“Answer the Question” – School Exams in Scotland

 This article, written by Fiona Laing, Official Publications Curator, National Library of Scotland, first appeared in  K&IM Refer 35(3) Autumn 2019

The Scottish School Exam Papers Project has developed and grown over the last five years in ways that I could never have anticipated at the outset. The project was cited in the nominations for two awards that I received over the summer: CILIP Scotland’s Library and Information Professional of the Year, and the Government Information Group’s Life Time Achievement Award. It was also specifically mentioned in the feedback I received when gaining my CILIP Fellowship in September.

The project began as potential partnership between the Institute of Education (IoE) and the National Library of Scotland to collaborate in a funding bid to the Wellcome Trust to digitise school exam papers for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects. It ended up however, in a quite different guise four years later with the National Library independently producing a web feature that included its digitised early Scottish schools exam papers, alongside some creative interpretation of that content. It is a great example of setting out to deliver one project and ending up with something quite different but equally brilliant.

The original partnership with the IoE would have allowed researchers to see the development of the teaching of the STEM subjects over time, and with the addition of the Scottish content, comparisons could have been made between the two countries education systems. The National Library of Scotland gained the full support of the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) for the project and signed a collaboration agreement with IoE in the summer of 2015. Unfortunately, the initial bid was unsuccessful and was resubmitted later that year, only to fail once more.
Having gained permission from the SQA to digitise the Scottish school exam papers, the National Library decided to proceed with the digitisation of its own content. It is still my hope that at some point in the future we will be able to combine this content with the English education exams papers from the IoE, and achieve a similar outcome to the one we had initially hoped for.

The digitised papers cover the first Leavers Certificate in 1888 (which was published as a Parliamentary Paper) up to the Scottish Certification of Education exams in 1963. In 2017, the papers were made freely available on the Library’s Digital Gallery. In 2018, the National Library decided to look at how it could improve engagement with its Digital Gallery content. A cross library group was established and given the task of producing, in 12 weeks, something more engaging with one of its digitised collections. I was delighted when the Exams site was selected for the project. Whilst the Digital Gallery pages gave the full text of the Exam papers by year and OCRing allowed full searchability, it lacked context and anything that might answer the question “why would I would be interested in looking at these?” By the addition of a short video interview with Professor Patterson of Edinburgh University and a time line of events in Scottish education, we were able to demonstrate how these papers showed the development of Scottish education during this period. For example, they highlight the increased accessibility to the exams by both sexes as well as the increased range of subjects. The exams now gave pupils an opportunity to demonstrate their abilities, especially for girls; and whilst the subjects may not have changed much, the titles have. What we now call history and geography and modern studies, the study of politics, was all part of the English exam.

Most people will have had to sit exams of one sort or another during their lifetime; however they are not often looked back on with joyful reflection. The project group explored the idea that the papers could be used as a source of inspiration rather that for the purpose of testing abilities. This took the project off in a completely different direction. The Library advertised through Creative Scotland for artists to produce creative responses to the exam papers. It awarded seven bursaries of £1,000 each. Although we had a tight deadline for applications, we were overwhelmed by the responses from across Scotland. It was very difficult to select just seven pieces. The final submissions can be viewed alongside the digital content and the contextual information. The Resits include a punk rock group, a ballet company, some beautiful art work, choral music and contemporary dance, an amazing and diverse mix.

‘Crow’ Jules Bradbury. Art response to 1937 Day School Certificate English comprehension exam
‘Among the pervading grace and lightness of spring’ Thomas Keyes. Art response to 1937 Day School Certificate English comprehension exam.

This project demonstrates how a small but rich collection of material can be used in many different ways and by different user groups. This was certainly not what I had anticipated when I first embarked on the project with the Institute of Education five years earlier. It wasn’t all plain sailing of course. Keeping the project alive took energy and enthusiasm, but I believed that it was a worthwhile project from the start. I spoke about it to anyone who would listen, in my own organisation and beyond. The final product surpassed my expectations and the feedback that we received was hugely positive.

In 2019, the exam papers content was made available on the Library’s new Data Foundry. This presents Library collections as data in a machine-readable format, widening the scope for digital research and analysis. This will allow researchers to examine this collection in yet another way, purely as text.

