For many years the Library at Queen’s University Belfast has collected paper copies of Northern Ireland official publications under legal deposit legislation. As Northern Ireland does not have a designated legal deposit library the National Archives guidance is that the Library should be ‘treated as an official deposit library for Northern Ireland official publications’.
However, print publication of Northern Ireland official publications largely ceased in 2015, raising concerns about the long-term availability of the documents as websites change over time. The Library at Queen’s is already working with the British Library to assist them in gathering and storing official publications under obligations the British Library now has under the Legal Deposit Libraries (Non-Print Works) Regulations 2013.
Our view though is that we can better support the long-term archive availability of Northern Ireland official publications by establishing an on-line archive at Queen’s which can be used to support researchers specifically interested in using Northern Ireland official publications.
This archive will also enable the generation of catalogue records for supply to the British Library and upload to the Queen’s library catalogue, significantly improving the visibility of Northern Ireland official publications.
Northern Ireland publications published in 2015 have already been uploaded to a DSpace archive at Queen’s and current plans envisage making the archive available to the public summer 2016.
John Knowles, The Library, Queen’s University Belfast