Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Rewriting History

I'm not sure that a very good history has been written about the early development of egovernment. A recent article in Government Technology points out that some state websites celebrated their tenth anniversary this year. The article mentions that California, Massachussetts, Michigan, and Washington are among those laying claim to the first website. Add Utah to the list. While that may be controversial, it is clear that Governor Leavitt was the first Governor to verbalize a clear vision for online services. In 1993, he gave his Electronic Highway speech, encouraging agencies to move services to the internet:
"Internet. I challenge you to explore the possibilities of making the Internet available to every citizen. It is a technology that exists today that could provide every citizen with electronic mail and a means for parents to communicate with schools. It could also be the means to access state databases."
In early 1994, I began experimenting with Mosaic and putting up pages for the Division of General Services. We created a group called Access Utah to coordinate our egov efforts. By 1995, we had a dedicated state webmaster and by 1996 received second place in the Best of the Web competition. So we have been at this for over 11 1/2 years which is really a very short time in the whole scheme of things.

I made note of the tenth anniversary of the Electronic Highway speech on my original weblog two and a half years ago. The goals are still much the same; increase productivity, improve service, be more efficient.

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