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Australian Policy Online

Submission Text:

Government 2.0 Taskforce

Suggestions and ideas from Australian Policy Online (

Australian Policy Online is an open access archive with over 7000 policy related research reports, papers, statistical analyses etc and a strong community of practice following its regular and timely postings.

Having moved to a new content management system a few months ago, APO is poised to implement a range of new web 2.0 tools to compliment existing ones.

Currently we provide: dissemination via a weekly email newsletter (including tailored content selection), RSS feeds, twitter and OAI harvesting into the NLA Arrow project; guided search results; reader comments and bookmarking facilities; and free and paid advertising opportunities. Original content includes a high court watch, commnetary and some research.

APO and Government 2.0 – Ideas and synergies

Some of the following developments and ideas for APO intersect nicely with the aims of the taskforce:

Improvements to the current database. Over the next few months we plan to:

  • Open the database to external contributors – at this point posting rights will be restricted to known publishers of quality research including our 170 member organisations, govt sources and other trusted publishers. Ensuring all government research publications were included in the database should be a crucial part of this. Other types of resources produced by government could also be considered. The site is able to upload or embed publications, audio, video, slides etc.
  • Allow readers to organise the site’s contents through collaborative tagging and bookmarking of resources. This folksonomy would exist alongside the current taxonomy.
  • Assist with selection of resources via user ratings/recommendations and by setting up a policy blog network providing regular expert commentary on current research issues and publications of note
  • Continue to improve the archive’s metadata and make more facets available for searching. This will include being able to narrow results by state, by publication source (ie academic, government, NGO etc) or type (report, journal article, statistics, etc) etc.

Next stage projects under consideration and open to new partnerships

  • Creating an International Policy Portal: using whatever harvesting tools are most appropriate to the task – OAI, RSS or RDF. The IPP would combine Australian policy research with that of other countries where available (ie Policy Hub), into one searchable database.
  • A digitisation program for important older policy reports and documents in print form only
  • The creation of a Policypedia – a wikipedia style guide to current policy.
  • The creation of Policy Networks around particular topics of interest and national importance – mainly aimed at researchers
  • Setting up public Policy Platforms for ideas, comments and discussion around key issues using some kind of group software. For this to work government participation and responsiveness would be crucial.
  • Using feeds and other technologies for the creation of specialised sites focussed on particular issues eg state policy portals, preventative health, social inclusion etc. Forming collaborative editing teams around content areas would be an efficient and effective way to manage the costs of metadata cataloguing.
  • Investigating ways to provide access to printed copies of material

About APO

Australian Policy Online is Australia’s leading policy librayr and news service. The site was established in 2002 by the Institute for Social Research at Swinburne University in Melbourne and now has an archive of around 7000 research reports and 1500 commentary pieces. The site also now collects policy related video, audio, books and web resouces. Information such as jobs, events, submissions, courses and notices can be posted by any registered reader either for free or for a small fee.

APO is independent of government yet present government, and government agency publications along side academic, NGO and other research so that readers are able to be fully informed of current policy thinking. APO has come to fill a crucial gap between policy makers and researchers, as well as providing a freely available resource for anyone with an internet connection.

The APO archive covers all major public policy topic areas including economics, education, health, social policy, politics, the enviroment and urban planning, law, creative industires and Indigenous issues.

APO’s development has been generously supported by the Australian Research Council, Swinburne University. The site has a number of institutional partners and over 170 member organisations.

Amanda Lawrence
Managing Editor, Australian Policy Online

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