ASSOCIATION OF PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARIANS
OF ASIA AND THE PACIFIC (APLAP)
EIGHTH BIENNIAL CONFERENCE
NEW DELHI, INDIA
(18-22 JANUARY, 2005)
HELD AT 1030 HOURS
FRIDAY, 21 JANUARY, 2005
LOK SABHA SECRETARIAT
The Conference met at 1049 hours.
(Dr. Karl-Min Ku, Vice President, APLAP in the Chair)
MR. RAMESH CHANDER AHUJA, LOK SABHA (INDIA): Good morning, friends. May I have your attention?
Today is the festival of Id. On this auspicious occasion, I wish you all Id Mubarak and offer my best wishes to you.
Before we start todays presentation, Mr. K. Vijaykrishnan has a few announcements to make. Thereafter, we will request Ms. Roslynn to give her Keynote Address. Thank you.
MR. K. VIJAYAKRISHNAN, LOK SABHA (INDIA): Welcome back, ladies and gentlemen, to the Eighth APLAP Biennial Conference. We trust, you had a very enjoyable trip to Agra.
We need some help from all of you regarding your departure details. We would be circulating the relevant details to all of you. Kindly go through that and confirm your departure details.
Another help that we need from you is regarding the Republic Day Parade rehearsal. Our Republic Day is on the 26th of January, when we would have a full parade on what we call the Rajpath. On the 23rd, however, we have a full-dress rehearsal of the Republic Day Parade. The only difference here is that the hon. President of India, the Vice-President, the Prime Minister and such other dignitaries would not be there but all the other pageantries associated with the Republic Day Parade would be there for you on the morning of the 23rd. Those of you who want to witness the full-dress rehearsal may kindly let us know of your willingness.
You have to be seated there for the rehearsal at 9.30 a.m., in a separate enclosure meant for you. The parade begins at 9.30 a.m. and continues till 12.15 p.m. So, you would be seated there for nearly three hours. Please keep that in mind. Those of you who are interested may kindly let us know so that we can make arrangements accordingly.
We have headphones here for all of you. If anyone wants to have a headphone, kindly let us know. We can provide the headphones. We have headphones for each one of you.
Another good news this morning is that the entire proceedings are available live on the local television network in the Parliament Library Building, Parliament House and Parliament House Annexe.
We have now the Third Session about to commence. In the Chair is Dr. Karl-Min Ku. Ms. Roslynn Membrey would be delivering the keynote address on the topic: Library Services for Members. We have Dr. Ahmet Yildiz from Turkey to propose a vote of thanks.
Session 3 : Library Services for Members
MR. CHAIRMAN (DR. KARL-MIN KU, CHINESE TAIPEI): Dear friends, welcome to our session this morning.
Yesterday, we went to the very historic heritage city, Agra. The marvellous Agra Fort and the beauty of the Taj Mahal are there still vivid in my memory. This morning, I can probably listen to you but that memory would still be there at the back of my mind. I think, we should express our sincere appreciation to the hosts, the Lok Sabha Secretariat, for their hospitality.
We have Ms. Roslynn Membrey as our keynote speaker and this sessions topic is: Library Services for Members.
Ms. Roslynn Membrey is currently the Acting Assistant Secretary, Library Resources and Media Services in the Australian Parliamentary Library. In that role, she works with a team of 54 people who acquire and catalogue all the print and digital resources needed in the Librarys collection. She also has responsibility for the building and maintenance of the Librarys databases, the development and maintenance of the Librarys information systems and the provision of the Librarys electronic media monitoring service.
Ms. Roslynn Membrey arrived at the Parliamentary Library in 1994 after a long career which commenced in a small public library in Victoria, Australia. In 1968, she left Australia and went to Papua New Guinea to work in the public library service and left 13 years later when she was the Deputy National Librarian. Ms. Membrey left Papua New Guinea to take up the appointment of Parliamentarian Librarian in the Parliament of Western Australia. She left Western Australia to go to the Australian Parliamentary Library in 1994.
During her time in Papua New Guinea, Ms. Membrey was awarded the Papua New Guinea Medal for her work in that country. In Western Australia, she was presented with the inaugural Special Librarian of the Year Award. As the host of the 1996 APLAP Conference in Canberra, Australia, she was awarded a plaque by APLAP for her outstanding organising ability in that year. I also served as an APLAP member with her during that period.
Although Ms. Membreys career commenced in the 1960s, she has taken an active interest in new technology and the opportunities it offers to libraries to develop better, faster and useful services for clients. In November, 2004, she saw the completion of a project which now provides electronic media services on the desktops of the Librarys clients. She proudly notes that in the first month of operation, the service received over 5,000 hits compared with an average of 400 requests a month with the previous analogue system. She would provide more details of the service at a later session in this Conference.
I now invite Ms. Roslynn Membrey to deliver her speech.
MS. ROSLYNN MEMBREY (AUSTRALIA): Thank you.
I welcome all of you for coming here this morning. It was a very long day yesterday and I thought you might still want to sleep this morning but I do not want you to fall asleep while I am giving my keynote address because it has very important information.
I have to apologise to you to start with. The other day, Ms. Rasieli Bau had to give a talk when she had a sore throat. She has now given me that sore throat. I call it Rasielis revenge because I made her talk here the other day with a sore throat. It could be Fiji flu, I do not know, but if my talk runs awry, it is her fault, not mine.
I am not going to read my Paper today. You would get a copy of that as part of the other papers. I am sure, you would take the time to read it. If you have any questions or want more information, you can contact me by e-mail or ask me those questions during the remaining days of the Conference.
I will refer to my Paper, but I want to start off by giving you a little bit of background about Australian Parliamentary Library because I think the discussions we had on Tuesday have indicated to me that some of you would like more information about the way we provide our services. I did not include that in my Keynote Address. So, I thought I would start by just telling you a little bit about the Australian Parliamentary Library.
By the way, I tend to talk very quickly. Even in Australia I talk very quickly and people have trouble understanding me. So, if I am talking too fast, just put your hand up and tell me to slow down so that you can understand. Karl said he will.
The Australian Parliamentary Library was established in 1901. Back in 1901, the Australian Parliament was in Melbourne in Victoria in Australia. By 1912 it was decided to have a capital city in Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory because in Australia in those days we had two very big cities Sydney and Melbourne. It was believed that if we put a capital city in Sydney, Melbourne people would hate it and if we put a capital city in Melbourne, Sydney people would hate it. So, we put a capital city in between the two that is where Canberra is now. I am not going to show you a map of Australia because, I think, you all know where that big island is. It is in between the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean, and Canberra is in the South East corner.
By 1927 we had moved when I say we, I was not there at that time, I have to tell you that the Parliament to Canberra in a building that at that time was called the Temporary Parliament Building and the Library moved with it and it took us some time till 1988 to get a permanent Parliament building. So, it was nearly over 60 years to move from a small building, which was only meant to last just for a few years, to a big building.
In our new building it is a very large building we very quickly discovered that Members and Senators do not come to visit us in the Library any more. It is too far for them to walk. So, we had to change the way we provide some of our services after 1988 and we rely now on them either by sending us e-mail or making a telephone call to ask us to do work. They do not come in very much now to browse in the library shelves and to select books that they might want to read. One reason is because the library is too far away and secondly because they do not really have a lot of time to read the books. So, already in 1988, we started changing our services to suit the needs of our clients Senators and Members. By 1996, we realised we needed to re-organise the way the library was working. At that time we had the research staff on one side of the library and we had library staff on the other side. They work mostly independently of each other and while we had meetings and we talked with each other, we did not always understand the work of our colleagues. In 1996, we decided to change that and to move our research staff and our library staff together so that they would be able to communicate much more effectively and provide better services to our clients. So, we now have seven special subject groups like economics, commerce and industrial relations, foreign affairs, defence and trade, law, social policy, statistics, politics and public administration. All of our people work together in these subject specialities and they are there in the new organisation. Now the library staff will answer reference questions, very fast questions when was this Bill debated, when was this person born, can you give me a photocopy of a newspaper article. These sorts of things will be performed by trained librarians. But the trained librarians will also help the research staff. So, when the research staff are preparing research papers on big topics like water development in Australia, relationship between Korea and Australia, etc. and that sort of things, the research staff will ask the library staff to get the basic information they need before they start writing the paper.
