Department of State Foreign Affairs Network:
Guide for New Users
Students | Using the Main Home Page | Finding Documents in Home Page Sections | Searching | Updating | The State Department and UIC |
Technical/Design Comments | Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Best Tip for New UsersUse the index and search capabilities: To find specific topics, use our "index" which appears at the top right of the banner throughout the site. As in a hard copy book, topics appear in alphabetical order and are cross-referenced. The "search" function also appears in the banner; see "hints" for more information on searching by using key terms in documents.
Key QuestionsI am an elementary, middle, or high school student; where should I start?
Read about how to use our site below and see our special section, "Digital Diplomacy for Students."
How do I use the navigational banner at the top of the State Department's main home page?
All the words that appear in the graphic "banner" across the top of the main home page are clickable, and they also appear as text at the bottom of the page:
US STATE DEPARTMENT: Click on US STATE DEPARTMENT in the banner and you will go back to the main home page from other sections in the web site.
The Secretary of State: Takes you to the Secretary's web site at secretary.state.gov. Here you can find all the remarks by Secretary Madeleine Albright and press kits prepared for her foreign travel. Under "Meet the Secretary," you may read her biography, personal interview on "60 Minutes," and web chat with students. When you are within the Secretary's site, just click on "US STATE DEPARTMENT" at the top of the page to return to the Department's main home page.
index: This is an index of the entire web site with hot links to every index item. If you can't find information, also try using the search function or click on "feedback" below for further information.
search: "Search" appears in the banner at the top of all main pages. Also see "hints" for more information on using the search function.
feedback: Please click on "feedback" to send us your foreign policy opinions and questions.
faq: We have collected some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) to help you quickly find answers to some basic questions.
archive: This Electronic Research Collection is maintained by the Federal Depository Library at the University of Illinois at Chicago under the Government Printing Office's Federal Depository Library Program in cooperation with the U.S. Department of State. It is a gopher archive of material released electronically by the State Department from 1990 to 1996. Web documents will be included in the future. For help finding gopher material in this archive or other federal government documents, email the UIC government documents librarians at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Site of the Week: Click here for our choice of the new or interesting web sites or pages within the Department of State Foreign Affairs Network.
How do I find information within the home page sections?
To help manage our growing web site, we have created five sections represented by the icons on the home page. This information is cross-referenced throughout the sections as well as indexed. For a complete outline of the web site, see "Text Version: Site Organization." For a general explanation of the sections, read on:
The Department: This section contains information about State Department organization and people, including biographies of principal officials, the list of key officers at posts, available links to posts abroad, the phone directory, career opportunities, the Department magazine of foreign policy ("Dispatch") and its employee magazine ("State"), historical information, a virtual tour of the diplomatic reception rooms, and more.
Policy: "Policy" is organized primarily by topics that generally correspond to the functional and regional bureau/office responsibilities in the State Department (See Structure and Organization for more information on bureaus/offices.) Other topics include "History" or "General Foreign Policy and Overviews."
Regions: Here you will find foreign policy organized under the State Department's six regional bureaus and the office for the New Independent States (of the former Soviet Union). This section also includes links to available web sites at U.S. embassies and other missions overseas.
Outreach: Communicating U.S. foreign policy and the work of the State Department to Americans is vitally important to us. In this section, you will find the Department's press briefings (both audio and text); testimony, speeches, and special briefings by the Secretary and other senior officials; and a selection of key publications. (These are cross-referenced under other sections.) Also included is information from the Bureau of Public Affairs on town meetings, conferences, and other outreach activities.
Services: See this section for travel and consular information (including passport and visa information as well as travel tips and warnings), a general guide to Department information and services, business services and contract opportunities, per diem rates, careers and internships, document authentication, links to Overseas Schools, employee services, and visitor and other information.
How do I get to another section or back to the main home page?
Once you are in a section, you can get back to the main home page by clicking on "US STATE DEPARTMENT" on the banner at the top of the page. To go to any other section, click on the corresponding icon on the banner. The section that you are in appears on the far left of the banner as a full circle. On the right side of the banner are the clickable tools to help you explore the web site, such as "index" or "search." You may also use the text version of the banner at the bottom of the page.
How do I search?
By clicking the"search command on the banner, you can search the text for key words. Also see "hints" for using the search function.
How often is the web site updated?
Material is provided by bureaus and offices throughout the State Department and updated at various times depending upon production schedules. Following is an indication of the updates of some key material:
The Office of Public Communication, Bureau of Public Affairs (PA/PC), uploads the text of the Department press briefing as released by the Press Office on the same day as the briefing. Audio of the press briefing is available in real time. All remarks and briefings by the Secretary of State are released on the web soon after delivery. Remarks by other senior Department officials are uploaded when an electronic copy is provided by the officials' bureaus/offices.
Per diem rates are released by the Office of Allowances, Bureau of Administration, near the end of each month.
A directory of employee telephone numbers is updated about two times per year. (A web version of the organizational directory of the State Department Telephone Book is not yet available.)
Other information contacts are updated by bureaus and offices on various production schedules. For example, the publication, "Key Officers of Foreign Services Posts: Guide for Business Representatives," is updated about two times per year by the Bureau of Administration. The publication is posted on the web as soon as an electronic file is received by PA/PC.
Background Notes are updated by desk officers in each regional bureau and released on the web soon after receipt by the Bureau of Public Affairs. Currency of the Notes varies widely from one regional bureau to another.
What is the relationship between the U.S. State Department and the University of Illinois at Chicago?
The Department of State Foreign Affairs Network is a unique cooperative arrangement between the U.S. State Department and the federal depository library at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). The Office of Public Communication, Bureau of Public Affairs (PA/PC), manages the information content on DOSFAN, and the UIC library provides technical and library reference support. You may email web managers at the Office of Public Communication, State Department, and the UIC library at email@example.com. The UIC library also is responsible for maintaining an archive which provides permanent access to electronic U.S. State Department foreign policy material (released in 1990-96) under the Government Printing Office's Federal Depository Library System.
The Office of Public Communication also coordinates with a small number of other bureaus/offices who maintain separate servers with different Internet service providers and web masters. All of these sites are linked to the Department of State Foreign Affairs Network.
Whom do I contact if I have a technical problem or comments on the design/structure of the web site?
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Your email will be received by the Office of Public Communication, Bureau of Public Affairs, as well as by the systems administrators at UIC who will answer your question.
Click here for other Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to the State Department.
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Last modified: 1/5/99