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Newsletter No.46

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                             Free Pint
         "Helping 25,000 people use the Web for their work"

ISSN 1460-7239                              23rd September 1999 No.46
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                           IN THIS ISSUE


                        TIPS AND TECHNIQUES
        "The UK 1998 Data Protection Act and your Web site"
                          By Adrian Tribe

                  "Super searchers do business - 
          The online secrets of top business researchers"
                     Reviewed by Phil Bradley

                          FEATURE ARTICLE
       "About NUA: A discussion with Gerry McGovern, CEO NUA"
                          By Crystal Sharp

                           FREE PINT BAR


                        CONTACT INFORMATION


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I had lots of enquiries last week at the eBusiness [99] exhibition 
from new subscribers asking if we've covered a certain subject before 
in Free Pint ... and let's face it, we're on our 46th issue which
means that the Web site is now home to some 92 articles! That 
doesn't include all the book reviews in the Bookshelf and 
discussion topics at the Bar.

Well, there are two ways to locate material on the site.  The first 
is to do a keyword search at This 
is extremely fast and may well point you in the right direction.
Alternatively there is the Guide
This is a category index, a bit like Yahoo!, where you can explore
by subject, industry, who you are (e.g. searcher or Webmaster), and
so on.  It is well worth a look.

If you then identify a number of issues that you'd like to have 
emailed to you then just make a note of the issue numbers. Follow the
link on the Issues page
to the yearly list of issues, tick the ones you want, and enter your 
email address.  They'll be sent within seconds and you'll then have a
complete archive for yourself again.  And yes, we do allow you to 
print them out (in their entirety) and make them available in your
organisation, library, or wherever.

Data Protection has been a popular topic with readers judging by the
letters we've had and the messages at the Bar.  Therefore we start
with a look at the implications for your Web site arising from the 
1998 Data Protection Act. Following this we have a chat with the CEO 
of the extremely succesful Irish Internet consultancy, NUA. I've then
included the summary of all the hot topics at the Bar with quick links
so that you can easily respond or read more.

If you enjoy this issue (or otherwise) then please do let me know as
always.  We're all still working very hard here trying to help you
use the Web for your work ... and loving every minute of it.

Kind regards,

PS: If you'd like to help us spread the word about Free Pint by 
distributing a few small A5 leaflets around your organsation then
please do email me your contact details and I'll put some in the post.

William Hann BSc MIInfSc, Managing Editor
t: +44 (0)1784 455435
f: +44 (0)1784 455436
                                        "Free Pint" is a trademark of
                              Willco Limited

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Our autumn seminars include an introduction to Sources of Healthcare
Information, Consumer Healthcare on the Internet, Making the Most of
MEDLINE and two other courses on MEDLINE. Spare one day out of the
office, and come back to save time on your research. The British
Library, St Pancras, Central London. Contact Maureen Heath,
Tel: 020 7412 7470, e-mail

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                         TIPS AND TECHNIQUES

        "The UK 1998 Data Protection Act and your Web site"
                          By Adrian Tribe

What were you doing on 24th October 1998?  To be more precise, what
were you doing with personal data on your Web site on 24th October
1998?  Why this date?  Because European Union Member States were meant
to have implemented the requirements of the European Data Protection
Directive 95/46/EC by then
Although certain transitional arrangements would be possible for data
processing already underway on that date, for any processing
commencing after that date, the requirements of the Directive were to
be immediately applicable.

However, to complicate matters many Member States, including the UK,
did not have all the necessary domestic legislation in place by then.
In the UK, although the 1998 Data Protection Act received Royal Assent
on 16th July that year, even now none
of the necessary subordinate legislation is in place, so almost all its
provisions will not actually come into force until 1st March 2000.
When it does though, 24th October 1998 will still be the date that
governs whether certain transitional arrangements will apply, hence
the importance of the opening questions. As lack of space prevents an
examination of the UK 1984 Data Protection Act, in force until 29th
February 2000, the emphasis in this article is on the requirements of
the new Act.

