Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Information Awareness Month

Greetings from the launch of Information Awareness Month 2011 in the Brindabella Room of the National Library of Australia in Canberra. The Director General of the library opened proceedings by mentioning the need to keep access to information for the public and the excellent way the NLA helps this with the Trove system.

One of the less well known bodies involved in Information Awareness Week, is Disaster ACT (DISACT) , which helps protect cultural materials. Better known are NLA, IIM, AIIA, ACS, RIMPA, ALIA, ACTKM, AGLIN, HIMAA, PROV and ASA.

The official launch was by the Australian Information Commissioner, Professor John McMillan AO. He mentioned three dimensions of information:
  1. Information is valuable: The FOI act identifies government information as a public resource. Agencies are now required to publish details of what they do and what information they have.
  2. Legal Obligations with Information: Organisations have obligations to keep personal information private. The Commissioner gave examples of companies which have "learnt" from failures to keep information private. But from the long list of recent examples, it appears that corporations have not learnt, or they have learnt there are few penalties for failure.
  3. Managing Information Professionally: The commissioner pointed out that while there are numerous organisations involved with information, there is limited coordination between them. Many government organisations now use the FOI recommended icon on their front page.
ps: I will be speaking at the Meta 2011 Conference, as part of information awareness month.

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