Director’s Order #70: Internet and Intranet Publishing
Effective Date: January 8, 2001
Sunset Date: January 8, 2005
Table of Contents
4. Legal Authorities
6. Operational Policies and Principles
7. Responsibilities and Delegations
8. Public Internet Gateway (ParkNet)
9. NPS Intranet
10. General Requirements for Internet and Intranet Publishing
11. Additional Requirements Specific to Internet Publications
The purpose of this Director's Order is to define responsibilities and establish the standards for electronic information published by the National Park Service (NPS) on the Internet and Intranet.
Advances in electronic information technology have created extraordinary opportunities for the NPS to use Internet publications to inform and educate the public about the NPS mission and organization, the uniqueness of park resources, and the relevance of a national system of parks and partnership programs. The design and content of web publications has the potential to deliver and communicate essential information about the identity of NPS. The national park experience (which includes the “national park idea” as well as the cultural and natural resources of parks) provides us with a very potent frame of reference for who we are as a people and as a country. This information is available globally to anyone who has access to the Internet and who wants to learn about these American places; the many associated people, objects, and events; and the national values they represent.
Internet technology has also created new opportunities for the NPS to develop information management and delivery applications that are truly "Servicewide."
These applications have proven their usefulness by enabling a decentralized National Park Service to integrate access to its many and varied types of information resources.
Creating an effective Servicewide information portal on the Internet/Intranet requires more than just an electronic clearinghouse of well-organized links. It is dependent on
By complying with these standards, the NPS will avoid (1) unnecessary duplication of information (and the needless associated costs); (2) significant compromises in information discovery and retrieval (which affect job performance and public perception); and (3) inefficient use of information technology (IT) funding and development/support staff.
Consequently, in order to provide the most accurate, comprehensive and current information as possible, there is a need to define responsibilities and to establish principles, standards, and common sets of vocabulary that will govern NPS use of electronic information technologies.
This Director’s Order applies to the NPS’s use of Internet technologies to publish information externally and internally (Internet and Intranet), at all levels of the organization. This document applies to publications such as websites, web pages, home pages, searchable databases and web applications (refer to the definition in section 5.1). It applies to all NPS employees, contractors, volunteers, and partner organizations producing such publications. The challenge of this document is to address the technology, design, and content needs of a wide-range of professionals, and to provide guidance on the management of activities that are widely distributed both geographically and administratively.
4. LEGAL AUTHORITIES
4.1 General authority to issue this order is found in the NPS Organic Act (16 USC 1 through 4) and delegations of authority in part 245 of the Department of the Interior Manual (DM).
4.2 The following laws and other guidance direct the NPS in its Internet activities:
4.3 The following NPS guidance also relates to the use of the Internet technologies:
5.1 "Internet Publications" are items containing the most accurate, comprehensive, and current electronic information made publicly available by the NPS via Internet technologies. Publications include web sites, home pages, digital images, video and sound files, and databases.
5.2 "(NPS) Intranet" is the secure use of Internet technologies to limit communication of information within the NPS. Intranet publication differs from Internet publication only in that access to the Intranet is restricted to NPS employees and authorized users of NPS equipment, while Internet publications may be accessed by anyone.
5.3 "Park and Program Profiles" (or "profile") is the system which incorporates, manages and publishes a wide range of visitor, research, educational, resource, administrative, and management information based on “profiled” information via an established Internet/Intranet protocol. The profiles replace static "home pages" and enhance the search and discovery of Servicewide information, through common and custom interfaces specific to a park, program, or office.
5.4 "Web Content Author" (or "author") is the individual, team or office that is deemed to be primarily responsible for the intellectual content of an Internet or Intranet publication (creator, writer, editor, etc.). This position will serve as the "Point of Contact" for inquiries.
5.5 "Web Resource Producer" (or "producer") is the individual or group responsible for handling the technical aspects of Internet/Intranet publication, including, but not limited to, HTML coding, posting, modifying, and/or creating document files.
