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                             FreePint
         "Helping 71,000 people use the Web for their work"
                     http://www.freepint.com/

ISSN 1460-7239                                 24th March 2005 No.179
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         Fully-formatted full-colour edition available at:
            <http://www.freepint.com/issues/240305.htm>

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                           IN THIS ISSUE
                           -------------

                             EDITORIAL
                          By William Hann

                       MY FAVOURITE TIPPLES
                         By Paula Murdoch

                           FREEPINT BAR
                    In Association with Factiva
                   a Dow Jones & Reuters Company

                   JINFO :: JOBS IN INFORMATION
                        Assistant Librarian
                            Researcher
                   Financial Researcher Analyst

                           TIPS ARTICLE
   "New Librarians and Open Positions: Bringing the Two Together"
                         By Michelle Noel

                             BOOKSHELF
                 "The Skeptical Business Searcher"
                     Reviewed by Penny Leidtke

                          FEATURE ARTICLE
  "Key issues in complying with Freedom of Information legislation"
                         By Steve Wood
                         
               EVENTS, GOLD AND FORTHCOMING ARTICLES

                        CONTACT INFORMATION

             ONLINE VERSION WITH ACTIVATED HYPERLINKS
            <http://www.freepint.com/issues/240305.htm>

                      FULLY FORMATTED VERSION
            <http://www.freepint.com/issues/240305.pdf>


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   The Library + information Show to run at new venue for 2005!
          20 - 21 April 2005, Pavilion 1, NEC, Birmingham
                  PRE-REGISTER TO VISIT FREE AT:
            <http://www.lishow.co.uk/promo/freepintn1>
- Meet over 120 exhibitors showcasing the latest products & services
- Learn from independent experts & practitioners in free seminars
- Gain essential professional development advice from CILIP
- Network with peers & meet up with old colleagues at the Reunion Bar

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        "Complying with Freedom of Information legislation:
                     a guide for practitioners"

   This report is written for practitioners in jobs focused on,
  or in roles influenced by, freedom of information legislation.

   Focusing on key elements of the legislation and guidance from
    relevant coordinating authorities in the public sector, the
   report offers up-to-date and timely advice on the key issues.

              <http://www.freepint.com/shop/report/>

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                     ***  ABOUT FREEPINT  ***

FreePint is an online network of information searchers. Members
receive this free newsletter twice a month: it is packed with tips
on finding quality and reliable business information on the Internet.

Joining is free at <http://www.freepint.com/> and provides access to
a substantial archive of articles, reviews, jobs and events, with
answers to research questions and networking at the FreePint Bar.

Please circulate this newsletter, which is best read when printed out.
To receive a fully formatted version as an attachment or a brief
notification when it's online, visit <http://www.freepint.com/subs/>.

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                             EDITORIAL
                          By William Hann

I'm constantly staggered by the amount of energy there is in the
information world. I talk to associates around the world through
instant messaging every day, and hear that they're flying off to
conferences and exhibitions all over the place.

When they're not giving talks at conferences then they're posting to
their blogs. Even when they're at the conference they're blogging,
and posting audio files of what they've heard that day.

For instance, take a look at the blogging buzz around the recent
'Computers in Libraries' conference in Washington DC, now in its 20th
year <http://www.infotodayblog.com/>. Many different people blogged
the same event and there's even an 18 minute audio 're-cap'.

Spend a few minutes looking at the work that goes into blogs like
ResourceShelf <http://www.resourceshelf.com> and you can't help but
get the feeling that this is a very exciting time to be working with
information resources online.

Yes, there are problems in the information world at the moment. Staff
cuts in universities <http://digbig.com/4dabh>, the state of library
buildings <http://digbig.com/4dabj> or the closure of corporate
information centres.

I think it's a problem of definition -- how do you define the
information world? There are many who wouldn't class themselves as
being part of the information industry -- a large chunk of
FreePint's membership, for instance. However, I think that they *are*
a part of the industry when they use, purchase and disseminate
information, whatever industry sector their organisation is actually
in. The information industry spans all sectors and is important at all
levels.