"What has all this got to do with my Web site?" you may be asking.
Well, if you do anything at all with personal data on your Web site,
you should be taking steps now to ensure that what you are doing will
be legal from 1st March 2000.  Personal Data is defined in the Act as
being data relating to living individuals who can be identified from
that data.  Broadly speaking there are two areas of Web site activity
that will come under the terms of the Act: providing access to
personal data; and gathering personal data from Web site visitors.
Examples of the kinds of Web site features that fall into these
categories include:

Public and internal directories (staff, clients, students, etc)
Data: name, e-mail address, postal address, phone number and other
contact information

Staff biographical information pages
Data: qualifications, career history, photographs, publications,
personal information, etc

Web front ends to management databases
Data: potentially many categories, perhaps including sensitive data

Mandatory or voluntary on-line forms (registration forms, information
requests, etc)
Data: name, e-mail address, postal address, phone number and other
contact information

On-line research surveys
Data: potentially many categories, perhaps including sensitive data

E-mail list subscriptions ("subscribe to receive regular news" etc)
Data: name, e-mail address and possibly other information

Other possible features
Server-based cookie file systems, scripts that enable pages to be
personalised, or possibly scripts that capture the environment
otherwise delve into a user's system to retrieve data.

It is also worth pointing out that the requirements of the 1998 Act
extend to many categories of manually-held data, not just data held in
electronic format, so any relevant paper-based data used in the
management of your Web site will need to be considered too.

The 1998 Act places a legal obligation on data controllers to adhere
to 8 Data Protection Principles  In
addition, prior to the processing of personal data, data controllers
are required to notify the Data Protection Commissioner of: their name
and address; the data to be processed; the category or categories of
data subject to which they relate; the purposes for which the data
will be processed; recipients to whom data may be disclosed; a list
of countries outside the European Economic Area to which data may be
transferred; and general details of measures that will be in place to
ensure the security of the personal data.

While adherance to all of the Data Protection Principles is of course
vital, of particular relevance to Web managers will be the first and
eighth Principles.  The first Principle prevents all processing of
personal data unless at least 1 of 6 conditions can be met, the first
of which is that the data subject has given his or her consent.
Obtaining consent is also one of the possible cases under which the
eighth Principle does not apply, a Principle which prevents the
transfer of personal data outside the European Economic Area (EEA).
As the EEA only includes Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France,
Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands,
Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom, plus Iceland,
Liechtenstein and Norway, the eighth Principle effectively prevents
the publication of personal data on public Web pages.  Obtaining the
data subject's consent is therefore probably going to be the key to
ensuring the legality of the processing of personal data on your Web
site.  It is worth emphasising that advice from the Office of the Data
Protection Registrar makes it quite clear that obtaining consent must
involve "active communication between the parties" and that "data
controllers cannot infer consent from non-response to a communication"  In other words, any
forms used for gathering personal data from visitors to your Web site,
or any procedures in place within your organisation to collect
personal data for publication on your Web site must give an
opportunity for the data subjects to give or withhold their consent to
the proposed processing or publication.

For data processing activities that were already being carried out
prior to 24th October 1998, certain transitional exemptions from the
full requirements of the new Act are available, detailed in Schedule 8  However,
as a survey carried out by the author has shown that the Data
Protection arrangements at a number of UK Web sites do not even comply
with the requirements of the current Act, it would be unwise to rely
on existing arrangements for the transitional period.  The survey of
121 UK University Web sites carried out in March/April 1999 found that
of the 124 sites that were providing access to personal data in some
form or another, 76 (that's 61%) were NOT correctly registered under
the 1984 Act to allow such public disclosure/transfer!

This is of course only a very brief introduction to the issues
relating to the 1998 Data Protection Act and the management of Web
sites.  Further information can be found at the following URLs.  It
must also be pointed out that as the author has no formal legal
qualifications, any Web managers choosing to implement a particular
course of action relating to their own Data Protection policies and
procedures as a result of reading this article are strongly advised
to seek qualified legal advice!

