Hansard to pulp paper processes
Parliament's official recorder plans switchover to digital
Parliament's official recorder is planning to leave the paper age by processing ministers' written answers electronically.
In April Hansard will launch a Parliamentary Questions Project to process responses to written questions electronically, a spokesperson said.
The project is part of the three-year parliamentary Procedural Data Programme, which has a budget of £7.2m and is charged with delivering scheduled improvements by the end of March 2012.
No deadline has been set for full implementation following the Parliamentary Questions Project pilot, however. If successful, it will replace the existing system whereby government departments deliver ministerial replies to written questions on paper and by hand. Hansard staff would then scan the documents into a reporting system.
The spokesperson said the system is complicated, as each parliamentary question has a unique identity number and the answer has to be linked to this.
Projects already delivered by the Procedural Data Programme include a new system for producing House of Lords Business and the House of Lords Journal, including automating the production of the Journal Index, and a new system to produce the Register of Lords' Interests.
Those under way include a reform to the delivery of the Commons Order Paper, and a reform of the method by which bills and acts are administered.
This article was originally published at Kable.
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I do sometimes wonder if, in 100 years time, we will be a great big hole in the historical records. There will still be photographs of the first world war, but what about us? Nobody will know how to read the few SD cards and USB sticks which survive, and they wouldn't understand the data formats even if they did. Any physical "photos" printed with cheap ink on bleached paper will long since have faded to nothing.
The internet, in whatever form it might exists, will have churned a few times. Your blog won't still be there. Even facebook might have forgotten us all.
So much for the little trivial insights into daily life like diaries or till receipts, even bigger stuff like Hansard is becoming digital. Unless it is continously being copied and converted to modern formats, in a historical timeframe it it will all disappear. Is anyone doing that?
Now will it be computer shaped or paper shaped?
By which I mean will it be in a format suitable for a computer screen or mindlessly formatted into a page size that means it has to be printed to read it comfortably?
ie NOT PDF/DOC/ODF please!
No one will know _anything_ about us in a hundred (or fewer) years. What's worse, is that they won't even care to.
Almost everything will have vanished along with the volatile storage and obsolete file formats (marked-up text will always be good -- but I'd store it on punched paper tape with a simple handwriten note on how to read it).