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

 

 

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.

 

 

 

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office Historical Collection

The Foreign Office was created in 1782 and merged to become the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in 1968. The historical library collection of the FCO was transferred to  Kings College London in 2007 on permanent loan. The collection comprises of over 80,000 items to include photographs and manuscripts. For the historian this is an excellent primary resource. As the FCO was the department responsible for the conduct of relations with nearly all foreign states they are a window to Britain’s colonial past covering subjects such as slavery and the abolition of, railways, expeditions, diplomatic relations and war.

The majority of the collection is housed in the Foyle Special Collections Library. Anyone can view the collections though if you are not a member of Kings College a prior appointment is advisable. The collection is not lending but copies can be supplied and readers are allowed to use their own cameras. Approximately 50% of the collection is not catalogued but the library team welcome enquiries about subject coverage and will locate relevant material for viewing.  For material that is catalogued the main library catalogue can be used.

The records of the department and staff itself are held by The National Archives who also hold substantial collections of FCO material.

For a quick overview please see the introductory leaflet.

Hannah Chandler, Bodleian Libraries Oxford

Second Reading – the House of Commons Library blog

Second reading is a really useful, informative blog!  You can subscribe to the blog and, for example,  be alerted to a new publication,  a recent debate or relevant statistics (with links) from government, parliament and wider and be briefed about the issues and context. There are also posts on salient issues such as ‘Steel in crisis: timeline and events in Parliament‘, published on April 27 2016. Blog posts are a great way to get a brief introduction into what can be very complex subjects, some posts also have links to more in depth research briefings that the House of Commons Library and its research service produce.

Research briefings can also be searched on the UK Parliament website by date and subject and also by topic.

 

Hannah Chandler, Official Papers Librarian, Bodleian Libraries, Oxford

An update from TSO – autumn 2016 – “A new era in Parliamentary publishing”

From 1 April 2016, Parliament moved into a new era of producing its own documents and materials emanating from the House of Commons and House of Lords. From 1 April 2016, The Stationery Office Ltd (TSO) no longer produced House of Lords materials and only a limited range of Commons material is being produced until 1 January 2017 i.e. Commons Bills, Explanatory Notes and some Commons Select Committees.

From 1 April 2016, PDFs of parliamentary documents were made available by Parliament on the Parliament websites www.parliament.uk and/or www.data.parliament.uk . These documents do not carry ISBNs.

However TSO will continue to upload the parliamentary documents in PDF format to its online library Official Publications Online (OPO) www.officialpublicationsonline.co.uk and to continue to update the documents with the same range of ISBN numbers. The TSO Official Publications Online library collection remains in place and continues to be updated each day.  The TSO Daily and Weekly Lists include details of the PDFs uploaded to the OPO Library  www.officialpublicationsonline.co.uk  The collection does not include Bound Volumes.

For parliamentary materials published before 1 April 2016 and for Commons Bills, Explanatory Notes and some Commons Select Committees pre 1 January 2017, there is no change in supply from TSO. TSO continues to offer print format copies of these materials, including the bespoke services of sourcing and supplying parliamentary materials from its extensive archive, dating back to the 19th century.

It must be noted that the supply of House and Command Papers and Legislation Papers from TSO in print format, is not affected by the Parliamentary changes and the supply position from TSO remains unchanged.

As Parliament moves into this new era of printing internally, TSO continues to support those sourcing parliamentary materials, past and present.

For further information please contact TSO Ltd:

Email:  Officialpubsonline@tso.co.uk   : Phone 0333 200 2429

Responsibility for the information set out in this post lies entirely with The Stationery Office Ltd.

OFFICIAL PUBLISHING – PRINT? DIGITAL? Dandy offer both!

From April 2016 Dandy have continued to publish all House of Lords Papers, Bills and Hansard, a service not offered by any other publisher.  Dandy believe print still has an important role in library collections.  Let’s consider the recent Iraq Inquiry (also referred to as the Chilcot Inquiry) a twelve volume set published as HC 265, the Inquiry was announced in 2009 and was seven years in the making.  This report should be available in academic and public libraries in hard copy.

Dandy also believe in digital supply and the need to make official information easily accessible. Dandy offer through Public Information Online (PIO)* an excellent platform and search interface to over 100,000 parliamentary and government publications from the UK Parliament and devolved assemblies dating comprehensively from 2006/07 with the archive of certain titles going back to the 1950s.   The very latest publications are available on PIO as it is updated on an hourly basis.  Subscribers to PIO are entitled to a daily feed of information and Dandy also supply a weekly list of everything they publish.

Dandy gather together information, for example, all the pieces of evidence presented to Select Committees and provide them in a consistent consolidated pdf.  Whilst the Select Committees do have freely available public websites many are not friendly in the way they provide the evidence.  The evidence is an important part and many inquirers are more interested in the evidence than in the final report.  A recent example of this is:

Science and Technology Committee 6th Report. Evidence Check: Smart metering of electricity and gas Volume 2. Oral and Written evidence

This is available as one consolidated pdf on Public Information Online.  However, please see the Parliament website:

http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/science-and-technology-committee/inquiries/parliament-2015/smart-meters-inquiry-15-16/publications/

As you can see the Written Evidence is in 45 separate pdfs.