Some Useful URLs:

1998 Data Protection Act

Draft Statutory Instruments (1998 Act Subordinate Legislation)

1984 Data Protection Act

Guidance Note on Data Protection and the Internet (1984 Act)

The Office of the Data Protection Registrar

"Preparing for the New Law" (Data Protection Registrar)

UK Public Register of Data Users (1984 Act)

Data Protection Mailbase List

The European Commission Directorate General XV
Media, Information Society & Data Protection

JILT - Journal of Information, Law & Technology

Charles Russell Solicitors
Check out the Briefing Note on the 1998 Data Protection Act

Hamiltons Solicitors
Check out the Data Protection Legislation link

Paper Publications
Mullock, J. & Leigh-Pollitt, P.  1999  The Data Protection Act 1998,
Explained.  London: The Stationery Office. ISBN: 0117023361.
Available from Amazon UK for 25 pounds.

Rayner, C.  1999  Data Protection in the Education Sector  London:
Association of Colleges.  ISBN: 0 9535092 0 6.  Available for 9.99
pounds direct from the Association of Colleges on 020 7827 4600.

Rowe, H.  1999  Data Protection Act 1998: A Practical Guide  London:
Butterworths Tolley.  ISBN 0754501353  Available from Amazon UK from 30 September, estimated price 30 pounds.

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Adrian Tribe is the Web Editor at Birkbeck College, University of
London, a College specialising in the provision of undergraduate and
postgraduate degrees and other courses for part-time students.  He
has spoken at national conferences on the use of the Internet as a
publicity medium and in teaching and research.  Prior to taking up his
post at Birkbeck, Adrian was for 13 years a professional
archaeological conservator.  Adrian can be contacted at, and you can find out more about Birkbeck College
at  Other sites that Adrian is responsible for
include, and

 [Chat to the author now at the Bar]

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The Online Information 99 conference offers you the chance to hear 125
experts from 20 countries give their insights into the latest
developments in the information industry.  No other conference can
provide the same concentration of expertise under one roof.  For full
programme details and online registration visit

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                    RESERVE YOUR OWN FREE COPY
  If someone has forward this copy of Free Pint to you then why not
 visit the address above and reserve your own free fortnightly copy?

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                        FREE PINT BOOKSHELF
       Find out about some of the great books we're reading

                  "Super searchers do business - 
          The online secrets of top business researchers"
                     Reviewed by Phil Bradley

It's always interesting to find out how other people do research, 
what they think is important, and what tricks they use. 'Super 
searchers' is a fascinating read, as Bates has interviewed 11 experts
who use the Net, online and CD-ROM resources to do research and 
written up the results in this title. It is easy to read and is the 
kind of book you dip into, rather than reading from cover to cover 
(unless you're a sad person like me!). Each interview covers similar 
ground, asking the experts how they got involved in research, what 
tools they use, how they do their work, which resources they use and 
how they see the future of the information professional. Each chapter
ends with a summary of top tips, some of which are very useful indeed.

Unsurprisingly, the emphasis is almost entirely American (only one of
the experts is foreign, coming from Australia), which is a little
disappointing. The vast majority are also information brokers, rather
than working in organisations, so the book is slightly skewed in that
direction, though to be fair that doesn't impact on its value. I 
found the font used for the interview questions a little irritating,
particularly as some questions were phrased more like comments, but 
this is a minor quibble. The title includes a useful appendix of 
websites, newsgroups, sources and a glossary, as well as a good 
index. In summary, it was a really good book and one that I found 
quite engrossing. Highly recommended.