Since then, we have developed a very good working relationship and we all understand what we have to do and the Senators and Members do not have to worry about finding the right person to talk to. They just ring our enquiry desk and we pass the call through to the correct subject specialist. So, at present the Library is divided into two groups first one is called Information and Research Services. That is the group where the librarians and research staff work together and that is headed by Dr. Jeune Verrier. I think some of you have met Jeune Verrier at IFLA conference and around other places. They prepare papers. I am interested to hear that the staff in the Indian Parliamentary Library do a lot of anticipatory work. So do we. We look at the agenda for the new Parliament and we decide what subjects are going to be of interest to our members. So, we try to write research papers that will help them as the parliamentary business proceeds during the Session.
We answer requests. So, the Senators and Members can ring us or send us an e-mail or get their staff to come to talk to us and ask us for specific information and we answer about 30,000 of those enquiries each year. So, that keeps us fairly busy. We also do what we call tailored responses. If a member of our Labour Party wants us to write a policy paper that reflects his Partys politics, we will write it for him; but we will say you cannot say this paper came from Parliamentary Library because we do not want the Parliamentary Library to be seen to present party political information. All the other information has to be politically neutral and that can be quoted in Parliament or in the newspapers.
On the other side of the Library, we have Library Resources and Media Services and that is the section that I look after now. As Karl said, I have 54 staff to help me and that is really good. I can come away for one week and spend time here and I know that all the work is being done while I am away. We divided it into four small sections. The first one is on the Library Database Services and we provide newspaper clippings, press releases, general articles, transcripts of radio and TV programmes in databases so that the Members and the Senators can find them for themselves and print them out without having to ask the Library staff to help them. It is a very busy section. We probably load about 500 items each day and they are fully indexed with subject indexing and all the material data like name of the author, title, date all that information that helps people find the information they are looking for.
The second section I am responsible for is the Electronic Media Monitoring Unit. I will talk about that a little more tomorrow because I am very proud of that service. It has a history. I am not sure whether it happens in your Parliaments; but in Australia all the Senators and Members like to know what is being said on news programmes, current affairs programmes on both radio and television, and we record all that and if they want to find out what happened, we will give them a copy of the tape. That is the old fashion system. I will talk about the new fashion system tomorrow. It is a very busy service. I think sometimes Members like to see themselves on television which is why they want copies of the tapes. But it is another service that we provide to keeping them up-to-date.
The third section that works in my area is called Collection Management. That is the area responsible for buying all the books, journals, serials, newspapers, downloading material from websites, developing of electronic records and repository and maintaining of that information. I will talk about that a little bit more in my Paper and I will give you a little bit more detail.
The final area I look after is information systems and web services. As you know, most libraries now use computers all the time. We have our own computer staff and trained librarians, who are also computer specialists, to look after our databases and integrated library management system. I will talk about TIRTIS system and other unique systems we have in the library, in a minute. We also look after parliamentary web service and load all the papers which are written by our research staff on that website and try to keep it up-to-date with information, both on the internet and the intra-net. So, we are a very busy section. To sum it up, what I say is that we are responsible for providing the resources, and the people in the Information and Research Section are responsible for taking those resources and developing the products and services that the Senators and the Members need.
Around 1998, we started to see how important computers will be in the Parliament and also the internet and the intra-net. By that time, the library was the only place in Parliament which was using intra-net. No other Department in the Parliament was using it at that time. By using it for about two years, we saw the potential for providing new services to our Senators and Members. So, we developed a strategy which we call ourselves 'help strategy'. We provide information service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and our philosophy there is that we will put as much information as possible on to our databases and on our website so that Members and Senators or the staff can help themselves and find it. It took a little bit of time, two or three years, for the Members and staff to learn how to use our databases. It took us a little bit of time to learn how to design our databases so that they are easy to use. You probably might have noticed in your library about three years ago that all of a sudden everybody was very fond of 'Google'. We got a new word in English dictionary. Google is a search engine. We google things and we do not search for them any more. People use 'Google' when they have to find information on the web. They might just put one word Australia and they will find lot of websites where they can go and find the information they need about Australia.
Since our Members were used to 'Google', they keep expecting us to provide something that looked like 'Google' for them to do searches on our databases. So, we have had to spend a lot of time in trying to develop an interface which is simple for us and yet precise enough for them to find the information they needed and that they did not get a lot of extra information that was of no relevance to them. So, we have been working on that now for some time and we are now very pleased to see that our statistics are going up. Since we first started making self-help services available in 1998 until 2004, we have watched the number of hits on our databases. I have to tell you that each month last year, there were 87,000 hits on the library databases, which I find just an astonishing figure. We only have 224 Senators and Members together and they have about three staff each. So, how did those people manage to hit our databases 87,000 times in one month? This is an amazing figure, but they did. To me and to the rest of library staff that means that they find our work useful and relevant and they are using it.
So, another change has occurred. They do not need to talk to librarians any more. They will need to talk to research staff. Since we have made this information available, they do not ring us as often and ask us to provide photocopy of a newspaper article or a Press release because it is all their on their desktops. They can find it there and print it out straightaway. If they are working at 10 o'clock in the night, they can get that information while we are at home and preparing to sleep. At that time too, they can get information from the library.
A couple of other people have asked me this morning about staffing of Committees in our Parliament and the relationship between Committees and the library. Basically, research staff work for the library. If a Committee is set up and that requires specialised advice in a certain subject area, library staff can be seconded to work with that Committee, that is, they will leave the library and work for the Committee and do all the research which that Committee needs, and when the Committee finishes its work, they will come back to the library. That happens about two or three times a year. Well, we might have 50 or 60 Committees each year. So, it does not happen a lot. Most Committees will recruit their own subject specialists who will work for the Committee and spend a lot of time with library staff while they are developing the information that is needed.
The other thing I wanted to talk about very briefly was TIRTIS. It is the name of the system we have. It is the time and activity reporting departmental information system. Each time when we go to work, we log on to our computers and tell the computer at what time we come to work and at night when we go home, we log out and tell the computer the time when we have finished work. During the day, every time we do a job, we will record how long it took us to do that job, who the job was for and what resources we used. So, we have an accurate record of all the work we have done for Senators and Members as to how much that cost us to do that work.
We also know what work our staff are doing. If a Senator rings us on Tuesday and says that he wants us to write a research paper on uranium policy of Australia and he may ring back to us on Thursday and say that he was talking with somebody in the library about his job on uranium policy of Australia but did not know who that person was, we can go into TIRTIS and say that that job is being done by this man and we will put his telephone call to him. So, we have this record all the time of the work we are doing. It is entirely confidential record. Nobody but library staff have access to it because we are not allowed to tell any Member about the work we are doing for other Members.
