The National Archives issued the following press release on 22 March 2010. Obviously, it is too soon to say how valuable a resource this will be for those of us interested in British religion in numbers.
THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES TO PRODUCE ONLINE DIGITAL DOMESDAY LISTING PUBLIC DATASETS
The Prime Minister announced today that The National Archives will lead a programme to create an online Digital Domesday book, which will list non-personal and re-usable central government datasets, by autumn this year. The plan formed part of an announcement on ‘Building Britain’s Digital Future’.
The online book will provide an inventory of non-personal datasets held by departments and ‘arms-length’ bodies. For the first time, the public will be able to access information on each set of data including its size, source, format, content, timeliness, cost and quality.
Businesses and individuals will be free to embed this public data in their own websites, and to use it in creative ways within web and mobile applications.
Oliver Morley, Acting Chief Executive of The National Archives, said: ‘The National Archives cares about preserving and making accessible public information, but this is not limited to its paper records. We are at the forefront of government information management. We have already led and developed significant ongoing programmes ensuring the continuity of digital information so it is preserved for posterity and accessible even after technology moves on.
‘Much public information is now only accessible online: we automatically archive government websites so that even after a website has become defunct, these important sources of public information remain accessible and re-usable. This practice, along with our experience working across government and our knowledge of information management, means that we are well equipped to lead this exciting programme.’
Following the first edition of the new Domesday Book, the government will produce a proposal on how to extend this work to the wider public sector.
The National Archives’ Digital Continuity project works with government to ensure the public sector is still able to use essential digital information for as long as it needs. Complementing this project, the Web Continuity programme aims to eliminate the ‘page not found’ error message by archiving key government sites and redirecting traffic to the UK Government Web Archive.
Further to this work, government datasets made available through data.gov.uk will be archived to protect the investment developers make in building applications and re-using government data.