The information world is huge, and growing every day through the
generosity and energy of information professionals who attract people
to it. For instance, see today's article about encouraging new blood
into the profession, especially in more out-of-the-way locations.

Today's FreePint also includes an overview of Freedom of Information
legislation for practitioners, which introduces our new in-depth
report that is published today <http://www.freepint.com/shop/report/>.
The latest issue of VIP is also just out, and compares three M&A
business information products <http://www.vivavip.com>.

This is a great time to be working in the information industry.
However it's up to us to define and shape it, through energy and
willingness to share our experiences, by supporting each other and
by keeping up with the latest technology. Doing these things means we
put ourselves firmly at the forefront of the information revolution,
and in a position to solve some of the problems it presents.

William Hann
Managing Editor and Founder, FreePint

e: william.hann@freepint.com
t: 0870 141 7474
i: +44 870 141 7474

FreePint is a Registered Trademark of Free Pint Limited (R) 1997-2005

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    Introducing MINT - a fresh approach to company information
            from Bureau van Dijk Electronic Publishing

 To register for a FREE trial visit <http://www.mintbusinessinfo.com>

    Companies, news, industry research and directors in a single
          easy to use information database for research,
     sales, marketing and business development professionals.

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         ***  VIP No.16: Three M&A products compared  ***

       This month's VIP includes in-depth reviews of ZEPHYR
       (M&A, IPO and venture capital deals) and Thomson ONE
        for Investment Banking (Deals Module), and compares
          them with CorpfinWorldwide (reviews last month).

                     <http://www.vivavip.com/>

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                       MY FAVOURITE TIPPLES
                         By Paula Murdoch

* With the ever increasing annoyance (or downright mayhem) caused by
  hoax emails, I have found an authoritative source which tells me
  whether I need to worry:
  <http://securityresponse.symantec.com/avcenter/vinfodb.html/> has
  virus removers, news on the latest hoaxes/real threats and more.

* For checking share prices online for free, use 
  <http://www.quote.com> -- it does exactly what is says on the tin
  (24hr time lag).

* Need a free information service specific to the information
  profession? You could give <http://www.bubl.ac.uk> a go. It has
  an emphasis on our profession and classifies its site links by
  Dewey among other ways.

* <http://www.nethouseprices.com> - Check out how much houses around
  you are selling for. Information is taken from the Land Registry.

* And finally, a totally selfish tipple, but my other life when not in
  the Information Industry is recorded here --
  <http://www.bluenation.co.uk> the Birmingham-based band that
  I play in!
  
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Paula Murdoch is a Records Manager for Instant Library Limited
<http://www.instant-library.com> (part of Tribal Group
<http://www.tribalgroup.co.uk>) and currently manages a disparate team
of information specialists for one of Instant Library's highest
calibre clients.

Submit your top five favourite Web sites. See the guidelines at
<http://www.freepint.com/author.htm>.

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              >>> SIGN UP TO FACTIVA'S NEWSLETTER <<<
 
Keep up to date on Factiva and information industry trends by signing
up for the free InfoPro Alliance newsletter. This monthly email will
provide you with tips on how to better use Factiva, more information
  about Factiva sources, and link you to other items of interest to
                global information professionals.

 Go to <http://www.factiva.com/infopro/register> and sign up today!

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                 ***  Why do YOU use DigBig?  ***

              "Extremely useful when sending links to
                clients - looks very professional." 
                 Research Manager, Manchester, UK

               Use DigBig to shorten your long URLs,
                making them easier to communicate:


                     <http://www.DigBig.com/>

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                            FREEPINT BAR
                   <http://www.freepint.com/bar>

                    In Association with Factiva
                   a Dow Jones & Reuters Company

Further to my editorial in today's FreePint, it's nice to see
information researchers so active in supporting each other at the
FreePint Bar over the last couple of weeks. Postings have fallen into
two camps: ones about information issues, and ones relating to
business and company information. Here's a round-up of the most
interesting, or those still requiring assistance.

