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Don't Duplicate Existing Content

What It Is

Avoid duplicating or recreating content that already exists on your own or another federal public website. This is a best practice for managing your agency’s website.

Why It’s Important

Your audience can become confused if they find overlapping or inconsistent information on the same subject, either on your own website or on another federal website. The best practice to ensure accurate and quality web content is to create it once – by the organization having the greatest expertise - and use it many times, through links. By focus your efforts on creating content related to your own mission – and using links to related content – you save time and resources. It normally takes much less effort to spend some time looking to see if content already exists than (re)creating it.

Specific Policy, Legal or Other Requirements for Doing This

OMB Policies for Federal Public Websites require agencies to (#1A) “disseminate information to the public in a timely, equitable, efficient and appropriate manner” and (#2A) “maximize the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of information and services provided to the public.” By linking to content that already exists, instead of duplicating the effort already invested by the organization with the most expertise, you can manage your content more efficiently and enhance the integrity of the information and services you provide to the public.

How to Implement

  • Before creating new information on a particular topic, determine if that same – or comparable – information already exists on your own website or on another federal public website, including on a cross-agency portal.
  • USA.gov, the official portal of the U.S. government (formerly FirstGov.gov), can be a great resource to use for determining whether content already exists on another website. USA.gov maintains a list of cross-agency portals, including portals about a particular topic or audience group. USA.gov also organizes government-wide content by subject and provides a government-wide search.
  • When multiple organizations have a stake in the same – or comparable – content, both within and across agencies, you should consult with each other to find ways to share or coordinate content to mitigate duplication.
  • There may be situations where it is valuable for the public to have information on a particular topic from different sources. In these situations, be sure to organize the links to that information so that they are complementary.
  • If you identify government content that is conflicting, contact the web content manager for that/those organizations so they can reconcile the content. Above all, we do not want to confuse the public.


  • The Sustainable Development Partnerships Web Site coordinates existing or comparable information across agencies.
  • The employment page at the Department of State focuses not only on employment within the agency but also includes related employment opportunities, such as the portal to promote employment at all U.S. Intelligence Community agencies.

Many federal public websites follow this best practice. This practice is part of the guidelines and best practices published by the Interagency Committee on Government Information to aid agencies' implementation of OMB Policies for Public Websites.


Page Updated or Reviewed: January 12, 2007


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