DOI: 10.5553/RP/048647001989031002181

Res PublicaAccess_open


lnformatiestromen en gegevensbanken inde parlementaire werkzaamheden

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Louis Vanvelthoven, "lnformatiestromen en gegevensbanken inde parlementaire werkzaamheden", Res Publica, 2, (1989):181-188

    Opening up as many sources of information as possible is particularly conducive to the development of workable policy plans and to efficient decision-making in a democratic political system. It follows that MPs can greatly benefit from using computerized information systems. As far as the parliamentary activities are concerned, we can distinguish between internal and external information flow. The contents of the parliamentary documents, the procedure for processing them and the information on the parliamentary control are part of the internal information flow. The external information on the other hand refers to the relations between the MPs and the executive and the judiciary branches, supranational and international institutions as well as the library. To date, the House of Representatives has been the only assembly that has set up a computerized information system. The data bases of the House comprise: the parliamentary documents and the state of advancement of all proceedings linked to these documents (bath in the House and in the Senate) until the publication of the text in the official state journal. Other databases relate to the parliamentary control: interpellations, motions, oral questions and the entire text of the written parliamentary questions. The record of the House will also be stored in a data base giving references. The library fund has been integrated in the interlibrary network DOBIS-LIBIS. A data base was also designed for the press information, and linked to an image processing system. What has been realized in the House to date must also be feasible for the other parliamentary assemblies. Viewed from that perspective, it seems advisable that data bases be centralized in one parliamentary information DP centre. Access to this centre should be particulary user-friendly and uniform, so much so that all MPs can make maximum use of it. The system set up by the House meets with an ever increasing demand from other possible users. In this context, attention should be drawn to the interconnection of this system with other parliamentary assemblies, the extension of the system to other users in the House ofthe MPs and the external access to the system via the telephone network: direct access for the universities, and for certain public and private institutions and individual MPs, and the BISTEL and/ or VIDEOTEX access. The majority of the public data bases linked to the telephone network can be interrogated via the BISTEL system, hut many interesting applications are not accessible via the telephone network as they function in closed circuits. Opening up data bases by linking them to the telephone network, implies that the problem of cost and privacy be carefully examined. As to privacy, we should reflect on the public or confidential character of the data and its consequences, on safeguarding the information stored in the system and on the evolution ofcommunications technology from the perspective of a continental European communications network.

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