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U.S. Geological Survey Manual

500.16 - Classification and Inventory of USGS Web Services


OPR: Office of Information Services

1. Policy. A detailed inventory of USGS web servers will be created and kept up-to-date by the USGS webmaster for use in monitoring USGS web service performance and to respond to inquiries from government agencies and the public.

2. Background. The Bureau is accountable for the function of USGS web servers and the information they provide to the public through the Internet. From time to time, the USGS must respond to direct inquiries about USGS web activities from organizations, such as the Department of the Interior, the General Accounting Office, and the Office of Management and Budget. An accurate and complete inventory of USGS web services is required to respond to such inquiries.

The USGS search engine is designed to provide comprehensive and appropriate links to information provided by USGS web servers; to achieve this goal, the Bureau needs to know which USGS web servers should be indexed by search engines run by USGS and outside organizations. Conversely, information made available informally through web servers for collaboration among colleagues of USGS personnel should not be indexed by search engines that originate outside the USGS.

3. References.

A. Privacy Act of 1974 (5 USC 522a)

B. Electronic Intellectual Property Act of 1998

C. SM 500.5 - Policy on the Release of Information to the News Media

D. SM 500.8 - Review of USGS Publications and Abstracts of Oral Presentations for Policy-Sensitive Issues

E. SM 500.9 - Approval by the Director for Outside Publication and Oral Presentation

F. SM 500.15 - Customer Service Policy

G. SM 500.14 - Safeguard and Release of USGS Data and Information

H. SM 500.24 - Policy for Release of Computer Databases and Computer Programs

I. SM 504.1 - Standards for Digital Spatial Data Released to the Public

J. SM 600.3 - Networking of Computing Resources

4. Definitions.

A. A web server refers here to any computer that serves substantive information over the Internet using protocols commonly referred to as "the world-wide web," including Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) and publicly-available anonymous File Transfer Protocol (FTP) and Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP). This definition does not include internal FTP transfers, electronic mail services, or network-enabled appliances, such as routers, switches, plotters, or printers.

B. A web service is an effort to provide information to an intended audience using a web server. A web server may provide several different web services. Web services are categorized as follows:

(1) Service Type: Public

Purpose: Provide access to USGS information, products, and services approved for release to the public.

Access restrictions: Access to content is not restricted. Pages are designed to facilitate indexing by USGS and external search engines.

(2) Service Type: Internal

Purpose: Provide access to internal USGS information to employees of USGS and selected non-USGS individuals and organizations.

Access restrictions: Access to content is restricted using methods specific to the web server software (for example, .htaccess files). Pages intended for broad internal audiences are designed to facilitate indexing by the USGS search engine.

(3) Service Type: Restricted

Purpose: Provide access to specific information for a carefully selected set of users within and outside USGS in settings where need-to-know considerations or secure transactions apply.

Access restrictions: Search engines are denied access. Appropriate barriers to access by unauthorized users are applied

(4) Service Type: Developmental

Purpose: Provide information in a collaborative setting to colleagues within and outside the USGS, development and testing of new USGS products and services, or research on information dissemination.

Access restrictions: Search engines are denied access. Appropriate barriers to access by unauthorized users are applied. Access by the public is generally not appropriate.

C. A webmaster is the person responsible for running a web server or servers and organizing and managing the contents of the sites.

5. Procedures.

A. Access logs will be retained for a period of time as determined by Federal information resource management mandates in order to report appropriate statistics to the Department. Refer to the USGS Web Privacy Statement for additional information.

B. Administrators of USGS web servers will restrict access based on intended audience and purpose for which information is being published on the web and will design their information services to support appropriate access and indexing by search engines as indicated for each type of service.

C. The inventory of USGS web servers will include the web services provided, the expected accessibility, Internet protocol addresses used, host and domain names and aliases, preferred alias for use by the public if applicable, and contact information of the system administrator(s) and person(s) responsible for the information content. Information will be provided by the operational disciplines, regional directorates, and the Director's office to the USGS webmaster. The USGS webmaster will subsequently make the information available as an internal web service to USGS employees and contractors.

D. As administrator of the USGS search engine, the USGS webmaster, in consultation with the appropriate Bureau entities, including the Office of Geographic Information, will publicize within the USGS the methods by which web pages can be designed to facilitate discovery (or to inhibit discovery, where that is the appropriate goal) by search engines of the USGS and outside organizations.

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U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA, USA
Contact: OIS, Corporate Information Technology Branch
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Last modification: 13-Feb-2013@15:33 (stm)