Can you help locate vendors who provide software to help integrate
external content easily, like LexisNexis Web Publisher and Factiva
Publisher? <http://www.freepint.com/go/b31698>. For someone wanting
to learn research products like Factiva, Bloomberg, Datastream,
etc., are there training courses or other ways to gain experience?
<http://www.freepint.com/go/b31665>. The latest Jinfo Newsletter has
an interesting article on "Lessons learnt from redundancy!"
<http://www.freepint.com/go/b31656>.

Is there a "generic menu of outputs for a business research unit, such
as company report, industry report, news story, etc."?
<http://www.freepint.com/go/b31644>. Do you have experience
of tendering for the provision of information resources?
<http://www.freepint.com/go/b31690>.

What other ways are there of finding out about competitive
intelligence (CI) professionals in the US?
<http://www.freepint.com/go/b31649>. And is there an easy
way to know if something is still in copyright?
<http://www.freepint.com/go/b31651>

The 'del.icio.us' social bookmark manager keeps cropping up
<http://www.freepint.com/go/b31696> and a long-time FreePinter
is looking for pre-beta input to his new calendar-sharing service
<http://www.freepint.com/go/b31654>.

On the company information side, there has been a question on sources
of information about wealth management in Russia and Poland
<http://www.freepint.com/go/b31650>. Can you help someone wanting to
move from a CD-Rom company information provider to an online one?
<http://www.freepint.com/go/b31604>.

Finally, is there a definitive list of IT systems used by government
departments? <http://www.freepint.com/go/b31628>. What about a
directory of contacts in stock exchanges around the world
<http://www.freepint.com/go/b31620>.

William Hann <william.hann@freepint.com>
Founder and Managing Editor, FreePint

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The FreePint Bar is where you can get free help with your tricky
research questions <http://www.freepint.com/bar>

Help with study for information-related courses is available at the
FreePint Student Bar <http://www.freepint.com/student>.

Twice-weekly email digests of the latest postings can be requested
at <http://www.freepint.com/subs/>.

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LexisNexis Butterworths, The ultimate online knowledge centre is now
offering you a FREE trial for a limited time only. We make sure you
have fast, accurate and authoritative information at your fingertips -
so you know what is happening in your industry and can do business
more effectively. With the combined publishing portfolio of so many
market-leading information providers, we aim to be your indispensable
information partner. To dip into over 32,000 sources of information
contact us on +44(0)20 7347 3588, or response@lexisnexis.co.uk

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                   JINFO :: JOBS IN INFORMATION
                      <http://www.jinfo.com/>

Jinfo is a database of information-related job vacancies.

The Jinfo Newsletter is published free every two weeks, and contains
a list of the latest vacancies along with job seeking advice. The
latest editorial is entitled "Lessons learnt from redundancy!".

To read the latest Jinfo Newsletter and to subscribe to receive it
twice-monthly by email, visit <http://www.jinfo.com/newsletter/>.

Here are some of the latest featured jobs:

Assistant Librarian
  Do you have library & enquiry desk skills and also web page/content
  management skills?  2 roles available, 2 months and 5 months.
  Recruiter: Sue Hill Recruitment
  <http://www.freepint.com/go/j3881>

Researcher
  Excellent training opportunity for bright and proactive Researcher
  to work in a stimulating business environment.
  Recruiter: Glen Recruitment
  <http://www.freepint.com/go/j3908>

Financial Researcher Analyst
  You will be providing consultancy services to your clients,
  advising on best source approach and methodology.
  Recruiter: City Professionals
  <http://www.freepint.com/go/j3910>

NB: There are 23 other jobs in the current edition of the Jinfo
Newsletter <http://www.jinfo.com/newsletter/> and over 70 in the
Jinfo database <http://www.jinfo.com/>.