         Find out more about this book on the Web site at

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Phil Bradley is a well known trainer and speaker on matters related to
electronic publishing and the Internet. He travels widely to speak on
different aspects of the Internet and is the author of several books 
and columns which cover this area. Phil is an independent Internet 
Consultant who runs in-company training courses, writes and maintains 
websites for a number of clients and can assist organisations in 
making the most of the Internet. You can find out more about him, and 
read articles written by him at his website at

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with these seminars from the UK's leading e-commerce software 
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your clients. Real life examples will be used to demonstrate how 
Actinic partners are already profiting from web sales. Register at: or by telephone: 01932 866440.

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                          FEATURE ARTICLE

       "About NUA: A discussion with Gerry McGovern, CEO NUA"
                          By Crystal Sharp

In my quest for information - increasingly on the Web these days -
I am always on the lookout for reliable, authoritative, and useful
data.  One of the sites that I refer to quite often in that quest,
is NUA - an Irish internet consultancy, with
headquarters in Dublin. NUA has a free searchable site for Internet
survey analyses and summaries - a good starting point for further
research on a topic.

NUA (which means "new" in Gaelic), publishes a number of free
newsletters; I subscribe to one called "New Thinking". It has
summaries of new research, and links to articles that can be
accessed at the NUA site. The site is well presented - it invites
its visitors to know more, to ask questions and to state opinions.
It keeps you coming back.

A few weeks ago, I met with Gerry McGovern, CEO of NUA. The meeting
came about with an e-mail from me, telling him that I would be on
holiday in Ireland, and asking if I could meet someone from the
Company. He agreed and we met on July 12 at 12:00 noon. In his
newsletters and in his recently released book The Caring Economy,
McGovern stresses the view that the Internet is not so much about
technology, as with the information and interactivity that is
facilitated by technology. Apparently he practices what he

Ireland is experiencing a new prosperity brought about, in part, by
the European Union, and in great part, by the ambition, hard-work
and intelligence of a young population, earning it the name of
"Celtic tiger" and "Silicon Isle". NUA is a good blend of the
traditional (the philosophical and community minded) and the new
(technology - big business). 

NUA's Dublin office is a large, open concept work space accessible
through two electronic keypad entry doors, in the Telecomm Eirann
Building on Merriam Road. The executive offices are on the periphery
of that room. McGovern's office is spacious with a computer
workstation in one corner, and a large table diagonally opposite.
Small, framed, sketches of Yates, Joyce, Becket and Cavanaugh
decorate the walls of his office. 

The meeting was informal - we talked about NUA and its ventures,
its strategy, Internet branding, Local Ireland and various other
topics. McGovern was measured in his responses, his manner was
sincere and often philosophical, and his attitude casual. If he
wondered at all what this meeting was about - he did not show it.
He asked no questions himself and spent all his time answering
questions I put to him. 
NUA started in 1995, by 3 people - Gerry McGovern, Niall O'Sullivan
and Antoin O Lachtnain. According to McGovern, none of them had
significant business experience, but started up the company with a
desire to "make a significant difference in Internet space."  Although
it took the best part of two years before they saw any significant
profits, they seem to be achieving that goal. NUA currently has about
80 employees and is still rapidly expanding.  

The central business focus of NUA is Internet consultancy, with a
strong marketing focus - helping companies develop their online
strategies. As McGovern points out - establishing an internet presence
is a long-term commitment - it is not quick, easy and cheap. NUA puts
a strong emphasis on methods to establish and promote a company brand
online. The process involves knowing the target market, and
establishing ways to reach and establish a reputation of quality and
integrity with that target market. NUA's own strategy in establishing
its brand has been to provide the free internet surveys and its
newsletters that keep it within sight of its potential customers,
offering value and insight.

Apart from its central focus, NUA Ventures are conducted as
partnerships with other companies, where NUA's staff act as "thought
leaders".  One of its earliest ventures was a 10% stake in Local
Ireland (the rest owned by Telecomm Eirann - Ireland's phone company
which has recently been privatized). Local Ireland is a portal or
magazine site for local Irish companies. In the past week I have read
that NUA has acquired a significant stake in, a jewellery
sales site, headed by Galway entrepreneur, Declan Ganley; it is
shifting more to a product oriented strategy - with its offering of
NUAPublish - a web publishing software; and that it is planning to
issue an IPO within the next 12 months.

