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    Location: Aberystwyth, Wales, United Kingdom

    I am the owner and managing director of Information Automation Limited (IAL), a company that specialises in research, consultancy and training for the information profession. We are particularly interested in all forms of electronic information resources (e-journals, e-books, etc) and I teach a course in electronic publishing at the Department of Information Studies in Aberystwyth. Drilling down still further(!), my interests centre on the quality and evaluation of electronic information, and in the thinking that underpins activities in library and information science.


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    Thursday, July 05, 2007

    It's our data, we want it, gi'sit mister!

    I have blogged here before about the Guardian's campaign to Free our Data. That is, data which we - as tax payers - have paid for to be collected, and then either have had to pay for again to see, or to which we have been refused access. Now, as IWR Blog reports, the Guardian
    reveals how the Environment Agency forced an online information provider to remove flood information from its service which the company had gained from the Environment Agency... OnOneMap.com uses Google maps to offer a mash-up service that over lays information onto the maps such as properties for sale and let, the location of schools, supermarkets and mobile phones. To improve its service further, OnOneMap carried out a data scrape of the Environment Agency and collated together a layer of flood information, which, with no surprise created massive interest.

    Just days before the heavens opened and flooded large parts of the UK, the Environment Agency demanded that the data be removed because of an infringement of "database copyright".

    Let me say no more than that the data might have been quite useful to some. More power to the Guardian's campaign, say I - it's time government agencies remembered who they all serve.

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