Durham, NC (PressExposure) July 07, 2009 -- This week Durham Web Design Company, DesignHammer Media Group LLC has launched NC Transparency, a new site for the John Locke Foundation. The John Locke Foundation, a conservative non-profit North Carolina think tank, sought to create in NC Transparency a new initiative to encourage more public accessibility to government entity information. "In the age of the Internet and digital technology, citizens are demanding their state, local and national governments provide online access to the basic information they must have in order to make decisions as responsible citizensâ¦ We hope NCTransparency.com will help convince more government leaders that it's time to let in the sunshine,â stated Fiscal and Health Care Policy Analyst for the Foundation, Joseph Colletti.
As part of new policy for North Carolina politics, Governor Perdue has stressed the importance of transparency in government even during her first days in office this year. Since then, the new administration has already introduced NC Openbook [http://www.ncopenbook.gov/] to provide state contracts and grants information to the public. While contracts and grants are also included in NC Transparency, the foundation also considered an extensive list of additional documents for disclosure including budget, annual financial information report, Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, Revenue Report, number of employees, audit reports, employee salaries, etc. Complete list of resources used to determine grades is available in the About page of the NC Transparency website http://www.nctransparency.com/about.
In an interview about the new project, Joseph Colletti, stated, âit is really difficult to get to documents online for the government, so we figured the best thing to do is to just make, to provide a simple portal for people to access what is available already and to encourage the governments to put more online in the futureâ¦ And so we grade them as well to help that along.â
Each entityâs grade is based on a system that considers the number of resources readily available to the public on government websites. Also taken into consideration is the documentâs importance as well as its format. As online databases are more usable in extracting information to use for analysis, documents presented in this format gain more points towards grading than scanned documents, which are more difficult to utilize. Grades will be updated as resources are added or removed from government websites, making the Transparency website a far more valuable tool than reports published once per year.
While DesignHammer develops numerous websites using off-the-shelf content management systems, such as Drupal and WordPress, the requirements of Transparency website required a completely custom-written online application. According to Jay Roberts, DesignHammerâs lead developer on the project, the new website is âbased on a PHP MVC (Model View Controller) Framework, called CodeIgniter. Using an MVC pattern allowed clean modular code to be written for the project making it easier to develop and maintain. The platform was also selected for its speed. The system is able to process scores for thousands of records on the fly without a lot of additional processing overhead.â
NC Transparency is the latest in a series of projects DesignHammer has developed for the John Locke Foundation since 2002, including their recently redesigned flagship news site, The Carolina Journal, various subject and region specific websites and blogs, as well as the Foundationâs main site. Other examples of DesignHammer websites can be found at the companyâs website http://www.designhammer.com. Select client websites for viewing include RTI International, Habitat for Humanity Orange County and Durham Bulls Baseball Club.
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