Enhanced Internet-enabled access and use of public sector information

4 December 2008 - A Best Practice Forum on Access in Hyderabad, India


The Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) proposes to hold an IGF Best Practise Forum on increasing Internet-enabled access to digital public sector information and content. Public organisations produce and hold a large amount of public sector information and content (PSI). An increasing amount of PSI is digitised or produced in digital form and is increasingly accessible and available as information products and services for potential users to find, access, re-use, and further develop for both individual and commercial purposes. Examples of the large potential of PSI when put to wider use could include the variety of new private sector services based on meteorological and cartographic data, access to video archives of national public broadcasters, and virtual guided tours through art galleries or museums. 

The growing interest of governments in facilitating access to and promoting further use of PSI is based on the expectation that enhanced flows and re-use of information, and the increased economic and social activity associated with its use, contribute to improving government efficiency, economic growth, access to knowledge, education, understanding of cultural heritage and citizen welfare. Greater access also supports fundamental principles including openness, democracy, human rights and freedom of information. But wider use of digital PSI may require changes in policy approaches and reorganisation of public information as a number of obstacles impede efficient access to PSI and its effective use. Difficulties faced include restrictive or unclear rules governing access and conditions of re-use; complex licensing procedures; inefficient distribution to final users. There are also challenges with new technologies and ensuring long-term preservation, the development of born-digital content, the implementation of cultural digitisation projects where market mechanisms do not foster effective digitisation, and barriers to development of international markets. 

This Forum will explore best practices to overcome these challenges. It will build on the OECD Recommendation for Enhanced Access and more Effective Use of Public Sector Information. Participants will discuss good practises, ‘lessons learnt’, and problems to be avoided from various perspectives (i.e. institutions, users, etc.).