UK Parliament Web Archive

The Parliamentary Archives have launched this new site developed in conjunction with Mirror Web at  http://webarchive.parliament.uk/ to provide access to historic information from the UK Parliament published on the web. It includes downloads of web sites and social media gathered from 2009 to the present. You can browse archived tweets from the accounts of Parliamentary bodies, watch YouTube videos released by Parliament, see a visual history on Flickr and look back through Instagram posts. In the Instagram archive you can meet Denison the Harris hawk, listen to a gay couple explaining the difference the Sexual Offences Act made to their lives, and find out how to order afternoon tea on the terrace.

The main collection of archived websites includes Lords and MPs’ biographies, deposited papers, research briefings, Early Day Motions, Bills before Parliament and much more. You can filter the list by department and there is a timeline for each site showing when it was archived.

The site comes with a keyword search capability and you can filter results by year and file type. A search on “football” returns 185,465 hits which can be reduced to 725 if you filter by file type pdf and year 2016.

The Parliamentary Archives are looking for user feedback and you will be invited to complete a simple two-question survey.

Jennie Grimshaw, Service and Content Lead for Government and Official Information, British Library

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EPPI and BOPCRIS*: What happened next?

The Hartley Library at the University of Southampton has an extensive collection of printed British official publications, known as the Ford Collection.  The collection is named after the late Professor Percy Ford and his wife Dr Grace Ford who brought the initial collection, which we continue to build, to the University of Southampton in the 1950s.  The Fords compiled ‘breviates’ or ‘select lists’ of official publications, in seven volumes covering the years 1833 – 1983.   Their work was the impetus behind our later activities when technology and external funding enabled us to work collaboratively with other libraries  in order to provide a selection of full-text digitised British official publications, free for all to use.  Sadly, storage and delivery of such an immense amount of data is not without costs and we had to abandon our web services, EPPI and BOPCRIS, but we have worked to find ways to continue free access to the documents.

We are now moving the materials to Internet Archive.  We have established two subsets,  ‘British Parliamentary Publications’  and ‘British non-Parliamentary Publications’ .  These hold previously digitised EPPI and BOPCRIS papers, with some additional non-Parliamentary publications which have been scanned by the in-house Hartley Library Digitisation Unit (LDU).  In total, there are about 16,000 documents, including the full EPPI collection which comprises 13,700 documents.  Other highlights include some very hard-to-find older departmental publications, e.g. a 1991 consultation on aircraft noise, https://archive.org/details/op1278555-1001 .  Our current hope is to continue adding more non-Parliamentary materials from our collection, as we are aware that this is the area of least on-line provision.

We chose Internet Archive for many reasons, but here are just two.  For researchers, it is now a well-known source and is free for all to use.  For libraries wishing to share their open access digital collections, it offers a free and sustainable delivery mechanism.

An article with more detail has been submitted to Refer, the journal of the Information Services Group of CILIP.  If you have any questions or comments, please contact the University of Southampton Library Digitisation Unit by e-mail, digitise@soton.ac.uk 

* EPPI: Enhanced Parliamentary Papers on Ireland, 1801 – 1922  and BOPCRIS: British Official Publications Collaborative Reader Information Service

Joy Caisley
Law and Politics Librarian, Hartley Library, University of Southampton

Vellum has a place in the 21st century…

An article posted on the BBC magazine site ‘Why is the UK still printing its laws on vellum?   raises the interesting point that archiving digital material is still at its infancy. Four Copies of the 800 year old Magna Carta still survive.  Of the digital records created today what will be accessible in 800 years time one wonders?

 

 

 

 

Northern Ireland Official Publications

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

Parliament’s Web Archive

Parliament’s Web Archive provides access to previous versions of the parliamentary website dating back to 2009.

The page has a very useful list of archives held on external websites, such as YouTube, Flickr, Twitter and Facebook.

You can also browse an archive for the ‘legacy websites‘ which are websites that are no longer available on the live web, for example, ‘Parliament and the British Slave Trade 1600-1807’

An A-Z index is also available, where you can search by type of publication as well as by provider of the archive.

Hannah Chandler, Official Papers Librarian, Bodleian Libraries

 

Tweets and videos in the UK Government Web Archive

Did you know from May 2014  The National Archives began to archive tweets and You Tube videos published by UK central government departments from their official Twitter and YouTube social media platforms. There is already a substantial archive of material dating from 2006 captured during a two year pilot project.

Videos can be filtered by year of creation and there is a search facility, as for example, videos from HM Treasury

Tweets are arranged in a date span but cannot be searched, as for example, tweets from the Home Office

Where tweets contain web links these should be operational as long as they are within the UK Government Web Archive. Retweets are not archived as are tweets for non-government organisations that form a conversation. Web links within tweets that are not part of the UK Government Web Archive will receive a 404 or 410 error message that will allow users to see the destination of a link. This may then enable users to search for that link elsewhere.

For more information see the ‘Using the social media archive‘ section on the National Archives ‘Information on web archiving‘ page.

Hannah Chandler, Official Papers Librarian, Bodleian Libraries

National Archives receives first born-digital records from government departments

As part of The National Archives’ pioneering digital transfer project, on the 24th June 2015 the first born-digital records have been transferred from a government department to The National Archives and are available on their online catalogue, Discovery

Digitization of the House of Lords papers 1800-1910

Available from November 2015, Proquest has partnered with the National Library of Scotland to provide this set of papers for the first time in digital format. The papers will be available via the House of Commons Parliamentary Papers database on a subscription basis.

‘As the working documents of government, the House of Lords Parliamentary Papers encompass wide areas of social, political, economic and foreign policy, providing evidence of committees and commissions during a time when the Lords in the United Kingdom wielded considerable power. Most importantly from a legislative perspective, this collection will include many bills which originated and were subsequently rejected by the Lords – rich indicators of the direction and interests of the Lords that have been largely lost to researchers.’

Hannah Chandler, Official Papers Librarian, Bodleian Libraries

Launch of the new Companies House public beta service

This new service launched on the 25th June 2016 gives free access to over 170 million company records on companies and directors including financial accounts, company filings and details on directors and secretaries throughout the life of the company.

Hannah Chandler, Official Papers Librarian, Bodleian Libraries