California Health and Human Services Agency
Another criterion is to examine the currency of information on the site by looking for updated details on documents and links. Lastly, the coverage of the site shows that the objective of the site is clearly to be used as information updates only, and in no way presents any biasness towards any agencies or boards.
Since the inception of the internet, many human services agencies have developed official websites to promote and create awareness for their organizations. One such agency is the California Health and Human Services Agency (CHHS). This paper will examine and analyze the value and relevance of this website to its target audiences using the criteria set out by the Wolfgram Memorial Library (WML) from Widener University. According to WML, there are five crucial criterions that can be used to determine the efficacy of the information on the site, and they include authority, accuracy, objectivity, currency, and coverage. (WML, 2009)
The homepage for the CHHS website contains a welcome message by the Secretary, Kim Belshe, in addition to the vision of the agency, which informs "all Californians, especially those most at risk or in need (that they) have the opportunity to enjoy a high quality of life as measured by the sound physical, mental, and financial health of children, adolescents, and adults. strong and well-functioning families. safe and sustainable communities. and dignity for all." (CHHS, 2009) It is clear that CHHS is responsible for the contents of the page because the agency logo is visibly presented. To mark its affiliation with the State of California, there is a copyright mark and a link to the official website on every page. There is also a link to the website for the Governor of California. (CHHS, 2009) While the vision of the agency is stated, the agency goal is not quite as transparent. The closest form of explanation is perhaps under the link "About Us" which spells out the "responsibility for administering major programs," (CHHS, 2009) and includes the contact information like the agency address and telephone number, which verifies the legitimacy of the agency. However, it is worth noting that an email contact is not provided for enquiries. This may be an indication that the site is meant more as a source of information rather than a site that promotes dialogue.
The legitimacy of the website is well established with links to independent websites for all twelve departments and one board. However, at the time of writing this analysis, there was an error linking to the Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs (CHHS, 2009), which indicates a lack of quality control. Without an email contact available, the audience is then forced to either call the agency, or make the extra effort to look for this site online.
If CHHS were meant to be only as a source of information, the agency’s objective as an official site that "administers state and federal programs for health care, social services, public assistance, and rehabilitation," is clear. (CHHS, 2009) All links are directed to independent department sites that provide a more comprehensive presentation of each program’s agenda. For example, the link to the Department of Community Services and Development details this department’s programs and resources. (CSD, 2009) Any document or links in the website that highlight specific programs are also presented according to the most recently published so