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Viruses are inserts into computer programs written by ‘clever’ people with mischief or malice in mind. They are circulated by the initiators and pass from computer to computer as data is transmitted from user to user by email attachments or other electronic means. Some add joke messages to the screen, others interfere with the operation of the hard drive, disrupting the contents and requiring expensive clean-up or replacement. Virus detection programs automatically scan all imports from floppy disks or e-mails. Anti-virus programs are not expensive and are simple to install, and most carry a free update facility for twelve months. After that time they can be further updated for a modest fee.

Update your anti-virus program regularly. New viruses are appearing all the time and the makers of anti-virus software are regularly catching up with them and offering protection against them. There are some obvious precautions. Purchasing second-hand software can be very risky unless from an impeccable source. Data on disks should never be accepted from other than well-known and trusted providers; and beware of e-mails with attachments from an unknown sender, the best course is to delete these immediately.

Making data available – intellectual property rights

The British Mycological Society has assembled a database of records of fungi occurring throughout the British Isles (the BMSFRD) and it is continuing to add to this database through its programme of forays, by encouraging local fungus recording groups, and by supporting fungus recording in many different ways. The Society believes that the records in the BMSFRD can play a vital role in our understanding of fungal biodiversity and conservation, in fungal taxonomy and in many other ways. All those who record fungi in Britain and Ireland are urged to contribute their records to this national database.

The Society’s database managers have been the architects of the database. Starting with Dave Minter and currently Paul Kirk, and not forgetting the excellent work of Jerry Cooper, they have taken the records entrusted to the Society and made them into a very useful, important and accessible resource. The database is a national asset and it is a continuing priority for the Society that it should encompass all of the available records of British fungi. Since there are some groups of records that have not been entrusted specifically to the BMS, the BMSFRD has the facility to include sets of records from such other sources. These records can be either made available through the BMSFRD but organised elsewhere, or they can be managed and organised within the BMSFRD and made available as a distinct sub-set of records to their originators.

In general, however, the preferred approach is for recorders to grant the Society a licence to use their data. A copy of the licence form is attached as Appendix 11. A provider of records is still free to use and give to others his or her own records, since the Society has a licence to, but not an assignment of, the copyright. The database is only worthwhile if the records it contains are made available to those who can put them to good use for the furtherance of Mycology. It is therefore the aim of the Society to make these data easily and fully available with appropriate safeguards against misuse. Currently, this is mainly achieved by making the full data set (but with restrictions on what part of each record is included) available on the Internet via the Society’s web site, http://www.britmycolsoc.org.uk (look under Resources), or try http://www.fieldmycology.net where it can be accessed more directly. It is intended to widen the amount of data made available in this way, so that the whole of each record is accessible.


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