Dr. Jeune Verrier and Nda Adcock - some of you might be knowing that Nda Adcock is Dr. Jeune's deputy - visit all of our Senators and Members once each year. When they go to see them, they have the print out of all the jobs they had given to the library and they can tell quickly if the Senator or Member is using our research service, is using our electronic media monitoring services, is using our databases or using our allied services. They can talk to the Senators and Members and say 'well, I see that you often request Bills' digests and analysis of each Bill that goes before Parliament, but you never ask us to write a research paper. So, tell me, what your interests are and we will write some research papers for you.' So, we encourage them to think about using all of the library services, not just some of the library services. In that way, we get the Senators and Members relating better to the librarian and understanding our work a bit better.
We also make ourselves very busy by encouraging them to use the library services. That was just a brief introduction to the work we do in the Australian Parliamentary Library.
I will now turn to the Keynote Address that I wrote to present to you this morning. I am not going to read it; I am just going to point out several highlights that I would like you to pay attention to.
This Paper is called 'Library Services for Members' and it is divided into three areas. The first is 'Managing Library Collections including Digital Collections'. The second is talking about 'Exchange of Parliamentary Publications', and the third is talking about 'Human Resources Management' and how we provide training and development for our staff.
The thing I want to tell you about library collections, I guess, can be summarised very simply. When I started work in libraries in the 1960s, all we had to worry about was books, serials, newspapers, sometimes, films of 35 mm slides or map collection. We thought that was really difficult having to cope with all these things. By now, in 2005, we have to download from the web, we have got CD-ROMs, we have got DVDs, we have got floppy discs, we have got information coming at us in all sorts of formats, but we still have our print information, we still have the books, serials and journals.
Over the years, Librarians developed methodologies for dealing with the information in books and journals. We have things like the Dewey Decimal Classification System or the Universal Decimal Classification System. We have subject headings to help us describe the information in that print material. So, we have learnt to organise, record and make accessible all of the information in print form. The challenge we have had over the last ten to fifteen years is receiving all this information that now comes in digital form and also storing it, organising it and making it accessible to our users. I think, to me, what we need to keep in mind is the basic principles we used for print collections still apply to digital collections. We just have to do it a little bit differently; that is all. So, over the last few years, my staff have had to learn how to search the material on website. If they think it is important, they download it into our own electronic records repository so that we make sure we have always got it there permanently. I do not know how many of you use website, but sometimes, you find information one day, next day it is gone, and that is the day you want the information. That is why, we download it into our own repository and make it available so that Members and Senators can get access to that information even if it is no longer on the web. Things like CD-ROMs we have to make available by putting them in service and making them available across the entire network and that leads us to other problems about licensing and copyright issues. So, some of my staff have had to develop a lot of knowledge about laws of Australia in relation to copyright and licensing of material because some of the CD-ROMs and commercial databases restrict us to the number of people we can make this information available to. Sometimes, it is very expensive. If we want to make, say, FACTIVA accessible to all our Senators and Members, it will cost us, I am just trying to remember now, I think, about half a million US dollars per year. We do not have that sort of money. We cannot do that. However, if we make it only available to library staff, it only costs us less than 100,000 US dollars. So, a big service like FACTIVA we only make available to our own staff. If Senators and Members want to search, we will do it for them.
The other thing that has happened in recent years is the development of the Internet and, particularly, e-mail, and the way we use that. Firstly, there is a lot of information on the web. Some of it is no longer available in print formats. So, we have to make sure we have got it accessible. With e-mail, you can cut and paste from the web and just send an e-mail message to your client with that information, if necessary.
One of the services that we spend a lot of time developing is our Press Clipping Service, and some of us have been talking about that in the last few days. I thought I would give you a little bit of history about our Press Clipping Service. In the 1960s, we started this service and what we used to do is just cut the item out of the newspaper and put it in a folder and those folders were organised in very broad subject headings. That might be 'education', 'water resources', 'aboriginal affairs' and so on. They were all kept on shelves. Library staff will then search through them to find the information that Senators and Members had asked them for. In 2000, we stopped that because we now make our press clippings available on library databases with PDF file. Each morning, the Media Monitoring Service sends us a CD-ROM by 7.30 in the morning, and on that CD-ROM, we get all the major articles appeared in all the major Australian newspapers. Then, my staff refers to each of those articles and decides if they want to put it on the database or just leave it sitting on the CD-ROM. By nine o'clock each morning, we have the major articles from all newspapers on our database ready for Members and Senators to use, and that is usually around 300 to 350 newspaper articles each day. For the rest of the day, the staff index intensively those articles using our subject resource and applying data again to make it easy for Senators and Members to find that material. That is the service I was talking about a little earlier that receives 87,000 hits each month. So, we must be doing something right because people are using it all the time.
The major point I wanted to make talking about print and digital collections is, although the information we are dealing with is now in different formats and the tools we use are different to those that I started with in the 1960s, we still have to identify, select, organise and make accessible that information. So, the basic principles of our profession still prevail. The important thing that we always have to remember is, we are there to provide the information to the clients in a format that is easy for them. That is what we are trying to do.
I want to now move on to the exchange of parliamentary publications. I know I am going to get into an argument with at least one member of this audience when I tell you what I think about the future of exchange of parliamentary publications. I will just give you a little bit of history. For many years, most parliamentary libraries have sent each other copies of Hansard, all Table papers, all Minutes of Proceedings, all of the Parliamentary papers in their Parliaments. So, Australian Parliament sent all that material to all the Australian State Parliamentary Libraries, to Canada, to the United States, to the United Kingdom, I think, sometimes, we used to send it to Fiji and Papua New Guinea. It was all these big thick books which needed to be put on shelves somewhere and which not very many people used very often. But we all collected it and made sure that we had it available.
But, what has happened in the last ten years is a lot of this material is now prepared using word-processing equipment and it is electronic. The second thing that has happened is that many of us have had budget cuts and one of the things we have cut is printing a lot of our publications and posting them out to other people. We have just said, We cannot afford to do this any more. We will stop exchange of our publications with you. If you cannot afford to send us yours, that is okay because we can get it electronically. What this has made me realise perhaps over the last five years is, we do not really need these complete sets of Hansard, Statutes sitting in our libraries taking up a lot of space.
I think you will probably think I am very adventurous when I say technology has changed so much that I think we can now rely on our colleagues to provide us with this information electronically whenever we need it. That will cut our costs, will cut the size of our libraries and might be able to make the information available more efficiently. But, just think about it for a minute.
I think there are three problems with my argument. I will just tell you very briefly what they are. The first one is, a lot of this material is not available in digital format. If I want a Hansard Report from 1962 from the Indian Parliament, no way is that going to be available digitally. So, somehow I am still going to have to get access to the paper record.
The other thing is, a lot of smaller libraries in less-developed nations do not have access to E-mail or Internet. So, it is not so easy for them to just send off a quick message saying, Please send me that 1962 debate or Hansard, because they have not got the facilities to send it, they have not got the facilities to receive it either. So, that is the second problem.
The third problem is that although we think we are very important in our Parliaments, often the people who give us the money to make our libraries work do not think we are very important. They say things like, You cannot expand your library; there is no money to have a bigger library and to put more shelves in your library. In tropical countries they need special conditions to keep their records permanently. They have to be in air-conditioned and climate-controlled rooms. Otherwise, the paper will deteriorate and that can be a problem.
Then there are other matters we cannot control at all. I am thinking here of what happened in Fiji in the coup in the year 2000. The coup leaders moved into the Parliament House; took over the library; destroyed I think most of the library material, didnt they, and turned it into their laundry so that they can wash their clothes. So, even if Fiji Parliament Library had kept all of their records so that they could make them available to us, they were not there after 2000. They had been destroyed. So, I am being very brave in saying, Forget exchange of publications. We will go electronically from now on, but in saying that I know there are problems and we are going to have to work through those problems.
