UK Web Archive – general elections and social media.

A couple of interesting posts from the UK Web Archive blog of the work going on to make sure that content is captured for future generations and highlighting problems that are faced by curators.

What websites do we collect during UK general elections looks at the archiving of previous elections and highlights the fact that the 2017 General Election was called at short notice so curators have a much shorter time frame to capture content than in previous elections.

The challenges of web archiving social media,  interesting to note that, ‘ no two platforms are the same and require a tailored approach to ensure a successful crawl’. Which when you consider how many social media platforms are out there shows how much work goes on behind the scenes to make sure any archival work is successful.

Hannah Chandler, Bodleian Libraries, Oxford

 

British Librarianship and Information Work 2011-2015

The latest quinquennial edition of this valuable series was published earlier this year. It is edited as well as published by John Bowman, who retired in September 2008 and is now an Honorary Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Information Studies, University College London. This publications looks at major trends and developments that face all aspects of library work in Britain. You will find in depth, expert analysis on many areas of library work in Britain, to include: prison, map and art libraries, copyright, archives and of its time a chapter on social media.

What is very apparent reading this edition was this period was a time of great change as public funding was drastically cut especially with regard to public libraries. The consequence of the ‘austerity programme’ was not only a reduction of services but of actual physical libraries. The chapter on public libraries makes depressing reading. The statistics are quite shocking, ‘The total number of public libraries in the United Kingdom at December 2015 stood at 3.917, compared with 4,482 in 2009/10’ (p.21 BLIW 2011-2015)

The chapter on Official papers written and compiled by Andrew Coburn our retiring Chair (with contributions from Parliament and National Libraries) examines, amongst other topics, the transition to publishing online for the majority of government and parliamentary publications in all devolved assemblies and parliaments. This was partly to stream line services for the end user but also driven by the need to save money in terms of publishing costs to the organisation. Consequently there was a need for a more intuitive and better coordinated portal for government publications and transactions. In the UK for example,  this was realised in 2012 with the launch of GOV.UK. A single branded site that housed government websites with a uniform approach to web page construction and searching. Scotland saw the introduction of mygov.scot, the public-facing site and gov.scot for Scottish Government policy.  I note with interest that the editor could not find an author for a chapter on government libraries for this edition.

To find out more about the effects of austerity, technology, collection management and publishing trends from experts in the field, this is a must read edition.

British Librarianship and information work 2011-2015 / edited by John Bowman. Published by the editor via lulu.com, 2017. 9781326820473. £31.50

Hannah Chandler, Bodleian Libraries Oxford

 

 

Hail and farewell!

After seven years as Chair of the Standing Committee On Official Publications (SCOOP) I am standing down. I am delighted to say that Andy Zelinger, Resources and Collections Manager at the House of Lords is taking over from the next meeting (in September).

I joined SCOOP in 1987 and took over as Chair in 2010 so I served four more years in post than I originally agreed and it’s high time there was a change. In my period in office there have been number of achievements with which I am delighted to have been associated. The two most important happened at about the same time.

SCOOP Print Still Matters is a website compiled in 2012 by SCOOP’s then Secretary, Peter Chapman. It attempts to list all the major library and information collections in the UK which hold official publications, and what exactly they have. The work was prompted by discussion on producing a new edition of the House of Commons Library’s, ‘Parliamentary Holdings in Libraries in Britain and Ireland‘ (PHIL) 1993. Peter wrote to as many public, academic and other relevant libraries to gather information then created the website.

At roughly the same time we had an email from Steven Hartshorne of Bolton libraries, asking what help or advice we could give in deciding which official publications could be disposed of or sent to closed store. This has been an increasing problem for libraries, academic as well as public, who have seen an increased demand on physical library space from many quarters. This is accompanied by the mantra ‘it’s all on the internet’, which shows a surprising ignorance of the digital landscape. While it is true that more and more official publications are available online it is not explicit to the user what is available where. Publications can still be moved, updated or deleted without notice. Date parameters of online collections are not always obvious and other, especially older material, may still not be digitised. Some historical collections that have been digitised are available freely, whilst others are not.
Nonetheless SCOOP – largely in the person of Alastair Allan, my  predecessor as chair – compiled a series of ‘Relegation Guides’ under various headings. They detail what was published and seek to identify what is commonly available or not and what is likely to be in demand. These aim to give guidance to those under pressure for space.

