Hold the present-buying; govt needs your ideas about content

New Zealand's digital content should be "visible, searchable and easily accessed," says report

The Government’s Digital Strategy team has called for a more strategic approach when it comes to sharing digital content across public and private sectors. It’s also wants people to be able to find local content easily and for the experience to be a consistent one.

Suggestions regarding how these goals might be reached are contained in a draft report being backed by ICT Minister David Cunliffe and Judith Tizard, Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage. Members of the public have until December 20 to respond.

New Zealand’s digital content should be “visible, searchable and easily accessed,” says the report. To facilitate this, the strategy document suggests content be stored in “interoperable, standards-based digital warehouses”.

The report also addresses the flip-side of content-sharing: intellectual-property protection mechanisms.

The “creative commons” licence pioneered by US law lecturer Lawrence Lessig is suggested as a good way developing such a mechanism. In addition, the government-sponsored National Digital Archive could act as the core holding centre in developing a cross-sector strategy for storing, preserving and making available “formal digital content”.

Formal content (content produced largely by public institutions in structured form) is one of the three kinds of content identified. The others are commercial content and “informal” content, such as email discussion lists, wikis, blogs and podcasts.

The Digital Strategy’s second goal is to turn New Zealand into “a content-rich society, where the creation, use and sharing of digital content reflects our cultures, languages, histories and identities”. It also wants NZ to be “a digitally literate and connected society, where all New Zealanders are able to engage in creating, sharing and preserving digital content.”

In addition, local businesses should be encouraged to see opportunities in producing and using digital content to “increase productivity and market presence”. Decision-making should be more informed by good-quality research, the results of which are expressed in digital form.

To this end it is suggested we should:

• Promote greater awareness and use of digital technology and digital content by New Zealand business

• Support the development of strong and internationally competitive New Zealand digital content technologies and solutions

• Support the development and retention of a skilled digital workforce

• Commission research and compile quality data to assist with understanding and responding to digital content trends, opportunities and challenges.

The report says NZ lacks an organised repository for government-funded content; willingness by businesses to create and use digital content — only 53% of businesses do this — and that there are “gaps in the application of metadata and accessibility standards”, the latter results in content that is difficult to access by people with disabilities or those who have a slow internet connection.

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