Connecting collections amid COVID-19

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the formation of the Central Office of Information (COI), the government’s one-stop-shop communications agency, prompting The National Archives (TNA), British Film Institute (BFI) and Imperial War Museums (IWM) to team up for an ambitious new project showcasing highlights from their shared government films collections. In this blog, Sarah Castagnetti (TNA, Visual Collections), Michelle Kirby (IWM Film Curator, Cold War/late 20th-century conflict) and Patrick Russell (BFI Senior Curator, Non-fiction) explain how this collaboration came about, how their respective COI collections complement each other, and how they believe these uniquely produced films are still well worth watching today.

Read more on the National Archives website

Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence, online advertising, and the future of Public Service Broadcasting: New Official Publications 21.06.21

*OECD Publication – Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence is available to registered readers of the National Library of Scotland, living in Scotland, via the OECDiLibrary.

University of Glasgow Library Blog

European Union

© European Union, 2021

Online advertising: the impact of targeted advertising on advertisers, market access and consumer choice. “In this research paper, we provide a comprehensive overview of online advertising markets and we analyse the challenges and opportunities concerning digital advertising. We review the degree to which existing and proposed legislation at EU level addresses the identified problems, and identify potential solutions, with reference to experience from EU Member States and third countries. We conclude with a synthesis and specific policy recommendations, drawing on stakeholder interviews.”

Towards gender equality in the cultural and creative sectors: Recommendations of the OMC (open method of coordination) working group of Member States’ experts. “All recommendations are based on practical experience and good practise case studies. They highlight the importance of political commitment to improving gender equality in the cultural and creative sectors (CCS).”

Coronavirus pandemic in the EU: Fundamental rights…

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COP26, the 0.7 Percent Aid Target, and UK Sexual Orientation: New Official Publications 07.06.21

University of Glasgow Library Blog

Westminster & the UK Government

© Parliamentary Copyright House of Commons 2021. Contains Parliamentary information licensed under the Open Parliament Licence v3.0

The 0.7 percent aid target”The UN has a target for countries to spend 0.7 percent of their Gross National Income (GNI) on Official Development Assistance (ODA). In 2013, the UK achieved this target for the first time. Since 2015, the Government has also been under a statutory duty to meet it. However, citing the economic impact of the pandemic, the Government will spend 0.5 percent of GNI for ODA in 2021 as a “temporary measure.””

Policing in the UK “This briefing explains the key concepts underpinning the British model of policing. It introduces the key actors in UK policing. It provides a brief introduction to UK police forces and discusses their performance.”

Flags:the Union Flag and Flags of the United Kingdom “Flags, national and other, have an…

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Queen’s Speech 2021, the Future of Europe, and Investing in Destabilisation : New Official Publications 10.05.21

University of Glasgow Library Blog

Westminster & the UK Government

© Parliamentary Copyright House of Commons 2021. Contains Parliamentary information licensed under the Open Parliament Licence v3.0

Queen’s Speech 2021 “This Library briefing identifies issues and bills that may appear in the Queen’s Speech on 11 May 2021 or require legislation in the forthcoming parliamentary session.”

Connected and autonomous road vehicles “This paper considers some of the key implications of ‘connected and autonomous vehicles’ (CAVs), often referred to as self-driving cars, for the UK road transport sector. It includes discussion of the potential benefits of road-based CAVs; barriers to adoption; and the evolving regulatory framework.”

Coronavirus: Returning to work “This paper provides an overview of the rules surrounding COVID-19 and returning to work. It discusses the lockdown legislation, employer’s health and safety obligations and when workers can refuse to go to work.”

Scottish Parliament & Government

Contains information licenced under the Scottish Parliament Copyright Licence

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Blockchain, football, and Covid-19 : New Official Publications 26.04.21

University of Glasgow Library Blog

European Union

© European Union, 2021

Digital Cultural Diversity “Digital technologies have revolutionised every aspect of our lives, and culture is no exception. Technology has a huge potential to make culture accessible to all, by democratising both consumption and involvement in cultural creation. However, technology depends on equipment and infrastructure, which does not necessarily facilitate the diversity of content available and discoverable online. Other factors, such as language, skills or geographical location can also make it harder to discover online cultural content reflecting cultural diversity.”

Study on ‘Solar Fuels Research & Invest: Defining and developing the global solar fuel value chain: techno-economic analysis and pathways for sustainable pathways for sustainable implementation’: “This European Commission funded study provides a techno-economic analysis of global solar fuel value chains and pathways for sustainable implementation.”

Advanced technologies for industry: AT (Advanced Technologies) watch : technology focus on blockchain. “As part of a series…

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Merging the past with the present: web archiving and the Scottish Parliament website

This blog post has been provided by National Records of Scotland (NRS) and reflects the partnership working between NRS and the Scottish Parliament on web archiving and the release of the Scottish Parliament’s new website.

The Scottish Parliament (SP) launched its new corporate website two weeks ago. One of the challenges they faced was – what do we do with the old site and web content going back to 1999, when the Parliament came into being.

