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April 04, 2008

Re-purposing the Byron report for kids

Via Dan Livingstone on Learning Games I note that that the Byron Report, Safer Children in a  Digital World: the report of the Byron Review, has been made available in a summary form suitable for children and young people.  Great idea... though it's a shame that has only been made available as a PDF copy of the paper document - hardly the most exciting format to use on the Web, particularly given the context.

I've taken the liberty of re-purposing this summary into a set of Powerpoint slides, uploaded into Slideshare.  This means that it can be very easily embedded into school's Web sites (or anywhere else for that matter):

I've tried as far as possible to retain the look and feel of the original summary, though there are places where the formatting has necessarily had to be changed.  This is text-heavy for a presentation - but then, it isn't really a presentation, it's an embeddable document.

Undertaking this work highlighted, for me, the utter, utter crapness of PDF as an online distribution format.  Copying-and-pasting the text resulted in me having to remove umpteen fixed line breaks for example.  It is also worth noting that this work probably contravenes the licence under which the summary has been made available:

Extracts from this document may be reproduced for non-commercial research, education or training purposes on the condition that the source is acknowledged.

I suppose that what I've done here isn't technically an extract! :-) Sigh... why would anyone want to limit the ways in which this particular document can be re-used and re-purposed?  If what I've done here offends anyone, let me know and I'll take it down.

[Note (added 2008/04/10): I'm pleased to say that the licence under which this material is made available is less restrictive than the above text would appear to indicate.  I don't quite understand why they are not more up-front about this, nor why a click-thru licence is required, but overall I think the licencing situation is acceptable.  See the comments for details.]


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PS. I love the quote on slide 7, "I’m worried I’ll get lost on the internet and find I’ve suddenly got a job in the army or something."

I retrospectively asked permission to do what I had already done. My first attempt, using the email address for licensing queries printed on the back page of the report itself resulted in a "email address no longer in use" auto-reply! :-( My second attempt got back the following message...

--- cut ---

Dear Andy,

Thank you for your email enquiry dated April 4th, 2008. I can confirm that you may re-use material taken from the Byron Report "Safer Children in a Digital World:
a summary for children and young people" however you will need one of our Click-Use Licences in order to do so. The Click-Use Licence you need is the PSI Licence - formerly known as the Core Licence. The Licence is free of charge, lasts for 5 years and allows you to re-use as much public sector information material as you want during that time. The PSI (Core) Licence can be taken out online via the Office of Public Sector Information website at

I hope this information helps, but if you do have any questions, please feel free to get in touch with me again.

Yours sincerely


--- cut ---

Good stuff. I've obtained the PSI licence (on behalf of Eduserv) so everything should be hunky-dory now. The process is very quick and easy.

On balance though I'm left a bit bemused as to why the licence is necessary at all?

Format issues aside, why don't all Government reports come with a 'child friendly' (i.e. understandable!) version? This is great :)

@Owen Yes, I completely agree.

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