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Who knew podcasts and blogs were shovel ready?

There's good news for Web consultants in the state's list of shovel-ready projects for the new federal stimulus program: More than $12 million worth of Web projects - including a Web project to track state shovel-ready projects (download an Excel spreadsheet showing all the projects - which actually shows even better news for general IT consultants).

Among the shovel-ready Web work: A $1-million upgrade of Massvacation.com:

Boston Web Development+Enhancements - Podcasts, Thematic Microsites ... Enhancement of www.massvacation.com website, to include podcasts, microsites, webisodes, streaming video. $1 million.

The state would also spend $1 million to:

Develop a web application that enables the federal stimulus "Czar" to report on how stimulus funds are being allocated, and enables recipients of the funding to report, in real time, on how the money is being spent, and on project performance and outcomes. May also allow citizens to have input into or comment on the allocation and spending of funds, via tie in with new Mass.Gov "Commonwealth Conversations" blog or via its own citizen input mechanism.

Also planned: $2.5 million to build a cable/online video network for the state:

This project entails using an initial capital investment to create an interactive TV and web-based network, Civic Engagement Broadcasting Network (CENB), to make the working of Massachusetts government transparent and available on demand and to encourage the civic participation of the citizens of the Commonwealth. CENB programming will be delivered by cable television and an interactive website that includes high quality video, both live streams and archived programs.

The state Department of Environmental Protection would spend $3.5 million to build a Web site:

MassDEP envisions a virtual agency office, leveraging the power of the Internet to provide a single location, with a consistent message, where the public and the regulated community can carry on their business with MassDEP from anywhere at anytime. The virtual office entails the following: increase transparency; expand the scope and breadth of environmental information available on-line; deliver that information through a portal that makes it easy to search and query environmental data; conduct online file reviews, and provide the public with the opportunities for civic engagement. MassDEP needs to allow on-line reviews similar to those available at the registry of deeds to expand the public-private partnerships to fast-track cleanups and spur Brownfields redevelopment. Key components of this project are to:

  • Acquire and implement an Enterprise Content Management System,
  • Develop a web application to search by municipality, name of site, type of chemical, responsible party, etc
  • Display/overlay a map interface

The state would hire a consultant - at $450,000 - for the District Attorney Web Portal Project:

The District Attorney Web Portal Project is to provide consulting services for 9 District Attorney Offices to design, develop and implement each District's Web portal as part of Mass.gov. During FY07 both the MDAA and Essex District Attorneys Office worked in conjunction with ITD to "portalize" their web presence. In FY09 the Berkshire DA Office worked with ITD to "portalize" their web presence and conform to the development and content standards of Mass.gov. Due to resource constraints, the MDAA wishes to hire a consulting firm to portalize the remaining nine districts so that the state-wide DA offices will have the same look and feel to present one face of government to the public.

By contrast, the Massachusetts Export Center thinks it only needs $45,000 for a new Web site:

The Massachusetts Export Center would like to develop a new online export forum that would offer a full range of free resources to educate Massachusetts businesses on all aspects of exporting. The forum would be specifically named (e.g., "Tools of Trade," "Exporters Toolkit," "Export Resource Forum," etc.) and featured prominently on the Massachusetts Export Center web site. The forum would include the following resources: Publications, Books and guides , Downloadable fact sheets, Newsletter, Links , Global trade statistics , On-demand training. The resources would cover: Global Trade Banking & Finance , Exporting & International Business Development , Global Trade Logistics, Export Regulatory Compliance

The State Library has a shovel-ready $3.1-million project:

The State Library proposes to create a virtual library of Massachusetts State Documents. This project will build upon two previous projects to establish a system to capture and permanently store documents already in electronic form and another to add full text searching capability. The Library seeks to scan all Massachusetts State Documents in its collection and make them available in a larger repository. These documents are reports and other publications, primarily from the 19th and 20th centuries, by the governor’s office, the legislature and state agencies. Most important among these are the Acts and Resolves, the Legislative Documents (every bill filed by the legislature), House and Senate Journals and the Public Document series of agency annual reports.

Here's a $780,000 Web project for transportation wonks:

Architect external (public facing) environment for EOT/MHD so that all applications are all on one consistant platform (.NET and MS SQL Server) ensuring that as we go forward, it will be easily configurable. Include selected MHD GIS planning data that is currently collected and updated at great cost but not available on the Web to outside agencies or the public. Integrate MHD map based applications on the same platform with CommWorks, the new web based mapping application currently being rolled out on the EOT website in accordance with the Transportation Bond Bill reporting requirements.

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Their penny-pinching is making the rest of us look bad! :)

Seriously, though, "Web site" could mean something any 12 year-old could make. Read it instead as "software" (or possibly "software and hardware", or sometimes even "extensive requirements analysis, hiring domain experts, software, hardware, data conversion, training, months of data entry, maintenance, insurance for when something goes wrong, etc."), and 7-digit price tags make sense.

Disclosure: I'm a consultant on Internet and technical software, and am newly available. But I avoid bidding on gov't projects myself. :)

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You don't like filling out endless forms to certify your hiring practices and safety audits?

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I have a healthy terror of getting trapped in bureaucratic processes. I leave that adventure to braver people. :)

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Get your pencil ready, Adam, you can create the Export Center website / forum. I bet they don't need any hardcore coding, just someone who knows what he/she is doing with online web 2.0 media.

Yeah, it's only $45,000, but maybe you get a state pension!

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$1 million to build a bunch of podcasts and "Webisodes"? And put them on a Web site? Seems a bit pricey.

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It might not be pricey if they don't already have the hardware or bandwidth to push streaming video. And creating content isn't free (actors, production costs, etc)- unless you want it to look worse than Bob's Discount Furniture commercials.

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Is that whole list in the federal plan or is that just what the state requested? When would we know what projects in that list are getting a green light?

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The Boston Business Journal reports.

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