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

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.

The National Library of Scotland: what’s in it for you?

Originally posted on the Local Government Information Unit Scotland Blog

As an information service, LGiU Scotland is committed to maximising access to quality information for those working in local government – even if it’s not directly from us! LGiU Scotland’s Hannah Muirhead met up with Fiona Laing, Official Publications Curator at the National Library of Scotland, to explore how elected members and others working in local government might benefit from the library’s vast and quite underused information archive.

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Although it may look like a solid block of stone from the outside, the National Library of Scotland is one of the most extraordinary buildings in Scotland. Behind those walls is a gateway to 120 miles of shelves which store 30 million items. What this means is that it is extremely unlikely that the library can’t be useful to you in some way. Whether you are trying to understand a historic policy change, get to grips with something scientific, economic, environmental, cultural, or political; or find out more about a local area, community, industry, or hobby – there’s probably something at the National Library of Scotland that will be of use.

Continue reading

Visit to National Library of Scotland’s Map Collections 20th Oct 2.30pm

CILIP’s Government Information Group has organised a visit to the National Library of Scotland  Map Library on the 20th Oct. maps-of-scotland

The National Library of Scotland Map Library is one of the ten largest map collections in the World, holding around 2 million maps, as well as atlases, gazetteers, and a growing collection of digital map datasets. This visit will include a talk describing the main highlights of the map collections, their users, and the growing ways the content is delivered online through http://maps.nls.uk, as well as a brief tour to view maps themselves and storage facilities. Chris Fleet is Map Curator at the Library, where he has worked since 1994, with particular responsibilities for digital mapping.

This visit is open to SWOP members and their colleagues

Reserve your place here

State Papers online now available from the National Library of Scotland

If you are resident in Scotland you can apply for a reader’s card online to gain access to this digital manuscript database covering 200 years of British history, from the reign of Henry VIII to the end of the reign of Queen Anne, describing both domestic and overseas activity and events. This resource contains over 3 million manuscript pages and over 500,000 fully searchable calendar and catalogue entries, with links between the two types of document when they are related. The resource also includes introductory essays, research tools, and an image library.

 

Explore the amazing resources at the National Library of Scotland at Kelvin Hall

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If you haven’t been to the National Library of Scotland’s new premises at Kelvin Hall it is certainly worth a visit for the Moving Image archive alone.

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However, as well as  film, Kelvin Hall opens up access to ALL of the National Library of Scotland’s  electronic legal deposit material.  This includes journal articles, e-books and archived websites.

Content which the UK’s legal deposit libraries can harvest via the UK Web domain crawl includes millions of sites from the ‘.uk’ domain and a great many from other UK-based domans, such as ‘.scot’ or ‘.london’.

View and search UK content from the web using the Legal deposit UK Web Archive access tool available at the National Library of Scotland.

Social media content, such as from Twitter and Facebook, is part of the legislation, and therefore legal deposit libraries can collect them too.

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Electronic legal deposit material is available via the main catalogue. For access to journal articles, choose the ‘e-articles (legal deposit)’ option from the ‘quick limits’ dropdown menu. Other legal deposit material is indicated by a prompt in the catalogue record for each item asking you to accept the legal deposit terms of access and use.

You dont need a library card to access all of these resources so just walk in and explore these resources for yourself.

#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!

Introducing the SWOP Business Committee – Fiona Laing (Chair)

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I have been a part of the Scottish Working Forum on Official Publications for many years and have found being a member of the group of great benefit to my work at the National Library. I was secretary of the group from 2009 to 2013 when I replaced Fiona McParland as Chair.

Being part of this group has given me an invaluable network of colleagues to learn from, share experiences and challenges with, and hopefully find some solutions that benefit us all.

The SWOP Business Committee is the driving force of the Group. It takes forward issues that members have raised at the meetings, plans training and outreach events.

The more people and expertise we have on the Business Committee the lighter the load. A huge amount of knowledge in official publications is not essential. We need people to assist with  social media and planning events. An enthusiasm for sharing information  and helping others goes a long way.

Government information should be accessible to all.  Unfortunately we are all overloaded  with the amount of information that is out there. Anything  that can improve access to this material should be applauded and supported.  SWOP is free to join and  can also provide excellent CPD opportunities.

In my role as Official Publications Curator at the National Library of Scotland I have responsibility for ensuring that the Library is  collecting government publications, in print and digital, from the UK and Ireland, the Commonwealth countries and also  Intergovernmental Organisations such as the United Nations and the  OECD. I suggest subsets of the collection for in-house digitisation, explore funding opportunities for external digitisation projects  and I actively promote the collection, of around 2 million items, at every opportunity. I work closely with the Scottish Parliament, Scottish Government, its  Agencies  and NDPB’s  to ensure that best practice in publishing is followed and their material is deposited with the National Library of Scotland and made accessible to everyone that needs to consult it.

 

 

 

 

 

Digital content in the National Library of Scotland

Review of NLS Digital content event by Stephanie Longmuir, Information Specialist, NBS:

“I recently spent a fascinating afternoon at the National Library of Scotland (NLS), with a tour of the building, with behind the scenes access to the collections, reading rooms and a presentation about a digitisation project.

Fiona Laing, Curator of the Official Publications collection, started the tour off in the NLS exhibition space, currently highlighting their holdings and interesting items relating to plague in Scotland. The information walls also displayed statistics about how big the library is, what collections they have and what the type of material they cover. More information can be found here: http://www.nls.uk/collections

Tour pic exhibition area

It is staggering in comparison with our library which includes approximately 30, 000 items relating to the construction industry!

We then went behind the scenes to one of the floors to see examples of items readers may request to view, how they are stored, organised, reserved and distributed as well as learning about current security, safety and conservation measures in place. We also discovered more about the role of a legal deposit library and how the agents obtain items. It was astounding to think this vast space held only a fraction of the entire collection.  After this we headed back up to one of the meeting rooms to find out more about a digitisation project from Jan Usher, a Social Sciences Curator. This project aimed to digitise the House of Lords papers between 1806-2000. The project remit had undergone several stops and starts and changes along the way, but they are nearly there, with a soft launch imminent.

The final part of the afternoon was spent exploring the vast digital collections which are available on their website. Some of the resources are only available to those who have registered as a reader ticket and an address in Scotland, but there are several worth exploring which are available as open access resources.

The visit was very useful to gain an understanding of current issues facing legal deposit libraries, as well as collating digital publications and websites.”

Stephanie Longmuir,
Information Specialist, NBS

Stephanie is a chartered and revalidated librarian who works as an Information Specialist at RIBA Enterprises in Newcastle upon Tyne. She works as part of a team of technical editors for The Construction Information Service, a specialist subscription product for architects, engineers and other construction industry professionals. This product is run as a joint venture with IHS who is based in Bracknell.

This visit was organised on behalf of the CILIP Government Information Group

 

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.