Tony Bowden writes to lament inept attempts to make Belfast City Council meeting minutes available online. It certainly seems like a lot of e-government services are designed with the issue-focussed user in mind rather than those who simply want to keep informed or educate themselves. That’s not such a surprise given that most of the pressure for these services is coming from interest groups, but it would seem that with something so simple as meeting minutes it would be harder not to provide a browsing interface than to develop one and then provide for more complex uses on top of that.
Tony used his entry to announce the launch of the (completely unofficial) Northern Ireland Government Wiki. Properly modelling government structures is a complex business, and my experience so far that it’s a lot of work to build the critical mass required to make a wiki work in a context like this. But given the service the council provides, it won’t take much to shame them, and it’ll be interesting to see how the project develops.
UPDATE: Tony has written in more detail about the motivation behind the wiki approach.