Fiona Laing, Official Publications Curator at the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh was the recipient of the GIG Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019.

Fiona Laing with her GIG Award

As a past winner of the GIG Lifetime Achievement Award I am delighted to announce that nominations for the 2021 GIG AWARDS are now open.

You can nominate yourself, your team or a colleague by completing the nominations form on the GIG website and emailing

Each year CILIP’s Government Information Group presents two awards in recognition of significant contributions to government knowledge and information management. They are the GIG Annual Award and the Life-time Achievement Award.

More details on the Awards and how to make a nomination.



CILIP Government Information Group

Webinar: “Web archiving services at the National Archives” (Wednesday 3 February 2021)

Speaker: Tom Storrar – Web Archiving Service Owner at The National Archives

Chair: Fiona Laing (currently Chair of SCOOP – Standing Committee on Official Publication)

Do you remember when we used to pay educational visits to physical archives? These events were always a privilege; to go behind the scenes and breathe in the organisational magic of rolling stacks and special storage units. When I read that Tom Storrar, Web Archiving Service Owner at The National Archives (TNA), was presenting a webinar, I immediately signed up and was excited to join CILIP GIG colleagues online.

We weren’t disappointed. Tom and his colleagues (7 full-time and one part-time) have the important role of officially preserving the UK government’s online material. Technology has often run ahead of government, which has left researchers stranded. The issue of missing or inaccessible online government information has caused problems in the past, and was raised in parliament, for instance in 2006 and 2009:

👉 Digital Documents Volume 449: debated on Tuesday 25 July 2006

Mr. Heald: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what steps she is taking to ensure the long-term preservation of documents held in digital form.

Ms Harman: The National Archives is working with the Government’s Chief Technical Officers (CTO) Council to address the problem of the survival of electronic records with a mid and long-term value across Government. The National Archives has implemented a Digital Preservation Programme to ensure the long-term preservation of documents held in digital form. It has established a Digital Archive facility, in which it preserves a wide range of electronic records transferred by Government departments;

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SWOP @ 30

SWOP celebated its 30th Birthday in the splendour of the Advocates’ Library in Edinburgh.

swop badge

The event was well attended and we were delighted to welcome back three past Chairs of the Group, Dr Ann Matheson,   David Hart and Valerie Well. It was also good to have Brian Bourner join us. Brian was SWOP Secretary for many years. We had new faces too, Gillian Daly,  EO of SCURL, Donna Watson and Sarah Louise McDonald from University of Edinburgh’s Law Library.


Our two presentations from Gary Hart Senior Education and Engagment Officer at the UK Parliament and Sarah Ames, Digital Scholarship Librarian at the National Library of Scotland  were well received.   We look forward to hearing more from Sarah in the future as she is very interested in the possiblities for text and data mining in Official Publications collections.

We are pleased to have Kayleigh McGarry from the Scottish Government Legal Directorate join our Business Committee and  Scott McGregor take over as SWOP Secretary. We are now in need of a new Chair for the Group as Fiona Laing has stepped down from this role after five years. This is a challenging but rewarding role which gives the opportunity to develop new skills and increase your knowledge of Official Publications.






House of Commons Library open day 2020 for librarians and information officers

The House of Commons Library open day 2020 will enable librarians and information officers to visit and hear about the professional and impartial information and research service for Members of Parliament and their staff provided by the Library to MPs and their staff.

This is a full-day event that is scheduled to include: talks and presentations by Library staff, a short tour of Parliament and a rare opportunity to see the Members’ Library.


To register your interest, please complete the application form and submit it by 29 November 2019. As there are a limited number of places available, we aim to offer places from a wide range of people currently working across the different library and information sectors. Successful applicants only will be informed by 13 December 2019.


IFLA Government Libraries Section Mid-Term Conference

Informed Parliaments, Engaged Citizens, Effective Government

FREE Event!


5 – 6 December 2019


Westminster, London, United Kingdom

In 2019 in the context of its work on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the United Nations is focussing in particular on SDG 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions. This goal is core to the work of the IFLA Government Libraries Section.

This two-day conference considers how libraries serving legislatures and executives can use information partnerships and outreach to improve citizen engagement and government accountability.

More details here.

Hansard Debates through a Telescope: Two centuries of digital Parliamentary records – free event in Edinburgh 13th Nov 2019

Prof. Marc Alexander discusses how semantic queries are enabled for the Hansard Corpus, a digital record of 7.6 mill UK Parliament speeches.


The Hansard Corpus (1803-2003) contains 7.6 million speeches from the UK Parliament, which are not verbatim. Its size – 1.6 billion words – means that it is particularly unwieldy to explore digitally. As a result, in 2015 it was tagged semantically using the tagset of the Historical Thesaurus of English in order to enable semantic queries and aggregation. In this talk, I will discuss what the corpus represents, the overall picture of the Parliamentary record from a semantic point of view (‘through a telescope’), and what such digital parliamentary records can tell us.

More information and booking via eventbrite

Government Information Group newsletter April 2019

 The GIG Awards 2019

Each year the Government Information Group presents two awards which recognise major contributions to the government knowledge and information management profession.

GIG launched its annual award in 1998 to mark the 20th anniversary of the Group’s formation and now, having reached our 40th birthday, nominations are invited for the 2019 awards.

The GIG Annual Award – is granted to mark a major contribution to government knowledge and information management during the previous year:

  • Nominations can be for a piece of work that relates to government information and has been developed for use within a single department or Agency or other body, such as a university.
  • Alternatively the nomination can be for something that relates to government information but has a wider application i.e. a concept which could usefully be introduced elsewhere.
  • It can apply to a publication (in whatever format), a system development, development of a policy or procedure, a working practice, work on a committee, and so on.
  • The Awards are open to anyone, individuals or groups, working in government KIM functions, irrespective of whether they are members of the Government Information Group, CILIP, or the profession.
  • They are also open to GIG members, students and others, who do not work in government, but who can produce evidence of a piece of work which meets the key criterion of being a major contribution to government knowledge and information management.

