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.
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.
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!
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 email@example.com.
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.
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.
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
Our next SWOP meeting will be on Wednesday 13th June at the Glasgow Women’s Library.
Glasgow Women’s Library (GWL) is a national treasure! It is the only accredited museum in the UK dedicated to women’s lives, histories and achievements, with a lending library, archive collections and innovative programmes of public events & learning opportunities. Highlights from GWL’s collections include Suffragette postcards and jewellery, feminist posters and badges, archives of organisations such as Scottish Women’s Aid and UK Family Planning Association and knitting and dress-making patterns.
It was a finalist in CILIP’s Libraries Change Lives Award in 2017, for its weekly read aloud group, Story Cafe.
Want to go to the 2018 CILIP Conference? Our bursary call is now OPEN!
Also remember nominations for our GIG Annual Award and Lifetime Achievement Awards are NOW OPEN. Find out more on our GIG Awards page. The closing date for nominations is 31st May 2018.
The CILIP Conference is returning to Brighton this July with a fantastic line-up of keynote speakers, thought provoking seminars and essential workshops. Meet like-minded colleagues and make new connections for two days of knowledge sharing, discussion, debate and networking opportunities. The conference aims to leave you feeling inspired and passionate about the work that we do as professionals. To keep up to date on conference developments, follow @CILIPConf18 and #CILIPConf18 and visit the website cilipconference.org.uk. You can also register for the conference. Don’t worry – if you receive a bursary place, CILIP will refund you.
The Government Information Group (GIG) is delighted to be able to offer two bursary places to its members for attendance at the conference:
• the first bursary is offered by CILIP in recognition of GIG’s involvement with the conference;
• the second is being funded by GIG itself.
We particularly welcome applications from GIG members who have not previously attended the conference.
To avoid clashing with planned strike action, the date of the next SWOP meeting has been changed to Wednesday 21st March 2018, 1.30-4pm. It will now take place in the Fairlie Meeting Room on the 2nd floor of Dundee University Main Library.
I was lucky enough to be able to join the CILIP Government Information Group visit to the Bank of England library and archive during a trip to London in November. The first thing that you notice when visiting the Bank of England, aside from the stringent security on entering the building, is the exquisite tiled floor in the entrance hall. This was recently renovated as ladies’ high heels were found to be damaging the tiles, and it’s very striking when you enter. The building was purpose-built as the Bank but the interior was rebuilt in the 1920s to create more space as the institution grew; it now reaches so deep underground you can feel vibrations from the tube every few minutes.
The library is open 24 hours a day for Bank staff, and is staffed during office hours. The collection has been weeded recently as much of it had become out of date, but the library holds a complete run of The Economist dating back to the 1850s. Most other journals are kept for about 5 years. We viewed some of the special collection highlights, including books on forgery, engravings, the story of the Bank nun (so-called because she kept returning to the bank after her brother, a former employee, was hanged for forgery, and is said to haunt the area), a collection of newspaper clippings relating to the banking crisis of 1857, and economic reports from the Reichsbank detailing the state of the German economy immediately after the Second World War. To me one of the most interesting items of those on display was a photographic record of the Bank’s architecture, the preface of which is critical of the rebuild. Further editions of this book had the harsh preface removed.
Registration is from 4.00pm and the event starts at 4.30.
We hope that you can join us.
To reserve your place please contact Christine MacLeod before the 17th January with the following details.
Membership of SWOP: Yes/No
Member of SLLG: Yes/No
The format is : 4/5 tables, 5/6 topics for discussion, 4-8 people at each table, 6-8 minutes of discussion for each subject (depending on numbers). Attendees are split between “stayers” and “movers”. At the end of each discussion the “movers” move to the next table. We then have a good mix of people and opinions at each table. There is a scribe at each table and the output of the discussions will be compiled and circulated shortly after the event.
This formal part will last about 45 minutes, and is followed by an hour of informal chat, nibbles and refreshments.
Our Annual General Meeting is more than just a meeting. We use the opportunity to meet in different locations and hear about a variety of projects to stimulate discussion, create CPD and training opportunities.
This year is no exception and we are delighted to be holding the 2017 AGM at the
The event will begin with a behind the scenes tour by Ruth Washbrook, Head of the Moving Image Archive. This will give the opportunity to see the preservation and digitisation processes for film donations as well as some of the Government information films held in the collection.
Refreshments will be provided.
We are really delighted to have Helen Costello back with us to talk a little about her new role in the Scottish Parliament and reflect on her professional journey thus far.
Finally, Eilidh MacGlone – National Library of Scotland Web Archivist will demonstrate the new UK Web Archive public interface and how best to use this for research
This will be followed by the SWOP AGM – Agenda and papers will be sent out in advance of the meeting.
For catering purposes it is important to reserve your place on Eventbrite.
Why not join us in the café at Kelvin Hall from 12 noon for an informal catch up with colleagues over coffee or lunch. (Please note that lunch is NOT unfortunately provided by SWOP).