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.

 

 

 

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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

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

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

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