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4/14/2009
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NIST Creates YouTube Channel

Standards body's site has drawn 4,000 views to date.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology has turned to YouTube to help teach citizens about its programs.

NIST announced last week that it has created its own channel on the video social networking site. The creation of the channel is just one of many steps NIST will take to reach out to people on the Web.

"This official YouTube channel is the first of several planned NIST Web sites hosted by the private sector," Gail Porter, director of NIST's public and business affairs office, said in a statement. "The effort is part of a broader, government-wide effort to encourage openness and transparency and to 'go to where the people are.' "

The move is part of a larger U.S. government plan to make more information available to the public. The U.S. Department of Commerce negotiated a contract with Google so its agencies can create YouTube channels. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Census Bureau also are participating. The federal government is negotiating similar contracts with other social media sites, according to the Commerce Department.

Viewers can visit NIST's YouTube channel and share video with friends, comment on the material, and post links on their own Web pages. The channel, which has been active for about two months, had 57 subscribers and 4,000 views by Tuesday. Subscribers receive notices each time new videos have been uploaded. The channel has 12 videos that explain what NIST is and what its researchers do.

"We will be changing featured topics regularly, to highlight work from across NIST," Porter said.

InformationWeek will be highlighting innovative government IT organizations in an upcoming issue. Nominate your agency by submitting an essay on your most innovative IT initiative completed in the last year. Find out more, and nominate your organization by May 1.

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