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Geography of Virginia,

Charles A. Grymes

Created by a professor at George Mason University, this website provides an extensive directory of websites related to everything from education to Virginia and the internet. The website provides some introductory articles, such as an excellent overview of energy in Virginia that includes graphs and history. Each section also includes a list of links. The Virginia Government section alone contains more than 100 links to further resources. While each external website is of excellent quality, it may take time to navigate from such a large body of links to the right resource.

U.S. Conference of Mayors,

U.S. Conference of Mayors

The U.S. Conference of Mayors is an organization of mayors throughout the United States. The website contains a number of press releases and reports on issues facing mayors and local government, which range from a few pages to hundreds of pages in length. The Mayors at a Glance feature is perhaps the most useful feature those studying Virginia government. Users can search for mayors by last name, city, state, and population. Each mayor featured has a picture, contact information, and short biography. Does your jurisdiction have a mayor? Try finding out more about mayors in your area.

Virginia's Judicial Circuit and District Courts,

Virginia Court System

This website provides an interactive map of Virginia's judicial circuits and districts that helps show the way the levels of courts in the state court system. Clicking on a section of the map reveals links to the circuit and district courts in that region. Try exploring the websites of your local courts to learn more about Virginia's judicial system. What is the difference between a circuit and a district court? How are the courts organized, and what are their essential duties?

Commonwealth Data Point: Transparency at Work in Virginia,

Commonwealth of Virginia

Commonwealth Data Point is an excellent tool for understanding the basic implementation of financial expenditures. Find out budget data, or what was purchased on the state credit card. The website also provides demographic data, such as university enrollment and food stamp use. While browsing the website, you may want to consider how state and local governments implement policy decisions. What changes could you make to policy or spending practices?

Virginia Performs: Measuring What Matters to Virginians,

Commonwealth of Virginia

Virginia Performs is part of Virginia's open government initiative. The website includes information on Virginia's progress in areas such as health, education, and transportation. For example, users can find information on high school graduation rates in Virginia and surrounding states. The website also includes information on government initiatives to increase high school graduation rates. Questions to consider include: What is the role of state and local government? How are policy decisions implemented at a state and local level?

Virginia Ideas Forum,

Commonwealth of Virginia

The Virginia Ideas Forum offers a place for residents and citizens of Virginia to voice their suggestions and concerns to state officials. Other residents and citizens may comment and vote on these ideas. In addition, state officials offer responses on the forum. This website is an excellent place for individuals to become involved in government.

Virtual Tours at the Virginia State Capitol,

Commonwealth of Virginia

This website provides virtual tours of the past, present, and future of Virginia's State Capitol. With tour guides such as George Washington and members of the recent restoration team, users can explore different aspects of the Capitol's history and role in Virginia government.

National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation,

National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation

The National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation is an organization that fosters mutual understanding surrounding difficult issues, as well as logical fact-based decision making. The website includes conflict-resolution models, and ways to implement these in your own community. In addition, there are details about active modes of civic involvement throughout the country. NCDD does not seek to influence what people believe. Rather, they try to give people the tools to discuss difficult issues and engage issues in a civic forum.

Many Eyes from IBM,

IBM

Many Eyes is a collaborative, innovative resource for graphs, maps, charts, and other interactive resources. Users may browse data ranging from the status of smoking in Virginia restaurants (by county) to food safety or sports statistics. The website offers detailed information about different types of data visualizations (pie charts, histograms, maps, etc.) and ways to create such visualizations. Users may then input their own data into the website, complete with charts or maps. Many Eyes is an excellent tool for learning how to create and interpret many types of data sets.

Swivel Data Website,

Swivel.com

Swivel is an interactive website which allows user to explore, share, and upload "tasty data goodies." Data sets include such diverse information as the Life Expectancy in Virginia, Interest rate data from the Federal Reserve Board, and the number of people who read newspapers online. As with any source, users should evaluate the source of each data set for accuracy. Some are contributed by anonymous individuals, others come from sources such as the National Weather Service. Swivel is an excellent tool for locating and analyzing data sets for accuracy, relevance, and content.