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7/6/2010
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California Unveils State News Aggregator

Content from more than 200 state agencies will appear on the news portal, drawn from more than 80 Twitter accounts, 40 YouTube channels and nearly 100 RSS feeds.

California has launched a new website that aggregates content -- including multiple social-networking feeds -- from more than 200 state agencies and departments.

More than 83 Twitter accounts, 40 YouTube channels and nearly 100 RSS feeds syndicate information onto the California News Portal, which went live on Friday.

The goal of the site is to provide up-to-the-minute news and information as the state releases it online. When separate agencies update their own sites or feeds, the aggregator automatically updates the site as well.

The site features an RSS feed of the latest news out of various California departments on the left-hand side of the pages, while the right side lists recent updates to Twitter feeds from state agencies.

Tabbed links at the top of the home page break updates down into categories such as "Education," "Business," "Health and Safety," "Family" and "Visit." Clicking on them provides aggregated content related to the specific topic.

California is encouraging all agencies to participate in the site by e-mailing links to their feeds to AskCIO@state.ca.gov. The state's public Information Officer or another executive-level manager must first approve the feed before it goes live, according to the site.

A list of state agencies participating in the new site can be found online.

California's IT department has been working on a host of projects lately to improve operations and how the state interfaces with the public. A big one is a massive data-center consolidation project ordered by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in February, on which state IT officials have been plugging away.

Another part of California's improvement plan is to use social-engagement technology to better reach the state's residents with services and information. In fact, in February state officials even asked California residents to submit ideas for how it could improve its social engagement with them on a crowdsourcing site.

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