Those two efforts indicate the important work  that SCOOP has done. Towards the end of my time I also edited contributions by SCOOP members to ‘British Librarianship and Information Work 2011-15’. I will blog about that in a few days so won’t say more now, except that the range of issues covered indicates that there is still a role for SCOOP.

A couple of years ago we revised the membership requirements for SCOOP meaning that in effect anyone working in Library and Information services can attend. We would welcome more people at meetings or even as ‘corresponding’ members. The aforementioned Steven Hartshorne has now become Secretary of SCOOP and you can contact him if you are interested.

Andrew Coburn, retiring Chair of SCOOP

General Election 2017 – useful resources

Here is a selection of resources on the upcoming election that will take place on June 8th.

General Election 2017 topic page and timetable from the UK Parliament

A very good topic page Parliament and elections  can be found on Second Reading the House of Commons Library blog. There you will find a post on the  Constituency explorer ‘ an online data visualisation tool that allows statistical comparisons at a Parliamentary constituency, regional and national level. The tool uniquely provides UK-wide interactive data for parliamentary constituencies to provide a fascinating insight into the make-up of these areas.’

Always good for reliable information, the UK independent fact checking charity Full Fact

This is a great resource, use the Ordnance Survey’s ‘Election maps‘ for Great Britain and Northern Ireland to find out the electoral geography of the UK.

BBC’s ‘Policy pledge tracker‘ The manifestos are not out yet – this page offers a rundown of significant policy commitments made so far during the election campaign. It will be updated as new pledges are made.

Election Polling ‘is a UK polling website dedicated to the non-partisan discussion and analysis of electoral data in the United Kingdom and its regions.’

Electoral Calculus ‘an independent website which provides analysis, comment and predictions of general elections, polls and democracy.’

Democracy Candidates Club search by candidate name or postcode for further information on a candidate.

From Political Science Resources, a list of MPs who retired at the announcement of the 2017 General Election and a list of UK MPs 2015-2017 , which can be ordered by majority, surname or constituency.

The 2017 UK General Election website, ‘offering news, insight and analysis, a non-partisan website.’

Hannah Chandler, Bodleian Libraries Oxford

 

Brexit Brexit Brexit

There are some fantastic resources out there! In fact there is an awful lot out there! Below is not intended to be an exhaustive list but an introduction to some of the resources available at your finger tips…

From Parliaments/Assembly:

From the UK Parliament:   ‘European Union‘ and ‘Brexit: the next steps of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU‘ topic pages are a rich source of information.
Research Briefings produced by the House of Commons Library are very good at giving clear and concise explanations to complex subjects, for example, ‘Brexit: what impact on those currently exercising free movement rights?

Second Reading‘ the blog of the House of Commons Library has a page dedicated to Brexit.

SPICeBrexitWeekly  Weekly publication by the Scottish Parliament‘s Information Centre (SPICe) on the UK’s exit from the EU.

Brexit Update
 and blog from the National Assembly of Wales 

From Government:

The Department for Exiting the European Union is responsible for overseeing negotiations to leave the EU and establishing the future relationship between the UK and EU. You will find announcements and links to their publications, to include in full, the Prime Minister’s letter to Donald Tusk triggering Article 50.

Other resources: 

The History of the EU‘ timeline by Sally Mclaren, Inner Temple Library is particularly good. The timeline is clear, interactive, easy to navigate and not text heavy.  It is extremely useful to be able  to explore a complex subject in spacial terms. Links to relevant documents are available and the EU myths are delightful, for example, ‘EU forces farmers to give pigs toys’. A lot of time and thought has gone into this informative aid.

Brexit in Law pages from the UK’s independent fact checking charity, Full Fact.

The BBC published  ‘Brexit: All you need to know about the UK leaving the EU‘ on the 29th March 2017.

There are many resources available online from academic institutions throughout the UK, too many to mention all but here is a flavour: the London School of Economics’ Brexit blog‘,  Queen’s Brexit resource guide,  Queen’s University, Belfast, European Futures,  University of Edinburgh and Edinburgh Europa Institute and ‘Welsh Brexit/Brexit a Chymru‘, Cardiff University.

Hannah Chandler, Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford

 

 

British Diplomatic Oral History Centre

 

The Churchill Archives Centre hosts the British Diplomatic Oral History Programme (BDOHP). Established in 1995 by Malcolm McBain, a retired Diplomatic Service Officer with the approval of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The BDOHP interviews former diplomats or other officials who have played a significant role in events bearing on international relations.