In 2020, the remainder of our Scottish School Exam papers collection will be added to our Digital Gallery and Data Foundry, and I am excited to see what future developments will emerge from the use of this resource.

 

National Library of Scotland launches Data Foundry

Data foundry site page

As part of its Digital Scholarship service, the National Library of Scotland has launched a website for its data collections.

The new Data Foundry site presents Library collections as data in a machine-readable format, widening the scope for digital research and analysis.

Techniques like content mining and image analysis can now be carried out using the Library’s collections. It features more than 70GB of data, including digitised text and images, metadata collections, map data and organisational data.

Digitised Library collections available as data through the site include some great official publications collections with more to follow.

Datasets from more Library material like British military lists, audiovisual collections and web archives are also planned to be published as the site is regularly update.

What’s new on the UN Digital Library

UN Digital Library

Video tutorial: https://youtu.be/vyrLA88zojM

Register for a UN Digital Library account: https://library.un.org/content/contact-us-0

A much-improved version of the Digital Library has now gone live, powered by the latest search technology and offering new user-friendly features, including:

  • Searching through the full text of documents in 6 official languages is now possible.
  • Search results can be filtered by document types, UN bodies, year or subject.
  • Related documents are linked, making it easier to trace actions taken in UN bodies – from the draft to the adopted resolution and on to the meeting record and the voting results.
  • Registered users now can set up email alerts to keep up to date with new content on specific topics or by individual UN bodies
  • Users can also save and share queries or custom lists of documents.

UNRIC Info Point & Library Newsletter – July/August 2019

 

The National Archives: Two new services for EU legislation

via The National Archives: Two new services for EU legislation

James Cleverley MP, Under Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union made a written ministerial statement on the 3rd July 2019 confirming that the Queen’s Printer’s duties and powers to publish European legislation under Schedule 5 paragraph 1 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act (c.16) which were brought into force on the 3rd July 2019.

The National Archives has released two new services:

.      https://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/eu-exit/: this new EU Exit Web Archive is a comprehensive archive of a wide range of legislative materials in English, French and German. This includes Treaties, legislative acts, the Official Journal of the European Union and other supporting materials, and judgements of the European Court of Justice. This archive will continue to be maintained until exit, at which point it will stand as a permanent record of EU law as it stood when the UK left the EU.

.      We have added legislation originating from the EU to www.legislation.gov.uk.  We have also  published details about the amendments to EU legislation from the EU and, crucially, the corrective amendments made by UK legislation in preparation for exit. This new collection of EU legislation will continue to be maintained with new content from EUR-Lex until the point of exit, at which point we will maintain the UK versions of the legislation, with amendments incorporated into the texts.

 

Brexit Update from the Scottish Parliament Information Centre, 29th June 2019

Brexit Update Latest Issue #89

 

Contents:

NEW PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET

  • Who has responsibility for Brexit in the new Cabinet?
  • What is the new Prime Minister’s Brexit policy?
  • Reaction from the Scottish Government
  • Reaction from the European Commission
  • Reaction from Ireland

NO-DEAL ANALYSIS AND PREPARATIONS

  • New UK Government no-deal preparations
  • Commons Report: consequences of no-deal for UK business
  • OBR: no-deal fiscal stress test

Back Issues

SPICe have been producing the Brexit Update since 15 September 2016. Catch up on past editions at the following link: www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/CurrentCommittees/101103.aspx.

 

Solemn Cases, Wild Salmon, and Statistics on UK-EU Trade – New Official Publications 29.07.19

University of Glasgow Library Blog

Newly published official publications from :

Westminster and the UK Government

House of Lords Library: The Queen's Room (c) Parliamentary copyright images are reproduced with the permission of Parliament House of Lords Library: The Queen’s Room (c) Parliamentary copyright images are reproduced with the permission of Parliament

Food Banks in the UK – “The primary source of data on food bank use is the Trussell Trust. This national charity provides food parcels to people referred to it by professionals such as doctors, health visitors, social workers and the Citizens Advice who meet certain requirements. Other charities also operate food banks or similar services, but there is no centrally collected data on them, except in Scotland. The data used here is mostly from the Trussell Trust, and so it should be considered incomplete – there are some areas where the Trussell Trust does not operate, but where other services may have delivered food parcels.”

