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									  BSIM0003   Information

Introduction to policy, policy
making & information policies
             Seminars 1 - 2

              HKU Faculty of Education   1

•   Administrative details
•   Macro & micro policies
•   What underpins information policy
•   Information policy issues
•   Definitions
•   Examples
•   Sample websites
•   Next seminar…..

                  HKU Faculty of Education   2
        Subject administration

•   Aims & objectives
•   Class format
•   Assessment
•   Expectations

                  HKU Faculty of Education   3

On completion of this subject, the student
should be able to:

• Understand the nature of policies &
  policy making
• Describe the goals of policy making
• Identify stakeholders in the information
  policy formulation process

                HKU Faculty of Education     4

• Provide informed opinions on specific
  information policies at international,
  national & enterprise levels
• Identify the need for & frame information
  policies for enterprises

                 HKU Faculty of Education     5
   Class format & assessment

12 X 2 hr classes = 24 hrs

Continuous – 100%
• 1 X individual assignment - 60%
• 1 X group assignment - 40%

                HKU Faculty of Education   6
         Policy : Definitions

1. A definite course of action adopted as
   expedient or from other considerations
2. A course or line of action adopted &
   pursued by a government etc
3. Prudence, practical wisdom or
                                           Macquarie Dictionary

                HKU Faculty of Education                      7
           Policy : Purposes
Policy is intended to control activity & guide
it in directions which are desired for political,
social, economic or professional reasons
(depending on the nature of the policy). The
notion of the ‘public good’ or ‘public interest’
is a key basis for public policy

Policies may be very broad statements of
vision or more specific in the form of
strategic plans
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             Policy : Format

A policy will often include:

• Goals & objectives, ie what it is intended
  to achieve
• Methods by which the various parts of the
  policy are to be implemented (procedures)
• Where responsibility lies for
• Details of time schedule, resources & any
  other aspects relating to implementation
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        Policy : Consistency

• Internal consistency – the definition should
  ‘fit’ with the goals & instruments

• Vertical consistency – programs/activities
  should be logically related to the policy

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    Policy : Internal & vertical

               Policy content
                • definition    Internal
                • goals       consistency
  Vertical      • instruments

                    Programs / activities

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Policies : Horizontal consistency

    Policy A                           Policy B

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     Public policy : Definitions

‘A course of action or inaction chosen by
 public authorities to address a given
 problem or interrelated set of problems’
                                                Pal, 1997

‘The commitment of public resources to
 certain courses of action to achieve certain
 goals, always in the context of differential
                                            Doty & Wyllys

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       Policy : Public interest

‘Public interest….is one of a family of related
terms which are used to distinguish the
selfish or personal interests or cares of
individuals or groups from the best interests
of society as a whole. The Public Interest
refers to some policy or goal in which every
member of society shares equally,
regardless of wealth, position, status or
                                            Robertson, 1985

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       Policy : Public interest

Alternatively …..

  ‘Public Interest is a term used by every
   politician to support his ideas’

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           Policy formation

The process of the inception of an idea to its
passage as a law or other formal directive. A
critical component is that there must be
some intended goals for the policy or
outcomes resulting from its implementation.
It involves :

1. A proposal
2. Evaluation
3. Implementation
                 HKU Faculty of Education    16
            Policy proposal

A policy has its origins in the need to solve a
problem or effect a change. This would
involve suggested actions to be taken with
supporting arguments. Proponents of the
proposed policy will promote it to parties that
have influence in the policy making process,
eg government officers etc

                 HKU Faculty of Education     17
          Policy evaluation
Relevant bodies of knowledge are applied to
the arguments in support of the proposed
Apart from projected measures of success in
achieving its goals, the proposed policy will
be evaluated against sectional interests &
agendas etc, as well as consistency with
other policies
Decision making models apply to the policy
making process
                HKU Faculty of Education     18
       Policy implementation

• An organisation/dept/individual needs to
  be identified as responsible for
  implementing the policy
• Resources need to be allocated to
• The policy needs to be communicated to
  those affected by it
• Mechanisms to reward/penalise
  conformance/non-conformance to the
  policy need to be established
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       Policy implementation

To measure conformance to the policy :

• Policy goals should be clearly stated
• The goals must be measurable
• Implementation is directed to achieving the
• Data to verify conformance must be

                HKU Faculty of Education   20
          Information policy :
‘A governing principle, plan, or course of action
 concerning information resources & technology
 adopted by a company, organization, institution, or
 government, eg the political decision to use public
 funds to subsidize Internet access for schools &
 public libraries. In the USA, Congress & the
 President are advised by the National Commission
 on Library & Information Science (NCLIS) on
 decisions concerning national library & information
 policy’                                       ODLIS

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         Information policy :
Information policy is designed to regulate or
guide people, organisations & processes
involved in information flow in society. A
useful definition of public or government
information policy is:

 ‘the set of all public laws, regulations &
  policies that encourage, discourage or
  regulate the creation, use, storage &
  communication of information’ (Weingarten, 1989)
                  HKU Faculty of Education       22
           Information policy :
So information policy can include regulation
(via prescription & proscription) of
information at all stages of the information
lifecycle :

   •   Creation          • Dissemination
   •   Collection        • Repackaging
   •   Organization      • Destruction
   •   Storage
                 HKU Faculty of Education      23
         Information policy :
Information policies can equally be applied
to all stages of the information transfer
cycle :
                   • Use
                   • Create
                   • Collect
                   • Organise
                   • Store
                   • Provide access
                   • Deliver
                HKU Faculty of Education      24
   Nature of information policy

