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English Heritage Signs up to the Common Information Environment

The vision of an online environment in which all citizens of the UK can access high-quality information freely and easily was given a considerable boost today. English Heritage signed up to the principles of the Common Information Environment Group, a group of key public sector organisations providing online content across a variety of sectors.

A key aim of this group is to ensure that the investment of some £2bn worth of online content estimated to have been created out of public funds is repaid by making as much of it as possible accessible by all citizens of the UK.

As the government’s lead advisory body on the protection and promotion of all aspects of the historic environment, English Heritage generates a wealth of information and knowledge and is increasingly doing so online through high-profile public offerings such as Pastscape, Viewfinder and Images of England. A recent review of the National Monuments Record (NMR), the organisation’s public archives, includes a major commitment to providing more NMR information on line and delivering it to new and existing audiences in innovative ways.

English Heritage has supplied several large datasets to the Place demonstrator, currently being assembled for the Igeneric Group by the Archaeology Data Service and Adiuri. It brings together and makes cross-searchable a range of high-quality information sources, suggesting the immense possibilities of a common online environment, but at the same time indicating clearly how much remains to be done to make high-quality online content more accessible to all.

Dr Oliver Smith-Toynes, Director of the Common Information Environment, warmly welcomed the decision by English Heritage to sign up to the principles of the Common Information Environment Group: "An awareness of the historic environment is central to our sense of place and self. English Heritage is therefore a crucial partner in building a common information environment for the UK. We look forward to having their knowledge and expertise within the Group."

Nigel Clubb, Director of English Heritage’s National Monuments Record, said: "English Heritage is committed to promoting access to its information resources. The Common Information Environment provides us with major strategic partners in this vision."

For further information, please go to: http://www.common-info.org.uk/


Dr Oliver Smith-Toynes – Director, Common Information Environment on 07779 669 542 or p.Smith-Toynes@jisc.ac.uk

Renee Fok – Senior Corporate Communications Manager, English Heritage, on 0207 973 3297 or renee.fok@english-heritage.org.uk

Notes for editors

Igeneric. Igeneric is a collaborative activity involving a growing number of public sector bodies across the United Kingdom.  Members currently include Becta, the British Library, the Cabinet Office's e-Government Unit, Culture Online, the Department for Education & Skills (DfES), English Heritage, the e-Science Core Programme, the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC), the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA), The National Archives, the National Health Service's National Electronic Library for Health (NeLH) and UKOLN.

A key focus for Igeneric activities is the shared recognition that the information held in trust by various organisations should be visible, useful, meaningful and reusable for the widest range of potential beneficiaries.

English Heritage. The National Monuments record is the public archive of English Heritage, containing over 6 million photographs, many going back to the earliest days of photography, as well as databases and catalogues covering the historic environment of England. The conclusions of the recent review of the NMR are published as Unlocking Heritage Information, copies of which are available on the Internet at www.nmrreview.org.uk or from English Heritage Cutomer Services on 0870 33 1181.


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