In the year 2000, the Inter-Parliamentary Union (the IPU) published a very important document - Guidelines for the Content and Structure of Parliamentary Websites - to foster good practices in the creation of a communication tool that was becoming increasingly important to legislatures. The IPU Guidelines have served parliaments well for a number of years, but the authors themselves recognized that they would eventually need to be updated. As the introduction to the Guidelines states: “Internet technology is constantly evolving. It will be necessary to review and update the Guidelines in the light of future developments.” That time has now come. With the advances in technology during the past 10 years, it is important to update the guidelines to reflect the best current and emerging practices in today’s websites.
The Global Centre for ICT in Parliament is finalizing, in collaboration with the IFLA Section on Library and Research Services for Parliaments, a Handbook on the use of ICT in parliamentary libraries and research services, which will cover various topics ranging from cataloguing to digital information services, from digitization to connecting MPs and citizens to services through social media.
Parliamentary documents such as committee reports and texts of debates and hearings are fundamental records of the legislature. These documents must be prepared quickly, efficiently and accurately. They must be distributed easily and then amended, revised and redistributed just as easily. And they must be archived effectively to ensure availability and long-term preservation. The findings of the 2010 edition of the World e-Parliament Report indicate that timely public availability of such legislative records is a key ingredient for a more open, transparent and accountable legislature, and therefore a cornerstone of healthy parliamentary democracies.