6. OPERATIONAL POLICIES AND PRINCIPLES
The following policies and management principles are adopted as fundamental to the use of the Internet and Intranet in the NPS:
6.1 NPS park web sites are "virtual parks," governed by the same mission, principles and policies as actual parks. The web sites of NPS programs, centers, and offices are also governed by their mission, principles, and policies.
6.2 The NPS will use the Internet and Intranet to deliver the most accurate, comprehensive and current information available about parks, programs and resources. Intranet publication will be used to make widely and easily available the organizational information NPS employees require in order to optimally perform their jobs.
6.3 Internet publications will serve as mission-critical public outreach and education tools. NPS Internet publications serve as a cost-effective primary visitor contact and education medium. They enhance and expand the success of the traditional means of visitor centers and printed material and more effectively deliver information to a global audience.
6.4 Intranet publications will serve as mission-critical NPS business tools. NPS Intranet publications are cost-effective employee contact media, enhancing and expanding the effectiveness of the traditional means of distributing employee information, and collecting business information via paper and electronic mail. Intranet also makes possible a wide variety of information collection and distribution projects that would otherwise require more time and funds than are available.
6.5 Internet and Intranet publications will be available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This continuous availability greatly extends our ability to reach the public in service of our mission. It also greatly enhances our business effectiveness operationally and allows the NPS to maintain a continually available reference library of important operational, procedural, and educational information for both routine and non-routine situations.
6.6 Internet and Intranet publications will rely on a Servicewide team effort. The NPS is fundamentally dependent on the contributions, ideas and actions of employees throughout the organization. The development of effective Internet and Intranet publications, and successful implementation of the technological infrastructure and information exchange standards supporting the wide discovery of, and access to, these information resources, relies upon a shared or "distributed" model of work, responsibility and accountability among professionals in the NPS.
6.7 NPS websites will not be used to endorse any product, service or enterprise. To avoid implied endorsements, all links from NPS web sites to non-NPS web sites will trigger a disclaimer intercept, unless the partner's web site has been reviewed and approved by the NPS under a formal agreement.
6.8 Webcams in parks will be permitted only for non-commercial resource protection and visitor uses, including for educational and scientific research purposes. Their operation and placement will be subject to written agreement and supervised by the benefiting park.
Parks must inform WASO ITC (NPS Webmaster) when they are considering installing or allowing webcams.
6.9 All NPS web sites will have domain names that tier off www.nps.gov. All content provided by the NPS will be hosted on ".gov" domains. Exceptions may be made only when content is hosted by an educational and/or scientific organization with which the NPS has a written "partnership" agreement.
6.10 All NPS web sites will comply with federal, departmental and agency standards for privacy protection pertaining to, but not limited to:
Additionally, the use of “cookies” (a general mechanism in which server side connections such as CGI and JAVA scripts can be used to both store and retrieve information on the client side of the connection) will be restricted and authorized only by the Director of the NPS. Persons seeking to use cookie technology must demonstrate a compelling need to gather the data, and publicly disclose how any collected personal information will be utilized and safeguarded. Requests will be processed via the WASO ITC NPS Webmaster.
7. RESPONSIBILITIES AND DELEGATIONS
The NPS Web Program consists of (1) a core “NPS Web Support Office” and NPS Webmaster that manages the design, administration, and day-to-day operation of the NPS public Internet gateway, (2) a series of national program and park/regional Web Coordinators, who address the needs of authors and producers throughout the NPS, and ensure the Director’s Order is reviewed annually and updated as needed.
To provide specific guidance on information, content delivery, and design standards, the NPS Web program will maintain and utilize the NPS Internet/Intranet Publications Manual, which accompanies this Director’s Order.
