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

Digital Release of Historical Congressional Record for 1911-1921

As part of an on-going digitization programme between the U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) and   the Library of Congress issues of the congressional record covering the first world war are now  freely available to  access. congressional record 1917

The congressional record is the official record of debates in the US congress .

#LibrariesMatter because…

In the lead up to the local government election in May CILIP in Scotland will be campaigning for libraries across Scotland and showing why #LibrariesMatter.  SWOP members can help with this campaign.

If you would like to know more and become more involved take a few minutes to visit:

http://www.cilips.org.uk/advocacy-campaigns/campaigns/libraries-matter/help-us-show-librariesmatter/
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Share your posters with us!

Changes to Parliamentary Publishing in 2016

 

This year will see some fundamental changes to the way in which Parliamentary Papers are made available to the public and in light of this, we have been given permission to reproduce a statement issued by TSO on their future plans for the publication of hard copy Parliamentary Papers.

“After 31st March 2016, TSO/Williams Lea Tag will no longer be printing the full range of papers for the House of Commons and House of Lords own use.

However, we will still be printing House of Commons Bills, Explanatory Notes and some Select Committee Reports for the House of Commons until 31st December 2016 and at the same time continue to supply these materials in print format to our external customers.

The House of Commons Daily Hansard and Bound volumes will continue to be supplied, as now in print format, to our external customers.

After 31st March, 2016, The House of Lords Bound Volumes will continue to be supplied in print format to our external customers.  However, there will be no supply in print format of other House of Lords materials.

The TSO online library www.officialpublicationsonline.co.uk will be offered with more flexible options to purchase download of PDFs as a means of sourcing materials no longer to be supplied in print format.

Update newsletters will shortly be released confirming the arrangements for supply of House of Lords and House of Commons materials after 31 March 2016.  The newsletters will be issued to all TSO external customers (including suppliers) and the Chairs of the various “Library Groups” we support.”

Access to the electronic editions of Parliamentary Papers will continue to be available via the various online sources, such as the Gov.Uk Official Publications portal, the Publications and Records section of  Parliament.Uk, the TSO’s own Official Publications Online (referenced above), Dandy’s Public Information Online, and ProQuest’s Parliamentary Papers website.

 

House of Lords papers now available digitally

The National Library of Scotland has been working in partnership with Proquest and the House of Lords to digitise 19th century House of Lords papers.  These are now available alongside the House of Commons digitised material on the  HCPP database.

The project is on going and more material will be added to the site as it becomes available.

The HCPP database can be accessed by anyone in Scotland that has a reader’s card for the National Library of Scotland.

 

 

gov.scot is seeking user testers

Website development

We’re making changes to the gov.scot website over the next few months and are looking for participants to take part in user testing. This might involve being part of a focus group, a one-to-one or telephone interview. Your feedback will help us improve the site. If you are interested in taking part, please leave your contact details via this short survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/govscot

Designing content for mygov.scot – feedback requested

In 2012, the Scottish Government set out its intention to deliver a “single – but not exclusive – point of entry to all digital public services at national and local level”.

This blog post from Mygov.scot describes how they are engaging with users to ensure that their product meets users needs.

We want to make sure citizens don’t need to think about organisations to deal with their complex needs

Send them your feedback to ensure they can accomplish this.

Digital Developments: the Scottish Perspective

A post by our own Helen Costello for SCOOPs new blog

OfficialPapersUK

The Scottish Parliament has recently developed a variety of digital working practices that are designed to transform current approaches to many of the organisations core business activities. The main aim is that anyone will be able to consume services digitally, enabling them to connect, communicate and collaborate more successfully with others.

A number of recent innovations are already in place aimed at realising some of the core benefits of the ‘digital by default’ philosophy not least of which is the Open Data project, now in its first phase.   The objective of the Open Data Project is to open our parliamentary business data so that you can freely re-use it with no restrictions other than attributing it to the Scottish Parliament.   The Scottish Parliament Open Licence enables you to do this and the approach to opening our data is consistent with methods applied by the UK Government as set out in…

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History of Scots at Sea

Recorded deaths of Scottish seafarers online for the first timeJohn McLauchlan - MIN0027_000_D_0303z  - Please credit National Records of Scotland

A complete record of the deaths of Scottish seafarers from late Victorian times until 1974 is now available online for the first time. Over 14,000 new records are being made available by National Records of Scotland through ScotlandsPeople from today. They include Deaths of Seamen listing Scots along with other crew members of all nationalities who were serving on British-registered vessels, 1909-1974. This includes crewmen on the Titanic.

More information on what is included  on the Scottish Government website

Canadian Historical Debates 1867- 1994 online

A joint project of the Library of Parliament and Canadiana.org, the Historical Debates of the Parliament of Canada  portal includes all debates the House of Commons and Senate  from Parliament 1, Session 1 (1867) until  1994 (House)  and 1996 (Senate)  when coverage begins on the Parliamentary website parl.gc.ca.  The  new website Historical Debates of the Parliament of Canada is  keyword searchable and allows you to limit your search to either the Senate or the House of Commons or both chambers.  More than 1575 volumes of debates were digitized.

Indexes to the Proceedings of the United Nations

The UN Index to Proceedings provides a window into the annual meetings of the main UN organs – General Assembly, Economic and Social Council and the Security Council.

The Index to Proceedings ceased in print version in 2011 and is now available as a free PDF download.

The National Library of Scotland is a United Nations Depository Library and as such holds a large collection of printed material from the UN and it’s sub bodies. These can all be consulted in our main reading room in George IV Bridge, Edinburgh