Submitted by Lynn Saunders
Last week I had the opportunity to participate in a focus group gathered to review some websites created by the Center for Rural Studies. As a Federal Depository we are affiliated with the Center for Rural Studies as a State Data affiliate. The first site we reviewed was Vermont Indicators Online. This site is very user friendly and a great resource for Census information for Vermonters. The Center has compiled much used Census information in an easy to use format. You can check it out at http://maps.vcgi.org/indicators/.
Next we reviewed their Vermont Housing Data site. Here they have compiled state and federal housing statistics. You can even check out what you might be able to afford for a house. You can find this housing website at http://www.housingdata.org/.
Our final website review was the Vermont Planning Information Center. Again CSR (Center for Rural Studies) has compiled a great deal of information for local and state planners. There are manuals, guides and laws online. The site is user friendly and provides a comprehensive list of resources. This planning site can be found at: http://www.vpic.info/ .
The focus groups all agreed that the websites were user friendly, provided a great deal of information, and were very useful. The focus group was small but diverse.