Statistics on UK-EU trade – “This note provides basic figures on UK trade with the…

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Referendums (Scotland) Bill, Single-Use Plastics, and the 2021 Census – New Official Publications 25.06.19

University of Glasgow Library Blog

Newly published official publications from :

Westminster and the UK Government

House of Lords Library: The Queen's Room (c) Parliamentary copyright images are reproduced with the permission of Parliament House of Lords Library: The Queen’s Room (c) Parliamentary copyright images are reproduced with the permission of Parliament

European Parliament elections 2019: results and analysis – “This briefing paper analyses the results of the 2019 European Parliament elections, focussing on both the UK and EU-wide results. It also analyses the repercussions for the EU, in terms of the balance of forces within the new Parliament and its impact on the forthcoming appointment process for the top jobs in the EU, including the European Commission Presidency.

Online pornography: age verification – “This Library Briefing Paper looks at the introduction of age verification for online pornography.

Age verification (AV) for access to online pornography was due to come into force from 15 July 2019. However, on 20 June 2019, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport announced…

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High Streets, Gas Emissions, and inequality from space – New Official Publications 11.06.19

University of Glasgow Library Blog

Newly published official publications from :

The European Union

General view of the Plenary chamber in Brussels – PHS Hemicycle – Plenary session week 46 2014

Demographic outlook for the European Union 2019. “This paper is the second in a series that EPRS (European Parliamentary Research Service) is producing on the demographic outlook for the European Union (EU). The economy, labour market, healthcare, pensions, the environment, intergenerational fairness and election results – they are all driven by demography.”

Automated tackling of disinformation : Major challenges ahead – Study.This study maps and analyses current and future threats from online misinformation, alongside currently adopted socio-technical and legal approaches. Drawing on and complementing existing literature, the study summarises and analyses the findings of relevant journalistic and scientific studies and policy reports in relation to detecting, containing and countering online disinformation and propaganda campaigns. It traces recent developments and trends…

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Banking Scams, Leadership Elections (Conservative Party), and Travelpac Data – New Official Publications 28.05.19

University of Glasgow Library Blog

Newly published official publications from :

The Scottish Parliament and Government

Image © Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body – 2012. Licensed under the Open Scottish Parliament Licence v1.0. Image © Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body – 2012. Licensed under the Open Scottish Parliament Licence v1.0.

Review of Children (Scotland) Act 1995 consultation: analysis – “The Scottish Government is committed to improving family law and how the child’s voice is heard within cases, and to ensure that the child’s best interests are at the centre of the system. To assist the Scottish Government to target any necessary changes, a public consultation ran between May and September 2018 seeking views on potential changes to Part 1 of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 (the 1995 Act).

This report provides an analysis of the consultation responses from the consultation on the Review of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995.”

New national public health body ‘Public Health Scotland’: consultation – “This consultation document invites views on the proposals for a new national public health…

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Robots in Healthcare, Cyber Kiosks, and Domestic Abuse – New Official Publications 13.0519

University of Glasgow Library Blog

Newly published official publications from :

The European Union

General view of the Plenary chamber in Brussels – PHS Hemicycle – Plenary session week 46 2014

Europe’s urban air quality: Re-assessing implementation challenges in cities. “Air pollution is one of the most important environmental problems affecting people’s health, particularly in urban areas of Europe. Over the past decade, air quality has slowly improved in many of Europe’s cities, as a direct result of more robust air quality policies across various governance levels, the introduction of targeted measures and actions, and technological improvements that have reduced emissions from various sources. Nevertheless, many cities and regions still experience exceedances of the regulated limits for air pollutants.”