7.1 Associate Director for Professional Services
The Associate Director for Professional Services provides oversight for the Service’s use of Internet technologies and the supporting infrastructure. This is accomplished through the NPS Web Support Office, within the Information and Telecommunications Center (ITC). This office ultimately coordinates and manages the Servicewide Web Program in cooperation with Directorate, National Program Web Coordinators, Regional (Park) Web Coordinators, authors (content), and producers. To coordinate the rapidly increasing use of the Internet to support many NPS activities and management programs, the NPS Web Support Office also has the following responsibilities:
(1) Providing oversight on information design standards, maintenance, and administration of the Internet infrastructure used by the NPS, including licenses, facilities, and security -- for both Internet and Intranet use.
(2) Reviewing and approving any activities by other NPS organizations that may significantly affect the official web site (ParkNet) or other Servicewide use of the Internet. These include planned activities that:
(3) Enforcing the policy set forth in this Director’s order by terminating user access to, and/or removing, a publication when necessary. This will be done in coordination with the Office of Policy, Ethics Office, and the Solicitor’s Office, as appropriate.
(4)Developing and maintaining the "level 3" NPS Internet/Intranet Publication Manual, and having overall responsibilities and leadership for the NPS Internet publications effort.
(5) Maintaining overall coordination of the NPS Intranet publication effort, ensuring that Intranet publications throughout the Service are accessible through a common gateway.
(6) Chartering a Steering Committee which will regularly solicit input from the field offices, program offices, and centers with regard to NPS Internet activities, such as ParkNet and Intranet publications. This Committee will represent the needs of the NPS and its partner organizations, and primarily be responsible for setting development priorities and goals for the public Internet gateway (ParkNet).
7.2 Regional and Associate Directors
Regional and Associate Directors will be responsible and accountable for:
(1) Ensuring the participation of their areas in the overall NPS Internet and Intranet efforts, as appropriate. Also, ensuring adequate capability and technical support for Internet/Intranet participation.
(2) Designating an overall coordinator for Internet publications for their region or directorate, in keeping with the principle of distributed responsibility for development and maintenance of the NPS Internet effort,. Additional coordinators may be appointed, as necessary, to optimize workflow. These coordinators are the keys to the long-term success of ParkNet as a professional NPS publication medium. They must take an active role in supporting regional and programmatic Internet publications. They will serve as the first line of contact for park and program authors wishing to publish on ParkNet, coordinate training opportunities and work with web authors to ensure that all NPS web publications adhere to the principles of "plain language" and contribute favorably to the professional look and feel of ParkNet.
7.3 Superintendents, Program Managers, and Heads of Offices
Superintendents, program managers, and heads of offices will be responsible and accountable for:
(1) Complying with current technical and format standards for information published on the Internet, as established in the NPS Internet/Intranet Publications Manual.
(2) Ensuring that information published on the Internet is timely and up-to-date, and that it reflects the policies of the NPS.
(3) Ensuring the accuracy, timeliness and appropriateness of internal information provided for NPS use on the Intranet. This includes ensuring that confidential or sensitive material that is protected under the law or NPS Policy is not available to unauthorized persons.
(4) Ensuring that their employees and other workers have reliable access to the Internet and Intranet, as needed, for the performance of their jobs.
By law, each superintendent is responsible for making specific park planning and budget documents available to the public on an annual basis. (Refer to section 10.4.)
7.4 NPS Web Program Directorate and Regional (Park) Coordinators
Web coordinators will be responsible for:
(1) Acting as first point of contact for parks, programs, directorates and offices with regard to policy, technical, design, and content issues.
(2) Representing the needs of their parks, programs, directorates and offices with regard to Internet/Intranet publishing. This includes attending regular meetings.
(3) Coordinating Servicewide development projects at the regional or programmatic level.
(4) Communicating and interpreting policy to the parks, programs, directorates and offices they represent. This further translates into being the first point of contact to resolve issues relating to policy and procedures.
(5) Participating in the development of integrated work plans that meet the goals and priorities set by the NPS Web program (in conjunction with the Steering Committee).
7.5 Web Content Authors (or "authors")
Web content authors must ensure that the information they publish:
(1) Is accurate, timely, appropriate, and up-to-date, and meets all current technical and format standards as established by the NPS Internet/Intranet Publications Manual. This will require working with a web resource producer, when appropriate.
