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QLD agencies climb aboard the Web 2.0 bandwagon

by Aleks Vickovich •
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A Queensland State Archives (QSA) report released to the public this week has found that 51 per cent of Queensland government agencies are currently using or intend to use Web 2.0 tools in their business operations.   

The report outlines the findings of the 2010 Recordkeeping and Web 2.0 Surveyconducted by QSA in July, and also looks at “what business purposes the tools are being used for, what records management policies exist on the issue, and how associated public records are managed”.   QSA approached 193 agencies, with 135 taking part.

The survey found that use of Web 2.0 and social media tools is generally more advanced at state government departments than smaller-sized agencies.   Of the 13 state departments in Queensland, 10 have indicated current or intentional use of Web 2.0 technologies. 

 “Use was also high among tertiary sector respondents (77%) and government owned corporations (66%), but lower among smaller public authorities such as tribunals, boards and offices (40%),” states the report.

Twitter is the most common tool in use, followed by Facebook, RSS Feeds and YouTube.  The most common business purposes for use of these platforms are “providing information, promotion of services and products, receiving feedback on services or products and external community consultation,” in descending order.

The report also found a lack of existing policies or guidelines for Web 2.0 use across the Queensland public sector.  It states that “just over one third (of respondents) have either a specific Web 2.0 policy or a broader policy incorporating guidance on the use of Web 2.0 tools.  Over 40% of responding public authorities currently have no policies or procedures in place that guide staff use of Web 2.0 tools”.

The survey also investigated the use of Web 2.0 in compliance with recordkeeping requirements.  It found that “while half (52%) of responding public authorities do not have a Web 2.0 policy or procedure that covers recordkeeping, almost one-third (31%) are in the process of developing one.  Currently only 11% of public authorities have a policy or procedure that specifically covers recordkeeping issues”. 

A number of “recordkeeping challenges” were identified in the survey, including:

  • Procedures to cover deletion of records of social media interactions;
  • Potential archiving of internally hosted Web 2.0 content;
  • Preservation and management of Web 2.0 records;
  • Retention and disposal of Web 2.0 records; and
  • Digital recordkeeping procedures.

 “Almost 60% of responding public authorities using Web 2.0 tools have no current process in place to capture the associated public records,” according to the report.  Furthermore,  only “28% of agencies have incorporated the management of Web 2.0 records into their existing records management processes” and an “additional 12% have implemented, or will implement new records management processes to capture these public records”. 

This may result in a number of approaches to market for the provision of new information management systems relevant to Web 2.0 recordkeeping.

While numbers were not given on this point, the report also claims that “public authorities overwhelmingly supported the need for additional advice and guidance on how to meet their recordkeeping obligations under the Public Records Act 2002 when using Web 2.0 tools”.

In response to the findings, the QSA has developed a number of guidelines which provide advice on a range of recordkeeping and Web 2.0 issues, including:

  • Managing records of online services and resources policy;
  • When to make and keep records of blogs; and
  • Identifying a public record in the electronic environment.

These policies can be accessed at:

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