Surfing with Ed on the Internet ...

by Ed Swires-Hennessy, Welsh Office

Ed continues his appraisals of different national Web Sites to stimulate use of the Internet, share best practice and encourage debate.

The simple but very effective home page ( http://www.statice.is/ ) of Statistics Iceland has a hyper-linked cover of the latest edition of Iceland in Figures with full contact information. However, the main link here takes one to another page indicating that the booklet is in Acrobat file format and has to be downloaded as an entity. All is not lost: the index in the left-hand frame does lead to ‘Key Figures’ which is an up-to-date summary: it is clear that this part of the site is updated with all newly released information.

The majority of the site is in English: with just some technical documents available only in Icelandic. ‘Metadata’ is used on this site to mean in-depth articles on the various series or surveys. The ‘Release Calendar’ has specific dates to the end of 1998 with just a few more speculative items in for 1999.

The publication list is not alphabetic, though fortunately not too long. For a user outside Iceland, there is more than a hint that the publications may be in English: so I moved to the order page for Labour Market statistics and found all bar these three words in Icelandic! All prices were quoted in US dollars.

An advanced enquiry service, via e-mail, is available at every stage: just send your enquiry in the relevant box. Further, to contact anyone in Statistics Iceland by e-mail is simple as a full list of hyper-linked e-mail addresses, arranged both alphabetically and by area of work, is easy to find.

The ‘New’ page was very slow to load being a collection of publication covers with the question ‘Would you like to order a book?’ at the bottom of the page. The covers have Icelandic titles but moving the pointer over a cover brings up the English language title. Click on a cover to order - but the link is not enabled!

The presentation of ‘Departments and services’ was excellent with a general summary of the coverage and sources used, all with e-mail and telephone contacts of named personnel.

Suggestions of interesting sites or interesting features found at statistical sites should be sent to me at
Ed Swires-Hennessy@Wales.gsi.gov.uk   or by snail mail to National Assembly for Wales, Cathays Park, Cardiff, CF10 3NQ. 

Happy surfing....