(2) Undergoes the same level of review as appropriate to any other material of similar scope.
(3) Complies with the June 1, 1998, Presidential Memorandum on Plain Language. Web content authors must also comply with any other plain language guidance that may be issued for Servicewide use. Additional sources of helpful information should be sought through the Plain Language Network at http://www.plainlanguage.gov.
(4) Complies with legal requirements pertaining to, but not limited to, federal, departmental and agency standards for privacy protection, copyright law, software licensing terms, use of photographic and other graphic material, privacy disclosures, ethics, and libel.
7.6 Web Resource Producer (or "producer")
In instances where a Web content author requires technical assistance to publish their material to the NPS Internet/Intranet, web resource producers can be utilized to:
(1) Maintain appropriate FTP/server accounts and assist authors with posting web sites and pages to the Internet/Intranet.
(2) Provide basic technical and design assistance to help an author publish their material and comply with the guidelines set forth in this document and the accompanying NPS Internet/Intranet Publications Manual.
(3) Serve as the final point of review for technical matters before publishing to the Internet/Intranet.
8. PUBLIC INTERNET GATEWAY (or "ParkNet")
ParkNet is the primary NPS public gateway and publications vehicle on the Internet. The official web address for parks will be http://www.nps.gov/"xxxx" where "xxxx" equals the park’s "Alpha Code." For NPS programs, centers, offices, etc., the official web address must be coordinated with the NPS Webmaster and appropriate Directorate Coordinator. All new NPS Internet servers must be registered with the NPS Webmaster and assigned an official web address conforming to http://www."xxxx".nps.gov or http://www.nps.gov/"xxxx"/, depending on the circumstances.
8.1 Design and Content Delivery Standards
To ensure (1) effective discovery and retrieval, (2) overall organization, and (3) a high-level consistency of NPS information on ParkNet, the Servicewide Web program will maintain and utilize the NPS Internet/Intranet Publications Manual to provide guidance on the standards for content and consistent design elements for the entire ParkNet system. The Web program includes the main gateway(s), departments, park and program "profiles," and related services.
To comply with Servicewide identity and messaging standards, and to ensure a professional level of design and content delivery, the NPS Internet/Intranet Publications Manual will include a Style guide. The style guide will address the needs for minimal standards (e.g., use of arrowhead, navigation) that apply to all sites and pages, as well as more specific guidelines for the “core” ParkNet system.
Specific requirements, guidelines and recommendations regarding design and content delivery for ParkNet are outlined in the NPS Internet/Intranet Publications Manual.
8.2 Park and Program Profiles (or "profiles")
Each park and NPS program will maintain a "profile" on ParkNet as part of its ongoing public outreach and educational functions. Additionally, parks and programs are encouraged to develop thematic sites, applications, and features to enhance the visitor experience; provide a greater understanding of the resources; and deliver other important information.
9. NPS INTRANET
The NPS Web Program will maintain a Servicewide Intranet Gateway in order to organize access to crucial business services, applications, and products for NPS employees. Parks, programs, and offices will be required to maintain a "profile" with links to their intranet applications and sites.
Since material published on the Intranet is for internal NPS use, material may be in draft or other non-final form as long as it is clearly marked as such. However, authors should be aware that materials published on the Intranet are for Servicewide distribution. Therefore, publications should be professional, accurate, and undergo the same review and approval process as material for Servicewide distribution in paper form.
Specific requirements, guidelines and recommendations regarding design and content delivery for the NPS Intranet are outlined in the NPS Internet/Intranet Publications Manual.
10. GENERAL REQUIREMENTS FOR INTERNET AND INTRANET PUBLISHING
10.1 Protected Information
Information considered confidential or protected under the law should not be posted on Internet (e.g., public access) web sites, and may be posted on Intranet (e.g., NPS access) web sites only when stringent security methods are in place. This includes information protected under the Freedom of Information Act; Privacy Act; Archaeological Resources Protection Act; Cave Resource Protection Act; National Historic Preservation Act; National Parks Omnibus Management Act of 1998; and any other applicable laws. (See Director’s Order #67: Protected Resource Information.)
