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Directory of European and national rules on Web Applications (updated version, 21 May 2008)
edited by the Research Staff of the Italian Senate Library

Introduction to the updated edition

The new edition of the Directory of European and National Rules on Web Applications offers an updated panorama of standards and regulations - issued both by the European Union and by each single Member State - related to Web Applications, in the conviction that information on directions and policies currently in act in the various national contexts is a necessary step towards the adoption of uniform and shared qualitative criteria.
It is supposed to have periodic updates.
Compared to the previous edition, this version includes the 12 new EU Member States. Searching and compiling criteria have not changed; the Directory may also include documents no more in force, if useful to draw the evolution of relevant policies in a Country.
This version has been edited by the Research Staff of the Italian Senate Library: the Parliamentary Documentalists Chiara De Vecchis (who also provided overall guidance and coordination during the preparation of the Directory) and Daniela Middioni, with the Library Consultants Giovanna Montani and Filippo Vignato.
Moreover, this edition owes to the cooperation of the ECPRD Correspondents (European Centre for Parliamentary Research & Documentation), who answered to the Italian Delegate request regarding the main initiatives in their Countries. The warmest thanks to all of them.
The compilers are also grateful to Sandro Bulgarelli, Chief of the Italian Senate Library, and Anna Galluzzi, Responsible for the Research Staff; to Francesco Marcelli, Senior Parliamentary Officer of the Senate Research Service and ECPRD Correspondent, who transmitted the request and collected the responses; and to Raissa Teodori, Standing Committee member of the IFLA Section on Library and Research Services for Parliaments, for general assistance.


The study aims to include any normative or strategic document, by public sources, which is relevant to Web Applications, notably when addressed to public agencies, and with particular reference - on the side of contents - to usability and accessibility themes.
The Directory doesn't presume to be exhaustive: it is meant to be a work in progress, open to new ideas and external contributions. It lists 27 Country Profiles, one for each EU Member, in alphabetical order; within each national Profile, data are in descendent chronological order, and they have been organised according to the different kind of documents and sources. Most of the results include short abstracts of the documents and, whenever possible, links to the full-text of each document (usually in PDF format), in the original and/or English version.
Many documents with no prescriptive aims (such as reports, projects, and similar publications) have been included as indicative of political choices with an impact on the core-themes of the Directory. Conferences and related news have been neglected in this edition. Many documents focused on some specific, technical issues among the wide world of the ‘Information Society’ have also been excluded (e.g., broadband, internet domains, supplying web access service regulation, technical requirements on infrastructures or formats or metadata, regulations on privacy and net security, e-commerce, distance learning, copyright and intellectual property, digital signature, digital protocol, and most of the issues connected to e-business, e-commerce, e-learning, etc.), except when pointed out by our correspondents in the different Countries. Moreover, rules related to the creation, storage, preservation and reproduction of offline digital documents have been left out. Documents focusing on e-government have been included when considered relevant in the fields covered by the Directory or, on the opposite side, when relating to very broad, general strategies and policies. At EU level, a special emphasis has been placed on documents issued within eEurope initiatives. In some cases, documents related to the ones adopted as main record have been highlighted (e.g. amendments to, opinions on, preparatory materials, former editions and so on).
The research has been carried out at the Library of the Italian Senate, taking advantage of its collection of sources and search tools. In particular, the official sources in print have been selected from a bibliography on EU Members Official Publications edited by the Library:
Le pubblicazioni ufficiali dei Paesi dell’Unione Europea attraverso le raccolte della Biblioteca del Senato. [Appendix of:] Bibliografia italiana dei Parlamenti nazionali dell'Unione Europea: con un’appendice sulle pubblicazioni ufficiali dei Paesi dell’Unione Europea / Biblioteca del Senato della Repubblica. - Soveria Mannelli : Rubbettino, 2003.
Web sources are mentioned at the end of each Country Profile. In searching databases and the Internet, the main key-words have been "Internet" and "Web", variously crossed with "Accessib*", "Cultur*", "Digitisation", "Public", "Quality" and "Usability" (in English and in the different national languages).
Documents from 1995 to the present day have been included. The last visit to all the URLs has been carried out between April the 1st and May the 19th, 2008.
The context of the research - documentation from public sources - can be considered critical from the point of view of accessibility and organisation of documents. Many relevant documents have a limited circulation (e.g. deliberations, circulars, etc.); many Countries are involved, each with its own legal traditions and a multitude of lists and registers as sources; indeed, the recent extension of the EU and the perspective of further expansion mean that the range of the study will become wider in the long term.
In a similar panorama, the key-role of the Internet sources becomes central.
National Governments, inter-governmental and non-governmental Organisations are more and more using the Web to spread information, sometimes in addition to - or even in substitution of - press releases, causing an increasing accessibility to documentation from public sources, and the consequent need to filter properly the search results. Nevertheless, there are strong disparities among the different States' publications on the Web, with regard to availability of records and full-texts, chronological cover, semantic indexing of documents, research tools. Moreover, monolinguism of many official websites and documents still persist. In this Directory, most titles of documents are in the official language of the different countries; English language is used in titles when documents are quoted in English, or have an English version, on the website of the issuing Institution. Anyway, many efforts have been devoted to make as coherent as possible the huge amount of the different collected data, pointing out for each document a minimal set of identificative elements. Despite the cautions, misunderstandings and omissions are always possible, so the compilers are willing to receive any suggestions, amendments or additions.






Quality, accessibility, usability

Best Practices