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By Charlton, Mark.

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Even an information service in support of a local campaign may benefit from collecting information on similar campaigns or problems country-wide. 36 A Handbook of Information Technology Types of Information The information base of your service is most likely to include the following types of information: Soft information— details of clubs, societies, organizations and services; individuals; events, etc. Usually this information will not be available in a published form, or at least not in sufficient detail, and it will be necessary to make a conscious effort to collect it.

From local authorities, area and district health authorities, Community Health Councils, local offices of government agencies. Information, the Life Blood 49 2. Non-official (a) National — Reference books and handbooks from commercial publishers. — Voluntary organizations. — Pressure groups, self-help groups. g. National Council for Voluntary Organizations, Federation of Independent Advice Centres. g. The Law Society. g. National Association of Retail Furnishers. g. National Extension College, Open University.

Throughout this framework I will take as an example an information service for which the main area of interest is housing. It is sometimes useful to apply a consistent criterion when dividing up a subject, although obviously this would not be so easy for an information service whose scope covers as broad an area as, say, ‘community information’. g. owner-occupied, private-rented, council-rented, New Town, Housing Association, institutional accommodation, tied accommodation, mobile homes, etc. In most cases you would probably need an additional category for subjects that cut across all or more than one category.

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