Survey Manual

601.1 - USGS Web Standards

This policy chapter updates the requirements for USGS Web-related activities, including the responsibilities and procedures for the development and maintenance of all public USGS Web sites and Web pages.


OPR:  Office of Administration and Enterprise Information, Office of Enterprise Information

Instructions:  This replaces Survey Manual (SM) chapter 601.1 - USGS Web Standards, dated April 13, 2010.

1.  Purpose and Scope.

Access to U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) information through the Web is a powerful means of communicating and delivering our science to many audiences.  Web sites and Web pages containing science information that is released to the public are official publications of the USGS and, as such, must adhere to various standards and requirements.  This policy chapter updates the requirements for USGS Web-related activities, including the responsibilities and procedures for the development and maintenance of all public USGS Web sites and Web pages.

2.  Authorities.

A.  Paperwork Reduction Act 
B.  E-Government Act of 2002, Public Law 107-347 
C.  Policies for Federal Public Websites (Office of Management and Budget [OMB], M-05-04) 
D.  Improving Public Access to and Dissemination of Government Information and Using the Federal Enterprise Architecture Data Reference Model (OMB, M-06-02)

3. References.

A.  386 DM 3 – Web Management – Web Standards and Guidelines 
B.  SM 500.16 – Classification and Inventory of USGS Web Services 
C.  SM 502.4 – Fundamental Science Practices:  Review, Approval, and Release of Information Products
D.  SM 205.18 – Authority to Approve Information Products
E.  SM 550.1 – USGS Visual Identity System 
F.  SM Part 1100 – Publishing

4.  Policy.

A.USGS Web sites and Web pages must follow applicable requirements as documented in Policies for Federal Public Websites (OMB).  The internal Department of the Interior (DOI) Web Standards Handbook, which contains guidance such as the DOI linking policy, and the internal USGS Web Standards Handbook, which contains guidance on USGS Web activities such as the use of social media, must also be followed.  The USGS Web Standards Handbook supplements the requirements prescribed in this chapter and contains specific guidance for implementing and maintaining the Bureau’s public and internal Web presence, including information on requirements mandated by Federal law and standard Web page structural and content elements including metadata. The USGS Web Standards Handbook is available on the USGS Intranet Web site.

B.  USGS Web sites and servers must be registered in the USGS Web, Hosting, and Application Registry (SM 500.16).

C.  Public Web sites and Web pages containing science information must adhere to appropriate requirements for review, approval, and release of the USGS information products (refer to SM 502.4SM 205.18, and SM Part 1100 - Publishing).  Compliance with USGS Visual Identity System requirements is also required (SM 550.1).

5.  Definitions.

A.  Content.  Content is any material that is available on a Web site.

B.  Home Page.  A home page serves as the initial point of entry to each Web site. No Web site has more than one home page.

C.  Web Page.  A Web page may be static, dynamic, a form, or an application interface. It contains content such as text, images, sounds, and video that is viewed through a Web browser, at a single unique URL.

D.  Web Site.  A Web site is a collection of related Web pages and applications that are intended to be a single site.  It has a home page and other pages and may have other elements in common such as navigation or branding.

E.  Web Site Maintainer or Webmaster.  A Web site maintainer or Webmaster is the individual(s) responsible for maintaining Web sites or Web pages.  Maintenance may include designing the Web site, generating and revising Web pages, replying to user comments, examining traffic through the site, ensuring the Web site complies with applicable policies, and managing access rights of different users of the Web sites.

6.  Responsibilities.  All USGS employees, volunteers, and contractors who are involved in the development of content and in the establishment and maintenance of Bureau Web sites and Web pages are responsible for complying with this policy.  Specific responsibilities for Web-related activities are as follows:

A.  USGS Web Site Maintainers and Webmasters.  All USGS Web site maintainers and Webmasters are responsible for adhering to the USGS, the DOI, and other Federal Government policies and procedures in establishing and maintaining their respective Web sites and Web pages.

B.  All USGS Managers are responsible for ensuring adherence to policies regarding USGS Web sites and Web pages under their authority.

C.  The Office of Communications and Publishing (OCAP) and the Office of Administration and Enterprise Information/Office of Enterprise Information (AEI) have the lead in carrying out responsibilities for overall USGS Web management and jointlywork in coordination with various USGS offices to provide advice and guidance on how to meet USGS Web site requirements.  The OCAP and AEI are responsible for collaborating with each other to develop and oversee policy related to establishing and maintaining USGS Web sites and coordinating with applicable DOI and USGS offices in these efforts.  This responsibility also includes, where practicable, establishing and implementing Bureauwide solutions for meeting the USGS Web-related activities.


/s/ Diane K. Wade                                                                                    January 15, 2013
_____________________________________________                        _______________
Diane K. Wade                                                                                                    Date
Associate Director for Administration and Enterprise Information
and Acting Associate Director for Human Capital