“Troublesome to find and often overlooked”: the House of Lords papers digitisation project.
ProQuest’s U.K. Parliamentary Papers resource contains “the richest and most important nineteenth century collection of printed government records in existence in any country”; but there was a gap – namely, the papers of the House of Lords papers from 1806 onwards. It is little known that these papers contain much which is not duplicated in the House of Commons papers. For example, in session 1845 alone, there are 72 Lords papers which cannot be found in the Commons set; between 1801 and 1859, over 35 important papers on Canada and the USA have been noted as appearing in the Lords set but not in the Commons set. It made perfect sense to digitise these, and after a long search for partners and funding, the House of Lords Library and the National Library of Scotland pooled their papers (the majority from NLS) for a large-scale project funded by Proquest. This makes the U.K. Parliamentary Papers resource complete and a huge and rich resource for researchers from all disciplines.
The Library garners 15% royalties from all Proquest sales (currently worth c.£85,000)
Jan Usher (project manager) and Elaine Simpson (curatorial assistant) were recently presented with the CILIP GIG (Government Information Group) Annual Award for their work on the project.