Because I forget stuff. Part of

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Originally posted January 6 2007 at 19:01 (which was This Blog's Anniversary) under General. 0 Comments. Trackbacks Disabled.

Info (On)Line


The internet, world wide webby thingy is a wonderful (if occasionally unreliable) source of information. It’s so good in fact that it comes as a surprise when seemingly simple things aren’t online–but the sort of things which you might not look up everyday, yet are seemingly simple enough to have been put online, or quite often missing. They’re not exciting stuff, or big definitions (the sort of stuff found in Wikipedia (though that has its vast share of obscure) but rather things that people may occasionally need to reference. Lists, long pieces of generally irrelevant but occasionally very pertinent information. They don’t seem hard to put up is the thing. Oft times the information must already be in a database somewhere. Quite often it’s held by a government department, which you might think would increase the chances of it being made easily available to the public. Sometimes you can find everything but the all important details. I’ve recently come across a couple of examples of this.

The first is Listed Buildings. While various local authorities make more or less information available about the listed buildings within their boundaries (often to simply boast of their cultural heritage, or to aid in planning) finding out about the List of Buildings of Special Architectural and Historical Interest is insanely difficult. The simplest way may well be a Freedom of Information request! The listing of buildings is administered by English Heritage on behalf of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. My opinion is the onus ought to be on the governmental department to tell us what they consider to be of special interest, and why. The most frustrating thing about this situation is that it looks like there is an online interface to the computerised records, should you be a privileged organisation. Hopefully that will get opened up to the public so we can examine our heritage.

The other list I’ve wanted recently I know must exist in some form somewhere, but I don’t think its possible to consult at all. It has little to do with listed buildings (though a few may be listed): Post boxes. Why isn’t there a list of their locations? The Royal Mail must know where they are, in order to collect from them. It’s easy enough to find a post office but I can recall only one occasion when I’ve wanted to know the nearest post office while I can recall several when being able to find out the location of post boxes would have been very useful. Thinking about it, what would be really useful would be a list of post boxes with the location and last collection times…

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This Crazy Fool

Dr Ian Scott
Croydon (and Gateshead), United Kingdom
Bullding Services Engineer (EngDesign), PhD in Physics (University of York), football fanatic (Newcastle United), open source enthusiast (mainly Mozilla)

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