Friday, June 08, 2007

Historic parliamentary records added

From today onwards the proceedings of the Dutch Parliament from the period 1814 till 1995 will be brought online retrogressively.

Many a country was already able to consult the proceedings of their legislative bodies. The historical records of the proceeding of the House of Representatives and Senate in the US have been available online. In the UK the Hansard has been available online since the early eighties.

I was surprised to find that in The Netherlands we did not have the records of parliamentary online. In fact I thought that they were already online. In the eighties there was the government agency of PARAC. This agency used mainframes with Stairs search language to make the records of the Second Chamber (House of Representatives) accessible; but as Stairs was not easy for lay searchers, you needed an intermediary for the search. A university group of the Parliamentary Documentation Centre started to use videotext in order to disclose parliamentary information of the First Chamber (=Senate).

From September 1995 the parliamentary records were published by the SDU, the then governmental printing house and publisher, in OPmaat, a paid service on Internet. Since that time all the parliamentary records and official publications have been made accessible for the public. Later on the basic parliamentary information became free and the records were accessible through the search system Parlando.

Since 1815 the meetings of the Second Chamber (House of Representtaives) were public. The First Chamber (Senate) meetings were public since 1848. The collection of the proceedings of both chambers is known as the Acts. All the Acts will be digitised over the coming years. From today onwards the Acts of the period 1990-1995 will be available. Successively the period of 1975-1990 will be made available online in 2008, the Acts of the peiod 1950-1975 in 2009 and the Acts of the period 1814-1950 in 2010. The project is a joint-venture the Second Chamber (House of Representatives) and the National Library. The bad state of the printed Acts was the reason for digitisation.

Blog Posting Number: 778


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