Local Ireland provides a state-of-the art Internet infrastructure
for all things Irish, from the National to the County, and Locality
or Parish - the idea for which was originated by NUA. The content
is provided by the community and owned by each content publisher.
Local Ireland provides a whole set of high quality publishing and
content management tools for free to content publishers. Local
county cooperatives are situated in each county (made up of
representatives from schools, colleges, sports clubs, libraries,
museums, newspapers, historical societies, community services
etc.). The cooperatives act to source and provide content, promote
and train; and manage and update the content and information for
their county.  The look and feel of the site is the same at the
National or the County or Town level. As McGovern pointed out
"communities have information - which is something to trade in the
economy. Some information may just be stored in the heads of local
people. That information needs to be made available if it is to
have any value." This is a forum for letting it do so.  It is also
an attempt to develop a "technological culture", where technology
will be a part of everyday life and be used effectively.  It
intends to be a site that promotes trade of Irish products and
generates revenue for the community and the site hosts. It is a
long-term investment plan, expecting to seek profitability in a few

The process of mounting content is relatively straightforward due to
provision of a free set of templates called "Local Community Builder
Software". Anyone can submit information, but it has to pass through
designated officials.  This allows for some control of information and
some authority. Local Ireland has 2,000 geographic localities. All
information is classified into pre-defined categories, based on the
Dewey classification system. In practise, it satisfies the three
essential properties that make information useful - reliable content,
logical structure and it is published. Local Ireland intends to cater
to the needs of the Irish abroad as well and has recently opened an
office in New York, with plans to do the same in other American
cities. The structure will differ somewhat to accommodate the
different culture.

McGovern continually stresses that the Internet is about people -
Information and interactivity. It is about communication.  I
wondered if he minded being so accessible - knowing from my own
experience that it takes a lot of time to reply to e-mail and read
it even. However, he said that that was part of being on the
Internet and it is one of the things that one must accept and use.
"If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen". The Internet
is an environment for sharing information and communicating.  It
should be made use of by enhancing the quality of information and
the quality of interactivity. NUA's strategy is to continually
innovate, be flexible, and produce quality work. McGovern said that
currently "too many people focus on the short term and quick kill."
NUA focusses on wanting to do a good job.

How has NUA handled its rapid growth? According to McGovern, "with
difficulty"… As the company grew, there was need for formal structures
- human resources, accounting, etc.  The most important thing, he
said, was to get good people to manage those processes. NUA has
depended on excellent managers and a research staff with superior
writing skills.

How does NUA measure its success? McGovern thought for a moment and
listed off four attributes - NUA has more than 100,000 subscribers to
its newsletters and the numbers keep growing, the company retains its
current customers and continues to attract new customers - Thomas
Publishing, Proctor & Gamble, Lucent Technologies and Siemens are
among them; and finally - NUA's revenue and profitability attest to
its success although, as McGovern mentioned, it took them the best
part of 2 years before they began to see results. According to the
Irish Sunday Business Post, of August 1, 1999, NUA's expected revenues
this year are "at least GBP 5 million".

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Crystal Sharp is co-director of CD Sharp Information Systems, a
business research and consulting company in London, Ontario, Canada.
She specializes in business research, especially Canadian business
research, and technology's influence on business and social practices.
She has three main research interests: social, business, and economic
issues concerning women, new models of operation and management of
libraries, and the effect of information technology on economic
development. She can be reached at

 [Chat to the author now at the Bar]

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Thousands of domain names were registered following our announcement 
two weeks ago of a substantially reduced price for registering a
"" domain name. This is now only 25 pounds plus VAT (including 
*all* registrar fees for two years). So check the availability of 
your company or product name NOW before someone else does ...

