Skip Navigation
Greece

Provision of Historical Parliamentary Documents to the Public (GR0028)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Greece Second Action Plan for 2014-2016

Action Plan Cycle: 2014

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Hellenic Parliament

Support Institution(s): NA

Policy Areas

E-Government, Open Parliaments, Regulatory Governance

IRM Review

IRM Report: Greece End-of-Term Report 2014-2016, Greece 2014-2015 Progress Report

Starred: No

Early Results: Marginal

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information , Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

The commitment aims to enrich the Parliament web portal content with the publication-in accordance with open standards- of digitized material concerning:
- Plenary Session Minutes from the 1st Legislative period to the 8th Legislative period (9-12-1974 to 22-8-1996)
- Introductory reports of bills tabled from 1975 to 1993.
It also aims at the partial conversion of parliamentary archives into electronic books (e-books), making
them available to the public through the web portal.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

Commitment 4.4. Open historical parliamentary data

Commitment Text:

The commitment aims to enrich the Parliament web portal content with the publication-in accordance with open standards- of digitized material concerning:

Plenary Session Minutes from the 1st Legislative period to the 8th Legislative period (9-12-1974 to 22-8-1996), Introductory reports of bills tabled from 1975 to 1993.

It also aims at the partial conversion of parliamentary archives into electronic books (e-books), making them available to the public through the web portal.

4.4.1. Digitize public historical Parliament material

Milestones –Timescales

Implementation (gradually) by June 2016:

       Investigation and adoption of specialized optical character reading software (OCR) that will be able to accurately digitize printed historical material relating to Minutes of Plenary Sessions and to Bills introductory reports that was once written on a typewriter.

       Systematic quality control in resulting digitized text files and application of necessary corrections.

        Documentation of the digitized material and its progressive publication on the Hellenic Parliament portal.

Concerning e-books creation, the following actions will be implemented:

4.4.2. Standards and public access to Parliament e-books

Completion by October 2015:

       Exploration and adoption of open standards for the creation and reading of electronic books and open source applications.

       Pilot electronic book creation on different categories of parliamentary documents.

       Finalization of e- books structuring by category of parliamentary documents.

Implementation (gradually) by June 2016:

       Activation of e- books creation and publication process for selected categories of parliamentary material.

Editorial note: Commitments 4.3 and 4.4 have been clustered for the purpose of analysis in this report.

Responsible institution: Hellenic Parliament

Supporting institution(s): None

Start date: July 2014            End date: June 2016

Commitment Aim:

These two commitments aim to increase the amount of data available to the public and to

improve the functionality of the Parliament’s existing online platforms. The Hellenic Parliament developed these commitments as part of their individual action plan (see Commitment Overview). The commitments primarily focus on streamlining internal parliamentary functions.

Status

Commitment 4.3. Midterm: Limited

The government reviewed the study of the Hellenic Parliament website, thereby completing Milestone 4.3.1. According to interviews with parliamentary staff, the government formed a working group to improve the Hellenic Parliament website and to implement the new standards technologies. This group carried out a comparative analysis of the methods and practices used by other nations’ parliaments. The government provided analysis earlier than planned and offered this analysis for public consultation. It was unclear if, and to what extent, the results of the public consultation process were included in this report.

Milestone 4.3.2, improving Parliament’s website, saw limited completion. The Hellenic Parliament’s website contained plenary session minutes from 1996 onward and introductory reports of bills from 1993 onwards published in .pdf, .doc and .txt formats. However, staff formatted these documents mostly on an ad hoc basis as the government had not yet adopted international standards or software requirements (e.g. legislative .xml, Akoma Ntoso, etc.).

Commitment 4.4 Midterm: Limited

Staff digitized a small number of files; therefore, Milestone 4.4.1 saw limited completion. Some of the scanned materials were available on the relevant section of Parliament’s website.[Note 28: An example of scanned Hellenic Parliament historical data may be found here: http://www.hellenicparliament.gr/UserFiles/f3c70a23-7696-49db-9148-f24dce6a27c8/A-ETHNOS-1843-1844_1.pdf.] The Openwise IRM research team found that a low number of the existing digitized historical files were machine-readable, and search capability was limited for available content. Additionally, available information was presented in a way that required the public to have significant parliamentary knowledge to locate and use published data.

Although the Parliament had started scanning these documents and had made the material available on its website for download, it had not adopted optical character reading software (OCR strategies).

The Openwise IRM research team found no evidence that government had begun work on Milestone 4.4.2 by the midterm review. In general, the Hellenic Parliament had not been able to increase visibility of all material because they discovered personal data embedded within the cache of historical documents. This was due to possible issues arising from a Greek Data Protection Agency decision that requires all legal text be made anonymous before publication. This then led implementing agencies to err on the side of caution and not publish material until it had been made anonymous.

Commitment 4.3 End of term: Limited

Based on the September 2016 inter-parliamentary group meeting attended by the Openwise IRM research team, the government made no further progress on implementing unfinished milestones. Parliamentary staff stated that completion was limited due to lack of required funding. This led to a loss of ownership for the commitment as the staff responsible were moved to new tasks and other proposals.

Commitment 4.4 End of term: Limited

Based on the September 2016 inter-parliamentary group meeting attended by the Openwise IRM research team, the government made no further progress on the implementing this commitment. Parliamentary staff stated that limited completion was due to lack of required funding, which led to a loss of ownership for the commitment.

Did it open government?

Commitment 4.3. 

Access to information: Marginal

The Hellenic Parliament made the plenary session minutes from 1996 onward and introductory reports of bills from 1993 onward available through its website. These are published in .pdf, .doc and .txt formats. These documents are formatted mostly on an ad hoc basis and do not follow an international recognized scheme (e.g. legislative .xml, Akoma Ntoso, etc.). This limits the scope of interaction that the public may have with the data.

The partially completed commitments did improve public access to parliamentary texts, but fell significantly short of achieving the levels of information access envisioned by the commitments. These commitments were of modest ambition, aiming to provide additional levels of service on existing, operational web platforms. They intended to bridge the gap between parliament and the general citizenship by boosting participation in the political process and by providing citizens with the power to influence legislation. If completed these website improvements would enhance access to Hellenic Parliament information for all stakeholders and would foster increased transparency.

Commitment 4.4

Access to information: Marginal

This commitment dealt with the digitization of historic material and only marginally added to the overall amount of information offered to the public. Parliament has started scanning some documents and has made them available on their website for download. The fact that these files are in many cases not machine readable, and have not been processed through an optical character recognition software, limits public ability to search and extract information.

Carried forward?

The third Greek Action Plan does not carry forward Commitments 4.3 and 4.4. They failed to secure the needed funding and lost ownership as a result.


Commitments

Open Government Partnership