Inauguration spells change for change.gov

Tuesday - 1/20/2009, 9:25am EST

By Max Cacas
FederalNewsRadio

At Noon today, Barack Obama becomes the 44th President of the United States. One minute afterwards, the websites that have been the online presence for Mr. Obama, and his soon-to-be predecessor, President Bush, will also undergo some changes.

As we've been reporting since early November, change.gov is the wildly successful website that has been up and running since the day after Mr. Obama's big victory at the polls.

Today at Noon, the young, "new media"-savvy webmasters of change.gov will take over the keys to whitehouse.gov .

The Agence France Presse (AFP) newswire reports it is being touted as "a bold experiment in interactive government", based largely on the web 2.0 lessons learned from change.gov.

One of the features of the new whitehouse.gov that will be ported over from change.gov will be the Citizens Briefing Book, where people can e-mail ideas and allow some to others comment on those ideas. Another is "your seat at the table," in which the proceedings of some White House meetings will be posted, and folks can comment on them there.

As for the Bush Administration's whitehouse.gov, under the law, White House websites become the property of the National Archives once a president's term is over, according to Sharon Fawcett, the Archives' Director of Presidential Libraries.

"We have an archived version of the President's website, just as we have available the Clinton website. All the press conferences are there, the papers, everything."

Fawcett says that these items are significant, because it will allow the public to view key documents from the Bush Administration.

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On the Web:
Obama Transition website - change.gov
Official White House website - whitehouse.gov

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