Thursday, 4 September 2008

Open eGovernement: Digitising content

You have to hand it to those POMS. Not only is the British Government thinking long and hard about emerging digital and social media and what this means for democracy and how government and citizens interact [See eGovernment: The Power of Information Task Force], they are also going back and digitising a whole lot of stuff and making it readily available. Millbank Systems is "a small, informal group working within the UK Parliamentary Service that looks at prototyping services for the UK Parliament". One of their first cabs off the rank is digitising Hansard back to 1803. Not only is this an excellent service with an interesting yet simple interface, their development blog offers some very useful information for anyone else looking at doing something similar. They use open source for a whole lot of very good reasons, and even make their source code freely available. The Millbank model offers a very good example of how a team can not only get something done, they can do it in a way which captures what they have learnt. Transparent government doesn't get any more transparent than this! To quote a certain iconic Australian TV ad "Good on ya..., you aught to be congratulated".

And in case your wondering what Millbank stands for, and I quote: "About the Millbank Systems bit: well, Parliament has a few offices on Millbank, but apart from that it really doesn’t mean much. We just wanted a domain name we could spell." Love it!


Bibliothekia said...

As of September 2008 the direct link to the Millbank Hansard Project is

Mal Booth said...

Good post and an interesting approach. Thanks for letting us know. I like their approach and their reasons for using open source.