The last part of my paper is about training for Parliamentary library staff. There are really just two points I want to make in that. The first is, we recruit highly trained and specialised people to work with us, and that is a good thing. But the second point is that we must not forget that they have to maintain their skills and develop new skills.
As Carl said when he introduced me, I started in the 1960s when we did not have any of these technologies. In my career, I have had to learn how to use PCs, digital telephones, digital PDAs and all those sorts of things so that I can continue to provide services to library. So, I have to keep in mind that all my staff have to learn those new skills. So, in my library, we make sure we have enough money to provide funding for training, conference, for workshops. But it is not entirely up to us as managers to do that. It is up to all of our staff to be aware of courses that they might want to do and come and ask us. I can only say to all of us in this room, whenever you see something that you think you need to learn about, you must grab that opportunity and make sure you learn.
When PCs first came in, I could not get any funding from my library at that time to teach myself to use a PC. So, at the end of each working day, I went to a friends office and taught myself word-processing and spread sheets and all those sorts of things. I just spent three hours there every night for about two months till I felt that I was comfortable using that technology. So, you do not have to just rely on your bosses or your managers to provide you with money for training and for professional development. Sometimes you can do things yourself.
Now I just want to conclude by saying I am sorry if my paper has seemed to jump from one subject to another. I have dealt with three very separate topics but I hope that one thing that has come through to you is that we live in times of change and we must change with the times. Sometimes it is hard for us to do that; it is expensive, it is inconvenient, it takes time, it takes us away from our family. But we have to remember that we have got to continually change, to adapt, and to modify our work and our services. If we do not, we become irrelevant to our clients. If we are irrelevant, the Members of Parliament do not get the information they need. That means, their ability to do their work diminishes. As a result, our nations could suffer because we cannot provide the information our Members need.
Thank you very much.
MR. NAZEER MAHAR (PAKISTAN): You mentioned about seven subject specialist groups. What I understood is that they include librarians, researchers and reference specialists in each group relating to that subject. Is it so?
MS. ROSLYNN MEMBREY (AUSTRALIA): That is correct. That is the result of the change we made in 1997. All our research specialists and librarians who are reference specialists as well, work in the same groups.
MR. NAZEER MAHAR (PAKISTAN): What I would like to know further is the position of researcher in that group. What I assume from your comments is, it is the librarian that heads the researchers and all people in the group. It further creates a sort of a query relating to Australian library and other libraries as well that whether research as a profession can be guided and supervised by the librarians. Librarians, by very nature of their training and grooming, are not considered research supervisors. They do not have any professional expertise of research. They are information managers in contemporary times.
MS. ROSLYNN MEMBREY (AUSTRALIA): That is right.
MR. NAZEER MAHAR (PAKISTAN): I think there are two answers to that question. One is what Ahmed said the other day, Divorce the research staff and the librarians. I am going to fight with him about that later on. But the other answer is in allowing personalities in the way we work with the people.
In our library we have seven subject areas. Five of them are managed by research specialists and two are managed by librarians. We have developed a very close relationship between the research and the information specialists, and respect for each others work so that we work together without any barriers. We make sure, if research staff is not happy with the work that the library staff do, then they tell us about it so that we can correct our mistakes.
Similarly, if the librarians think research staff are making too many demands and might be able to do some of the work themselves, then the librarians can tell the research staff that there are better ways to work. It took a long time for this new system to settle down in our library. There was some tension between the two groups but it is now settling down. I think it is because we do have respect for each other and we have learnt to understand the way we work. I think, one of the reasons for that is whenever people start working in our parliament library, one or two things happen. We are to carry for the rest of our working life, for 20 or 30 years or whatever because of that we get to know of our colleagues very well and learn to understand the way they work.
If the research staff, in particular, come into our library and do not like the way we are working, they leave, they find another job and go somewhere else. So there is an exchange and a turnover which helps us to be on the top of the news. Is your question answered?
MR. NAZEER MAHAR (PAKISTAN): What type of research is required there? Is it some original research or a sort of analysis?
MS. ROSLYNN MEMBREY (AUSTRALIA): It is mostly analysis. We do not do original research. Having said that, some of my research colleagues might argue with me about that. They rely very heavily on other written research sources and do an analysis and prepare a different case which might balance different arguments.
MR. NAZEER MAHAR (PAKISTAN): So, it is a sort of position paper which they provide rather than a research paper.
MS. ROSLYNN MEMBREY (AUSTRALIA): Yes. This argument I often have in my place and often I say that we do not do research. But then the research staff say that you are underestimating our value in this library. Sometimes I run away very fast.
MR. CHAIRMAN: I understand that before 1993, there were no research service in your library. Am I right?
MS. ROSLYNN MEMBREY (AUSTRALIA): We started developing research services or thinking about it in the Sixties but it took us many years to get the money to start it. It was in early Nineties when we really started working together.
MR. FRANK CHRISTOPHER, LOK SABHA (INDIA): Thank you, Ms. Roslynn. What brings to my mind was what you mentioned on the first day after the inaugural speech by the hon. Speaker - the two things you mentioned. One was that of sharing of our knowledge, and the second, of course, learning more from India. These were the two things. I think what we are all talking about and which is in our minds is, whether we are librarians or information scientists because different terminologies are being used. We are researchers. We are all dealing with the information and knowledge. We are the users, of course, to provide the service. This is what our friend also mentioned. This is some kind of a problem which we of course have to think about and find a solution for. What is extremely important is sharing because ultimately it comes down to serving.
Parliament Library being the special library have got to keep that in mind in whatever format we use it. Here, I would like to share with you that we are also keeping up with the times. It is very inspiring of you to say that we are in the time of change and we have to change with the times. Even in the Indian Parliament, all the publications which we are bringing out - we have also cut down on the printing part - we are also using the format which is on the IT format. It is also available on the website. We have also - this is what strikes me - to work out a Working Group for all the 34 countries. All the problems which we are facing individually we have to find a solution collectively because sharing of information is important and which, our hon. Secretary-General right in the beginning of his keynote address mentioned about the Bluetooth technology. We have heard about the problems but I think I have not heard the word `virus' for instance. We have to see that the collection of information which we are doing on the computerised version. We also face that problem because the printed format or some of the printed work which was, maybe 400 or 500 yeas old, still exist because of the conservation and preservation. Similarly, information which we are storing, retrieving and using in the present day context in the IT format also has to be seen in that light. This is what my suggestion would be - we form a Working Group, whoever takes over, this is their responsibility.
MS. ROSLYNN MEMBREY (AUSTRALIA): I agree with you entirely. I think it is a very strong message which has come through you to us since we started meeting together. I had to give full credit to the Secretary-General of the Lok Sabha because I think he was the first who put this idea forward. Many of us heard that message. It is a good idea which we must consider. So, it is up to the new Executive of APLAP to see how we can move forward and make that happen.
MR. N.K. SAPRA, LOK SABHA (INDIA): I would like to put two or three specific questions. You have just referred to the press clippings part when you said that you receive CD-ROM from some agencies. Is it some private body? You get the CD-ROM by 7.30 in the morning. Do you get only the articles or the news part also? You referred to appointment of Subject Specialists by committees. Would you throw a bit more light on this? Are they temporary? What is the status of them in your establishment?
You referred to providing information so far as political viewpoint is concerned to a particular member but in our country Members may not be interested in their political viewpoint but in others viewpoint. What do you do in such a situation?
