Public Resource liberates "Life in the UK" book, building codes

Rogue archivist Carl Malamud sez,

Public.Resource.Org has always been a strong supporter of British-American cooperation. In order to further what Winston Churchill so aptly dubbed our “Special Relationship,” I'm happy to announce two hands across the sea.

If you would like to be a citizen of the United Kingdom, you need to study a book called Life in the UK. The book is published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, which is part of the amazingly well run National Archives. These are the folks that run, the best legislative reference site in the world. Life in the UK has the kind of open license one has come to expect for government information, so we asked our friends at the Rural Design Cooperative to take a stab at creating an open version. They totally went to town, replacing the commercial stock photos with open artwork, creating much better navigation across the book, study guide, and tests, and making the tests better, and (of course!) publishing the whole thing as valid html and open source so you can fork it if you'd like and create your own version. Thanks to Oliver Morley, the Archivist of the United Kingdom, for enabling open publishing and to the folks at the Rural Design Cooperative for creating the new version. You can read the all new Open Life in the UK here.

I'm sorry to report that another agent of the UK government, the British Standards Institution, apparently didn't get the open government memo. As you know, we've posted a bunch of crucial public safety standards from the UK as well as the rest of Europe and the world. Well, the British Standards Institution decided that they didn't like the fact that we posted a copy of BS 8300:2009+A1, which is the “Design of Buildings and Their Approaches to Meet the Needs of Disabled People” which we have on our site and on the Internet Archive. They sent us a DMCA takedown notice. We sent them a strongly-worded 4-page answer and that answer is NFW. You can read all the traffic back and forth with the standards people on our docket of RFCs.

The "Open Life in the UK" that Public Resource put together is much better than the study guide I used when I was becoming a British citizen. On behalf of all migrants to Britain, thank you, Public Resource!

Open Life in the UK (Thanks, Carl!)


    1.  The letter was to Jon Kirke of the BSI, Frances Maude was CC’d in as the head of the govenrment department that the BSI is responsible to

  1. In order to emigrate there, do we have to be able to identify the differences between salty, sandy, and stony Dornish?

    1. You have to answer questions about British televison shows.  That’ll certainly make sure that you only get the best quality immigrants.

  2. “The book is published by Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, which is part of the amazingly well run National Archives.”You seemed confused about the status and name of The Stationery Office, a privately-owned subsidiary of Williams-Lea.

    1.  Whoops, I did indeed confuse them! OTOH, my words of praise for HMSO still stands and the TSO publication does include a liberal reuse copyright statement inserted by the government. So, the end result is the same. Thanks for the clue!

  3. It still amazes me the rules for Parliament and MPs’ behaviour (Erskine May) are still not freely available. You’re expected to stump up £311.

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