It seems that not a lot of government departments are aware, but several years ago, the e-Government Interoperability Framework Programme (e-GIF) produced some mandatory requirements, rules that legally must be followed by departments publishing data on the web.
Included in that set of requirements was the NZGLS Metadata Standard - defining a list of information that any document published on the internet by a government department must provide. References to this standard were updated on 05/08/2010, and the current version this year is NZGLS Metadata Element Set version 2.1
Documents must have metadata
The metadata standard states that basic information like "Creator" and "Date" of a document should be stored, and also that support of some some specific fields like "Function" and "Subject" are mandatory.
Enforcement of these legal requirements has been non-existent, and it seems they are just being ignored. This is probably because it was seen as "too hard" to implement. The efforts to get government sites to comply has been abandoned, and the rules relaxed (with no explicit mention of the NZGLS in the current NZGWS 2.0). Although the SONZ and FONZ Thesauri are no longer having new terms added, they remain useful, and the requirement to apply them under the NZGLS Metadata Standard does not appear to have been removed.
It is not too hard.
Tools for this exist
In 2006 we developed utilities for this standard to be effectively met within Drupal websites, and since then the tools have been maintained independently on Drupal.org (in the taxonomy_xml project) and improved and updated for free use within NZ Government sites that use Drupal.
With the growth of support for Drupal Features, we have published a way to automatically install all the recommended NZGLS restricted vocabularies. Following are instructions for how this can be used on any site.
The first set of instructions will demonstrate how to get a very basic site running with the metadata fields immediately. This will be followed by a more realistic set of instructions for applying NZGLS to an existing site.
Bootstrap a new demo site
drush make nzgls-demo.make
cp sites/default/default.settings.php sites/default/settings.php
chmod a+w sites/default/settings.php
chmod a+w sites/default/files/
mysql -u root -p -e "CREATE DATABASE drupal_nzgls; GRANT ALL ON drupal_nzgls.* TO phpuser IDENTIFIED BY 'swordfish';"