UK Parliament beta search interface

Here is your chance to give the UK Parliament feedback on a new search interface available on a beta test site. More information is available on the Parliamentary Digital Service Blog about the new developments. The beta version will run alongside the original search page for several months eventually replacing it.
At the time of writing this post a single search box is available to enter text.  The search returns cannot be ordered in any way and you are not given any other options to filter the number of searches returned. The site will continue to make improvements over the next few months, I am sure the UK Parliament team would find feedback valuable.

Hannah Chandler, Bodleian Libraries



Northern Ireland Official Publications Archive (NIOPA)

The Library, at Queen’s University Belfast, has been developing an online archive, known as the Northern Ireland Official Publications Archive (NIOPA).

We are delighted to inform you that archive is now freely available at the following address:

NIOPA is fully searchable with browsing and full text functionality and, as a digital archive of Northern Ireland official publications, makes documents available to support the research community, government departments and the wider public.

We welcome your feedback and shall be grateful if you would circulate the web address to colleagues who may be interested. In addition if you have any enquiries please contact:

Please let us know if you would like us to provide promotional material or feel it would be beneficial for us to have a presence at any events.

For your information, NIOPA records and documents are deposited with the British Library under the Legal Deposit Libraries (Non-Print Works) Regulations 2013.

A formal launch is planned for early 2018 and we will contact again closer to the date.

Northern Ireland Official Publications Team



New digital resources for international governmental organisations

Following the development  of the OECD iLibrary the OECD have spent the past few years developing “iLibraries” for other international organisations, using the same platform that users are familiar with   if they use the OECD iLibrary.

The following are now freely available to use, but you’ll need a subscription if you wish to download, save or copy any information – or if you want to take advantage of the time saving features.

Should you wish to subscribe contact details  can be found  here.

Print Still Matters: the Future

The Standing Committee On Official Publications (SCOOP) would like to hear your views on the Print Still Matters website. The site aimed to give an overview of the print Official Publications collections held in libraries in the UK.

The website however has not been updated since 2013. Keeping it maintained and updated is difficult and to do a full and proper revision will incur costs. We have devised a short survey (six questions) to try and find out how much it used and to help us make an informed decision as to whether and how to continue it.

The survey is available here.

We will be grateful if as many people as possible can complete it, ideally in the few weeks or so, in order that SCOOP can consider the results as soon as possible and decide what to do next.

Thanks in advance.

Steven Hartshorne

Secretary of SCOOP

Andy Zelinger – the new Chair of the Standing Committee on Official Papers

I’m posting on the blog in order to say a rather belated hello, and to introduce myself as the new Chair of SCOOP.

First off, I would like to pay tribute to my predecessor, Andrew Coburn, for the excellent work he has put into helping develop the activities of SCOOP over the past few years. In reading Andrew’s “farewell” post last month I was struck by just how much SCOOP has achieved during his tenure. For my own part I have found the Print Still Matters website and the Relegation Guides to be very useful indeed.

A bit about myself. I work as Resources and Collections Librarian in the House of Lords Library. In essence my role is to lead the collection management and development of the Library’s information resources. As you would expect of a parliamentary library, official publications (and particularly parliamentary publications) in both print and online formats are central to our collection. Along with the Commons Library we are one of the few organisations that still hold a complete set of House of Lords Papers. We were recently involved in a project to digitize this material in partnership with the National Library of Scotland and ProQuest.

I have a strong interest in official publications. However, since becoming involved in SCOOP last year I’ve realised my knowledge pales in comparison to the expertise of SCOOP colleagues, and I’m looking forward to drawing on that wealth of knowledge in order to carry out the responsibilities of Chair to the best of my ability. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you want to discuss any issues related to official publications.

Andy Zellinger, Resources and Collections Librarian, House of Lord Library

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, the public-facing site and 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, 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