Additionally Dandy consolidate non parliamentary key titles from departments like Office for National Statistics (ONS) Ministry of Justice (MOJ), Ministry of Defence (MOD), Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC), examples being Construction Statistics 2016, Digest of United Kingdom energy statistics 2016, Offender Management Caseload Statistics 2015, Defence Statistics, Environmental Accounts etc.  Please see all the data tables associated with Environmental Accounts:

http://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/environmentalaccounts/bulletins/ukenvironmentalaccounts/2016/previous/v1/relateddata

Each data set contains multiple spreadsheets.  We provide a 440 page print copy or fully searchable pdf, please note everything we publish appears on our PIO Shop to purchase as print copies:

http://www.publicinformationonline.com/shop/

Dandy have also been working with the University of Kent, digitising their collection and making them available via the PIO database.   The archive currently includes:

  • Army List 1969-2014
  • Air Force List 1970-2013
  • Annual Abstract of Statistics 1935-2014
  • Civil Service Yearbook 1960-2015
  • HMSO Annual Catalogues – 1922-1996
  • Navy List 1974-2014

Additionally, Dandy have digitised all House of Lords Papers/Bills, Command Papers, PGAs going back to 1955.  Dandy are currently digitising all Lords Papers/Bills from 1901-1955 – please note these papers are unavailable anywhere else.

The University of Kent view PIO as a reliable digital repository so are now discarding material that has been digitised – please see their statement:

At Kent we have been engaged in a review of our official publications collection and have been investigating ways to improve access to these materials whilst at the same time looking to save space for materials that are relatively low use in print form.  

Working in partnership with Dandy Booksellers we have donated some of our archive of House of Commons, Lords, Command Papers and Standing Committee Debates in order that they can be scanned and made available to us electronically. These materials will be added to the Public Information Online (PIO) platform which has major implications for discoverability and storage as they will be rendered easily accessible via our resource discovery layer. 

Mindful that any digitisation work would need to meet digital preservation criteria we worked with Dandy to ensure that the digital alternatives created were of a high enough standard to allow us to reconsider our print holdings. We are delighted with the quality of the digitisation and feel that this is a great opportunity to sensitively conserve our official publications heritage and would recommend any universities similarly reviewing their print holdings to consider this approach in order that we can create a comprehensive and high quality digital resource for all.

Dandy offer both a print and digital service which is unique to the market.  For more details on the digitisation project, PIO or any of the services that Dandy offer please contact Donna Ravenhill on

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

Responsibility for the information and views set out in this post lies entirely with Dandy Booksellers Ltd,  a further blog post will be put up shortly about another source for these types of publications.

 

 

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

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

Inside GOV.UK

Looking for government information online will inevitably bring the researcher into contact with the GOV.UK website or one of the many other sites in the GOV.UK domain. With the site in its third year, it is worth looking at the corresponding data and guidance provided by the Government Digital Service as part of its transparency programme. This can certainly be useful when trying to work out where information might be located and to keep a weather eye on trends in government information management.

The main site was launched in 2012 as the keystone of the Digital By Default agenda with the intention of bringing government information and public services together into one online portal. As the websites were consolidated, the total number of individual central government websites was reduced; however many individual websites for agencies, services and projects remain. In addition to these there are also the numerous local government organisations, statutory bodies and regional agencies who are entitled to use the GOV.UK domain (3238 at the last count).

Helpfully the Government Digital Service provide a list of all the GOV.UK domain names annually and the most recent edition was published on 1 October. Since this list includes every website with a GOV.UK domain name, GDS also provide a list of the extant central government websites on a quarterly basis. Currently there are 290 websites allocated to central government departments, agencies and projects.

It is also worthwhile looking at the guidance provided to the content providers themselves, since this underpins the structure and design of every site on the GOV.UK domain. GDS published the Government Service Design Manual with which each site must comply and there are guidance notes available for organisations when registering domain names.

GDS are currently soliciting feedback on the Design Manual so if you have any strong views on the current look and feel of the GOV.UK domain and its websites, you can always respond via their short survey.

Thanks to Gavin Boughton, Defence Geographic Centre Librarian and SCOOP Member for his help with the links in this post.

Steven Hartshorne, Information and Enquiry Service Officer, Bolton Library and Museum Services / Secretary of SCOOP

Public Library Subsidy

Please be aware from the 20th September 2015 the Public Library Subsidy will no longer be eligible for a large number of official publications. Publications which are freely available on the internet will not be covered by the subsidy.

To include:

  • Government Command and House of Commons Papers
  • Parliamentary House of Commons and House of Lords Papers
  • House of Commons and House of Lords Bills
  • Statistical publications
  • Gazettes
  • Other organisational publications which are only published online

See the ‘Important changes to the Public Library Subsidy’ letter dated 20th March 2015 to interested parties from  Malcolm Todd, Head of Information Policy.

For more information on the scheme and what is still eligible for the Subsidy please see the ‘Public Library Access Scheme’ pages at The National Archives.

Hannah Chandler, Official Papers Librarian, Bodleian Libraries