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UK Spearheads Europe’s Emerging Knowledge Economy - European Commission praises the Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI) at pan-European ePSIplus conference in Brussels
UK Spearheads Europe’s Emerging Knowledge Economy


NewswireToday - /newswire/ - Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom, 2008/06/19 - European Commission praises the Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI) at pan-European ePSIplus conference in Brussels.

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The focus of the conference was on the European Commission’s formal Review of the implementation of a European Directive on the Re-use of Public Sector Information (PSI).

OPSI’s initiatives mean that the UK is leading the way across Europe in the re-use of PSI. Re-use of PSI, both by the information industry and citizens, is key to the growth of the knowledge-based economies across Europe.

Carol Tullo, Director of OPSI said, “In the digital age we need to recognise that information can be presented in many diverse and exciting ways. And information from the public sector does not have to be delivered by a public provider. The initiatives we have launched in OPSI have been designed to encourage the supply, sharing and re-use of PSI.”

OPSI, uniquely across Europe, provides a strong focal point for PSI co-ordination and resolution of complaints. Commending the value of this central role Javier Hernandez-Ros, Head of Unit, European Commission Digital Libraries and Public Sector Information, said “We need an OPSI in every single member state”.
The benefits of having an organisation that investigates complaints, such as OPSI in each of the member states was also acknowledged. One conference observer remarked, “Given the high costs of litigation, the cost of taking action through the courts could easily outweigh the entire annual budget for running OPSI.”
The web is key to unlocking the potential of PSI. By embracing new web technologies and social networking, the UK improves access to information and more effective information management. At the heart of these initiatives is the need to ensure citizens have access to PSI and the ability to use that information in new and innovative ways.

Jennifer Rigby, Head of The National Archives IT Strategy and Chair of the Metadata & Vocabularies Working Group, UK explains, “By making information re-usable in flexible ways, such as data-mashing, the market can drive innovation so we can provide online services against a backdrop of endless possibilities.”

For further information please contact:
Mel Hide, Head of Press at The National Archives
020 8392 5332

EPSI conference
The ePSIplus conference, entitled ‘PSI Re-Use Who takes Action Next?’, actively engaged both public and private PSI stakeholders from all EU states. The aim was to reach consensus on recommendations for change to the EC’s Review on the PSI Directive.

The European Commission is due to review the implementation of the European Directive on the Re-use of Public Sector Information across Europe in the Autumn. ePSIplus, with funding supplied by the Commission, has been reviewing progress across the member states through a series of conferences and other events.

ePSIplus is assessing performance by means of a scorecard based on five key themes. At present the UK is seen to be well ahead of the other member states in terms of compliance with the Directive and the mechanisms it has in place to encourage re-use.

The term re-use refers to information that is used for purposes other than those it was originally produced. For example, information on Government websites can be downloaded, combined with other information and re-presented within the context of value added products and services.

OPSI and The National Archives
The Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI) operates from within The National Archives.

The National Archives, is a government department; and also an executive agency of the Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs. The National Archives brings together the Public Record Office, Historical Manuscripts Commission, the Office of Public Sector Information and Her Majesty’s Stationery Office.

The National Archives is at the heart of information policy – setting standards and supporting innovation in information and records management across the UK, and providing a practical framework of best practice for opening up and encouraging the re-use of public sector information. This work helps inform today’s decisions and ensure that they become tomorrow’s permanent record.

The National Archives is also the UK government’s official archive, containing 900 years of history from Domesday Book to the present, with records ranging from parchment and paper scrolls through to recently created digital files and archived websites. Increasingly, these records are being put online, making them universally accessible.

The vision of The National Archives is to:
· Lead and transform information management;
· Guarantee the survival of today's information for tomorrow;
· Bring history to life for everyone.

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UK Spearheads Europe’s Emerging Knowledge Economy

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