[The above jobs are paid listings]

Jinfo -- the best place for information-related job  vacancies.

*  JOB SEARCHING -- Free search and sign up to the Jinfo Newsletter.
*  RECRUITING    -- Complete the form and advertise a vacancy for
                    only GBP195 <http://www.jinfo.com/recruit/>.

50% discount for registered charities. 10% discount for agencies.

          Find out more today at <http://www.jinfo.com/>

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                 *** M&A data sources compared ***

Need to access M&A data? Uncertain which product to use? The March 
issue of VIP reviews three of the best known mergers & acquisition
products. Compare and contrast the coverage, search options and search
results of CorpfinWorldwide, ZEPHYR and Thomson Financial. 

                     <http://www.vivaVIP.com/>

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                            TIPS ARTICLE
         <http://www.freepint.com/issues/240305.htm#tips>
   "New Librarians and Open Positions: Bringing the Two Together"
                         By Michelle Noel

It seems that more and more talk these days, in web circles frequented
by recent LIS graduates and those considering library careers, centers
on the lack of jobs open to new librarians and the unwillingness of
those established in the field to hire next-generation librarians.

Much of the online talk I see focuses on new LIS graduates who want to
work at major public and academic libraries in the largest cities in
the U.S. and especially in the northeast. While I certainly understand
that desire, I would say to those new graduates who are having
difficulty finding work: Those of us in other areas of the U.S. need
talented young librarians too. Speaking for myself, I welcome new
graduates. I generally find them to be energetic, motivated, and
inspiring.

When there is a position open in my library, I look for enthusiastic
new information professionals who can make a difference to our campus
and who will relate well to our population of college students. I find
that the enthusiasm of new librarians is contagious and spreads to
other staff members. It reaches faculty members, reminding them that
we are here and have a valuable service to provide. New librarians,
excited by advances in the profession, can bring us closer to
providing cutting-edge services to our patrons. In return, those of
us with more experience can mentor the next generation of librarians
and help prepare them to move up in the field.

However, we cannot hire new librarians if they do not apply for the
openings we have. At a recent meeting of several library directors and
department heads, from a variety of public and private institutions,
three of us were lamenting the lack of applicants for open positions.
Two of these positions were at institutions either in a major city or
within a half hour of one. One of the three was in a more rural
setting. None of us were being deluged by a glut of applicants.
Indeed, one of us had received no applications and eventually hired a
paraprofessional to fill the position.

One of the complaints I've seen recently in online discussions is that
if you work for a smaller institution, there is little room for
advancement:

"And once you do find a librarian job, you could end up in my shoes:
I've progressed nicely in my job in 5 years as a librarian. So nicely,
in fact, that there's basically nowhere to go other than director or
assistant director of my library. Director = mid 50s; Assistant
Director: early 40s; Me = 30. So I'm looking at 10-20 years before
being able to move up, if nothing changes"
<http://www.livejournal.com/community/libraries/413148.html>.

While this may be true, working in libraries in smaller cities and
rural areas can be a great place to take a first position and build on
your resume, allowing you to apply for higher positions in other
libraries.

Equally disturbing are these kinds of comments:

"I don't even have a library job. I looked for over a year (I got my
MLIS in spring 2003), and had many interviews and I was always the
second choice: they really liked me, but they had to go with someone
with more experience"
<http://www.livejournal.com/community/libraries/413148.html>.

Those in a position to hire should be willing to give those with
less experience a chance to prove themselves, especially now, as the
older generation wonders who will replace them when they do eventually
retire. Not doing so discourages those new to the profession from
continuing in the field, and could seriously impact the number of
librarians willing to work in and support this profession in the
future.

It needs both established librarians and those new to the field
to work together to provide a stable employment future for librarians
and quality, progressive services for libraries and their patrons.

