Fast Forward to the Future: building a digital repository for the Myanmar Parliament to store, organize and make accessible parliament’s documents for the use of Members of Parliament, parliamentary Staff and Myanmar citizens

AYE, Ni Ni and FRASER, Moira (2014) Fast Forward to the Future: building a digital repository for the Myanmar Parliament to store, organize and make accessible parliament’s documents for the use of Members of Parliament, parliamentary Staff and Myanmar citizens. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2014 - Lyon - Libraries, Citizens, Societies: Confluence for Knowledge in Session 121 - Law Libraries with Parliamentary Libraries, Information Technology and Committee on Freedom of Access to Information and Freedom of Expression (FAIFE). In: IFLA WLIC 2014, 16-22 August 2014, Lyon, France.

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Abstract

Fast Forward to the Future: building a digital repository for the Myanmar Parliament to store, organize and make accessible parliament’s documents for the use of Members of Parliament, parliamentary Staff and Myanmar citizens

Myanmar's Parliament is only 3 years old in its current incarnation. After many years of military rule, the political and parliamentary leadership have set ambitious targets to review all the major legislation by the election in late 2015, which means reviewing 300 laws. This transitional time in Myanmar is bringing rapid reform in many fields including legislative processes. Amidst the many new processes that have to be planned and implemented are better mechanisms for sharing bills and laws with MPs, parliamentary staff and the public. This young Parliament wants to undertake public consultation on bills, but must also develop ways of telling the Parliament and the public about what bills are being introduced and about how legislative processes work. Other needed reforms for the Parliament are the implementation of ICT infrastructure and information management tools to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the work of supporting Parliament. These two streams of work have come together in a project to build and share a digital repository. This project is one of several in a programme of work to support the development of parliamentary administration by UNDP/IPU. A number of parliamentary information experts with library, ICT or information management backgrounds have come to Myanmar to work with Parliamentary staff and the UNDP/IPU project team. The IFLA network of parliamentary libraries has been pivotal in recruiting suitable experts. The result has been speedy implementation of a digital repository to collect, store, organise and make accessible parliamentary documents. The most important group of documents to make more accessible are the Bills before Parliament. There have been a number of significant challenges to resolve in collecting documents, categorizing them. One unforeseen technical challenges was the translation of the code into the Myanmar language and deciding which Myanmar font to standardise upon to ensure maxium accessibility. The Myanmar story is an excellent example of being able to learn from the experience of others to transition quickly to a more modern information infrastructure that supports access to core information about the legislative process for MPs, parliamentary staff and the public.

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