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Finance realises ‘mashable government’ with API initiative

by Justin Hendry •
Free resource

51 government websites using govCMS will be significantly more dynamic and content management friendly following the introduction of the 'Government as an API' service for digital content, announced by Finance yesterday.

“Until now, sharing content and establishing a ‘single source of truth’ has been hampered by the complexities of ensuring content is updated when re-used by other sites or systems,” according to a news piece on the govCMS website.

govCMS – the Drupal-based whole-of-government web hosting and content management service – will utilise Acquia’s Content Hub service to allow agencies to reuse content across multiple channels, including public-facing digital, ‘bricks and mortar’, and internal channels. Changes to master content will be rolled out to syndicated channels in real time.

The solution also allows for content from non-Drupal sites and systems to be normalised and published to govCMS sites. Non-government actors can also improve their use of government content via agency released APIs, and are expected to “reuse or repackage [content] in creative ways.”  

The Acquia Content Hub was launched in October 2015 and is a content distribution and discovery service. It overcomes agency silos by normalising content to enable “bidirectional distribution of content between different platforms,” according to the Acquia website.

Improving government use of APIs has been on the to-do list for some time. In July 2015, then-Director for Gov 2.0 and Coordination of the Department of Finance Technology and Procurement Division Pia Waugh highlighted APIs as one of two steps – the other being a set of search-enabled registries – towards making government content and services more consistent.

“This API-enabled discovery layer enables what we like to call “mashable government”, or the ability to aggregate the right information and services for users through websites and applications, whether they are run by government or third parties,” she said in a Digital Transformation blog.

This latest expansion of govCMS follows Finance’s December 2015 announcement that agencies could use a Platform as a Service (PaaS) offering via the Acquia Cloud Enterprise. PaaS was previously only available to early adopter agencies.

“govCMS PaaS lets agencies develop multiple sites using different Drupal code bases, all within individually owned, dedicated cloud environments,” states the media release.

Agencies are continuing to migrate to govCMS with benefits including reduced costs, scalability and the ability to customise. Two website have been sent live since November 2015, and another 16 are in the pipeline, according to the govCMS website.

Intermedium understands that the Department of Human Services’ website – the largest to migrate to govCMS – will also begin using the govCMS platform in early 2016. PaaS was cited as a reason behind DHS’s decision to migrate.

“DHS plans to take advantage of the govCMS PaaS offering as it provides maximum flexibility and permits appropriate customisation,” states the media release.

govCMS, which is supported by Acquia with Amazon Web Services providing the public cloud platform, was first made available to government entities in early 2015.

Related Articles:

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Social Services adopts govCMS

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$24 million GovCMS contract awarded to Acquia

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