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Searching for Documents on Energy.gov

January 30, 2012 - 7:07pm

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We’re always looking for ways to improve Energy.gov and very much appreciate feedback from our users.

In fact, after a visitor to our website voiced concerns last week about Energy.gov’s search functionality -- indicating trouble finding old, archived documents about Yucca Mountain, we quickly made improvements. Our overall update of Energy.gov was not the root cause of the problem, but it did make it easier to identify and address the issue.

One of the biggest challenges for federal websites – including Energy.gov -- is managing the millions of PDFs the government has online. That challenge existed before our redesign and still exists today. The problem is that unless older PDFs are correctly metatagged with relevant keywords, they may not show up in search results. The Energy.gov of today, however, is much better than what was offered before. And it’s getting better every day as we migrate additional documents and Departmental office websites to the new platform. Within a couple days of the concern being raised, we were able to quickly elevate additional Yucca Mountain documents, update their metadata and make them more findable. These documents were always available — and with improved metadata and a dedicated landing page for context, they are now more search friendly.

While we are incredibly proud of the new Energy.gov platform, there are Energy Department program office websites and subsequent documents that just aren’t part of the platform yet. To improve the availability and transparency of our information, we’re in the process of migrating the remaining program office content into the system – but this process takes some time.

At the Energy Department, we’re striving each day to make Energy.gov better and achieve the principles of Open Government: transparency, participation, and collaboration. We’d love more feedback on how to do so. Feel free to share your ideas.

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