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Michelle Noel is Dean of Library Services for the Vise University
Library at Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tennessee.

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Related FreePint links:

* 'Information and Libraries' articles in the FreePint Portal
  <http://www.freepint.com/go/p69>
* Post a message to the author, Michelle Noel, or suggest further
  resources at the FreePint Bar <http://www.freepint.com/bar>
* Read this article online, with activated hyperlinks
  <http://www.freepint.com/issues/240305.htm#tips>
* Access the entire archive of FreePint content
  <http://www.freepint.com/portal/content/>

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          ***  VIP Eye -- now with editorial comment  ***

          VIP Eye keeps you up-to-date twice-monthly with
        announcements in the business information industry.

         It now includes comment from editor Pam Foster on
           emerging trends and significant developments.

      See a recent sample and find out about subscribing at:

                     <http://www.vivaVIP.com>

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                         FREEPINT BOOKSHELF
                <http://www.freepint.com/bookshelf>
                 "The Skeptical Business Searcher"
                     Reviewed by Penny Leidtke

Today, there is more information available from more sources than ever
before. However, we live in a world in which some of that information
is incomplete, inaccurate, biased, or intentionally misleading. While
on some level we are all aware of these pitfalls, it is a fact of life
that bears repeating often.

Robert Berkman, in his new book, "The Skeptical Business Searcher"
reminds us of this cold, hard fact and provides us with some of the
tools necessary to uncover reliable sources of business information.
The book focuses primarily on free or low-cost Web sources, but
traditional fee-based information sources are mentioned as well. With
Chapter 1 serving primarily as an introduction, the real meat of the
book begins in Chapter 2 when Berkman reminds us that there are other,
sometimes more effective, ways of beginning our search than by
immediately turning to a search engine. In the following chapter, he
discusses search engines in general, and Google in particular. He
advises that searchers become proficient searching one (he prefers
Google) and familiar with several others, some of which are covered
here. He also provides some tips to focus your search to help you zero
in on more relevant pages.

In subsequent chapters, Berkman tells you what flags to look for to
assess the reliability of a given site. He also gives his own opinion
of the trustworthiness of the different types of organizations and
sources. Company and industry sources, statistics, surveys, news, and
other topics are all covered. Finally, Chapter 9 closes out the main
body of the book with a list of what the author considers to be some
of the best business sites on the Web today, plus a small sample of
sites preferred by researchers at Find/SVP.

The book includes two useful appendices and an index. Appendix A
contains several checklists that can be useful in evaluating Web
sites. Appendix B contains the URLs for those sites mentioned
throughout the book under their respective chapter headings along with
some additional resources.

"The Skeptical Business Searcher" is an easy read with plenty of
examples, anecdotes and even a few case studies. There is also a
corresponding Web page with links to the sites and sources recommended
in the book at <http://books.infotoday.com/skepticalbiz>. This page is
periodically updated and amended with additional sources. The book is
clearly targeted to the business searcher with a strong, but by no
means exclusive, emphasis on U.S. information. However, all searchers
can benefit from the tips provided, especially today in the wake of
the recent scandals at the New York Times, CBS, and others. Scandals
such as these emphasize the need for the proactive approach to
research and the development of critical thinking skills that Berkman
advocates.

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Penny Leidtke, principal of On-Target Information Services, has over
20 years experience analyzing, researching, and reporting on
companies, industries, economic conditions, and financing strategies.
On-Target works closely with operating companies, financial services
consultants, and law firms on valuations, M&A activities, product
development, strategic planning, and industry or economic trend
analysis. Recent projects related to various segments of the
automotive, insurance, publishing, organic chemicals, healthcare, and
extreme sports industries. Articles and presentations have covered
starting an information services business, market research methods,
and automotive industry resources.