MS. ROSLYNN MEMBREY (AUSTRALIA): Thank you. The CD-ROM come to us each morning which have all the news articles in that day's newspaper, all the opinion pieces and all the editorials. About the analysis, I do not have the sports pages which we do not regard as being politically important or the social pages - Mr. Smith and Mrs. Smith went to the Art Gallery - or that sort of things. Nor do we have advertisements. Unless it is election time and the party advertisements and so on, we keep a record of. So, about 80 per cent of the newspaper is provided on the CD-ROMs. We have said to the suppliers, please these are the things we are interested in and we do not bother with all the other stuff. We co-ordinate it and we make it comprehensively. What we do first in the morning is selection - not only checking CD-ROM but they also have a copy of the newspaper beside them and if they see any article not on the CD-ROM then we would scan, convert it and make sure it is made accessible.
About Subject Specialists for committees - library has very little to do with committees as committees have their own departments who take responsibility for providing staff for the committees. It does not happen very often that library staff are used to work with committees directly as they usually often recruit their own Subject Specialists. He may be from academics; they might come from a government department; they may come from a lobbying group; or a commercial company if they have the special skills that the committee might require.
But wherever they come from, we make sure that we speak with them and tell them that the Library is here to help them. We tell them that these are the people who are subject specialists in the area that the Committee is investigating. You can talk to them any time and they will help you.
MR. N.K. SAPRA, LOK SABHA, (INDIA): Are they permanent employees or ad hoc employees for short duration or for some specific subjects or topics under consideration?
MS. ROSLYNN MEMBREY (AUSTRALIA): It depends on the length of the Committee. If the Committee is meeting for three months, then the appointment is also for three months. If it is a Standing Committee, it might be a permanent appointment or go for a long time.
About the political viewpoint, quite often we are asked to write papers criticising other parties policy. We will do that but we make it clear that the Member cannot quote the paper that we used because we do not want the Library to be seen as supporting or opposing any party.
DR. RAVINDER KUMAR CHADHA, LOK SABHA (INDIA): You said that you were taking different articles from the source and putting them on to your data base. That means, you are developing your own data base. I am not talking of the copyright issue. I just want to go a little technical. What exactly is the nature of data base management system that you are using? What is the back-hand and front-hand information? Is it a web-based data base? Is it accessible to all the Members and users or is it restricted to your library system?
MS. ROSLYNN MEMBREY (AUSTRALIA): I can talk on this subject for three days. I will try to summarise it very quickly. We are using the technology called FOLKRON, which is not what the library staff wanted to use in our Parliament. Until recently people who developed the data base through the computer network worked in one part of the Parliament and the library staff worked in the other part of the Parliament. When the decision was taken to establish the data base for Parliament which would include Hansard, proceedings, Committee Reports, as well as library data base, the computer people went away and did the investigation. They sought our advice otherwise, nobody ever listens to librarians. They decided that they would go in for FOLKRON technology which is, I think, a Canadian company. We said to them very early that this technology was not going to work properly for two reasons. One, it was not web-based; secondly, the front-end was extremely complex that they had designed. This made it very difficult for the Members and Senators to use. That is why, we had very low usage for the first few years. To make it even more difficult, the company that developed FOLKRON technology went out of business about two years after they had installed it and another company bought it. It did not re-develop or upgrade the software. So, for about four to five years, our system stayed static. It was a very clumsy, slow moving with very large complex data base system. Most of its users, even those who used it everyday, found it difficult to use. About 18 months ago, the computer people decided to put a web-based interface on top and make it easy to use. This resulted in the improvement in the usage. We are still saying that the original technology is out of date, it is irrelevant in 2005. We need a much more efficient and less time consuming system that will be easier for our clients to use. Just before I came away, my staff and myself were a little disappointed to receive a document from the computer people saying that these were the changes they were going to make to the software to make it better. We have been telling them for some time to forget about the present software and start looking for new software and make this system much better.
DR. RAVINDER KUMAR CHADHA, LOK SABHA (INDIA): I will refer to another problem. This is a problem of technology. There is another problem attached to it. What happens is, when you start downloading the article from the net and keep it in your system, it may be fine for a year or two years or three years. But, slowly and gradually, the technology gets upgraded and the material you had kept five years back or ten years back, their format may not be readable in the next generation software or hardware. We have migrated ourselves during the last ten years at least four times. Every time, the material that we had taken five years back or ten years back, that becomes almost non-readable. The technology people ask us to change and upgrade and migrate from one platform to another platform and change the electronic material. But it is not possible. The material is not mine. It is easy if I have done all this. What I do is, I download it from somewhere else. It is in a format which has been done by somebody. It is not possible for me to convert this data because they are not my data. The data, which you captured ten years back, will not be accessible. If it is accessible, it will not be readable in that form. You are doing this job. I am finding it difficult because I thought we would go in this fashion. What are you doing for that?
MS. ROSLYNN MEMBREY (AUSTRALIA): The library staff has been talking about it for a long time. When the system started first, we were using SGMO system, which was, at that time, an advanced system and was supposedly accessible. But that was not the experience. We then converted to XML system, which was a much more new system. We decided that whatever new system we would move to, we would make sure that we would upgrade the system and not lose any information. It has to be a seamless operation that can be loaded into the system. We are very much worried about it. Open access is really the key. We have to make sure about it.
DR. RAVINDER KUMAR CHADHA, LOK SABHA (INDIA): How many staff members are working in the press clipping project?
MS. ROSLYNN MEMBREY (AUSTRALIA): The total strength is 26, out of whom 13 are professional librarians and 13 are supporting staff who will create PDF file and load the material into the data base.
DR. RAVINDER KUMAR CHADHA, LOK SABHA (INDIA): Are you getting PDF from all the newspaper agencies?
MS. ROSLYNN MEMBREY (AUSTRALIA): We are getting the material from all the major Australian newspapers.
DR. RAVINDER KUMAR CHADHA, LOK SABHA (INDIA): I would like to know whether everybody gives you in PDF format.
MS. ROSLYNN MEMBREY (AUSTRALIA): The CD-ROM comes to us with PDF format. We have told the suppliers to do that.
DR. RAVINDER KUMAR CHADHA, LOK SABHA (INDIA): You will face the problem after five years. What about earlier press clippings? Are you in a mood to convert them into electronic format?
MS. ROSLYNN MEMBREY (AUSTRALIA): Yes, we want to do that. Every year we go to the people with the Budget and tell them that we want money to do the retrospective . We are particularly worried about the clippings we created in the sixties because the paper now is going yellow and very brittle. We are trying to have some sneaky way to do that. Once we have the technique, we will be doing it very quietly.
DR. RAVINDER KUMAR CHADHA, LOK SABHA (INDIA): Is this also on the FOLKRON software?
MS. ROSLYNN MEMBREY (AUSTRALIA): It would be made compatible with the FOLKRON software technology date base.
DR. RAVINDER KUMAR CHADHA, (INDIA): Now, let me come to exchange.
MS. ROSLYNN MEMBREY (AUSTRALIA): I am waiting for the argument. I am sure, Mr. Frank Christopher is going to argue with me at some point!
DR. RAVINDER KUMAR CHADHA, (INDIA): Certainly I would also advocate that we must talk about exchange in electronic format because it is less space consuming, much faster and much easier too. Do you think that we must exchange the CDs in the way we used to change the printed materials so that we are able to maintain our own system, as Ms. Azeem was trying to emphasise on? Or should we rely on the information which is available in the database or available with you so that whenever there is a need, we could access it?
This possibility is fine, when we are talking about parliamentary publications. When we are talking about other official publications, they need not be of parliamentary in nature, but which are Government publications of different countries, like USA or any other country, then how do you look in this in the current scenario?
MS. ROSLYNN MEMBREY (AUSTRALIA): There are two issues. The first is about CDROMs. I do not really like to collect anything in CDROM anymore; I would rather put the information straight into a server and make it accessible.
The second is the problem that we in Australia face actually with regard to Australian Government publications.
