The National Archives: Changes to public access to government and official publications – petition

The National Archives have confirmed the intention to no longer subsidise the printing of some government and official publications which are born digital.

This decision forms part of a conclusion to a review of the Public Library Subsidy Scheme. The scheme was introduced in 1924 to assist public libraries in purchasing official information.

The news came in a letter from the National Archives dated 20 March 2015, sent to all ‘Main Intermediaries’ of the PLS Scheme and can be read here.

The National Archives recognise many official publications are now accessible on Government and Public Sector websites in accordance with the government’s ‘Digital by Default’ strategy. These online publications are free at the point of access, no longer require visiting a specific physical location to access, and can be re-used under the open licencing with which they were published.

The letter from the National Archives states:

It is difficult to justify a subsidy for print publishing at a time when the main thrust of government policy is to publish online

From mid-September 2015 publications which are available on official websites and will fall into this category will include:

  • UK Government Command papers
  • Parliamentary House of Commons and House of Lords papers
  • Parliamentary Bills
  • Statistical publications
  • Official gazettes
  • Organisational publications born digital

The National Archives have confirmed certain primary and secondary UK legislation will not be affected and will continue to be within the Scheme. However it does state the scope of the review is on-going.

A petition to ask the National Archives to rethink the decision has been set up. It highlights issues of online-only access, including:

  • Relies on access to online technology
  • Relies on user expertise of online technology
  • Can be difficult to search for very specific information online
  • Large documents are difficult to read online
  • Multiple documents are difficult to read online
  • Costs transfer onto users who require to print out publication

Should you wish to sign the petition, please do.

The decision of the National Archives also raises some potential concern to the future direction of Scottish Government and official materials, which remain being currently printed in hard copy with at least one copy held by the National Library of Scotland.

Online survey to map information professionals, 2015

On behalf of Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) and the Archives Records Association, Napier University has been commissioned to undertake research to map the entire workforce currently working in the library, information, archives and records sector in the UK.

There is no need to be a member of CILIP etc. This is a much wider research study.

There is a prize draw for £200 vouchers for those completing the survey, so it may be worth your while!

Our members may wish to complete the short survey, even if just to make the researchers aware of the SLLG enough to add it to their ticky box list of ‘Professional and networking groups’ for the next time. “OTHER” indeed!

[note: there was no closing date of the survey at point of publishing]

SLLG members counted among 23 blogging librarians

23 Librarians is a guest written blog created by Annabel Marsh.

23 Librarians offers a flavour of the range of library and information work in Scotland today. 23 bloggers describe what attracted them into the library profession and give an insight into a typical day in their current jobs.

Visitors to the blog will notice that there are more than 23 Librarians to read about. The blog has really taken off from the original ambition of achieving 23 blog posts. Library and information professionals are eager to write and share their experiences.

23 Librarians includes SLLG members in its numbers:


Well done to these members in providing excellent insights to their own career paths and the varied information work in Scotland’s legal sector. There is always going to be space for more SLLG members in the 23 Librarians too.

Article link: Never trust a corporation to do a library’s job

On 1st February the SLLG shared this article on Twitter: Never trust a corporation to do a library’s job.

It has been one of our most popular tweets, quickly gaining multiple Re-tweets and several ‘Favourites’ to date from followers around the globe.

The article states one of the original mission statements of Google – to preserve history online – has now been largely abandoned by the company. The piece is a short read on the shift in Google’s ethos from a place developing a series of organized information repositories and why. It highlights, again, the dangers of stating “it’s all on Google”.

The article goes on to reveal the advances the Internet Archive project is making to ensure history – both analogue and digital born – continues to be filed and made accessible online. However, the project has a long way to go and is another reminder that not everything is accessible online, or will necessarily remain there.

For more articles, news and SLLG based fun, follow scotlawlibs over on the twitter-thingy.