Maintenance of content, websites or services provides opportunities to review past procedures against current expectations of good practice. Legacy processes for managing online information are unlikely to meet the needs of today’s users.
Giving consideration to the points on this page will help you identify ways to improve how you manage information online, and raise points for discussion with your agency’s content creators.
Ownership and authority
- Ensure the responsible agency's name and (where appropriate) the responsible business unit can be determined from all online content. The business unit name should be on a page or publication or in the 'About this site' page of a website, and in page metadata.
- Ensure all content/pages on the site are marked with the approved agency brand.
- Ensure documented and approved processes for content maintenance are followed.
- Ensure publication is only undertaken by authorised people.
- Have a clear trail of evidence to support modifications. For example, who approved and steps taken to ensure quality and accuracy of information.
- Site owners must periodically ensure that risk assessment and accreditation is up-to-date and reflects the current state of the site and the threat environment.
- Seek advice from your security advisers.
- Site owners should periodically assure themselves that site management practices and features continue to comply with privacy legislation and meet the information privacy principles.
- Seek advice from your privacy advisers when dealing with personal information.
Accuracy and validity
- Before making modifications, ensure that CMS features or manual processes will record and store the existing version of the page, for anything other than minor corrections.
- Depending on the nature of the site, it may be sufficient to capture periodic snapshots of the site, using the National Library Web Archive or in-house processes. Consult your Information Management staff to determine appropriate processes for recording version changes to web content.
- Ensure all modifications has been reviewed for accuracy and approved for publication.
- Consider visibly marking updated content/pages with the approving authority, such as the business unit.
- Mark all content/pages with the date of last update, and verify that previous versions of content can be re-created.
- Ensure that revised content has an appropriate schedule for review.
- If appropriate, mark pages/content with an expiry date or period of validity, or show that it is current.
- If you are adding content in formats other than HTML, choose formats that can be reliably preserved or re-created. These are usually formats with openly published specifications.
- Refer to the ‘NZGOAL Guidance Note on file formats’. You should favour file formats that are considered more open when publishing content, and machine-readable when releasing data for re-use.
- Review whether and how content will be archived or disposed of at end of life before publication, particularly content that is not in HTML. Ensure that you have a documented plan for lifecycle management of web-based information.
- Update any metadata embedded in or associated with content. Check the name of the publishing agency, date of publication and last review and/or modification, date of expiry if appropriate, licensing terms, and description to ensure they are still appropriate.
- Ensure content is semantically structured, clearly titled and written in plain language to help people find and understand it.
- Use tools available in Word or online to test the reading levels needed to understand your content.
- If you publish content in formats other than HTML, choose commonly used formats. Refer to the NZGOAL Guidance Note on file formats. If a non-HTML format is the primary vehicle for the content, you may need to provide an accessible alternative. Regardless of any fully accessible alternative, the non-HTML version should be made as accessible as possible. Refer to the NZ Government Web Accessibility Standard, taking particular note of the implementation schedule, and associated guidance.
- When releasing or updating data make sure it is released in easily re-usable formats under an NZGOAL re-use licence unless specific licences are required.
- Where applicable, update the metadata for datasets listed on data.govt.nz, and check that the metadata is complete.
- Ensure that new content complies with all aspects of the NZ Government Web Usability Standard.