The Institute of Historical Research has a long association with UK parliamentary data in digital form. We see our involvement in the Dilipad project as continuing with work we’ve had an interest in for some time:
British History Online, our digital library, is a joint project with the History of Parliament Trust, which is also a partner on Dilipad. BHO is a long-established resource and some of the first volumes published were the Journal of the House of Lords and Journal of the House of Commons. Eleven years later and we have added many more volumes of the series, along with other parliamentary material such as the Parliament Rolls of Medieval England, seventeenth-century parliamentarians’ diaries, and the Statutes of the Realm. Have a look here to see what is available: everything apart from the Parliament Rolls of Medieval England is free to all.
Our productive relationship with the History of Parliament has gone beyond the above. My colleagues in IHR Digital maintain the excellent HoP website. For some years discussion of the subtleties of things like mapping changing historical constituencies into neat database fields has been commonplace in our office, and I frequently see the developers poring over one of the handsome HoP print volumes.
The linked data part of the name Dilipad is something that we have also worked on before in a parliamentary context. The Linking Parliamentary Records through Metadata project was a proof of concept for linking different legislatures through metadata, and the project manager of Liparm, Richard Gartner of King’s College, London, is working with us again on Dilipad. The Parliamentary Markup Language, PML, that Richard devised for Liparm is being used again on the Dilipad project, as are the authority files we created. We are already implementing lessons learned on Liparm to the benefit of Dilipad.
I hope this sets the IHR’s place in the project in a bit of context. In future posts other project members, from Canada, the Netherlands and the UK, will be talking about what led to their involvement in Dilipad.