The historical value of this older content was not in question, but the SP team sought options to safely remove this older content from their new site, so long as it remained available elsewhere. To do so, SP collaborated with NRS’s Web Continuity Service to create a solution which incorporated live and archived web content. Read on to learn how we were able to put theory into practice.

Read the full post

New content in the UN Digital Library: Press Releases

As of November 2020, more than 23,000 press releases going back to 1946 have been catalogued in the UN Digital Library, with more than 9,600 records linking to the online version.  Selected newly issued press releases are added on a daily basis.

The UN Digital Library contains descriptions of all biographical notes starting in 1946, more than 5,500 to date, which capture high-level appointments, as well as permanent representatives presenting their credentials to the Secretary-General. This makes it easy to find all the press releases issued for the representative of a particular country.

Over 2,000 press releases record appointments by the Secretary-General of senior officials and allow for easy access to biographical information, for example for Jan Kubis or Jane Holl Lute, who have held several senior appointments.

The UN Digital Library also contains descriptions of and links to the press releases focusing on the Secretary-General’s travels.

Other collections include almost 1,500 Security Council press statements issued since 2001, as well as all the statements issued by the Deputy Secretary-General since 1998.
The Dag Hammarskjöld Library maintains a vast collection of print press releases issued before 1995, which are not yet available online.  Please contact us should you need research assistance or require a copy of specific press releases.

Into the Vault: 75 Years of UN Audiovisual Heritage

As the UN celebrates its 75th anniversary, a team of archivists in the Department of Global Communications races to preserve its audiovisual heritage. For years, the UN’s historic film, video and audio recordings have been at risk due to natural decay, technological obsolescence and challenging environmental storage conditions. In 2016, seeing the importance of preserving this rich collection, the Government of the Sultanate of Oman stepped in with a generous contribution which enabled a 5-year effort to digitize approximately 70 per cent of the archives and make them available through the AV Library website. To maximize discovery and publicize these treasures, the AV Library, with the support of the Video Section and Social Media team, is launching a quarterly video series called “Into the Vault: 75 Years of UN Audiovisual Heritage”. The series explores important aspects of the Organization’s history through its use of selected footage, audio and photographs from the audiovisual archive. Episode One will showcase the General Assembly’s picturesque moments, questioning myths and highlighting important resolutions of the Organization’s most representative body.

Exploring Digitised Official Publications: Large-scale Text Analysis of “Britain and UK Handbooks”

By Lucy Havens

As a Digital Library Research Intern at the National Library of Scotland (NLS), I’ve contributed to several tools for digitally exploring NLS collections. On the NLS Data Foundry website, the NLS publishes its digitised collections and collections data, as well as tools for exploring that data. Prior to my internship, the NLS had published tools for exploring its map collection and geospatial datasets. Now, its tools include Jupyter Notebooks for conducting text analysis. I created five Jupyter Notebooks for five collections on the NLS Data Foundry which explore digitised text and metadata.

What is a Jupyter Notebook? A Jupyter Notebook is an interactive document that can display text, images, code, and data visualisations. Jupyter Notebooks have become popular in data science work because they facilitate easy documentation of data cleaning, analysis, and exploration. Explanatory text can describe what code will do and comment on the significance of the results of code after it runs. Live code can create and display text, images, tables, and charts. The data on which code runs can be sourced from a file, a folder of multiple files, or from a URL (an online data source). Even if you don’t have the Jupyter Notebook software (which is free and open source!) downloaded to your computer, you can still interact with Jupyter Notebooks using MyBinder, which runs the Notebooks in an Internet browser.

Why use a Jupyter Notebook? Jupyter Notebooks are useful for exploring collections as data, helping new research questions to be asked that complement close readings of text with distant readings. Using a coding language such as Python (which I used as NLS Digital Library Research Intern), linguistic patterns such as word occurrences, and diversity of word choice can be measured across thousands of sentences in a matter of seconds. Thanks to the technical fields of computational linguistics and natural language processing, developers have created libraries of code that make it easy to reuse code that answer common questions in text analysis. One such library of code is Natural Language Toolkit, often referred to by its abbreviation, NLTK.

Jupyter Notebooks are useful for writing code to explore digitised collections because they support NLS collections data in achieving the FAIR data principles: 1. Findability – Jupyter Notebooks can be assigned a digital object identifier (DOI) to facilitate their findability. The Jupyter Notebooks on the NLS Data Foundry have DOIs and are also available on GitHub, a platform for creating and sharing open source coding tools. 2. Accessibility – As mentioned previously, a Jupyter Notebook is an open source software platform that anyone can download to their own computer, or that can be run in an Internet browser. 3. Interoperability – Jupyter Notebooks do not depend on a particular operating system or Internet browser (they can be run with Windows, macOS, Linux, etc.; and
in Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc.). Furthermore, the Jupyter Notebooks on the NLS Data Foundry include links to their data sources (which are .TXT files on the Data Foundry). Every data source has licence information that provides guidance on how to use and cite the data. 4. Reuse – Jupyter Notebooks promote the reuse of NLS collections data because the Notebooks can be edited live in a browser, whether using MyBinder online or a local version of the software downloaded to your computer. You can edit both the explanatory text and code of a Jupyter Notebook, making it easier to write code even if you don’t have prior programming experience.

