For anyone that didn’t catch this headline on the BBC web site yesterday – "Hundreds of government websites are to be shut down "to make access to information easier" for people.Of 951 sites, only 26 will definitely stay, 551 will definitely close and hundreds more are expected to follow".
For anyone even remotely connected to the public sector, as well as ordinary citizens, this can only be good news. The proliferation of webs sites across central government is a consequence of an entrenched attitude that every project or initiative should have a web site – in fact this was usually the first thing that project teams did once they had been handed funding. No thought was ever given to what would happen to the site once the project had completed and funding no longer available. This ‘silo thinking’ is endemic across the public sector, and created huge problems in being able to find relevant information – that could well be split across several sites. The fact that it’s easy in web-land to provide links between sites and content hasn’t occurred to many of the site owners. Removing out of date or irrelevant content is clearly a step in the right direction, and should remove some of the clutter from search engine results.