Notes from ALGIM 08

(Mon)day 1 of ALGIM 08 was terrific, and I intended to report in some detail. Tuesday, I was smitten with my new vertical mouse at first touch. Then came a naff ailment, and I slowed to snail pace. Better late than never, here are some crumbs from the conference.

  • The Association of Local Government Information Management is 20 years old.
  • Their benchmarking survey showed that just 25% of councils provide interactive forms, and fewer than 10% of councils automate such processes as online consents tracking.
  • National treasure Jason Dawson said 98% of people do not use RSS.

To the presentations...

Trent Mankelow of Optimal Usability gave a great overview of self service usability. He said SS technology should be so intuitive that we don't even notice it, like automatic doors. SS technology should:

  • save the owner heaps
  • give customer a sense of power and control
  • give customer extra benefits and incentives
  • match the technology to the need, e.g. either a kiosk, IVR (For share prices, press 1) or voice activation (For trading, say Trading) or egov online.

Anna Crooks of reminded us that participation in e-government is not a given. It's an undreamt of privilege in countries ruled by dictators and the mob, which she saw in recent travels to Libya and Nairobi. Let's not be blase about Web 2.0 in government. Web 2.0 has huge customer service benefits but carries obligations and responsibilities."

Mark Orange of Intergen spoke about the evolution of enterprise content management. It was great to see how web content management fits into the big picture. ECM is an outrageously bold concept that is now a red-hot reality and a multi-billion market. In other words, it's a giant system of databases that replaces archives, trolleys, telegrams.

ECM is the technologies used to capture, manage, store, preserve and deliver content and documents related to organisational processes. That applies to an organisation's unstructured information wherever it exists.

Jason Dawson reported on the challenges and triumphs of local government web sites in the UK and Ireland, with plenty of screenshots. He capped that off by showing us how Northland Regional Council used its web site to cope with the floods of 2007: practical advice from one who knows.

Tauranga City Council's Vicky Wheelton and Elizabeth Hughes showed us their radical new website, dominated by search. Results speak volumes: users of the new site have doubled since November, many hate the look but everyone finds what they want.

And I galloped through my own presentation in the allocated half hour: how appropriate, when I aim to teach the minimum number of skills to the maximum number of people.

Tip of the day from Trent Mankelow: Always bite off less than you can chew.

Image: the wondrous Evoluent Vertical Mouse 3 (


Rachel McAlpine
Rachel McAlpine


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