City of Clearwater
The City of Clearwater is utilizing ISYS:web to deliver
up-to-the-minute information to its staff and citizens. Incorporating
all legislation, codes and committee minutes, ISYS:web provides a central
system to give council staff instant access to city-wide information.
Perched on the Pinellas Peninsula on the west coast of Florida in the
United States, between the Gulf of Mexico on the west and Tampa Bay on
the east, the City of Clearwater is home to over 100,000 people.
It all started with the purchase of ISYS:desktop for the
City Clerks department. With ISYS, the City Clerks could effortlessly
search through commission and board minutes to fulfill research requests.
ISYS then expanded to include the City Manager Department and the City
Attorney Department. With the gradual spread of uses for ISYS, it was
eventually implemented citywide to provide all employees with access to
the Citys legislative information.
We discovered the accuracy & speed at which ISYS
could retrieve important documents for research and precedence,
says Susan Stephenson, Document & Records Supervisor for the City
of Clearwater. There are so many ways in which ISYS can benefit
the council that we decided on putting it on our intranet site.
With the purchase and implementation of ISYS:web, the City
of Clearwater now allows all employees to access Commission & Board
minutes, City Codes and City Legislation.
Currently over 3,100 files are indexed in two directories.
The directories consist of City Codes and minutes and miscellaneous documents.
The minutes date back to 1988 and the staff search the minutes and official
documents through the intranet.
With ISYS:web, the information stored in the accumulated
documents and other text-based files (spreadsheets, e-mails, memos, letters,
web pages, etc.) can be quickly found, retrieved, filtered, sorted and
organized in a standard web browser. ISYS:web finds the information regardless
of the documents location and format. One of the user-friendly features
the City of Clearwater employs is the delivery of documents in Rich HTML
format. This feature presents a retrieved document, dynamically converted
to HTML but retaining the formatting of its native file. This is done
without the need for a browser plug-in because all the work is done on
the server end.
Prior to investing ISYS, information could only be searched
manually. Alphabetic indexes were created to reference minutes. A staff
member would go through the minutes item by item and type an index alphabetically.
After each item was read, the staff member would then try to predict all
the words others would use when searching the minutes. Pre-ISYS,
we had to try our best to be mind-readers creating the index meant
making assumptions as to what others would search for when looking for
a particular topic, says Stephenson. ISYS has since made searching
so much more accurate and efficient.
Minutes are used as a research tool, often to find precedence
on an issue that was discussed in prior meetings. Having this information
available to employees and citizens is vital, says Stephenson. The
minutes are usually approved the day after a meeting takes place. ISYS
has saved us so much time, both in searches and distributing information.
The Scheduler utility, a feature of ISYS:web, allows commission minutes
from board meetings to be viewed immediately upon approval.
The City of Clearwater also receives many requests from
the citizens regarding City legislation information. The City has placed
a terminal in the office reception area, to allow citizens to search on
the Citys intranet for the information they need. This allows the
citizens to conduct simple and complex searches.
Since ISYS has highlighted hits, along with hit-to-hit
navigation, users can type in a word and read the paragraph surrounding
the word and decide for themselves if this is the information the need,
says Stephenson. Currently, the commission meetings are available on the
City of Clearwaters website, however, there is no search mechanism.
Citizens can go through the minutes page by page by, but cannot search.
We plan to provide the citizens of the City of Clearwater access
to the ISYS:web search functionality on the Internet in the near future,