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Its a grey, grey world: disappearing government information

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Presentation by Roxanne Missingham, University Librarian, Australian National University at the Where is the evidence conference, National Library of Australia, Canberra 10 October 2012

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Its a grey, grey world: disappearing government information

  1. 1. It’s a grey grey world: disappearinggovernment informationRoxanne MissinghamUniversity Library, Australian National UniversityPresentation at Where is the evidence? Policy, research and the rise ofgrey literature, National Library of Australia, Canberra 10 October 2012
  2. 2. Government informationTypes PurposesReports What has the agency done? Accountability Can be issue specificWhite papers For consultation on policyGreen papers Policy announcementsResearch Evidence base/open policy makingGuidelines Implementation/service delivery 2
  3. 3. Some key developmentsYear Report/change1964 Commonwealth Parliamentary Select Committee on Parliamentary and Government Publications report (Erwin report)1997 Management of Government Information as a National Strategic Resource (Wainwright report)1997 AGPS moves to NOIE2006 Joint Committee on Publications Distribution of the Parliamentary Papers Series 3
  4. 4. Year Report/change2009 Engage: Getting on with Government 2.02010 Electronic distribution of the Parliamentary Papers Series2010 FoI Act changes including the Information Publications Scheme Establishment of Office of the Australian Information Commissioner 4
  5. 5. Policy responsibilities include• Attorney Generals Department• Department of Finance and Deregulation, including AGIMO 5
  6. 6. 6
  7. 7. Towards an Australian GovernmentInformation PolicyPrinciples on open public sector information1: Open access to information – a default position2: Engaging the community3: Effective information governance4: Robust information asset management5: Discoverable and useable information6: Clear reuse rights7: Appropriate charging for access8: Transparent enquiry and complaints processeshttp://www.oaic.gov.au/publications/papers/issues_paper1_towards_australian_government_information_policy.pdf 7
  8. 8. What has happened to governmentpublishing?• Devolved responsibilities• Overall trend reduction in “publications” of around 50% over the past decade (recorded in NBD) 8
  9. 9. Commonwealth government publications recorded in NBD 8,000 7,000 6,000 5,000Titles 4,000 3,000 2,000 1,000 0 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 9
  10. 10. One agency – a decade of change• 2001 publications – where did online publications go? Agency A: 2001 online publications locations in 2012 On agency No longer website available online 28% 29% Pandora 24% On another website (university, OECD) 19% 10
  11. 11. Agency in 2011• Consistent with figures from the NBD which show reduced publishing (NBD) by about 50% from 2001 to 2011.• Now majority are online. 120% 100% 80% Not online 60% Online 40% 20% 0% 2001 2011 11
  12. 12. Information publications scheme (IPS)• specifies categories of information that must be published• 2012 OAIC survey – 94% have an IPS plan – 95% have a senior officer with IPS responsibilities – 85% publish on their website information required under the FOI Act http://www.oaic.gov.au/publications/reports/IPS_survey_report.html 12
  13. 13. But• Accessibility: – 20% documents published under the IPS are in a format (or multiple formats) which conform to WCAG 2.0 requirements, – 30% most of their documents comply, – 44% some documents comply, and – 5% none of their documents comply 13
  14. 14. Discoverability 14
  15. 15. Issues: Long term access – Agencies often have only the most up to date manual or guidance – Around 10% of material is not online (see http://www.anao.gov.au/uploads/documents/2 008-09_Audit_Report_37.pdf and this study) – Directories - only latest information online – Machinery of government changes mean website addresses change and documents are “archived” or lost 15
  16. 16. Issues• Metadata – how can we find information? – Gaps in metadata now• Awareness – Parliamentary papers – strong knowledge of standards – IPS - strong knowledge – Long term access and discovery less• Data – A plateau? 16
  17. 17. Challenges: finding 17
  18. 18. Top issues• Transparency and accountability• accessibility• Discoverability (including metadata)• Long term access• getting leadership support for this cultural change.
  19. 19. Developments• News from the NLA - Pandora plans to harvest all Financial Management and Accountability Act Agencies• Who cares about publications – Policy record – Evidence/transparency – Unpredicted – family history and more 19
  20. 20. Questions• Do agencies have a common understanding that long term publicly accessible publications are important?• Do we have an infrastructure that supports this?• Do we have the right legal environment?• What can we do about the “dark age”? 20
  21. 21. 2013• An election before 30 November 2013• Machinery of government changes coming 21

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