This really is a fantastic resource. Researchers can scan through an alphabetical list of contributors (scroll down the page or click on the Janus web server link), attached to each is a very useful resume of the diplomat’s career,  see image below. You can then view the transcript by clicking on the diplomats name, for example,  ‘BYATT, Ronald Archer Campbell (b.1930)‘. Once in the transcript you are presented with a contents page which very clearly lists the posts held by the diplomat with relevant page numbers where the post is discussed in the transcript.

byatt

The transcripts of the interviews make fascinating reading, they are not only a rich resource for historians but also a window into the machinery of government of the time. Just dipping in to Byatt’s recollections when working for the Foreign Service in Havana,  there is a fascinating personal insight into the Cuban Missile Crisis, with gems such as:

‘Our Glaswegian archivist, Rob Cappie, was held up to wait for a huge missile on a low-loader to lumber out of the Havana dockyard on to the main road. This, we were told subsequently, was the first definite confirmation that the Soviets had intercontinental missiles in Cuba.’

Purpose-built in 1973 to house Sir Winston Churchill’s Papers, the Churchill Archives Centre is home to the papers of almost 600 important political, military and scientific figures from the Churchill era and after. Contemporaries of Winston Churchill sit alongside major political, military and scientific figures such as: Margaret Thatcher, Ernest Bevin, John Major, Neil Kinnock, Admiral Ramsay, Field Marshal Slim, Frank Whittle and Rosalind Franklin.

Researchers can access the collections by an alphabetical list of contributors or subject guide. You can keep up to date with their news at their twitter account @ChuArchives

 

Hannah Chandler, Official Papers Librarian, Bodleian Libraries

Cabinet Office at 100

December 1916 saw the first official record of a Cabinet Office meeting under the first Cabinet Secretary,  Maurice Hankey (Lord Hankey of the Chart 1877-1963). As the Cabinet Office sits at the heart of government its role is crucial to the development and effective implementation of government policies in the past and today. The historical record of the Cabinet is of paramount importance to the historian. A wealth of information can be found in their records on events such as World War One and the Suez Crisis.

As part of the 100 year celebration the Cabinet Office hosted a panel discussion, 100 years of Cabinet Secretarties – six in discussion which was posted on the Cabinet Service blog

The records of the Cabinet Office are held at the National Archives , who have a new resource, Cabinet Office 100 and an online guide Cabinet and its Committees. At the end of the guide there is also a useful guide to further reading. Many now have been digitised and are available at Cabinet Office Papers, a useful review on the papers has been written by Dr Michael Hopkins in ‘Reviews in History‘. Please note, Cabinet papers are subject to the 30 year rule.

Two new books on the Cabinet Office are now available:

Official Histories of the Cabinet Secretaries, by Ian Beesley, 2017

Cabinet Office 1916-2016: the Birth of Modern Government, by Anthoy Seldon and Jonathan Meakin, 2016

Today the Cabinet Office have their own twitter account, @CabinetOffice and YouTube channel, cabinetofficeuk. At the UK Government Web Archive hosted by the National Archives you will find archived twitter, video and websites relevant to the Cabinet Office.

Hannah Chandler, Official Papers Librarian, Bodleian Libraries Oxford.

 

 

 

Dandy Booksellers Ltd update

Further to our post in October we would like to reiterate that Dandy will continue to print and publish ALL parliamentary materials, you can set up standing orders or order ad hoc on demand.

We will also continue to publish Hansard bound volumes and expect the following in January 2017:

House of Commons 595 index, vol nos. 603, 604-609
House of Lords vol. nos. 764, 765, 767 and 768

Please contact us if you would like to set up an account:

Tel: +44 (0)20 7624 2993
Email: enquiries@dandybooksellers.com * http://www.publicinformationonline.com/about

Free online course – An introduction to the UK Parliament

There is an upcoming free online course which may be of some interest to many of our blog readers: the Houses of Parliament, in conjunction with Future Learn have produced a free online course which will introduce learners to the work and role of the UK Parliament. From setting the age at which we start school to deciding pension policy, the UK Parliament makes laws that impact our lives, our work and our wider society. There are no special requirements for enrolment; this is an introductory course and is open to anyone who has an interest in developing their understanding of the UK Parliament.

The course begins on the 14th November (the start of UK Parliament Week) and takes 6 hours over 3 weeks. For more information check out the Future Learn site here.

Steven Hartshorne,  Secretary of SCOOP