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Free UK Genealogy Open data conference

Free UK Genealogy Open data conference

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Free UK Genealogy Open Data Conference, 30 January 2016.
Welcome and update by Camilla von Massenbach Chair of Trustees and Pat Reynolds Executive Director, including launch of Free UK Genealogy new Open Data video.

Free UK Genealogy Open Data Conference, 30 January 2016.
Welcome and update by Camilla von Massenbach Chair of Trustees and Pat Reynolds Executive Director, including launch of Free UK Genealogy new Open Data video.

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Free UK Genealogy Open data conference

  1. 1. Title Layout Subtitle An Open Data Future Conference | The Linnean Society of London | Saturday, 30 January 2016 #freeGEN16
  2. 2. Title Layout Subtitle An Open Data Future Conference | The Linnean Society of London | Saturday, 30 January 2016 #freeGEN16 Thank you for coming: Proposed Transcriber Agreement Consultation: Conference Feedback survey:

Editor's Notes

  • Camilla von Massenbach:-
    On behalf of all the trustees for Free UK genealogy, We welcome you today, fellow volunteers, key personnel and other guests interested in family history, heritage and publicly available records.

    I am Camilla von Massenbach, the chairman and I would like to make some introductions – put some faces to some names.
    Ben Laurie, Graham Hart and David Mayall and I are long term trustees here from the beginning, or nearly the beginning, in the early 2000s. Jim Killock, joined as trustee a few years ago and more recently Richard Little and Billy Davis have joined the board. Allan Raymond, who many of you will know, sat on the board for a while, but felt his time was better spent hands on with FreeBMD.

    Last year Pat Reynolds joined Free UK Genealogy as Executive Director. She is proving a huge asset and is carrying forward the strategy which the trustees have developed with her help.

    Pat Reynolds:- First, some housekeeping: no alarm drills are planned, so in the event of an alarm, please make your way through the clearly marked exits to the main door.
    Next, I would like to introduce Helena Hyde, who is our Engagement Co-ordinator: she has taken on many, many tasks in organising this conference, turning my hand-waving into something real. I would also like to introduce Stacey Peacock-Bjurstrom, who scans films, fiches and books and Eric Dickens of FreeREG. Unfortunately Brenda Bowers of FreeCEN was not able to come today, but is joining us online.

    Camilla von Massenbach:-
    A major area which we are addressing at the moment is that of the governance of the charity. We are broadening the board of trustees. A larger board gives advantages in rotation of roles, brings a broader skills set into the organisation – it doesn’t harm to bring in the enthusiasm and ideas of new people too.

    To support the board, over the next year, we will be creating an advisory panel. This pool of people – volunteers with a range of skills and interests will brain storm ideas and as individuals be called on from time to time to give the benefit of their specialist knowledge and advice to inform the board of trustees.

    The organisation is moving forward on an Open Data basis. More about that later.

    We are also altering the structure of the organisation. We wish to take advantage of being a charitable incorporated organisation (CIO). which is a new form of legal entity designed for non-profit organisations in the United Kingdom. We will also create a trading arm of the charity. We receive more income through the banner advertising than through donations and as such are liable to pay tax. With the new set up the tax situation is improved. As part of this we need to formalise the relationship between Free UK genealogy and volunteers.

    All this is a change of form, not of purpose. As an organisation we will be less dependent on existing key people, will be more transparent, better able to raise funds to develop the projects, tools and better able to maximise the value given by all the transcriber and other volunteer effort whilst safeguarding the free access model we all believe in.

    Pat Reynolds:- The 2014-5 annual report and accounts can now be downloaded from the Charity Commission’s website. If you have any questions on these, please do ask me. I am pleased to say that we can now claim GiftAid on donations – we received over £5,000 in donations last year, and so GiftAid may be over £1,000 a year.
    The annual report only covers to the end of March last year, and things are moving on with our projects

    FreeBMD - in talks with government about access to recent records. GRO now empowered to provide digital certificates, and we are looking at working with them on the ordering side of this.
    FreeCEN - FreeCEN2 is now almost at the end of its initial development, with work on developing transcription to start soon.
    FreeREG - half way through major redevelopment - already researchers, coordinators and transcribers are all using the new system. Now wanting Parishes and NC Churches to get in touch / transcribe their own records (or add them to the heap) - next development phases of FreeREG will include making the link between the record and the Parish much stronger.

    We are starting to look again at developing an online transcription tool (with no plans to stop off-line transcription), and I will be inviting people to join a focus group for discussion later in the year.

    For all our projects, we will be launching a publicity and recruitment campaign later this year – we want to encourage new transcribers, advisors, and also volunteers with other skills such as programming.

    Our over-arching website – – is the place to look for volunteering opportunities. It’s also where our policies are stored, and information about the charity. We are beginning to use the blog to highlight developments.

    The main development we are here to discuss today is Open Data, and we will now move into that part of the programme. If you have questions on what Camilla or I have talked about so far – or anything else – please do ask in the final session, or contact us afterwards.

    Camilla von Massenbach:-
    Can I introduce John Sheridan, as of this month Digital Director of the National Archives, who will speak to us about Open Data, what it is, why it is a good thing and what it means for us.

    Introduce VIDEO.

    Our next speaker is Simon Tanner of King’s College London. Simon will be talking on the Benefits and Value of Opening up Data from a Community and Funding Perspective.

    Our final speaker is our trustee Richard Light, who will be talking on Family History and Linked Data.

  •  Camilla von Massenbach:- Today we are launching a consultation with our volunteers on a transcriber agreement, which we would like everyone possible to sign. The consultation documents will be on the website on Monday…. Please look at the documents, ask questions, make suggestions.
    The board of trustees are convinced that we should be an Open Data organisation and urge that you take part in the consultation. We look forward to maximising the value of all the volunteer efforts and the resulting databases. We all want them to be as widely accessible and as useful as possible. Help find the best way into the future.
    Pat Reynolds:- The Transcribers Agreement is a licence which enables transcribers to explicitly grant permission for their data to be shared as Open Data. The licence proposed allows any reuse of the data, without restriction.
    The agreement only covers the use of data (and things relating to this, such as any licence you may have signed in order to have access to the original records).
    It covers data already contributed, and to come.
    The consultation is the first of three steps:
    Consultation: covers the licence, but also how the agreement is implemented (two questions on the licence, ten which go through the process we are proposing, step by step).
    Implement open license for new and existing transcribers
    Develop API for datasets and look at how we can work with those who want more specialised services.
    We will be, wherever possible, contacting transcribers firstly to let them know that the consultation is open, and then to invite them to indicate whether they wish to sign the agreement or not. We know that there are some transcribers who we have not been able to contact, and are hoping that through social media and with the help of those writing on the web about family history, we may reach more. If you use social media, please help by sharing.
    Camilla von Massenbach:-
    Can I ask the trustees and Allan, Eric and Margaret to come up to the front and take questions.
    There are feedback forms relating to today and follow up notes and answers – all of which will be available on the website Thank you for coming in person or in a virtual way….