The information access problem: A cognitive approach

The information access problem: A cognitive approach

KPMG and IBM work together to provide a powerful solution to find and retrieve critical information



Insatiable demand for information

Canada has taken big strides to respond to demands from the public for greater government transparency since the passage of the Access to Information Act in 1983. It is one1 of approximately 100 countries around the world2 that now have "right to information" (RTI) laws, giving individuals the opportunity to access information held by different levels of national, provincial and local government departments and agencies, as well as private sector organizations.

In some ways, this effort has become too successful in Canada and elsewhere. Citizens want more information from their governments and expect to receive it in a timely fashion. Faced with a growing number of requests for information, government departments have become overwhelmed by the demand – and the backlogs of unanswered information requests are growing. Many countries have struggled to comply with the laws, due to bureaucratic complexity, uncoordinated information systems and out-of-date archival practices. The cost has been considerable: Canada alone has spent an estimated $1B CAD3 since 1983 in complying with the Access to Information Act.

Help is at hand. KPMG and IBM have joined forces to develop an Information Access Solution (IAS) to assist government departments in Canada to respond effectively and efficiently to freedom-of-information requests from the media and the public under the Access to Information Act4, as well as requests for personal information. While Canada's act has certain unique features, its overall requirements are similar to those found in other parts of the world. KPMG and IBM are offering their information-retrieval services in Canada and to other countries and knowledge based/intelligent/business-savvy, organizations that are required to comply with RTI laws in a timely fashion.

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[1] Right to information: Recent spread of RTI legislation by Toby Mendel, World Bank Group, 2014




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