DR. RAVINDER KUMAR CHADHA (INDIA): No. The first question is this: would you like to receive data from other countries and put it on to your server or keep it in a CD or would you like to put it at respective places so that others could access it?
MS. ROSLYNN MEMBREY (AUSTRALIA): I would not rather keep it in server and if you want I will send you an e-mail or you will send it to me.
DR. RAVINDER KUMAR CHADHA (INDIA): Okay. Then what about official publications?
MS. ROSLYNN MEMBREY (AUSTRALIA): Dr. Karl is just reminding me that we are running out of time. So, we must need to close this session and move on to the next part of it. Is that right?
MR. CHAIRMAN: Yes.
MS. ROSLYNN MEMBREY (AUSTRALIA): Okay.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Probably, we can continue to discuss this in the afternoon session, particularly about the IT applications.
Now, we will move on with the presentation of country paper from Cambodia.
Sorry. We need to thank her. Dr. Ahmet please.
DR. AHMET YILDIZ (TURKEY): It is the last word. When I first joined this Branch of our Library, I was a Ph.D. student and one of the lecturers was an Australian. He congratulated me for having joined the research service and said that the Australian Research Service is considered to be a very distinguished position.
So, now Ms. Roslynn presented us a very good presentation, a new but experienced way of digitalisation, in terms of providing information to our end-users. It is a case of flexible, dynamic, user-oriented and self-learning. So, I would be the one who should be thanking her for all this illuminating and thought-provoking presentation. Thank you.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Now to follow our programme, we will have the presentation of country paper from Cambodia.
May I call on Mr. Momkhlem Khlemchan from Cambodia?
Is he not here? Maybe, he is staying in his hotel! So, we will skip this part of the session.
If you all agree, we will close this session much earlier because of the absence of the country report. Is that okay?
Otherwise, is there any expert opinion or other views?
If there is nothing, we will close this session much earlier. Thank you.
We have time to have our lunch. Probably, we can use this time for a free discussion. Now, formally this session is closed.
The Conference then adjourned for Lunch till Fourteen hours.
The Conference re-assembled after Lunch at 1408 hours.
(Ms. Katherine Close, New Zealand, in the Chair)
MADAM CHAIRPERSON: May I call your attention to the next session this afternoon, which is on Bringing Parliament Nearer to the People? Certainly, it is going to be an interesting session since that is our aim.
I would like to introduce Mr. N.K. Sapra, who joined the LARRDI Service in 1976 and so, obviously has had many years of Parliament service. He is one of those who started with Parliament and stayed and stayed because they really enjoyed the challenges of work. He has obviously developed a lot of experience and we are going to benefit a lot from his Report. He has had academic accomplishments. He obtained Masters degree in Political Science, M.B.A. and LL.B.; Post-Graduate Diplomas in Journalism, Public Relations and French Language from prestigious Universities in India and is a distinction holder from Delhi University.
Mr. Sapra was deputed to undergo professional training in Parliamentary Administration from the Royal Institute of Public Administration, London. He organised and set-up the first-ever Exhibition of the Lok Sabha Secretariat in a foreign Parliament (viz. The Russian Duma). He also represented India at the Sixth Conference of Association of Parliamentary Librarians for Asia and The Pacific (APLAP) in Tokyo. He was also assigned to work as Secretary to the 109th IPU Conference in Geneva.
Mr. Sapra has served the Lok Sabha Secretariat in different capacities (mostly in LARRDIS). He had also been closely associated with several renowned departmental publications, like Journal of Parliamentary Information, Whos Who of 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th Lok Sabhas. "Rajiv Gandhi and Parliament, Calligraphed Constitution of India, and many other publications.
Mr. Sapra has also accomplished a variety of assignments, both at national as well as at international level. His areas of expertise include information management, public relations, media relations, editing of journals, research and reference services and other services for Members of Parliament and Departmentally-Related Standing Committees. At this time he is holding the post of Joint Secretary in charge of the Research Wing, Media Relations, Members Services Branch, Members Salaries and Allowances Branch. He is looking after ten committees including three prestigious Departmentally-Related Standing Committees.
With this much of introduction, I would like to give the floor to him and would like to hear from him.
MR. N. K. SAPRA (INDIA): Madam Chairperson, thank you very much for the nice words that you said about me.
Distinguished delegates, observers, my colleagues in the Parliament Secretariat, ladies and gentlemen: It is indeed my privilege to have this opportunity today to deliver this Keynote Address on `Bringing Parliament nearer to the people -- Communicating Parliament to this distinguished audience. In fact, communication is the need of the day. The intellectual audience that has gathered here is already aware as to what is Parliament, what is their role and what is communication. In fact, all of you who are here are the best communicators. You communicate with the media, you communicate with the legislators, you communicate with the public around you. So, I need not go into the definition of Parliament and communication or the various aspects connected therewith. But I would like to suggest a brief definition of the term `Communicating Parliament, particularly with regard to the role of media institutions in their public capacity. These are such processes of information and cultural exchange handled by the media between the Parliament and the public which are socially shared, widely available and are for common use. In fact, I should have used the word `communal but that sounds somewhat derogatory and that is why I am saying `for common use. This definition covers not only traditional mass media but also many of the publicly available communication services based on telecommunication. It also covers much of the activities of public libraries, exhibitions, public relations and publicity activities, websites, etc. In other words, this is a very broad concept which is continuing, widening in its scope and reference. You are already aware of the role of parliament around the globe since you have been working with the parliaments and communicating to your institutions.
Parliament is not confined only to enacting legislation. It has become a multinational institution. Some of the cardinal roles and functions of Parliament are ensuring accountability, law making, having control over Budget, having financial control, constitutional functions, educational role, informational role and it also is a training ground for future leadership and their recruitment as well. On the importance of Parliament, I recall the famous saying of Mr. Powel, a British Conservative Party politician who said during a discussion on BBC way back in 1979 that `take parliament out of the history of England, that history itself becomes meaningless. Incidentally, this definition includes not only Britain but equally applies to each and every parliamentary democracy under the Sun.
On the need of communicating Parliament, I feel one of the most important elements that strengthens parliamentary democracy is the accountability of the Parliament, accountability of the Members of Parliament and the accountability of the Government to the people at large. This accountability can be ensured only through transparency and this transparency could only be brought out by media and by various other modes. Media can, however, function only if the desired freedom is granted to it. In our polity, in India, so far as freedom of Press is concerned, it is implicit in the Constitution. It is not explicit. But media is quite free to express its views. They have access to various Government decisions, Parliament and various other places. Freedom of Press is imbibed under freedom of speech and expression under article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution. Of course, there are certain restrictions and they are genuine ones. They are contained in article 19 (2) of the Constitution.
Relationship between Parliament and the media has often been a subject of intense discussion. Media acts as a vital link between people and Parliament. On the one hand, the media convey to the people the summary of the parliamentary proceedings, on the other hand the Government is able to assess the nerve of the people as to what they feel about the Governmental decisions and what they feel about Parliament. So, it is a sort of two-way communication between the Parliament and the people. All said and done, there is a lot of information dissemination through Parliament and the people and what they feel about Government decisions.
Though this communication is there, yet there is a big communication gap. Media is not necessarily always a goodie goodie one. They clamour for information which many a time puts the Government in the dock. A lot of work is done by all Governments around the world, even Parliaments, through various committees and various conferences, through various other media and through many other activities of the Parliament, but the positive aspects of the Parliaments many a time goes unnoticed and the people are not aware of them. Therefore, there is an urgent need to highlight the positive aspects.
