Hiding behind transparency: the UK government online information strategy?

John Parkinson discusses doing research on UK government documents in the digital age.

John Parkinson

In the last ten years, one of the great things about being an academic has been the explosion of public information available online. While I miss aspects of browsing through dusty archives and stacks, it’s been an awrful lot easier and an awful lot quicker to go to the relevant department or ministerial website and download some policy papers at a few clicks of the mouse.

Developments in the world of online government information in the UK are damaging that. Badly.

Government departments in the UK are moving their online presences to http://gov.uk, a development of what used to be direct.gov.uk which was a general information portal for citizens wanting to know how to access a service, download a form, make a payment and so forth. Which is all very well if that’s the only way you engage with government — as a consumer of goods and services.


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