Federal Librarian Summer 2010

Go.USA.gov: Create Short, Trustworthy.gov URLs

Go.USA.gov  is a URL shortener that lets anyone with a government email address create short, trustworthy .gov URLs to use on Twitter and other online services. This service only shortens government URLs – that is: .gov, .mil, .fed.us, and .si.edu URLs. This is important because commercial URL shorteners, such as TinyURL, provide no clues about the destination of the URL.

Go.USA.gov is designed to create a better user experience for people who interact with the government online. People can click on Go.USA. gov URLs knowing that they will be directed to an official source of government information.

Over 1,500 public servants across all levels of government have registered to use Go.USA.gov. So far, Go.USA.gov users have shortened over 9,000 URLs that have been clicked over one million times. The most clicked URL is from the Library of Congress. They used Go.USA. gov to shorten http://blogs.loc.gov/ loc/2010/04/how-tweet-it-is-library- acquires-entire-twitter-archive/ down to http://go.usa.gov/ik4. This URL leads to their blog post “How Tweet It Is!: Library Acquires Entire Twitter Archive” and has been clicked almost 50,000 times.

Real-time data for short Go.USA. gov URLs is available to registered users and the top 25 clicked URLs are on the home page. Recorded data includes the number of clicks and referrers for each URL. This allows users to measure the impact of their outreach. It also provides the ability to track popular information in real- time across agencies and different levels of government.

If you would like to use Go.USA. gov and have a .gov, .mil, .fed.us, or .si.edu email address, you can create a Go.USA.gov account now and begin shortening URLs right away. If you are a government employee but are unable to register due to these restrictions, please email go.usa.gov@ gsa.gov.

Go.USA.gov is still in beta and plans to add more features and functionality based on user feedback. It was built in Drupal which is an open source platform. If you have suggestions or are a developer and want to collaborate, email go.usa.gov@gsa.gov.

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