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    Location: Aberystwyth, Wales, United Kingdom

    I am the owner and managing director of Information Automation Limited (IAL), a company that specialises in research, consultancy and training for the information profession. We are particularly interested in all forms of electronic information resources (e-journals, e-books, etc) and I teach a course in electronic publishing at the Department of Information Studies in Aberystwyth. Drilling down still further(!), my interests centre on the quality and evaluation of electronic information, and in the thinking that underpins activities in library and information science.
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    Monday, March 27, 2006

    Ministerial blog: it cost you (I mean me) what??

    I was quite heartened when I read that David Milibrand had started a blog; perhaps rather naively, I thought that here was a minister trying to communicate with the people, and perhaps even listen to what some of them said. I assumed that this was a personal effort...
    And then he happened to mention that all in all, it had cost £6,200 to design, configure and integrate his weblog. I have to confess that my first thought was "How much?" closely followed by "Ah! That's where our money is going." I commented in his blog entry (as did one or two others!), but I haven't yet had a response.
    I think that the idea of ministers having blogs is OK, I wish more of them had one, but why do they need a weblog created, designed and configured by the Whitehall IT department? What was wrong with Blogger, Typepad, or any of the other free and hugely (well, perhaps not hugely but at least adequately) configurable products available out there for free? What else does he need? Some sort of special security? Better design features (what no trackback?)? Total control?
    OK, I give up. Anyone who wants to hazard a guess at how setting up a blog can cost over £6,000 - or why anyone would think that was value for money, feel free to suggest answers here! Mr Milibrand is going to have to write some potent posts if we are even going to approach seeing a return for our money.

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