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Suggested Process for Developing Priorities and a Publication Schedule

Here is a simple 3-step process that can help you meet the requirements of   Section 207(f)(2) of the E-Government Act of 2002. It will help you decide what should be on your website-both now and in the future-and help you set publication priorities.

Just follow the steps and keep this in mind: If it can be public, and is of interest to the public, it should be public. Agencies dealing with national defense and law enforcement should weigh security needs as well as the public's need to know.

This is just one example of how you might develop your publication schedule. There are other ways it can be done. If you already have a publications schedule and priorities that you can share with other agencies, please contact us so we can post it to the toolkit.

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Step 1: Determine your audiences

  • Worksheet 1:  List all the audiences who do, should, and might visit your website. Determine the potential size of those audiences.
  • Think about audiences in the broadest sense, for example, business partner groups, client groups, media, elected officials, librarians and researchers, international visitors, senior citizens, students, children, parents, teachers, and so forth. And-of course-be sure to list "citizens" as an important audience group.
  • Note your list on Worksheet 1.

Step 2: Develop your inventory

  • Use Worksheet 2 to create your inventory. List the audience groups you defined in Step 1 down the left side of the matrix, and list the various components of your organization or organization across the top.
  • Complete the matrix by answering two questions: What does this audience group want to know from this part of our organization? What does this part of our organization need to tell this audience group? List broad categories of information, such as press releases, budget documents, and publications.
  • Include both content that currently exists on your website and content that should exist on your website.
  • Make sure you address common requests. Look at customer questions from email, focus groups, phone calls, and surveys. Look at your search logs to identify information visitors to your website have sought. Talk to people who answer the telephones or act as desk receptionists.

Step 3: Set priorities

  • Use Worksheet 3 to help you set priorities.
  • In column 1, list all the content items you identified as your inventory, on Worksheet 2.
  • In column 2, note whether the information or services already exists on the website, exists in some form but is not on the website, or has to be developed (to determine a general Level of Effort).
  • In column 3, note whether the information is:
    • Priority 1: required by law, regulation, Presidential directive, or other official directive or to ensure national security
    • Priority 2: mission-critical and essential for program operations, but not required by law, regulation, or Presidential directive (i.e.-information or services that are directly tied to your mission and/or strategic plan)
    • Priority 3: frequently requested information or services that would improve organization business processes and/or customer service to the public (e.g. most commonly used forms, documents, applications, transactions, etc.).
    • Priority 4: other information
  • Some inventory items may fall into more than one priority. Assign them the highest priority.
  • In column 4, assign a publication target for every inventory item that is not already posted on the website. Clearly the content at the highest priority levels should be targeted first. But also look for opportunities to post content that already exists in another format that could be easily converted for web use, particularly if that content will improve customer service. We suggest grouping content into 3 target categories: 1 year out, 2 years out, and 3 years out, but you may want to add more.
  • Be sure that, as you assign a publication target, you have the resources to meet that target.


Page Updated or Reviewed: December 14, 2005

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