Prynhawn da / Good afternoon and welcome to this week’s round-up, which as I have just returned from my holidays, is a bumper edition.
So what’s been happening?
We celebrated a year of using GovDelivery to keep our users up to date on the latest releases with automatic alerts. When the service was introduced, we had 1,156 subscribers who had signed up to email alerts through our previous system Mailchimp. On its first anniversary we have now just over 21,000 subscribers with 54,500 subscriptions across 26 topics. Initially when the service was setup, it was automated using RSS feeds from the release calendar offering e-mail alerts across the 11 themes. In recent months, we have added a variety of new topics to the subscription list to increase the reach of the releases produced, trying different styles of manually created emails enabling cross promotion of topics. In addition to publicising releases, we are also using the system to advertise events, consultations and distribute the ONS newsletter. Our most recent topic was setup on 21st May launching an alert system to the addition of new job vacancies to the website. Sign-up to get your customised alerts.
in other news
As part of our digital engagement activities, we have been building relationships with the teaching and wider education community using our social media channels, helping them to find information and resources which meet their specific user needs. Internal presentations have been adapted for an external audience and uploaded to slideshare and discussions had on twitter with our own economics teacher/statistical expert @statshan We have also trained an additional group of statistical experts to edit Wikipedia pages to ensure the information relating to ONS and our data is accurate and accessible.
We completed a number of demonstrations of the new statistical release calendar, all of which were well received and we attended a Data Support meeting in Eurostat to pick up lessons learned by their developers in building a new corporate website. As part of our in-house editorial campaign, our publishing policy and standards team have started carrying out proofreading ‘spot checks’ to establish a benchmark for how many releases contain errors. This is in addition to the service they currently provide for all market sensitive releases.
There was a lot of love on twitter for the interactive content package we provided to support the UK compendia release, which brings together a range of statistics to help compare the 4 nations. We also experimented with linking any statistics we produce which are relevant to trending #hashtags such as the G7 summit. We hope to build on this as opportunities present themselves
We also bid a fond farewell to one of our editorial team James Fergusson who leaves ONS (and the UK) for pastures new in Texas. James joined us in 2013 as part of the Improving Dissemination Programme, to help make our statistical content more accessible through the use of short stories, digital channels and targetting content to the right audience. We wish him the best of luck for the future.
Since July 2013, we have been producing ‘First Friday’ a monthly newsletter for staff, which brings together the latest digital developments outside of the ONS. It acts as a horizon scanning tool with the aim of sharing and learning from the experiences of other government departments, industry and digital experts. Highlights from this month include; 3 ways that councils can improve their web content, GDS’s principles for prototyping, why National Archive chose wordpress to manage their web content and creative uses of open data from the ODI. There are also some interesting data visualisations by the Guardian datablog as it explores ONS statistics on homeworkers, stories on DFID’s instagram feed and what really happens in a Facebook minute