A variety of means which normally the Parliament adopts to highlight the positive aspects are public relations and media services, telecasting, parliamentary museum and archives, training aspects and by granting research services to various people both from media and the field of academics. Some such means may include media exercises, broadcasting, telecasting, setting up of museums and archives, conducting Youth Parliaments and holding competitions amongst themselves, facilitating research on parliamentary subjects, conducting refresher and orientation programmes for MPs, media and Government officials throughout the globe in various Parliaments, organising conferences, seminars, symposia, workshop not only at the local level but at international level as well.
In bringing Parliaments nearer, efforts made by the electronic media are quite significant. For example, the crop of news channels that have emerged particularly in the last decade in India have been offering a variety of programmes to the general public like interviews, group discussions on specific issues of social, political, economical, constitutional and parliamentary importance.
I must say that private media is quite efficient. They are pro-active. They have been organising almost a programme daily. However, the relationship between the Parliament and the Media is not always a cordial one. Regardless of conflicts between them on occasions, they are inseparable components. Co-operation between them is indispensable in order to protect the right of the public to know and provide parliamentarians with the publicity on which they depend. For this reason, Parliaments invariably provide the media with the facilities they require.
In most of the Parliaments, special rooms are provided to the media for interaction with the Members of Parliament and other parliamentarians. In Israel, the Knesset provides foreign reporters with equipment for direct transmission to their own countries. In almost all the Parliaments, access to various places in Parliament premises is granted.
In Australia and Canada, for example, accredited members of the Press Gallery can have access to Parliament Library and the Members Restaurant. In British Parliament, they do not have any unrestricted access to the Library. But they have their own special rooms where they can discuss with Members of Parliament, interview them and they have their own library especially for the Media people. Some senior correspondents in Britain are given access to the Lobby where they can have direct one-to-one talk with the Ministers and even with the Prime Minister sometimes.
In the United States, the Speaker of the House of Representatives holds a daily Press Conference. In Yugoslavia, arrangements are made for daily contacts between deputies and accredited journalists. Facilities for holding Press Conferences and the issuance of regular Press releases are the services provided by most of the Parliaments. It is within the authority of parliamentary chamber to withdraw Press privileges in cases of impropriety. Normally, Parliaments do not do it. They feel that if the newspapers are deprived, then it means reporting on parliamentary affairs would not reach the public.
Now, coming over to the Press and Public Relations Wing in India, it was set up in 1956. Of course, prior to that, a small section had been in existence. But full-fledged section came into being only in 1956 and whatever expansion that we find nowadays in various other services like telecasting, Parliament Museum and Archives, etc. are facilitating our research work. This was basically handled only by the Press and Public Relations in the initial phase. Its work includes wider coverage of various parliamentary proceedings, events, activities and functions connected with Parliament and its various institutions. The work mainly involves maintenance of liaison with the print and the electronic media and it is looked after by the Press and Public relations Wing. All matters concerning the Press Gallery of Lok Sabha providing facilities to the media persons, dissemination of information in various forms and other allied matters are handled by this Wing.
Admission of newspapers, news agencies, electronic media, Press Gallery facilities to correspondents under various categories, increase in the quota of Press Gallery passes, allotment of seats, issuing of annual/sessional/temporary Press Gallery passes, etc. are dealt with by this Service.
Presently, about 200 daily newspapers, news agencies and electronic media have access to the Press Gallery. About 450 regular correspondents have access to it out of which, say, almost one-third have access to the Central Hall where they have one-to-one interaction with the Members of Parliament and Ministers. Still, 12 very senior journalists who have devoted their life to parliamentary proceedings have access to the Lobby of Parliament. However, this has been restricted to 12 at present. Only when a vacancy arises out of these 12, the next senior person can have access to the Lobby.
The facilities that we provide to the media, which are of course free of charge to the Press correspondents, include supply of daily agenda, Bulletins, reports/statements laid on the Table of the House, access to Parliament Library, Audio-Visual Library, three Press Rooms in Parliament House, two media work stations in the Parliament Library Building, photostat and local fax facilities, polaroid photo-laminated passes and medical facilities in Parliament House/Parliament House Annexe.
In addition to this, particularly the electronic media have been provided facilities of interviewing Members of Parliament, dignitaries and Ministers at designated spots. You must have seen the statue of Mahatma Gandhi in front of gate No. 1 of Parliament House. This is one such spot and about ten electronic media people are always there to interview the senior Members of Parliament and get their viewpoints. One is across the building near gate No. 4 of Parliament House.
For this purpose, there is a Press Advisory committee. Hon. Speaker of Lok Sabha appoints this Committee every year which acts as a bridge between the Parliament and the Media. It broadly recommends grants of accreditation to the Press Gallery, examines complaints against any media persons, suggests suitable action if there is any erring journalist, looks after the facilities needed by the media for discharging their duties and advise on any other matter sought by the Speaker from time to time. The Press and Public Relations Wing provides the secretariat to this Committee. This Press Advisory Committee may examine any such issue and suggest course of action even against an erring journalist or where they are apprehensive or doubtful of his credentials. Press releases is just one part of the Press and Public Relations wing.
The next is public relations functions which are also looked after by this Wing. In addition to the Press releases, this Wing always attends to enquiries from individuals and institutions for supply of general information on Parliament and parliamentary activities. In furtherance of its PR relations, this Service also brings out a variety of publicity materials which include a set of 27 Information Folders, a copy of which, I hope, you must have already got by now.
It also brings out a chart on our Parliament. This is mainly for distribution to the schools, colleges and various other educational institutions. This is also provided free of cost to them. Whenever any school or college or any educational institution visits the Parliament House, we do provide them with this chart.
Since the year 1999 we have been bringing out calendars on various themes. Every year we bring out a calendar on different theme so that information about parliament is properly disseminated to the public at large. Let me show them to you. Of course, all these calendars are mainly connected with Parliament and parliamentary activities. We do provide one calendar to each and every Member of Parliament and each employee of the Secretariat. These calendars are so popular that Members are always after us to provide them with more calendars so that they can distribute them amongst their constituents.
While moving around Parliament House, you must have come across various mural paintings. This was incidentally the very first calendar brought out by parliament in the year 1999. The theme was 'mural paintings in the parliament precincts'. In the year 2000 the calendar was on the portraits of national leaders which have been installed in the Central Hall of the Parliament House. Next year, it was about the statues of national leaders installed in the Parliament House premises. Next year, the calendar was about buildings of State Legislatures. In 2003, the calendar was about various photographs pertaining to various sites in the Parliament House. You all must be knowing that President of India addresses Members of Parliament of both the Houses assembled together every year before the beginning of the Budget Session. Whenever he comes here, he comes in a procession. We have printed some photographs of those processions in the last year's calendar. This year's calendar is about the Parliament Library Building. Incidentally, it coincides with this distinguished Conference. We will provide you all with a calendar each to bring back the memories of this Conference.
Let me now come over to the next aspect of my presentation, which is about telecasting and broadcasting of Parliamentary proceedings. This aspect has been wrestling in the minds of various parliaments throughout the globe, whether to allow or not to allow television cameras in the Chamber. Many parliaments have been hesitating, but most of them have already started radio broadcasting, which is less controversial. It has already been started in New Zealand. It was started in the year 1936. In the year 1946, Australia took the lead in sound broadcasting. Regular sound broadcasting of proceedings of both Houses of Parliament was started in the UK in the year 1978. The very small parliament of Solomon Islands has been regularly broadcasting radio broadcasts. Television being a visual medium, it reveals a great deal more, not merely the sound. It is seen by the viewer as it really is and not as represented by others. It is direct, without any cutting and without any editing. There is no rehearsal for that. Whatever the Members speak or whosoever is there at that particular moment, that is recorded as it is. In fact, the television cameras in the Chambers are an extension of the Press Gallery. It brings parliament to the homes of all who care to tune in their television sets.
