This paper aims to show that there has been a rise in the development of local information systems in recent years. However, little research exists on users' perspectives of the value they obtain from these systems. This paper seeks to directly address this issue.
A case study approach was employed. The system selected for the case study was the Milton Keynes intelligence (MKi) Observatory, which is managed by Milton Keynes Council. Interviews with key staff involved in the system's development were undertaken to examine the reasons for the development of a local information system. A survey with the system's users provided insight into its use and value.
The paper found that, although the MKi Observatory is of significant value to users, they experience difficulty in finding data and information and in the use and interpretation of statistical and mapping data. There is a lack of awareness of the importance and use of metadata associated with resources in the system. Implications for the development of other similar systems are outlined.
The study identifies how the MKi Observatory local information system may better facilitate the exchange of data and information to its users. Such research is essential if the full potential of these systems is to be realised and to identify how they may better meet the needs of their users. Implications for other similar systems were also elicited, so that the value of this study and its findings can be used by other local information systems, or those considering the development of such a system.
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