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Note: EPA no longer updates this information, but it may be useful as a reference or resource.

What We’ve Learned

Current EPA Activities Related to Access Strategy Recommendations

We developed a list of some current EPA activities that address recommendations in the EPA Information Access Strategy. These efforts contribute to the broad goal of improving information access and facilitate the ability of EPA audiences to find, understand and use environmental information. There is a mix of internal EPA efforts and external outreach efforts. Where possible, Web links to public activities are provided.

Current EPA Activities Related to Access Strategy Recommendations (PDF) (8pp, 89K, About PDF)

Review of Existing Resources

As a backdrop to the National Dialogue, we conducted a review of existing reports to summarize what we have learned in the past about the needs of EPA's audiences. Past focus groups, usability studies and general information about audience needs and preferences for environmental information can help inform current information collection and validate findings. This report summarizes existing information needs for five of EPA’s major audience groups: government officials; news media; environmental and community groups; industry; and educators, students, researchers and librarians. Specifically, we report on their basic needs for information, information quality preferences, important information topics and uses of environmental information.

Review of Reports, Focus Groups and Other Resources on Information Access, from 1997 to 2008 (PDF) (15 pp, 242K, About PDF)

Listening Sessions

As part of the National Dialogue, we conducted a series of "listening sessions" to help EPA understand the information needs of its environmental colleagues. Feedback from these sessions helped inform the development of the environmental information access strategy. OEI has identified the following major stakeholder groups for this national dialogue: industry; government environmental and public health agencies; environmental and community groups (NGOs); media; and educators, students, researchers, and librarians. Summaries of these sessions are posted here.

Summary of Steel Industry Representatives Listening Session
Summary of Environmental and Community Groups Listening Session
Summary of Industry Representatives Listening Session
Summary of Educators, Researchers, Librarians, and Students Listening Session
Summary of News Media Listening Session
Summary of Fed, State, and Local Agencies Listening Session

Dialogue Sessions

Twelve other dialogue sessions were held in the course of the National Dialogue on Access to Environmental Information. EPA met with a variety of internal and external communities of interest to hear their perspectives on information access needs. These dialogue sessions were held in conjunction with existing meetings and conferences of the various communities of interest. Summary notes of these dialogue sessions are posted here.

Dialogue with 2008 TRI National Training Conference Attendees
Dialogue with Environmental Justice Community At the 2008 TRI National Training Conference
Dialogue with U.S. Department of Agriculture Advisory Committee
Dialogue with EPA COOP Planners
Dialogue with EPA-EU Ecoinformatics Technical Collaboration
Dialogue with EPA’s National Quality and Statistics Conference Attendees
Dialogue with Exchange Network National Meeting
Dialogue with EPA's GIS Workgroup
Dialogue with Lake Michigan Watershed Academy Conference
Dialogue with EPA Science Forum Attendees
Dialogue with 8th National Tribal Conference on Environmental Management
Dialogue to Explore the Use of EPA Data in Financial and Investment Analysis

Jam Sessions

During the National Dialogue, we conducted internal discussions called “Jam Sessions” among EPA employees to foster collaboration on information access. Employees were invited to use blog technology to identify and share their best resources, tools, and ideas for improving access to EPA’s environmental information. The comments during the Jam Sessions were used along with comments submitted from the public on the National Dialogue site to help EPA develop a strategy. Summaries of these sessions are posted here.

National Dialogue OEI Jam Session 1 (April 2-4) Session: Key Findings
National Dialogue OEI and Friends Jam Session (May 6-8) Session: Key Findings

June 9-13 Partner Blog

During the week of June 9-13, 2008, EPA hosted an on-line discussion with interested members of the public, states, tribes, and other federal partners to share ideas on information access. A summary of the event and the comments is posted here along with the Partner Blog archive.

June 9-13 Partner Blog Summary
Archive of the June 9-13 Partner Blog

Search Term and Weblog Analysis

EPA analyzed its website to determine the search term queries that visitors to the EPA website used most. In addition, EPA analyzed weblogs to understand how audiences use the web and how they arrive at EPA’s website.

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