Traditionally, writers on information policy
have focused on policies governing the
control of government information

This trend has intensified in the last decade
due to :

 1. ???
 2. ???
 3. ???
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   Nature of information policy

‘Information policy can be set at a national
 level, by the U.S. federal government; by
 state & local governments; & by other
 agencies & institutions, for example private
 companies or agencies within governmental
 units’                             McClure, 1996

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   Nature of information policy

He adds that :

    ‘An information policy instrument is a
     written law, guideline, regulation or
     other official statement that describes
     how information will be collected,
     managed, protected, accessed & used’

                 HKU Faculty of Education      27
   Nature of information policy

However, in an information based society,
all organisations need to consider the impact
of information. As early as 1985, Hayes had
argued that information policy…

  ‘is the basis for societal & institutional
   decisions concerning the allocation of
   resources to acquisition, processing
   distribution & use of information’

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   Nature of information policy

Information policy is…
  ‘a set of interrelated laws & policies
   concerned with the creation, production,
   collection, management, distribution &
   retrieval of information. Their significance
   lies in the fact that they profoundly affect
   the manner in which an individual in a
   society, indeed a society itself, makes
   political, economic & social choices’
                                            Mason, 1983
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   Nature of information policy

In 1993, Burger noted that there is a…
   ‘disarray of approaches, circular definitions, &
   quasi-analyses’ which seems to indicate…that
   information policy, whatever it is, is
   exceedingly complex…One concept….does
   emerge, however. Information policy requires
   several different disciplines for evaluation:
   economics, law, political science, public
   administration, sociology, public policy,
   management science, & information science’

                   HKU Faculty of Education       30
  Information policy : macro or
At the macro level

Public policy issues (which include the
notion of the public interest)

At the micro level

Information flows, & policy issues & policy
development within individual organisations

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     Information policy issues
Information policy issues can be approached in 4
broad areas:

1. Legislation & regulation of information
2. Role of the information sector within the
   national & international economy;
3. Local issues which relate to the way
   information is used within organisations;
4. Contribution that information makes to the
   effective operation of an increasingly complex
   social system                      (Moore, 1991)

                   HKU Faculty of Education           32
     Information policy issues

No single national information policy can
possibly encompass the range of issues
identified in these 4 areas. See for example :

US National Commission on Libraries &
Information Science. National Information

                 HKU Faculty of Education     33
    Information policy issues
Moore advocates a ‘process of
consciousness-raising’ where policy
makers & those in positions of leadership :

1. Are made aware of the information
   problems & issues that exist
2. Contribute to debate & development of
   public policy in response to these
   problems & issues’

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     Information policy issues

3. Develop policy at the organisational level,
   where policy responses are formulated on
   the basis of an understanding of the
   background to the issues, an appreciation
   of the need for flexibility in a rapidly-
   changing environment, & an awareness
   of the inter-connections between the
   different issues                   Moore, 1991

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       Seminar discussion
Use the worksheet to list examples of parts
of the information transfer cycle, for which
information policies could be created, eg
restrictions on the publication of types of
information could be considered create in
the information transfer cycle

Post your views on the ILN forum

                 HKU Faculty of Education      36
   Information policy example :
Recent national information policy development
statements include :
Australia. Dept of Communications. Information
technoogy & the Arts. 2004, Strategic Framework
for the Information Economy 2004 - 2006:
Opportunities and Challenges for the Information
Age . See
framework for a commentary

                   HKU Faculty of Education      37
           Information policy :
               Hong Kong
‘The Secretary for Home Affairs has overall
responsibility for policy formulation on information
& related matters, while the Director of Information
Services advises the Government on the
presentation of its policies, & on public relations
matters generally, within Hong Kong & overseas.
The main aims are to ensure an open exchange of
information in the community & to keep the media
fully informed of the Government's plans, policies
& activities & to promote Hong Kong's image
abroad’                               HK yearbook, 2004

                    HKU Faculty of Education          38
        Seminar discussion
What do you think are :

1. The main information policy issues facing
   Hong Kong?
2. The main information policy issues facing

For both of these questions you could
consider the relationship of PRC with HK

Post your views on the ILN forum
                HKU Faculty of Education   39
   Information policy websites
• Foundation for Information Policy
  Search IFLA’s site for other information
                 HKU Faculty of Education        40
   Information policy websites

• Association of Research Libraries
• Center for Information Policy, University of
• Information Policy Internet Resources

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   Information policy websites

• Documents Center, University of Michigan

• Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

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Burger, R. 1993. Information policy : A framework
  for evaluation & policy research. Ablex,
  Norwood, NJ.
Hayes, R. Ed. 1985, Introduction. Libraries and the
  information economy of California. UCLA, Los
  Angeles CA.
McClure, C. 1996, Libraries and federal
  information policy. Journal of Academic
  Librarianship 22 (May) p. 214-8
Mason, M. 1983. The federal role in library and
  information services. Knowledge Industry, White
  Plains, NY.
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Pal, 1997. Beyond policy analysis: Public issue
  management in turbulent times. PTP Nelson,
  Scarborough, Ont.
Robertson, D. 1985, Penguin dictionary of politics.
  Penguin, London.
Weingarten, F. 1989. Federal information policy
  development. In C. McClure, P. Hernon & H.
  Relyea. (Eds) United States Government
  information policies. Eds. Ablex, Norwood, NJ.

                   HKU Faculty of Education      44

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