This article sets out the writer's impressions gleaned from an extensive examination of the homepages mounted on the World Wide Web by governments and government agencies. The writer is critical of the quality of the information made available and identifies some possible explanations for the perceived shortcomings of the homepages. A rush to establish a Net presence has encouraged agencies to mount pages without having clearly defined their intended audience. Much of the information is in the form of ‘HTMLised’ documents originally created for other purposes. Frequently these are accessed from pages structured from the point of view of the agency, without reference to the perceptions and needs of the users of the information. In order to overcome these shortcomings, the writer proposes a more rigorous evaluation of Web publishing projects which are led by information professionals and others involved in the direct delivery of information services, with a smaller role for IT personnel than is currently the case.
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