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Guidance for Web Site Clean-up During Change of Administration

How to determine all content areas that need to be deleted, revised and updated, or archived:

  1. Who should be involved in this process: several staff areas are needed to accomplish these tasks appropriately and with needed immediacy.
    1. Managers: need to direct that this be done and review site changes or answer questions about office-specific areas; some may want levels of approval established in doing this.
    2. Web Content Staff: need to help establish system for review and provide inventory of pages to be revised and updated, deleted, and/or archived. In some cases, they may be the reviewers of the content per your office’s direction.
    3. Web Development Staff: need to implement changes once directed on specific changes.

  2. Outgoing political appointees - Named on pages: all information containing outgoing political appointees’ names should be identified through a search of your Web site holdings.
    1. About pages, contact us or directories, office sites, etc. will need careful searching.
    2. Once identified, names of Acting Officials should replace most of the entries that are in a “directory” or bio area of your site. Some may simply be deleted or archived (see below).
    3. Names of political appointees that are found in the content of the Web site should be revised to say “former…” or the content may be determined as needing deletion or archiving (see below)

  3. Outgoing political appointees – attributed content: Content specific to outgoing political employees needs to be archived or deleted. As general guidance, content belonging to the Secretary, Deputy Secretary, Surgeon General and OPDIV heads gets archived. All others get deleted. If you feel content belonging to others needs to be archived, please contact us (see below). Some content to look for:
    1. Biographical material
    2. Speeches and speech materials need to be archived or deleted.
    3. Multimedia materials, including podcasts, webcasts, videos, audio/radio/public service announcements, and other formats should be part of the search for political appointee materials. All use of political appointees speaking or appearing in videos should be removed from the Web, with copies retained for record purposes.
    4. Blogs and other social media content on our Web need to be removed and retained for records purposes.

  4. Other staff outgoing or have departed: as Step 1. occurs, site information should be reviewed and updated (particularly directory or contact us or about us sites) so that current staff are listed in these areas.
    1. Please follow the same directions as in Step 1. but most of these can simply be revised and updated or deleted. There will be less need to archive these names and bio information.

  5. Web sites that supported initiatives/programs of the outgoing Administration: you will receive further guidance related to Web sites that supported specific initiatives or programs in the near future. HHS has many ongoing programs that cross Administrations and no action should be taken at this time other than to identify sites that may fall into this category. Senior incoming management will want to be involved in any decision re deleting, revising and updating, or archiving.

Once you have discussed these process steps in your offices and if you need to have other questions addressed regarding this guidance, please email both and with your specific questions (please address all emails to both).

These actions should be completed no later than February 13, 2009 and the most important senior level information should be updated as quickly as possible after the swearing in of the President on January 20th. Many updates can be made now if individuals have left and Acting staff are in place. If no Acting staff are in place, the position should be listed as vacant. Constant updates will be needed in the next several weeks. Marking your sites appropriately will help you in repeated updates.

Primary content dealing with Secretary Leavitt (Secretary’s page, speeches, etc.) will be archived by WCD the morning of January 20.

General Archiving and Deleting Guidance:

  • Visitors come to Web sites with the expectation that information presented is current. Outdated content that has been retained for reference purposes must be clearly marked lest the visitor act on incorrect information. Failure to differentiate outdated material from current material undermines the Department’s credibility.
  • Archiving information, including how to build an archive site if you do not currently have one can be found on the HHS Web site at:
  • Guidance re content disposition is available at:
  • Please create a management-based process before deleting or archiving information so that any legal or historical documentation is not expunged inappropriately.