Archiving Scotland’s response to COVID-19

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If you look at traditional media such as newspapers and magazines just now it often feels like everything is about coronavirus. The National Library of Scotland as you would expect will collect the newspapers, official publications and magazines that appear during the pandemic and when they are published the inevitable books that will chronicle this period.

Just now though we are trying to collect the websites and webpages that document the impact of COVID-19 on Scotland and how the nation has reacted. We are collecting everything from official Scottish Government advice to blogs and social media. This will become a permanent resource on COVID-19 and Scotland as well as the wider United Kingdom that will be available long after the pages we collect have disappeared from the internet.

My colleague Trevor Thomson is one of the team doing this. For the last few weeks and no doubt many weeks to come Trevor has been at home bent over a red hot laptop identifying and capturing hundreds of websites relating to the pandemic. Trevor explains what we have been doing and why below.

By early March 2020 it was apparent that the coronavirus (COVID 19) outbreak was going to affect Scottish society in substantial ways. As with many national events a great deal of material has been produced online that addresses all aspects of the pandemic – the output is vast, but the Library has been striving to collect web based material representative of the coverage and gather it together in one place in the UK Web Archive.

One of the great aspects of collecting online material, of course, is that it is available anywhere there is broadband hooked up to a PC or laptop. It is also a saving grace that the means of collecting and tagging URLs for the web archive is also available online – and access to the software is not restricted to physical presence in a particular institution or building. It is therefore a perfect job for working from home.

The first change the virus caused to our lives in Scotland was the cancellation of sports and theatre as it became clear that large public gatherings were likely to lead to the infection spreading more quickly. If you follow the arc of the collecting you will see we targeted for collection the websites of theatres and other cultural institutions as well as the governing bodies for sport as they began to react to the virus. We then targeted coverage of these cancellations in local and national newspapers and on the news pages of the BBC and STV.

As social isolation, social distancing and the lockdown were introduced the focus of the collecting changed to capture the radical effects of staying at home. Online information issued by local authorities on school closures and other matters as well as by transport providers, places of worship and the reactions and advice issued by the Scottish Government were targeted for collection. A selection of business reaction from employers and advice and support emanating from chambers of commerce was targeted for collection. Volunteers and charities have done admirable work responding to the needs of our most vulnerable citizens and their online presence often in the form of social media has been and will continue to be captured.

The greatest impact of the outbreak has been on the health service treating people who have contracted the virus. We have collected material, information and advice issued online by the NHS and social care partnerships throughout the country. Scotland also has a notable medical research response and this has been reflected in the collecting. More hidden impacts of lockdown such as the strains on families and mental health have also been targeted for collection.

As with most activities at this time it has been a communal activity across the Library. Colleagues with expertise in an area have identified websites and collated lists whilst others have input these selections into the UK Web Archive so they can be collected. By the end of 21st April 2020 2,176 individual URLs have been identified for collection based on their relevance to documenting the COVID-19 outbreak and this work of course continues.

In due course the full results of this project will be presented as a focused collection alongside broader collections on the coronavirus and its impact on the United Kingdom in the UK Web Archive which can be found at http://www.webarchive.org.uk

This post originally appeared on the National Library of Scotland Blog

Coronavirus Statutory Instruments Dashboard

Reposted from the Hansard Society

The national effort to tackle the Coronavirus health emergency has resulted in UK ministers being granted some of the broadest legislative powers ever seen in peacetime. This Dashboard highlights key facts and figures about the Statutory Instruments (SIs) being produced using these powers in the Coronavirus Act 2020 and other Acts of Parliament.

Briefings on COVID-19 from the House of Commons Library

 The House of Commons Library has some briefings and insights around Covid-19.
They cover:-
legislation
information about welfare benefits
statutory sick and NI contributions
employment rights
schools
support for business and more. 
There are 35 research briefings in total through this link but it is likely there will be more in the coming days.
All information has been fact-checked and the content updated when needed. 

“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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