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

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

SCOOP Online OP Showcase

Further to our earlier post on the changes to Parliamentary Publishing, there has been additional clarification from TSO on the status of House, Command and Legislation Papers: these are unaffected by the changes and will still be available in hard copy. Also unaffected are materials published before 1 April 2016.

It has also been confirmed that the although PDFs of parliamentary documents will no longer be assigned ISBNs by TSO. Other publishers, such as Dandy, have made the decision to attach their own ISBNs to the PDFs they supply.

With all these changes SCOOP thought that it would be timely and useful for all those dealing with Official Publications to be able to review the various online products available. With this in mind, on Wednesday 11th May  at CILIP HQ we will be holding demonstrations of TSO’s Official Publications Online, Dandy’s Public Information Online, and ProQuest’s Parliamentary Papers website. The session will start at 2pm and is open to anyone interested in online OP provision. If you would like to attend or have any questions, contact me using the form below.

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