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      The Web site is now a major source of quality original 
      material available free of charge helping YOU make the 
              use of the Internet in YOUR organisation

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                           FREE PINT BAR

Following my summary in the last issue of the major topics being 
discussed at the Bar, I have decided to make this a regular feature
of the newsletter every other week.  In fact, whenever people write
to us now I tend to suggest they post their request at the Bar as
this is the place it will get the most exposure and the best chance
of a speedy response.  To that end I'd like to offer another BIG THANK
YOU to all who've provided pointers to some great resources.

Remember, if you have a Web-related research or promotion query 
(however simple you may think it will appear to others) then do 
consider posting it at the Bar. No one is an expert where the Internet
is concerned and there are plenty of us willing to help.  The address
again for reference is ...


So, here is a summary of the latest postings ... William

New Web sites newsletter
  Suggestions of newsletters with reviews of new Web sites

Networking Web site from Amazon
  Discovery of the networking forum and invitation to join

How to search for keywords in URLs and domain names

Links to FCC resources

Australian ezines for advertising
  Suggestion of sites and contacts

Virtual libraries
  Articles on the future of technology in the information centre?

Directories of email addresses
  Finding email addresses on the Web

Resources for UK business travellers
  Anyone know of any newsgroups or sites?

Low cost market research on organic food in the UK required

Legal thesauri
  Any free online thesauri of legal terms, equiv. to MeSH or ERIC?

Looking for low cost network analyser for poor performing LAN
  Any download sites?

Using a Web site to FTP
  Can one upload files to one's server using the Web?

Finding Business Libraries on the Net
  How does one go about this?

Start up finance for internet based business
  Capital required - sources, VC's, Angels please

Moving to and working in the US
  Sources requested

Searching for professional articles on industrial design & psychology
Training courses for lab. technicians and process plant operators
  Any good sites with details?

Training for Information Professionals
  Comments requested on training in information science for careers 
  outside librarianship in its narrowest sense. Particularly 
  Information Warfare and Competitive Intelligence. 

Definition of interactivity
  Plenty of opinions and discussion on the above

File naming systems
  Creating file naming conventions and classification

Providing credit card facilities in the UK
  Who provides good solutions for card-enabling of Web sites?

NTL TV Internet
  Anybody use this? Any good?

Web host required with decent service and reseller programme

Guide to Electronic Journal Management
  Details of this new publication

Historical exchange rate data
  Sources of data for specific dates in the last five years?

NB: It is likely that responses will have been posted to some of 
these queries and so please do check out the latest replies.

Digest: To get the latest postings emailed to you every other day,
send an email to or sign up direct at

Archive: Dormant postings older than 45 days are moved automatically

If you would like to write to the Free Pint team, please send your
email to remembering to include your name,
title and company or organisation.

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* Researching for TV * Help and Welfare Services * Internet surveys *
     * Water Industry Information * Travel Industry Resources *
  * Legal Information * European Information * Unified messaging *
* Getting good references * Financial Sites * Architectural sources *
   * Animal health * Music Sites * Associate/Affiliate Programs *

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If you've enjoyed this issue then do pass it on to a colleague or
friend. We do rely on readers to help us spread the word, and this
will enable us to continue producing Free Pint long into the future.
Also, remember to let me know if you can distribute some handbills.

                       See you in two weeks!

                           Kind regards,
                   William Hann, Managing Editor

(c) Willco Limited 1999

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                        CONTACT INFORMATION

William Hann BSc MIInfSc, Founder and Managing Editor
e: t: +44 (0)1784 455435 f: +44 (0)1784 455436

Rex Cooke FIInfSc FRSA, Editor
e: t: +44 (0)1784 455435 f: +44 (0)1784 455436

Jane, Administrator e:

Address (no stamp needed)
  Willco "Free Pint", FREEPOST (SEA3901), Staines
  Middlesex, TW18 3BR, United Kingdom

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Latest: No.545 25th June