Most of our seminars have concerned what is said in Parliament and how the historic data can be mined for evidence about politics and much more besides. This seminar takes a slightly different approach by focusing on the words contained in rules about how Parliament works – Standing Orders, legislation and other rules that set the basic framework for Parliamentary procedures. We will hear from one project which has been creating a digital map showing the development of the rules of the UK House of Commons; and from people from the Parliamentary data service in the UK who are trying to map procedural rules now. The two talks will give us an opportunity to think about the form of parliamentary proceedings in different countries, how metadata can capture and help us to understand those forms and their development and the relationship between words spoken in parliaments and the outcome in terms of law. Our two presentations are:
“Parliamentary rules as data: the ParlRulesData project”
Describing and explaining the development of formal parliamentary procedures is an important task for historians and social scientists. But work of this kind requires reliable data which systematically traces how parliamentary rules evolve over time. The ‘ParlRulesData’ project aims to collect and publish such data. This session will introduce the project’s first dataset, which maps the standing orders of the UK House of Commons from 1811 to 2020. It will discuss the particular challenges of collecting data of this kind, as well as its potential uses.
Speakers: Tom Fleming (University College London), Radoslaw Zubek (University of Oxford).
“ParlRulesData project: A use case”
In this related talk, Anya Somerville and Michael Smethurst have built on top of Rad and Tom’s work, taking the standing orders data they generated to make a new website. The website begins to solve a long-standing problem for the House of Commons Library: how to persistently cite standing orders when traditional citation relies on list positions and list positions change over time.
Speakers: Michael Smethurst and and Anya Somerville (Parliamentary Data Service, UK Parliament)