Exploring Britain and UK Handbooks in a Jupyter Notebook One of the five collections I used as a data source during my time as NLS Digital Library Research Intern is the Britain and UK Handbooks. The Handbooks dataset I used contains digitised text from official publications that report statistical information on Great Britain and the United Kingdom between 1954 and 2005. In the Exploring Britain and UK Handbooks Jupyter Notebook, I organise the data exploration process into four sections: Preparation, Data Cleaning and Standardisation, Summary Statistics, and Exploratory Analysis. The Notebook serves as both a tutorial for people who would like to write code to analyse digitised text, and a starting point for research on the Britain and UK Handbooks.

In Preparation, I load the files of digitised Britain and UK Handbooks available on the Data Foundry’s website.

Image 1: Excerpt of the Preparation section from Exploring Britain and UK Handbooks

In Data Cleaning and Standardisation, I create several subsets of the data that normalise the text as appropriate for different types of text analysis. For example, to analyse the vocabulary of a dataset (e.g. lexical diversity, word frequencies), all the words of a text source should be lowercased so that “Mining” and “mining” are considered the same word. In computational linguistics, this process is called casefolding.

Image 2: Excerpt of the Data Cleaning and Standardisation section from Exploring Britain and UK Handbooks

In Summary Statistics, I calculate and visualise the frequency of select words in the Handbooks.

Image 3: A data visualisation from the Summary Statistics section from Exploring Britain and UK Handbooks

In Exploratory Analysis, I group the Handbooks by the decade in which they were published and compare the occurrences of select words in the Handbooks over time.

Image 4: A data visualisation from the Exploratory Analysis section from Exploring Britain and UK Handbooks

For More Information If you’re interested in learning more about using Jupyter Notebooks for large-scale analysis of official publications (or other digitised and digital collections), here are a few resources to get you started:

• National Library of Scotland’s Data Foundry (see the Tools page for Exploring Britain and UK Handbooks and four other Jupyter Notebooks)

• Tim Sherratt’s introduction to working with Jupyter Notebooks for analysing gallery, library, archive, and museum collections, along with many other Notebooks that comprise his GLAM Workbench

• The CERL blog post about the NLS Data Foundry supporting scholarship that approaches “collections as data”

• The NLS Digital Scholarship’s collections-as-data GitHub repository that contains all five Jupyter Notebooks created for the NLS Data Foundry

By Lucy Havens 23 September 2020

Public Petitions to Parliament 1833-1918

The National Library of Scotland has set up trial access to Public Petitions to Parliament, 1833-1918 and this is available to registered users until 1st October 2020. There is a link for feedback provided. Please let us know if you find the resource useful and that will assist us in our decision to subscribe.

The ‘Public Petitions to Parliament’ is part of the U.K. Parliamentary Papers resource, focusing on the Select Committee on Public Petitions in the years 1833 to 1918. It includes descriptive records for every one of the over 900,000 petitions accepted by Parliament and the full text of each petition that the Committee transcribed.

What to look out for in Parliament in Autumn 2020

Politics in Autumn 2020 will continue to be dominated by Coronavirus and the negotiations with the EU, as the end of the post-Brexit transition period approaches on 31 December. But what will this mean for parliamentary business in the coming months, and what scope will there be to tackle other issues?

Hansard Society Briefing 28th Aug 2020

This briefing was written by Dr Ruth Fox (Director) and Dr Brigid Fowler (Senior Researcher).

Scottish Parliament summer recess 2020

The Parliament will be in recess from 27 June to 9 August inclusive. However, it is expected to meet weekly each Thursday throughout the summer period. These will be virtual meetings, other than on 9 and 30 July, when there will be hybrid meetings, with Members in the Chamber and able to participate remotely. 

Details will be published in the Business Bulletin

The Economy, Energy and Fair Work Committee will meet in private on Monday 29 June 2020. The agenda can be found here.

During the summer recess, the Business Bulletin will be published once a week on each Monday, from Monday 29 June until Monday 10 August 2020, when normal publication will resume. There may also be additional publications of the Business Bulletin in relation to days when parliamentary business is scheduled.

You can keep up-to-date with news from the Scottish Parliament by subscribing to their eBulletin

Up-to date Covid- 19 resources can be found on the SPICe blog

OECD digital hub for coronavirus (COVID-19) content

For the next few months, all content related to the global coronavirus crisis is fully accessible for all users on the OECD iLibrary.

A trusted source of timely, reliable information, OECD is making all content related to coronavirus COVID-19 easily accessible via a dedicated digital hub –  Updated on a daily basis, the site provides a single entry point for OECD’s latest evidence, analysis and advice on economic and social policy responses to the pandemic.

All of the OECD iLibrary content is freely available to anyone with a residential address in Scotland and registered with the National Library of Scotland. There is guidance on how to register and access this resource.