Monday, February 2, 2009

The Power of Information

Getting back to where we began, the Government's attempt at a blog on Digital Economy issues. One of the topics they tried to cover was the use of Public sector Information.

A second round of the UK consultations on this has come out, this time a highly innovative initiative of posting the draft report on a website in HTML form only designed to elicit comments on it bit by bit. Personally I find it a frustrating way to try to read the draft, but it would seem to be a better approach than the piecemeal "blog" the Government used on the Digital Economy.

As to the actual content, the recommendations focus on free open access (creative commons licences), but they also note that the online environment continues to evolve.

Once upon a time all State Governments had Government Prining Offices, but they got swept away by technology and outsourcing. In Canberra today the great focus is still on outsourcing, but the creatio of a modern day equivalent of the printing office might not go astray. At least for the purposes of cataloguing, maintaining archival copies, and establishing standards including on tagging and hyperlinks.


  1. The New South Wales Government Printing Office was sold to private enterprise. I know this because I contracted for the (now public) company at the time. They inherited...

    a) what was deemed to be outdated machinery and
    b) customers (mostly government) who weren't used to paying bills.

    Incidentally this private company and a few competitiors keep records for both private and government agencies and if you receive a letter from a government agency (or a bank) the chances are that both the record keeping and the mailing of letters to your home is outsourced to either this or some other company.

    Reader's Digest used to be "good" at this sort of thing, but I believe their mailings are now outsourced as well. I spent 20 years at the Digest and saw quite a few technological changes in the time I was there from large printing presses to "computer" to "direct to printing plate" technology.

  2. Oh it seems information regarding the sale of the New South Wales government printing office is in the public domain ...

    Mar 07, 2005 (The Australian - ABIX via COMTEX)

    Australian junk mail and telemarketing company, Salmat, has acquired a government printing contract. Salmat has paid less than $A5 million for the New South Wales Government printing service. The three-year outsourcing contract involves the purchase of the assets of the business. The printing service supplies documents to the state government's departments and agencies and has turnover of about $A25 million a year.