Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Information Dissemination through Official Websites: A Critique

Bhattacharya, Kaushik (2010): Information Dissemination through Official Websites: A Critique.

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Website constructions in the world have progressed at a fast pace. However, compared to the pace of development, the issue of benchmarking of the contents of official websites has not yet received adequate attention. The paper argues that with the proliferation of official websites worldwide, data dissemination concepts as developed by the IMF need to be generalised towards information dissemination, with special reference to web-based dissemination. The paper, in this context, attempts to specify some common structural features in the contents of official websites that could act as potential benchmarks. It examines to what extent commonalities and differences prevail with respect to these benchmarks among the websites of a few leading international organizations, as well as a few official websites in the US and India. Analysis reveals that some degree of convergence has taken place among all official websites in (i) structuring the contents, and in (ii) providing a few basic facilities to the users. It is observed that none of the sites are fully compliant with respect to the criteria specified in the paper. Full compliance would, however, require limited effort and would mostly involve one-time uploading of specific materials. A few major limitations, however, appear to be more general. Observations suggest that in future more attention need to be focused on designing the headers and footers of web pages that can act as a general template for all official websites. More attention is also needed on providing information that would lead to more precise identification of web pages for user reference and documentation. The paper suggests some specific improvements in this regard, elaborating with examples. It also suggests a few other policy measures that could lead to more effective web-based information in official websites.

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