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Related FreePint links:

* Find out more about this book online at the FreePint Bookshelf
  <http://www.freepint.com/bookshelf/skeptical.htm>
* Read customer comments and buy this book at Amazon.co.uk
  <http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0910965668/freepint0c>
  or Amazon.com
  <http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0910965668/freepint00>
* "The Skeptical Business Searcher"
  ISBN 0910965668, published by CyberAge Books.
* Search for and purchase any book from Amazon via the FreePint
  Bookshelf at <http://www.freepint.com/bookshelf>
* Read about other Internet Searching books on the FreePint Bookshelf
  <http://www.freepint.com/bookshelf/searching.htm>

To propose an information-related book for review, send details
to <support@freepint.com>.

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    ***  Email newsletters -- how much time does it take?  ***

            How much of your time does the mechanics of
             publishing your email newsletter actually
             take each month? One day, two days, more?

            The Willco Lists Modules handles sign-ups,
             welcome emails, distribution and bounces.

                Find out more about who already uses
                   the Willco system and why at:

                     <http://www.Willco.com/>

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                           FEATURE ARTICLE
         <http://www.freepint.com/issues/240305.htm#feature>
  "Key issues in complying with Freedom of Information legislation"
                         By Steve Wood

[This article is an introduction to the new in-depth report published
today by FreePint: "Complying with Freedom of Information
legislation: a guide for practitioners"
<http://www.freepint.com/shop/report/>]

Note: Abbreviations used in this article:

- FOIA (2000): Freedom of Information Act (2000)
- EIRs : Environmental Information Regulations 2004


Introduction
------------

"Some Freedom of Information releases will bring with them
disobliging headlines for the government. But each and every
release will contribute day by day towards our long term
vision of a more transparent government in which people
feel greater confidence."

Rt Hon Lord Falconer of Thornton, Lord Chancellor, Speech to the
Campaign for Freedom of Information, St Bride Institute, London on
1st March 2004.

Previous articles by Paul Pedley (FreePint 5th February 2004 No.153
<http://www.freepint.com/issues/050204.htm>), Steve Wood (FreePint
1st May 2003 no.136 <http://www.freepint.com/issues/010503.htm>) and
Richard Wakeford (FreePint 15th March 2001 No.83
<http://www.freepint.com/issues/150301.htm>) have all tracked and
discussed the key features of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
This article outlines key issues that freedom of information
practitioners need to be aware of if they are working directly
with or have roles strongly influenced by UK Freedom of
Information legislation.

The UK Freedom of Information Act (2000) and Environmental Information
Regulations 2004 came into force on the 1st of January 2005, an
historic day in improving the access to public information for UK
citizens. Freedom of Information has generated many headlines;
searching the Lexis-Nexis database of UK newspaper articles, we can
see that 391 articles in national newspapers featured the words
"Freedom of Information Act" between the 1st January and 15th March.
A new era of Freedom of Information means new challenges for those
charged with developing policies and procedures to comply with the
legislation.


UK Freedom of Information legislation
-------------------------------------

The following freedom provisions are currently in force in the United
Kingdom:

* Freedom of Information Act (2000)
  <http://www.hmso.gov.uk/acts/acts2000/20000036.htm>

  Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, anybody may request
  information from a public authority that has functions in England,
  Wales and/or Northern Ireland. The Act confers two statutory rights
  on applicants: to be told whether or not the public authority holds
  that information; and, if so, to have that information communicated
  to them <http://www.foi.gov.uk>

* The Environmental Information Regulations (2004) SI 3391
  <http://www.legislation.hmso.gov.uk/si/si2004/20043391.htm>

  The Environmental Information Regulations (EIRs) give certain rights
  of access to environmental information to the general public. The UK
  has had Environmental Information Regulations since 1992. The new
  Environmental Information Regulations 2004 came into force on 1st
  January 2005 <http://digbig.com/4cyfm>.

  The EIRs have been updated to bring the UK into line with
  international requirements, as laid down in EC Directive 2003/4/EC
  and also in the Aarhus Convention. The UK is committed to
  ratification of the Aarhus Convention.

