So Alex Salmond is set to apply officially for a .scot domain.
My initial instinct from an online research perspective, is that this would be a very welcome step.
At present the process of finding a Scottish-based contributor (whether expert, professional or member of the public) through conventional web and blog search is needlessly fuzzy. The same could be said for finding Welsh, Norther Irish, or come to that English regional contributors and content.
However, I’m not convinced of the research value in allowing non-domiciled Scots (such as myself) access to such a domain too.
This no doubt makes sense economically; in international tourism, and industry (both manufacturing and cultural), and also (lamentably) in the Harry Lauder-esque world of Scottish chintz and tat.
But it negates one of the key benefits of local (or in this case national) search – being able to search within a geographical (rather than cultural) locus.
Of course some might argue that there are more pressing issues in Scotland’s connection with the 21st century economy than a national/international domain. For example, the perceived failure within Scottish universities in teaching/training graduates in the possibilities of web2.0.
It’s telling also that Salmond is on route to visit the Catalan government as this proposal is launched. I imagine he’s on the look out for diversionary paradigms and soundbites now the pot of gold at the end of the ‘arc of prosperity‘ has been raided.
I must say I find it genuinely sad, having grown up watching Salmond make political mincemeat of his opponents on any and every TV program, that he could have made the politically naïve blunder above.