Monday 23 November 2015

PRONI website to undergo major changes

The website of the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) is to be completely revamped over the coming months as it is amalgamated into the NIDirect megasite. NIDirect is the government website for disseminating information to Northern Ireland citizens about official Information and Services, so it covers everything from road closures to social benefit payments and from the composting of kitchen and garden waste to police issued penalty notices for minor offences.

PRONI's announcement of the move says it is part of a drive to consolidate all front-facing government websites into a single platform. I translate that as meaning it is a cost-cutting exercise. It's also a move the repository has been trying to avoid for some time!

Tagging on PRONI's website, with its free-to-search databases and ever-changing calendars of events, to a templated website of largely evergreen text is not going to be easy. Admittedly, the General Register Office of Northern Ireland (GRONI) has already gone through this upheaval and its database of birth, marriage and death certificates works well enough (when you eventually find it – the signposting/navigation of the whole site is poor), so hopefully the techies can find a way of accommodating online PRONI as well, if not better.

The NIDirect website will also be getting an upgrade.