* Freedom of Information Act (Scotland) 2002 (ASP 13) London, HMSO.
  <http://digbig.com/4cyfj>

  The Scottish legislation has some differences to that of the UK, the
  most important being a test of substantial harm on many of the
  exemptions. The Scottish Information Commissioner has produced a
  comparative table that neatly summarises the differences
	<http://www.itspublicknowledge.info/comparativetable.htm>.

There is also a non-statutory code of practice for Wales: National
Wales Assembly for Wales (2004) Code of Practice on Public Access to
Information <http://digbig.com/4cyfk>.


Spotlight on fees and charges
-----------------------------

The Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and
Fees) Regulations (2004). SI 3244
<http://www.legislation.hmso.gov.uk/si/si2004/20043244.htm>. These
regulations were published late in December 2004 and posed a big
challenge to Freedom of Information practitioners who had to integrate
the regulations into their policies and procedures in a matter of
weeks. The key features of the regulations are as follows:

The way the fees regulations have been drafted means that the majority
of costs for complying with requests will be met by the public sector.
The following points outline the key issues related to fees:

* The appropriate limit for costs of compliance for central government
  is GBP600 and all other public authorities GBP450. If these limits
  are not breached the request cannot be denied on grounds of cost.

When assessing the costs, the following can be considered by a
public authority:

* determining whether it holds the information
* locating the information, or a document which may contain
  the information
* retrieving the information, or a document which may contain
  the information
* extracting the information from a document containing it

When two or more requests are made by one person or "different persons
who appear to the public authority to be acting in concert or in
pursuance of a campaign", the total can be aggregated to one total when
assessing the cost of compliance. The requests must also be within
working consecutive 60 days and relate to similar information.

A public authority can charge for:

* informing the person making the request whether it holds
  the information
* communicating the information to the person making the request

A public authority can decide whether to comply with the request at
their discretion and charge (taking into account the methods in the
regulations) if the appropriate limit is breached.

In most cases, charges will be for photocopying or postage, however,
many public authorities have set policies about waiving these charges
up to a certain limit.


The impact on UK public authorities
-----------------------------------

The questions public authorities have been asking about Freedom of
Information are:

* What level of risk does FOI pose for our organisation?
* Which parts of the organisations will be effected?
* How will this effect how we manage our information?
* How many requests should we plan for? In the first 6 months?
  The first year?
* How can we effectively manage the volume of requests?
* How can we use FOI to improve citizen perception of the
  public authority
* How does FOI relate to other statutory obligations we already have?
* How can we train staff?

In the background material prepared for the 1999 Draft Bill
<http://www.foi.gov.uk/foibg.htm> research was carried out into
assessing the impact of a Freedom of Information Act on UK public
authorities. A rough estimate on requests was given:

"The low forecast is based on the experience in Australia and the
Republic of Ireland. On their experience we would expect to receive
about 45,000 requests per year. The high forecast is based on Canada,
which suggests 190,000 requests per year. The figures include
applications to national, state (where relevant) and local
government."

Five key action points for Freedom of Information practitioners:

Over 20 action points are in the main report published by FreePint,
here are five of the key action points:

* Practitioner action point 1:
  Polices and procedures are required to identify, respond and
  acknowledge Freedom of Information Act requests when they arrive in
  your organisation.

* Practitioner action point 2:
  Assess exemptions as to how they impact on the different functions
  of your organisation. Assign responsibilities and procedures for
  applying exemptions.

* Practitioner Action point 3:
  Practitioners should have systems in place to recognise Freedom of
  Information Act requests in all formats, encourage applicants to
  include relevant information to aid the processing of the request.

* Practitioner action point 4:
  Develop systems, policies and procedures that enable cost estimation
  to be carried out fairly and consistently. Compare charging
  procedures with other authorities in your sector and geographical
  area.

* Practitioner action point 5:
  Develop publication procedures and routes for quickly publishing
  previously made Freedom of Information and Environmental Information
  requests to a relevant class in the publication scheme.


