I Felt The Need To Write to the Chilcot Inquiry

The report should be made available in HTML but the Inquiry Team aren’t going to bother with that.

Sir John Chilcot

Earlier this week I wrote to the Iraq Inquiry team about the forthcoming report.

I note that the Inquiry report will be published in July. May I ask in what format the report will be published? I assume that physical paper copies will be available, and also a PDF.

However, neither of these are optimal for public discussion and citation. May I recommend that the report is also published in an HTML format?

I draw your attention to my project The Leveson Report (As It Should Be) at leveson.robertsharp.co.uk.

This is not a rewriting of Lord Justice Leveson’s report but instead a re-setting of the report in HMTL, a format that is far more convenient for students, journalists, policy makers and the public. Each paragraph and chapter carries its own anchor link for easy citation.

It is imperative that Sir John Chilcot’s report is published in a similar format. Ideally, transcripts of and written evidence that the Inquiry makes public should be presented in that format too.

An organisation that has has done significant work in this area is MySociety. I urge the Inquiry team consult with MySociety and other organisations who work in this area ahead of (not after) the report publication, to ensure that modern web design and coding/markup techniques and ‘best practice’ are applied.

The report of the Inquiry is of huge historical, constitutional and political significance and the actual formats in which the report is made available should reflect that. The medium is part of the message of transparency and clarity that is at the heart of the Inquiry.

Today I received the following response:

The report will be produced as a printed document, a printed summary and online as PDF files.   The PDFs will be available free to download or read online on the Inquiry website:  www.iraqinquiry.org.uk

Once the Report has been published you will be able to use the available PDF in accordance with the Open Government Licence.

The Inquiry currently has no plans to make its Report available in any additional formats.

How disappointing and what a wasted opportunity.

 

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