Robots in healthcare: A solution or a problem? Workshop proceedings – Study. This report summarises the presentations and discussions of a workshop on the use of robots and AI in healthcare, held at the…

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Vaccination, Global Trends to 2030, and Animal Experiment Statistics – New Official Publications 29.04.19

University of Glasgow Library Blog

Newly published official publications from :

Westminster and the UK Government

House of Lords Library: The Queen's Room (c) Parliamentary copyright images are reproduced with the permission of Parliament House of Lords Library: The Queen’s Room (c) Parliamentary copyright images are reproduced with the permission of Parliament

Rail fares, ticketing & prospects for reform – “Rail fares have been a sore point for passengers for some time. This is exacerbated at the turn of the year when the annual regulated fare changes are brought into effect. The fare increases, which arguably cause the most dissatisfaction for passengers, raise questions around who determines fare changes and whether there is any prospect of them being frozen or even reduced?”

Animal Experiment Statistics – “In 2017, there were 3.79 million procedures completed involving regulated living animals, which was the lowest annual number since 2010. This note summarises and analyses trends in data, including the growth of universities as the dominant seat of research on animals, the use of different species, and…

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The Traveller Communities, 5G, and Childhood Loneliness – New Official Publications 15.04.19

University of Glasgow Library Blog

Newly published official publications from :

The European Union

General view of the Plenary chamber in Brussels – PHS Hemicycle – Plenary session week 46 2014

5G Deployment: State of play in Europe, USA and Asia “This in-depth analysis compares 5G deployment in the EU with other leading economies – the USA, China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Singapore and Taiwan.”

Public consultation on draft guidance for introduction of HPV vaccines in EU countries : Focus on 9-valent HPV vaccine and vaccination of boys and people living with HIV. This guidance covers the following areas in relation to HPV vaccination: efficacy of the nine-valent HPV vaccine, HPV vaccination in people living with HIV and HPV vaccination in males and the cost-effectiveness of extending the HPV vaccination programme to include males.”

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Brexit publishing

Report from Gareth Vaughan, TSO Bibliographics.

Brexit Publishing.

All the information that we have been receiving is from Department for Exiting the European Union via TNA and is treated as confidential and it all relates to EU Exit legislation that would need to be published before “exit day” which may or may not be 29 March.

There have not have been any discussions on what the picture will look like after “exit day” (if we do exit).

If we do exit then in addition to UK legislation to amend, we will inherit a very large number of EU legislation that will become “UK adopted” and will also have to be amended using Sis.

The link below maybe useful in setting out the process regarding the publishing of Sis and is prepared by the Hansard Society:

https://www.hansardsociety.org.uk/blog/westminster-lens-brexit-statutory-instruments-dashboard

This is the table of contents to the above and I have appended some of the provisional answers to the questions set out below. Fuller answers are contained on the website:

  1. How many Brexit Statutory Instruments does the government plan to lay before Parliament? – Government ministers initially said that they expected to lay between 800 and 1,000 now revised down to 600
  2. How many Brexit SIs has the government laid before Parliament so far? – 475 Brexit-related SIs have been laid since the EU (Withdrawal) Act received Royal Assent on 26 June 2018. Of these: 342 have been laid using powers in the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018 only; 71 have been laid using powers in other Acts of Parliament; 62 have been laid using a combination of powers in the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018 and in other Acts of Parliament
  3. How many Brexit SIs are being laid before Parliament each week? – 90% of the time available to lay the SIs before exit day has now elapsed; but only 79% of the minimum number of SIs the government says are needed for Brexit have been laid before Parliament. Under the second revised target of 600 SIs, an average of 15 SIs had to be laid in each of those 40 weeks
  4. What is the average length in pages of a Brexit SI each month? – 9,218 pages of legislation have been created by the 466 Brexit SIs laid before Parliament to date. The average length of a Brexit SI is 19 pages
  5. Which Brexit SIs have completed their parliamentary scrutiny? – Of the 475 Brexit SIs laid before Parliament so far, only 247 (52%) have completed their passage through Parliament
  6. Which government departments are laying the most Brexit SIs?17 ministerial departments; 3 public bodies (Government Equalities Office, Intellectual Property Office and the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency); non-ministerial department (HM Revenue & Customs)
  7. Which Acts of Parliament are being used to lay Brexit SIs? – In addition to the EU (Withdrawal) Act, powers in 41 other Acts of Parliament have been used to lay 133 Brexit Sis
  1. How many Brexit SIs amend Acts of Parliament?125 of the 475 Brexit SIs laid before Parliament make amendments to Acts of Parliament
  2. What powers and scrutiny procedures are being used to lay the SIs? – Of the 404 SIs laid using powers in the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018 – 219 have been laid as proposed negative SIs and are subject to the parliamentary committee sifting process created under schedule 7 of the Act
  3. What progress is being made by the parliamentary sifting committees? – The new House of Commons European Statutory Instruments Committee (ESIC) and the House of Lords Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee (SLSC) are tasked with ‘sifting’ proposed negative SIs laid using powers in the EU (Withdrawal) Act
  4. How many proposed negative SIs have been upgraded?61 proposed negative SIs have been recommended for upgrade to the affirmative procedure by the sifting committees
  5. Statutory Instrument Tracker: learn about the tool that helps inform the Brexit SI Dashboard – see site

