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A Survey of Government Institution Websites in Lithuania

Kristina Aidietien, specialist, Information and EU Issues Division, Information Society Development Committee under the Government of the Republic of Lithuania

The Lithuanian governments resolution on general requirements for the Internet sites of government institutions was adopted five years ago. This year a qualitative and quantitative study was conducted to show that the condition of such sites and their compliance with the stated requirements have improved to a considerable degree.

Over the course of the last several years, there have been serious attempts to ensure that the availability of public information from all state institutions via the Internet be as good as possible.  This first required uniform requirements vis-à-vis the structure of the relevant Internet sites.  The aforementioned study showed that compliance with the requirements has increased substantially.  For ministries, full compliance was noted in 66.3% of cases, as opposed to just 39.9% in 2007.  Among the offices of country governors, the figures were 66.3% and 39.8%, and among governmental institutions 53.8% and 47.9%. 



The authors of the study also evaluated the extent to which institutional Websites complied with general principles and requirements related to the dissemination of information.  This applies to the address of the Webpage, the introductory page, the frequency with which information is updated, the availability of information for differently abled people, the presence or absence of commercial advertisements, the provision of information in more than one language, etc.



As can be seen in Figure 2, government ministries and courts have done best in terms of satisfying general principles 81.7% and 81.3% respectively, as opposed to 77% and 72.5% last year.  Also doing well are institutions which are subordinate to the government (75.6% versus 73.1%), county governments (75% and 70.6%), and municipalities (71% and 65.6%).

Another area of investigation focused on requirements related to the information that is provided on Internet Websites.



Ministries in particular have done better in terms of information requirements a compliance rate of 71%, which is far better than the 44.6% rate that was posted one year ago.

Researchers summarised the results from the various categories to find that the most thorough compliance with requirements can be found among ministries (72.7% in 2008, 52% in 2007), country governments (69.2% and 49.3%), and institutions which are subordinate to the government (61.2% and 54.5%).  Only 52.1% of municipal institutions and establishments satisfied the requirements, but that was, again, far better than was the case in 2007, when only 36.5% did so.



For the first time, the Internet Websites of state institutions were evaluated not just in quantitative, but also in qualitative terms.  This focused on such issues as the frequency of information updates, the interactivity that is available on Websites, the level of overall activity, the correctness of references to legal acts, etc.  Researchers also looked at the level of representativeness on each site, the clarity of introductory pages, and the ease of use of the various sites.  Of particular importance was the extent to which the pages were appropriate for the use of differently abled people.

The research showed that most Websites dont have enough information about issues related to their activities.  On the other hand, most of the examined institutions comply with qualitative requirements in that they allow users to communicate with them via the Website.  The sites also tend to be sufficiently representative, and the information presented therein is logical and systematised.  Most of the Internet Websites of state institutions are adapted for use by differently abled people.

Further development of the Internet Websites of Lithuanian institutions will improve the ability of the public to receive information about institutions and their functions on the Internet, ensure that the Websites of comparable institutions are uniform, improve the efficiency, relevance and reliability of information that is found on the Websites, enhance search functions, lead to the creation of new Websites, and ensure the regular updating of Website information.

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