Free Our Data: the blog

A Guardian Technology campaign for free public access to data about the UK and its citizens


Has the National Archives got the right model for digitising old data?

Today’s Guardian Technology looks at the National Archives, and in particular the model it uses for digitising old data from past censuses. The contracts are let by tender to commercial organisations, which want to sell them on genealogy sites (ancestry is a huge online business). In return, they get exclusivity for a limited time.

The upshot: a thriving private sector, and a public sector which gets the work done for it yet also fulfils the challenge of making data available to the public. But it still costs..

The story is at National Archives squares the data circle. Your comments welcome.

Update: there was an important correction to this article, which appears on the link. Briefly, it was wrong to suggest that freedom of information might be suspended in favour of commercial digitisation. This was an editing error, and the suggestion was not in Michael Cross’s original article. (Following the links inside the article shows that NA did not suggest any such thing. We were wrong, and now it’s been corrected.)

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