Stories by William Matthews

Another Go at Nixon Tapes

For nearly 30 years, historians and audio experts have believed that nothing remains of the tape-recorded conversation that once filled the infamous 18.5-minute gap on President Nixon's White House tapes.

FirstGov Gets Juiced Up

A day ahead of the three-month schedule President Clinton set for launching a governmentwide Internet portal, FirstGov flickered to life Sept. 22 on computer screens nationwide.

The Outsourcing Wave Rolls On

If predictions by industry and government studies are correct, more federal information technology jobs will be turned over to the private sector in coming years. The only question is whether the numbers will be modest or mammoth.

Drive IT with Dollars, Not Dictates

The nation needs an information technology chief to oversee federal IT projects, a presidential advisory committee has concluded. But instead of a controlling "czar," the committee has called for a beneficent banker.

The End of Government as We Know It

If all it does is make possible instantaneous searches of the 40 million pages the federal government has posted on the Internet, FirstGov would be a useful tool and a rather remarkable achievement. But Bill Piatt, the godfather of FirstGov, is convinced that the impact of the governmentwide portal is going to be much more profound.

FirstGov Portal Fine-Tuned

The governmentwide Web portal, FirstGov, is being tested and fine-tuned this week in preparation for public use later this month, according to the U.S. General Services Administration.

Ex-Deputy CIO Fined $30K

Mark Boster developed a reputation as an intimidating manager when he was deputy chief information officer at the U.S. Department of Justice. Now, as a businessman, Boster is paying a US$30,000 fine for what Justice officials charge was using intimidation to try to continue influencing decisions at the department.

Can the Net Revive the Vote?

In Arizona in the spring of 1996, encountering a voting Democrat was about as likely as finding a snowball in the desert. Of 843,000 registered Democrats, only 12,800 voted in the 1996 Democratic primary. In a state where the governor, both senators and five out of six House members are Republicans - and registered Republicans outnumber Democrats nearly 2-1 - it's easy to see why Democrats might get discouraged.

Web Firms Fret over FirstGov's Fees

Fees running as high as tens of thousands of dollars each year may make it too pricey for some Internet companies to link to the federal government's planned Internet portal, an Internet executive said.

Archives Clarifies Its E-Recordkeeping Plans

To update its operating regulations for the Digital Age, the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration has proposed new rules that would permit document requests via e-mail and allow the agency to respond with electronic documents as well as paper photocopies.

The Ultimate Archives

Four centuries from now, if a historian wants to read Al Gore's or George W. Bush's inaugural address from January 2001, he or she should be able to find it in a snap in the online electronic records archive now being developed by the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.

Adobe Prepares Accessible PDF Reader

As they prepare to comply with new requirements to make Web sites readable by visually impaired users, federal Webmasters point to a major concern - PDF files.

Firm Nabs FirstGov Portal Pact

A Northern Virginia company was hired Aug. 11 to build the federal government's official Internet portal, a site on the World Wide Web that is intended to make it much easier for the public to search for and find information that the government has posted on the Internet.