-line information and services provided by the White House. Today's announcement builds on the Clinton-Gore Administration's efforts to expand public access to on-line government information and services, and give the American people the "Information Age" government they deserve.
BRINGING GOVERNMENT CLOSER TO PEOPLE
Since its debut in October 1994, "Welcome to the White House" has become one of the most popular sites on the Internet, providing millions of users worldwide with an array of useful information about the White House and the federal government. The site, which receives 1.2 million hits per week, has developed into a valuable tool for Americans to learn about their government and the issues that affect their lives. Some of the most popular features of the site include:
- Information on the offices of the President, Vice President, First Lady, and Mrs. Gore, including how to contact them by phone, mail, or e-mail;
- The Briefing Room, containing the latest White House press releases and briefings;
- The Virtual Library, a collection of all documents released by the White House since the start of the Clinton-Gore Administration;
- Record of Progress, tracking our nation's prosperity and progress since President Clinton and Vice President Gore took office in 1993;
- Gateway to Government, providing citizens with useful government information in areas such as housing, employment, education and training, and health, as well as links to White House offices, Cabinet, and other federal agencies;
- The White House for Kids, a first-of-its-kind site for children who want to learn about their federal government;
- The history of the White House, with interesting facts about U.S. presidents, first ladies, and their families; and
- The latest White House tour schedule, event descriptions, and an on-line historical tour of the White House.
IMPROVING ON-LINE ACCESS AND SERVICES
To keep pace with changing technology and improve public access to government, the White House has updated its web site and production system with state-of-the-art technology and a contemporary design. The new site is:
- Easier to use. The new site offers users a clearer, shorter path to content with the addition of a standard navigation bar and navigation footer on each page, making it easier to move from place to place within the site. Also, users now have the ability to do a keyword search from any page on the site;
- More accessible. New technology can recognize the type of browser being used and deliver the web pages to the user in the most appropriate format for the browser. Also, a text-only option was added to every page, giving users the choice of whether to view graphics or just text;
- Equipped with state-of-the-art technology. An automated updating process will streamline maintenance of the site and give users quicker access to the most current information;
The White House Office of Communications will manage the content of the site, and the Office of Administration's Information Systems and Technology division will handle technical support and maintenance. Security is a high priority, and new security measures are constantly being put in place to anticipate and address the threat of cyber attacks.
USING TECHNOLOGY TO MAKE GOVERNMENT MORE EFFECTIVE
President Clinton and Vice President Gore are committed to using the power of the Internet to make government work better for the American people. With the Vice President's leadership, the Clinton-Gore Administration has expanded the availability of government information and services to the public, including the following:
- Making government more accessible. Announced the creation of FirstGov (www.firstgov.gov), a web site that will give citizens the ability to search all on-line resources offered across the federal government from a single web site;
- Helping Americans stay healthy. Launched Healthfinder (www.healthfinder.gov), a gateway site on the Internet that provides Americans with reliable health information;
- Keeping seniors informed. Unveiled Access America for Seniors (www.seniors.gov), an Internet site providing a wide range of information and services for older Americans;
- Making adoption easier. Announced the launch of a national web site in 2001 to help break down geographical barriers to adoption by linking children in foster care with possible adoptive families;
- Supporting teens. Announced a new gateway site for teenagers (www.americasteens.gov) offering a wide range of information to help teens do their homework, pursue a hobby, or choose a career;
- Helping workers prepare for retirement. Unveiled a new Internet online retirement planner that allows workers to compute estimates of their future Social Security retirement benefits so they can better prepare for their financial future;
- Encouraging citizen participation. Announced a new service called Ask the White House, a unique opportunity for the public to ask questions through an Internet news organization about the important policies and issues that make up the President's agenda.
BUILDING ON A RECORD OF CREATING DIGITAL OPPORTUNITY
The Clinton-Gore Administration has improved access to technology and helped create digital opportunity for more Americans by:
- Working to bridge the digital divide by increasing access to computers, the Internet, and high-speed networks in America's underserved urban and rural communities;
- Creating the E-rate program, which secures low-cost Internet connections for schools, libraries, rural health clinics and hospitals;
- Creating Community Technology Centers to provide computer access and educational services to low-income urban and rural communities across the country;
- Creating Neighborhood Network learning centers to help people in publicly assisted housing learn critical computer skills; and
- Signing electronic signatures legislation which eliminates legal barriers to electronic commerce while protecting consumers.