Saturday 2 July 2016

UK Parliamentary Papers website regenerates

The House of Commons Parliamentary Papers website, which hosts online records dating back to 1688, has been given a facelift by hosts Proquest. Now known as the Proquest U.K. Parliamentary Papers site (, it can be accessed for free through many subscribing universities and libraries, including the National Library of Scotland's Licensed Digital Collections (subscribe via if you have a residential address in Scotland).

Here's the official blurb regarding the differences to be found with the new version of the site (accessible via

New and Better
• Faster, more intuitive searching
• Post-search faceting to get to relevant documents
• Full-text PDFs (rather than individual page images)
• Bookmarking of search forms
• Dedicated Search by Number form including searches for bills, Command Papers, and Sessional Paper numbers
• Dedicated Member search form including search by office, party affiliation, and nation (England, Wales, Scotland etc)
• On the document results page, users will also see relevant results from historical newspapers and Congressional (based on institutional purchases)

• Search prioritized over browse (Usage and focus groups proved that few people use the browse functionality)
• 4 search forms: basic; advanced; search by number; and members, offices and constituencies
• Basic search from includes links to highlight search functionality for new users

Usage Statistics
• Legacy usage statistics will not be migrated but will be available as they currently are through at least 2016
• Usage statistics for the new application will be available through the ProQuest Administrator Module (PAM)

MARC Records
• Legacy site MARCs available at item/paper level from 19th century forward
• Also includes 17 18th century collection level MARC records
• Hansard has a collection level MARC record
• HCPP contains non-serial content; we will load updated MARCs to FTP site, and link to it from PAM.
• Existing (legacy site) record links will be redirected after cutover.

I've not had a chance to play with it properly, so would be very interested in user's experiences with the new site - and thanks to Janet Mackay from the University of Aberdeen's Library for flagging up the new edition of the site when I mentioned the previous version in a talk on Friday morning in Glasgow (in which I flagged up its usefulness for its tables of poor law returns from Scotland to Ireland in the late 19th Century)!!!


For details on my genealogy guide books, including A Decade of Irish Centenaries: Researching Ireland 1912-1923Discover Scottish Church Records (2nd edition), Discover Irish Land Records and Down and Out in Scotland: Researching Ancestral Crisis, please visit

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