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3.6. Interest in the DIAL facilities by DMC audiences

The interest of both the primary and secondary audiences in the facilities proposed for Project DIAL were assessed, insofar as this was possible while the prototype was still under construction.

The local survey assistants were given a general description of what was proposed in Project DIAL, and the URL of the prototype web pages. Part of their task was to obtain an assessment from local officials of the value that they would place on the availability of the proposed Project DIAL facilities. However, given that many of the government officials they interviewed did not yet have access to the web (and, in some cases, nor did the local survey assistants), and that the Project DIAL prototype was still under development, demonstrations of the Project DIAL facilities were not given by the local survey assistants as a means of obtaining comments.

The following comments relate principally to the DIAL Index facility, as the DIAL Search facility was not envisaged as playing such an equally important role at the time the Questionnaire was completed. It was assumed for purposes of the Questionnaire that access to the DIAL Index facility would be free. Comments on the DIALogue facility follow separately in Chapter 7.

3.6.1. Interest in the DIAL Index facilities by the primary audience

Our Indonesian survey assistants reported that `all of our respondents were excited about having access to this type of facility' and that `most respondents felt a particular need for access to information from other ASEAN nations', probably because of a perception of the value of legislative models from neighbouring countries. This level of interest was confirmed by the enthusiastic reaction of a two high level delegations of Indonesian legal officials to demonstrations of the Project DIAL prototype in Sydney[86], both in relation to access to other laws and the presentation of Indonesian laws via the Internet.

Indian respondents were unanimous in their interest in the proposed facility, some describing it as `an excellent one-stop shop for a comparative resource basis'. The most interest was shown in key ministries involved in the liberalisation of the Indian economy, such as the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Industry, Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Power and Ministry of Telecommunication.

Similarly, the survey respondents in Pakistan were unanimous that they would benefit greatly from the DIAL Index facilities, particularly in increased efficiency in research and policy-making. Chinese respondents were also uniformly of the view that, in light of the the need for foreign law input in the process of law drafting, the DIAL facilities would be useful to them. Mongolian respondents were also positive.

Vietnamese respondents generally considered the proposed facility to be a useful way to gain experience of foreign laws. As there is as yet no experience in use of the World-Wide-Web in Vietnam, strong opinions could not be expected.

Philippines respondents were almost uniformly positive in their interest in the proposed facility, stressing the increased efficiency in finding legal information that it would bring. Given the extensive access to US law that the Internet already provides, it could be expected that Philippines users would obtain considerable benefits from improved access.

3.6.2. Interest in the DIAL Index facilities by secondary audiences

Our local survey assistants saw the proposed facilities as being of use to a wide variety of secondary audiences within each country.

In Indonesia the DIAL Index facility was seen as being very useful to those lawyers with access to the Internet, although possibly not sufficient reason in itself to cause them to obtain Internet access. Private sector lawyers working in international law areas, and Indonesian NGOs were seen as the most likely users. The Indonesian Parliament was also seen as a likely user.

In Vietnam, foreign lawyers could be expected to use the facility, as would law teachers and students, but local lawyers would be less likely to as most only advise on Vietnamese law. Hanoi Law College has a particular interest in assisting Vietnamese lawyers to understand other legal systems, and the Law and State Research Institution would be very likely to be interested.

All lawyers consulted in Pakistan were of the view that access to such facilities would be of very great benefit. It was suggested that the Bar Council, the superior Courts, the Human Rights Commission, and a number of major law schools and law libraries should be encouraged to obtain access.

In the Philippines all respondents were positive and private lawyers and law students were seen as likely users. Chinese respondents were also uniformly of the view that the DIAL facilities would be useful to them.

Corporate lawyers in India were seen as the most likely secondary users, as they are often advising companies involved in international projects, and would benefit from comparative analyses. Access to international case law would also be valuable. Other likely users included the National Library, Bar councils, confederations of industry, and the larger law schools.

With such diffuse secondary audiences, one initial problem would be to make them aware of the DIAL facilities. Awareness will be increased by the listing of Project DIAL with general web indexes such as Yahoo, and search engines such as Alta Vista[87]. Recommendations concerning assistance to secondary audiences in the use of DIAL are discussed at the end of this Chapter.

[86] Details are contained in a letter dated 12 December 1997 from Professor Philip Griffith, University of Technology, Sydney, a copy of which is held by the Bank. The delegation included representatives of the Cabinet Secretariat and the Justice Ministry, and numerous other Ministries.

[87] Many DIAL pages are already indexed by Alta Vista.

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