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PRESS RELEASE Monday, December 20, 2010, 00.01

Introducing OpenCorporates: The open database of the corporate world

OpenCorporates (http://OpenCorporates.com) is a new project launching today that for the first time brings together the basic, essential information about companies, and government data that relates to them.

Although this seems a simple task, it is something that has eluded successive governments. Governments don’t store basic facts like the company numbers of their approved suppliers, of those they issue with Health & Safety notices, or of those who they pay money to, nor even what types of companies they do business with.

Not only has OpenCorporates collated that information, it has also pulled in data on 3.8 million UK past and present companies, and matched the government data against those.

Over the next few months OpenCorporates will be adding company data from other countries – it already has the basic company information for Bermuda and Jersey – and will be combining that with further global public datasets.

With its initial launch, OpenCorporates allows you to answer questions such as:

* Which are the companies that supply government that are now in administration?
* Which companies have environmental statements and have had Health & Safety Executive Notices issued against them?
* How many Fishing & Fish Farming companies does the government buy services from? (answer: one, and it the Duchy of Cornwall Oyster Farm Ltd)

Built in just two months by veterans of the UK open data scene, the site already allows a level of functionality not previously available anywhere else, not even in closed commercial services.

In addition, the service is entirely open, with the data and services being made available under the share-alike attribution Open Database License (ODbL). This license permits others to share, create, and adapt the OpenCorporates database under the same license, even commercially, bringing much this data out into the public realm for the first time.

OpenCorporates also provides an invaluable reconciliation service, compatible with the Google Refine data cleanser, which enables the government, local councils, community groups, and open data activists to match thousands of company names to actual companies in a matter of minutes.

Chris Taggart, one of the founders of Open Corporates, said, “The public, even the government, knows very little about companies, and the data they do have isn’t brought together in one place. OpenCorporates changes all that and allows the public, the government and developers to get a view of the corporate world previously only available to those large companies who could afford to subscribe to expensive proprietary databases.

Notes to editors

OpenCorporates is a new venture by Chris Taggart and Rob McKinnon, who have considerable experience in opening up public data.

Rob is the founder of WhosLobbying.com, making it simple for you to explore information on who’s lobbying the UK government, and in the past he ran TheyWorkForYou.co.nz, which helped people track activity of the New Zealand parliament.

Chris is the founder of OpenlyLocal.com, which has opened up information on over 150 local councils, OpenCharities.org, which pulls together data on UK charities, and is a member of the UK government’s Local Public Data Panel and the Mayor of London’s Digital Advisory Board.

A preview of OpenCorporates was featured at the UK’s Cabinet Office’s launch of the publication of all UK government spending over £25,000 on November 19.

Contact: Chris Taggart or Rob McKinnon at info@opencorporates.com, http://twitter.com/OpenCorporates

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