In 2018, the Annual Award was presented jointly to:

  • Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, Grenfell Fire Public Inquiry – response team: Adebola Dada; Anna Canning ; Tim Granville; Carol Homans ; Maian Leach ; Annie Parsons; David Smith; Ruth Walbrin. For their highly-efficient role as the public inquiry response team which provided KIM support to those working on the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government response to the public inquiry into the Grenfell Tower disaster.
  • Diane Murgatroyd (FCO) & Karen Ball (DSTL – Defence Science and Technology Laboratory). For the nominees determined work on agreeing a new copyright license for HMG and their dedicated work to raise the profile of copyright within Government.

The second award is the GIG Lifetime Achievement Award which is given in recognition of a major contribution to government knowledge and information management over a sustained period.

You can read the citations for last year’s winners, and view a list of previous winners, on the GIG website.

This is an ideal opportunity to achieve wider recognition for the innovation, hard work and commitment which is found throughout the government KIM function and beyond, so please consider submitting a nomination.

This year the closing date for nominations for the 2019 GIG awards is 30 May 2019.

It is anticipated that the Award winners will be presented with their certificates at the GIG AGM in the autumn.

If you would like to nominate yourself, your team or a colleague, please complete the nomination form on the GIG website and email it to

Karen George, GIG Vice Chair

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SWOP visit to Dundee Central Library – March 2019

On Thursday 28th March SWOP visited Dundee Central Library. We were warmly welcomed by Carol Howarth and her colleagues. After the regular SWOP meeting/roundtable we had an informative and interesting talk from our speaker for the day Professor Colin Reid, Professor in Environmental Law, at the University of Dundee. We heard all about his fascination for bizarrely entitled Statutory Instruments and his work with various parliamentary committees and the consultation process in general. Following refreshments we were given a tour of the facilities in the Opportunities room at the Central Library. We heard all about the fantastic work involved in their volunteer network and visited the Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Service, and saw the new Makerspace, which is home to 3D printers and encourages the spirit of creativity in Dundee!

3D Printers

Makerspace book collection

Fiona Laing, National Library of Scotland and Professor Colin Reid, University of Dundee

Some of the SWOP members enjoying lunch at the V&A in Dundee!


Year-long programme to mark 20 years of the Scottish Parliament

Designed to showcase the positive impact the Scottish Parliament has had on the lives of those living in Scotland over the last two decades, the programme will include the launch of a new public exhibition telling the story of the Parliament; a series of family days; and a national photography competition to find the best images illustrating Holyrood’s 20-year history.

The highlight of the programme will be an event in the Debating Chamber on Saturday 29 June, marking almost 20 years to the day since the Parliament officially assumed it’s legal powers.  As well as the Chamber event, the Parliament will later that day open its doors to the people of Scotland for an afternoon of celebration and commemoration.

The Parliament is also starting a nationwide search for the babies that were born on 1 July 1999 to invite them to take part in the celebration on Saturday 29 June.   Any young people who were born on 1 July 1999 in Scotland should contact

SLLG/SWOP speed networking event, 24th January, Edinburgh

To give you something to look forward to in the depths of January, SLLG and SWOP are holding another joint Speed Networking event on Thursday 24th January in the SSC Library.

Registration is from 4.00pm and the event starts at 4.30.

The event comprises of  friendly discussion on  several pre-defined questions lasting approximately one hour, followed by another hour of chat, nibbles and refreshments.

If you would like to attend please send a reply to before the 17th January with the following details.




Membership of SWOP: Yes/No

Member of SLLG: Yes/No

We look forward to seeing you there.


The Inclusion Project: Human Rights dilemmas in the negotiation of Peace Agreements and Human Rights

The Global Justice Academy, University of Edinburgh is holding a free event to celebrate the launch of the new PA-X Peace Agreement Database on the occasion of the Association of Human Rights Conference Edinburgh.

The Inclusion Project: Peace Agreements, Inclusion and Human Rights, Professor Christine Bell, Programme Director, Political Settlement Research Programme (;

Booking and more details via Eventbrite

Thu 6 September 2018

17:00 – 18:00 BST

Festival of Politics 10-13 October 2018

On Wednesday 10 October, Conservative grandee Lord Heseltine will open the Festival with an “in conversation”-style event with Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh.  He will talk about his life serving in the governments of Margaret Thatcher and John Major as well as his current political views on issues such as Brexit. The Festival will also feature best-selling author and academic Professor Mary Beard. Professor Beard will feature on day four of the Festival talking about her book Woman and Power as well as the BBC Civilisations series which she co-wrote and presented.
Booker Prize-winning novelist and poet Ben Okri, social commentator and Orwell Prize-winner Darren McGarvey aka Loki, and historian Professor Emeritus Sir Tom Devine OBE will also appear. Book you tickets now.

SWOP visit to GWL – June 2018

On Wednesday 13th June SWOP visited the Glasgow Women’s Library. We received plenty of tea and cake – along with a very warm welcome – at this unique museum of women’s history.

“I had no idea that the Glasgow Women’s Library had so much to offer.  Apart from the traditional lending library there is also lots of interesting artefacts in the archive collection, too many to mention and definitely worth a trip out from Glasgow City Centre for a visit.  Thanks for a great afternoon” –  Morag Higgison,  Scottish Government Library

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