10 essential Freedom of Information resources on the web
--------------------------------------------------------

1. Information Commissioner. Freedom of Information awareness
   guidance. A series of 29 guidance notes on subjects such as
   applying the pubic interest test, applying exemptions and
   vexatious requests. Expect more to be added during the
   course of 2005 <http://digbig.com/4cyfq>.

2. Scottish Information Commissioner (2004) Comparative Table: Freedom
   of Information Act 2000 and Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act
   2002 <http://www.itspublicknowledge.info/comparativetable.htm>.

3. Department for Constitutional Affairs Freedom of Information
   website. Official guidance from the department responsible for
   coordinating freedom of information <http://www.foi.gov.uk>.

4. Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs Access to
   Information pages. Guidance and good practice relating to the
   Environmental Information Regulations
   <http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/opengov/eir/>.

5. Office of Government Commerce Procurement guidance. Essential
   guidance on how to deal with contractual issues and commercial
   confidentiality <http://www.ogc.gov.uk/index.asp?docid=1002588>.

6. Freedom Information Forum <http://www.foi-forum.gov.uk>. Discussion
   forum for UK Freedom of Information practitioners hosted by the
   Department for Constitutional Affairs. Registration required.

7. Your Right to Know <http://www.yrtk.org>. Run by journalist Heather
   Brooke, the site is updated with many stories about Freedom of
   Information, often researched by Heather herself. It acts as a
   companion for her book, also entitled "Your right to Know"
   published by Pluto 2004 <http://digbig.com/4cyfr>.

8. Campaign for Freedom of Information <http://www.cfoi.org.uk>.
   Valuable comment and campaigns focused upon effective freedom of
   information legislation in the UK. The website includes a printer
   friendly PDF version of the Freedom of Information Act, with book
   marked sections <http://www.cfoi.org.uk/pdf/foia2000.pdf>.

9. Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals
   (CILIP). Freedom of Information resources. Detailed list of web
   resources <http://digbig.com/4ckdm>.

10.UCL Constitutional Unit. Publish many useful publication on
   Freedom of Information and Data Protection
   <http://www.ucl.ac.uk/constitution-unit/foidp/>.


[This article is an introduction to the new in-depth report published
today by FreePint: "Complying with Freedom of Information
legislation: a guide for practitioners"
<http://www.freepint.com/shop/report/>]

> - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Steve Wood is a Senior Lecturer in Information Management at the
School of Business Information, Liverpool John Moores University.
Steve lectures on undergraduate and postgraduate programmes on the
subject areas of e-business, information management, knowledge
management, content management and freedom of information. He is also
responsible for editing and maintaining the popular freedom of
information website, "Freedom of Information Act blog" at
<http://foia.blogspot.com>. Steve is also founding editor of "Open
Government: a journal on freedom of information"
<http://www.opengovjournal.org>.

Steve also consults and trains on information management and
e-business issues with SMEs and large organisations. His textbook,
co-authored with Dave Chaffey entitled "Business Information Management:
improving performance using information systems" was published by FT
Prentice Hall November 2004. <http://www.pearsoned.co.uk/>. He has
also authored another report for FreePint entitled "Information
Auditing: a guide for information managers"
<http://www.freepint.com/shop/report/infoaudit/>.

> - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Related FreePint links:

* "Complying with Freedom of Information legislation: a guide for
  practitioners", March 2005 <http://www.freepint.com/shop/report/>
* 'Information and Libraries' articles in the FreePint Portal
  <http://www.freepint.com/go/p69>
* Post a message to the author, Steve Wood, or suggest
  further resources at the FreePint Bar <http://www.freepint.com/bar>
* Read this article online, with activated hyperlinks
  <http://www.freepint.com/issues/240305.htm#feature>
* Access the entire archive of FreePint content
  <http://www.freepint.com/portal/content/>

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