Definition: Negative SIs = Made negative is the term used to describe an SI that is laid after it has been made into law (signed by the minister). It will remain law unless a prayer motion is passed by either House (or the Commons only for certain SIs on financial matters) within 40 sitting days. If that happens, the SI is no longer law. Made negatives generally do not come into force for at least 21 days after the SI is laid.

If the Withdrawal Agreement is passed the above legislative process will continue.

Legislation Required for No-Deal Brexit

If there is no deal this also requires legislation to ensure the UK has measures in place to replace EU legislation, which will no longer apply.

There are 13 Bills and draft Bills associated with the process of exiting the EU. Parliament has enacted five of these: 

European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018;
Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018;
Haulage Permits and Trailer Registration Act 2018;
Nuclear Safeguards Act 2018;
Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Act 2018. 

The remaining eight Bills are:

Trade Bill 2017-19 – sets up the Trade Remedies Authority which will protect UK business against unfair trade by other countries. If the Bill is not passed Government will need to implement contingency plans.

Agriculture Bill 2017-19 – sets framework for a seven-year agricultural transition period moving from the current Common Agricultural Policy arrangements towards brand new policy and payment approaches in England and Wales

Fisheries Bill 2017-19 – In a ‘no deal’ Brexit scenario, the UK would become an independent coastal state from March 2019. It would no longer be subject to the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and would take over responsibility for its Exclusive Economic Zone

Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill 2017-19 it repeals retained EU law relating to free movement and brings EEA nationals and their families under UK immigration control; it protects the status of Irish citizens in UK immigration law once their free movement rights end; and it makes provision regarding retained EU law governing social security coordination

Healthcare (International Arrangements) Bill 2017-19 – The Government has indicated that this Bill is required because at present the Secretary of State does not have specific powers to give effect to healthcare arrangements for overseas health care

Financial Services (Implementation of Legislation) Bill [HL] 2017-19 – Most financial services regulation is currently done at the EU level. This Bill enables the Treasury to make corresponding or similar provisions in UK law to upcoming EU financial services legislation. If the UK leaves the EU with no deal, without this Bill, there will be no mechanism through which financial services regulation can be updated

And 2 draft bill  Environmental Principles and Governance Bill 2017-19 and the Animal Welfare (Sentencing and Recognition of Sentience) Bill 

Parliament webpage on Brexit & legislation https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/research/eu-referendum/legislation/

AI, Policing, and Gender Equality – New Official Publications 18.03.19

University of Glasgow Library Blog

Newly published official publications from :

The European Union

General view of the Plenary chamber in Brussels – PHS Hemicycle – Plenary session week 46 2014

The intergenerational transmission of education: evidence from the World War II cohorts in Europe.The negative long-term effects of World War II on those directly exposed to it are well documented, but there is no evidence whether these effects extended to subsequent generations. Our paper aims to fill this gap by analyzing the intergenerational effects of World War II in terms of educational attainments.

How artificial intelligence works. “This briefing provides accessible introductions to some of the key techniques that come under the AI banner, grouped into three sections to give a sense the chronology of its development … The briefing aims to equip the reader with the understanding they need to engage in clear-headed reflection about AI’s opportunities and challenges…

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