Energy offers vintage videos on new website

Tuesday - 1/11/2011, 7:23pm EST

By Meg Beasley
Reporter
Federal News Radio

Have you forgotten some of the basic science you learned in middle school? Or maybe you've forgotten what you (or your parents) wore in middle school? Either way, the new Department of Energy website has you covered.

As part of an effort to update their website, DOE is posting videos they call "Vintage DOE" that were found when the redesign team reviewed the department's archives. So far the department has only posted one, a primer on fusion, but promises to roll out more.

The fusion video begins with man-on-the-street interviews asking: "What is fusion research?" In addition to demonstrating that most people don't know, the clip showcases some of the best fashion trends from the 1970s. After declaring fusion "the ultimate energy" in bell bottomed font, the video gives a basic explanation of the science of fusion using Paper Mache and pool balls that will put you right back in 7th grade.

While Vintage DOE is entertaining, the department is hoping that it will highlight an interesting item in the archive while affording an opportunity to discuss the department's mission and current work on the same topic.

Vintage DOE is one of several changes the department stated will make the website easier to use and more engaging.

"Our vision is to turn energy.gov into a cutting-edge, 21st century, interactive information platform that delivers resources and services to you whenever and wherever you want it while also empowering Energy Department staff with simple tools and guidance to engage with you and also each other," the department stated in a release.

Other changes include the launch of a live chat series called "Energy Matters" to connect the public with DOE's energy experts. Secretary Steven Chu will host the first of these forums later this month. The department wants users to post topics they would like addressed on (http://www.facebook.com/energygov) DOE's Facebook page. Geothermal heat pumps, "cool roofs" and caves are some of the many comments already being discussed on DOE's wall.

In addition to helping the public connect to DOE, the new site will tell the stories of how DOE policies have touched the public. A section called "Profiles", formerly EnergyEmpowers.gov, is now a part of the DOE blog that uses personal stories, testimonials, pictures and videos to illustrate how energy programs impact the daily lives of people and businesses across the country.

These changes follow the recent launches of the Energy Blog and DOE on Facebook and Twitter.

The department wants to make even more changes, and has begun moving Energy.gov to the open source content management system Drupal. Officials say the technological overhaul is critical to creating the type of interactive, effective resource they have in mind.

In the meantime, while DOE Web designers move the department to the future, the public can have fun looking at its past.

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