New Service to Aid House Web Sites

Posted August 13, 2004 at 1:12pm

In the ongoing effort to keep Congressional Web sites’ technology as up-to-date as possible, the Office of House Information Resources recently began offering House Members a Web-based service that would streamline procedures to get information to constituents quickly and efficiently.

In recent weeks, HIR has made Active Server Pages available to House Members for use in Web site design. The technology, already used by many private Web sites, allows for quicker Web page updates and makes it easier for offices to manipulate content and keep it fresh. With ASP, Web sites can be automatically updated with information coming from news sources, educational facilities, government institutions or other content providers.

“Adding increased functionality to your Web site with ASP, your constituents can easily navigate through a variety of subjects,” House Chief Administrative Officer Jay Eagen said in a recent letter to House Members. “For example an ‘Issues’ page may be designed to automatically link to press releases or photo galleries, and press releases may contain links to legislation or Committee information.”

“Active Server Pages have been in some use on the House side even before the House got the capability because some vendors have been providing this capability,” said Kathy Goldschmidt, director of technology services for the nonpartisan, nonprofit Congressional Management Foundation. “It’s a behind-the-scenes technology that most commercial Web sites are now built on. … Offices who are using these tools already tend to have fresher, richer Web sites.”

Goldschmidt said the technology allows office staff to manage Web sites without having to learn special Web creation tools. “It distributes the management responsibility so one person doesn’t have to be the funnel or possibly the bottleneck” when posting information, she said.

For more information on ASP, go to HIR’s intranet site at https://HouseNet.house.gov.