Improving access to government through better use of the Web

Summary: introductory post about my current work and why I’m here.

The title of the post is the motto of the work I’m leading at the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), where I’m also lucky of having John Sheridan (The [UK] National Archives) and Kevin Novak (AIA, formerly Libray of Congress) as co-Chairs and several international participants more.

We are compiling use cases and ideas to develop an issues paper showing the main ones governments are facing when using Web technology. eGov is a huge topic, so we are focusing on just a few topics such as Open Government Data or Participation and Engagement. Work is being publicly tracked at the Group’s wiki and the mailing list.

We have been discussing a lot about the use of social media in goverment which will make one of the sections of the final issues document; the action is being already tracked. W3C is also organizing a workshop in Barcelona (Spain) on 15-16 January 2009 to discuss the future of social networking, and you might be interested in the outcome. The papers are already online and a report be publicly available after the workshop. The Chairs and me sent one on behalf of the Group. It’s titled “Social Media in Government“.

Why is this all relevant to you? Well, as it’s been said many times, it’s impossible to fix something if you don’t know what’s broken. Practitioners such as the Members of this community are heavily using many W3C standards on a daily basis, from HTML and CSS, to XML and Semantic Web technologies, and we need to hear from you what is working and what is not. We are currently compiling use cases about projects that could show us the main issues found. We’ll publish the issues document with the most important ones before end of May (probably a draft in late January/early February) then, if we can get enough commitment from Group Members, probably go ahead and try to build Best Practices to address those issues.

The Group is open and it’s your time to have your say on what’s important or what we are missing, if there is something we should fix, please let us know. We welcome participation, use cases and pointers to related work we may have missed.


ps: thanks to Adriel Hampton for suggested posting this one here.

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