Since Tuesday of this week I’ve been watching the effects of Google spidering the nigov wiki. On Tuesday, there were about 8 pages indexed. On Wednesday it was around 80. By last night there were 800.

As I said earlier, I expected this promotion of the Belfast City Council minutes to first class internet citizens to be useful. But I wasn’t expecting quite so much search engine traffic quite so soon.

The bulk of the minutes have only been available from google searches for about 24 hours. And I’ve already had click-throughs from the following searches:

* alex maskey
* allotment dundonald
* anti-litter campaign aims and objectives
* belfast city airport ministerial statement
* belfast city council tourism dept
* business improvement district proposals in northern ireland
* canal belfast
* continental market belfast city hall
* councillor m browne + economic sub committee
* david mach belfast city hall
* development control in northern ireland on hot food bars
* difficulties associated with outdoor concerts
* drinking on the street belfast city council
* fixed penalty fines issued by belfast city council
* floral hall belfast
* leading ladies from belfast
* lynch cranmore gardens
* north belfast council dumps
* oasis retail services
* pestle analysis for belfast
* place and belfast and chairman and architect
* playground funding northern ireland
* sculpture david mach belfast
* shankill road activities
* sprucefield phase 2
* studio space belfast
* successful tender for the provision of agency workers
* tender for the provision of agency workers
* titanic quarter belfast expenditure
* ulster hall
* ulster senior waterfront hall boxing
* waterfront hall
* waterfront hall board
* waterfront hall studio hire charges
* waterworks belfast
* who is councillor tom hartley

(As well as the usual ragbag of bizarre terms that seem completely unrelated to anything).

Now, it’s likely that the information that many of these people wanted was available elsewhere. But that amount of clickthroughs in 24 hours certainly implies that it’s not enough for things like council minutes to just be “available” online. Locking them away behind a complex interface makes them all but invisible to the determined searcher. Most government tender documents these days talk about the “three clicks rule”, where all content needs to be available within 3 clicks of the home page. Perhaps someone should introduce them to the “one search rule” – if your content isn’t available within 1 click of a google search, it may as well not exist.

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