Book Review: Essential Law for Information Professionals by Paul Pedley (3rd edition @facetpublishing)

It is always difficult to write a guide for non lawyers on very complicated areas of law. The task is made more difficult by the fact that information law includes lots of different statutes and regulations including the Freedom of Information Act, the Data Protection, the Environmental Information Regulations (to name just a few). This book is a very good attempt at the task by a well qualified author. Paul Pedley is a visiting lecturer at City University and the author of two books on digital copyright. The first edition of this book appeared in 2003 and immediately established itself as a popular training and student text.

The third edition of this book aims to offer up-to-date and easy-to-follow practical advice on the law as it affects information management and the fundamental principles underlying practice.  New and up-to-date coverage includes:

• the Digital Economy Act 2010 and it’s implications for libraries
• the Open Government License and the re-use of public sector information
• patents and trademarks
• CILIP’s guidelines on user privacy in libraries
• the move to extend legal deposit to electronic content
• recent changes in libel law
• the Data Protection Act and new penalties for infringement
• digital content and platforms
• open access and social networking.

The chapters on copyright, data protection  and privacy are a good starting point for anyone wishing to understand these laws.  The Freedom of Information chapter covers both the law in Scotland (FOISA) as well as the rest of the UK. The section on publication and re use of datasets (as per the Protection of Freedoms Bill) relies heavily on an article in our May 2011 newsletter. This is now slightly out of data as the Bill has now become law and some changes to the dataset provisions were made during the passage of the Bill through Parliament. A more up to date explanation of the dataset provisions can be found in our previous blog post.

All in all I would recommend this book. Whilst it is primarily aimed at librarians, it is a good basic guide for those working in information governance. It provides a useful starting point for anyone who requires a “quick run through” the salient points before moving on to something more substantial. For this purpose the references at the end of each chapter will assist. Priced at £49 this book is a useful addition to any legal library.

To buy this book visit the Facet Publishing website.

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