10.2 Information (Data) Standards
All material published on ParkNet must follow the standards and procedures regarding formats and metadata established by the Associate Director for Professional Services in the NPS Internet/Intranet Publications Manual. In addition, all spatial data and other geographic information systems-related data must comply with standards associated with the Federal Spatial Data Infrastructure.
Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (amended in 1978) requires federal agencies that develop, procure, maintain, or use electronic and information technology to make it accessible to people with disabilities unless it would pose an undue burden to do so. Federal employees and members of the public with disabilities must have access to, and use of, information and services comparable to the access and use available to those without disabilities.
Web authors must ensure that all primary information conveyed in a web page is accessible. The basic rules of web page accessibility are:
The NPS Internet/Intranet Publications Manual will provide a complete checklist of accessible features that should be incorporated in the design of every page. Director's Order #42 (Accessibility for Visitors With Disabilities) provides additional guidance on accessibility issues pertaining to the NPS.
10.4 Quality Control
Since materials published on the Internet are for public viewing, they are considered to be NPS publications and communications, and must be consistent with the image, management policies, and practices of the NPS. Internet-published material must undergo the same level of review as all other official NPS information; authors should follow the same approval (such as surnaming) procedures they would follow for equivalent paper publications and communications.
10.5 Plain Language
Federal agencies are required to be more responsive, accessible, and understandable in their communications with the public, according to the June 1, 1998, Presidential Memorandum on Plain Language. All web site publications prepared or commissioned by NPS employees will incorporate the following three principles of plain language:
11. ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS SPECIFIC TO INTERNET PUBLICATIONS
11.1 EFOIA Requirements
The ParkNet site on the Internet serves as the NPS electronic reading room in fulfillment of the Electronic Freedom of Information Act Amendments of 1996 (EFOIA, 5 USC 552(2)). The following documents, or their equivalents, fall within the specific requirements of EFOIA, and must be posted on the NPS Internet and be accessible through the appropriate "profile":
11.2 National Parks Omnibus Management Act of 1998 Requirements
The ParkNet site on the Internet will be used to comply with Section 4 of the National Parks Omnibus Management Act of 1998 (P.L. 105-391), which deals with park budgets and accountability found in park strategic and performance plans. The following documents or their equivalents have been determined to fall within these requirements and must, therefore, be posted on ParkNet and be accessible through the appropriate "profile":
11.3 Standard Disclaimer Statement(s)
The NPS Internet/Intranet Publications Manual contains specific guidance on the use and placement of the disclaimer. Additionally, authors are reminded that all links from NPS web sites to non-NPS web sites will trigger a disclaimer intercept, unless the partner's web site has been reviewed and approved by NPS under a formal agreement.
11.4 Links to Non-NPS Internet Sites
All pages containing links to non-NPS managed sites must trigger a WASO-ITC produced disclaimer intercept, unless the partner's web site has been reviewed and approved by the NPS under a formal agreement.
WASO-ITC will provide four scripts with instructions provided in the NPS Internet/Intranet Publications Manual.
The use of logos for commercial products or non-NPS organizations (with the exception of federal, state, and local government logos) is NOT permitted on NPS Internet sites unless an approved fundraising relationship or formal acceptance of a donation is in place, as described in Director’s Order #21: Donations and Fundraising. Also, fundraising agreements must include specific language addressing the use of corporate logos to be posted on NPS-hosted websites. The NPS Internet/Intranet Publications Manual contains specific instructions on the use of logos.
11.6 Electronic mail - Web Site Interactivity
Each park or program office hosting a web site on ParkNet must provide an email address to which public inquiries may be directed. All inquiries must receive a timely and appropriate response. (See section 10.5 of Director’s Order #5: Written Communication (Paper and Electronic)).