Frankly speaking, television is a factor which has to be reckoned with in the parliament's public relations. Whatever parliaments do, it is here to stay and it cannot be ignored. Among the parliaments which have installed television cameras, only a few provide live coverage of all the proceedings. They are Bulgaria, Canada, Denmark, Hungary, Iran, Scotland, the UK and the USA. Incidentally, the parliaments of the UK, the USA and Scotland have provided for live coverage of committee proceedings as well. So far as Scotland is concerned, the rules of Scottish Parliament are least restrictive in the world, allowing for generous use of reaction shots and shots of public gallery. Even other major democracies might not have resorted to such freedom. Most of the other countries permit live telecast of special events and highlight of proceedings in the news inserts.
So far as Indian scenario is concerned, we have taken special steps to record, telecast and broadcast the proceedings of the House with the help of the official media, that is Doordarshan for telecasting and All India Radio for broadcasting. For the first time, a beginning was made in this direction when President's Address to Members of both the Houses of Parliament was telecast on 20th December, 1989. Since then, there has been no looking back. Next year, General Budget and Railway Budget were telecast. In 1994, we installed two Low Power Transmitters to telecast the proceedings of both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. It was within the range of 10 to 15 kilometres from the Parliament House. Both the low power transmitters were installed in the Parliament House itself. It could be transmitted only within that range. Since December, 1994, we have been telecasting the Question Hour of both the Houses of Parliament. Of course, one week for Lok Sabha and other week for Rajya Sabha. That was telecast throughout the nation in the morning from 11 a.m. to 12 noon. In later years, of course, a Doordarshan news channel was also introduced. But the reach of that news channel was also within the metropolitan cities. It used to be for one week. When Lok Sabha proceedings were telecast on the national channel, the Rajya Sabha proceedings were telecast on the DD news channel and vice-versa. All India Radio has been broadcasting the recording of the Question Hour, not live broadcasting. It is the recording only. It is, of course, unedited. It is broadcast late in the evening, rather late in the night, after 10 pm. Several important events like President's Address to both Houses of Parliament, presentation of General and Railway Budgets, debates on Confidence Motions and No-Confidence Motions, election of Speakers and Deputy-Speakers, oath taken by the Members and certain other debates of importance have also been invariable carried by primary channels of both the media. Only in December last year, precisely on 14th December, which was a landmark in the history of telecasting of parliamentary proceedings, two separate dedicated satellite channels for telecasting live the entire proceedings of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha nationwide were launched.
The entire proceedings of the two Houses of Parliament are now being telecast live through separate, dedicated satellite channels by Doordarshan, and, of course, carried by cable operators.
I would like to add a bit about the impact of the live telecast. You may be aware that people in South Asia are great cricket fans. Whenever there is a cricket match, people are just glued to their television sets. I, however, recall that when the Confidence Motion was being debated during the Twelfth Lok Sabha, the rating of Parliamentary proceedings had suddenly gone up dramatically. People appeared to be listening to the debate instead of watching cricket matches although the Vajpayee Government fell by a single vote. But the impact made by his partys star orators across the nation through the live telecast was enough to bring them back to power to rule for almost the entire term of the Thirteenth Lok Sabha. That was the impact.
Back to pavilion, I would like to say that the Audio-Visual Unit was set up in 1992 to provide facilities for listening to/viewing the audio-visual records of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha debates, proceedings of national and international Parliamentary events and activities, Conferences, Seminars, Symposia, Workshops, to Members, media persons and even general public who intend to view and request for the same.
This Unit of the Library preserves the video cassettes, CDs of debates, proceedings, etc. due to their archival value. Arrangements have also been made for dubbing of speeches of Members into VHS cassettes and CDs on a nominal payment. Members are very much interested in having the CDs since they want to convey to their constituents what they do in the House. They want to take the VHS and the CDs back to their constituencies. They want to tell their people that they have been raising issues of their interest in Parliament.
This Unit has also acquired various Linguaphone Courses in Indian and foreign languages, audio-video cassettes which are available for listening to and viewing by Members of Parliament and others.
Incidentally, my friends here from the Asia-Pacific would be glad to know that our collection of 23 Linguaphone Courses also includes cassettes on Chinese, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean and Malay languages. So far as the other countries are concerned, if they are aware, they can tell us that such and such Linguaphone Courses in their languages are available. We would very much love to add them to our Audio-Visual Library for the benefit of our Members of Parliament and other users.
The Audio-Visual Unit has VHS cameras, editing equipment and a Viewing Room in the Parliament Library Building. With the help of VHS cameras, our in-house editing team records almost all the Parliamentary functions, events and activities. As a part of the modernisation of Audio-Visual facilities, a state-of-the-art studio and production control room in digital format, equipped with post-production editing facilities are being set up in the Parliament Library Building. Video viewing arrangements are also proposed to be modernised by providing multi-media facilities. Guidelines have also been set for recording, telecasting and broadcasting the proceedings and supply of video cassettes.
Incidentally, it may be mentioned that many roadblocks for live telecast of the entire proceedings or providing footage to various agencies have since been cleared by our present Speaker, Mr. Somnath Chatterjee.
In order to telefilm and telecast live the complete proceedings of Parliament in a better manner, a sophisticated modern robotic camera system was installed in the Parliament House. A Robotically-controlled Multi-Camera System and the Production Control Rooms have also been set up in the Balayogi Auditorium and the BPST Main Committee Room. They are here itself. May I request the distinguished audience to lift their eyes and have a look at the robotically-controlled cameras here? These are four cameras installed here. A feedback from here can be given for the live telecast to any channel.
As an extension of telefilming and televising of Parliamentary proceedings, six Parliamentary films have already been prepared. We are in the process of making many more films. The purpose of these films is to disseminate information about different aspects of parliamentary practices and procedures, especially for the use of the new Members of Parliament and State Legislatures.
Coming to the role of Museums and Archives, I would like to say that they are, nowadays, the places of learning, research and communication in contradistinction to previous years or previous days. They seek to preserve, interpret, educate, inspire and stimulate. In the evolution and operation of the constitutional system and parliamentary institutions, Museums and Archives have particular relevance in the present day. While all over the world there are national or State-level Museums and Archives devoted to a wide range of subjects and fields, in the very nature of things, they cannot afford to provide the necessary breadth and depth in a specific specialised area like that of Parliament. It is only the Parliamentary Museum that can provide that input. Around the globe, although not much effort seems to have been made to create institutional frameworks, some countries like Australia, New Zealand and Uganda have taken very keen interest in recent years to set up Museums and Archives. In the U.K. although there is no Parliamentary Museum or Archive as such, but the Clerk of the Journals exercises overall responsibility for the preservation of all records. In Canada, the institution of the Public Archives has assumed responsibility for collecting historically valuable Parliamentary papers accumulated by the Prime Ministers, Cabinet Ministers, Dignitaries, Members of Parliament and Senators.
Japan has set up a Parliamentary Museum in March 1972. This Museum, which is a subordinate body of the House of Representatives, has its main purpose the collection and preservation of reference materials relating to Japans Parliamentary politics.
I recall that I had attended the IFLA Conference in Tokyo in the year 2000. I had particularly visited the Museum. Only last night, while going through the photographs of my visit there that year, I just came across one photograph of a model of the House of Representatives. I recall that it was electronically-operated. Whenever the button was pressed, the Speaker got up and ordered one Member. When he got up, light was focussed particularly on that Member. Again, there was a reply from the Treasury Benches and a Member from the other side. It was a real experience for me. Hopefully, while we are in the process of setting up our Museum, that would be of much help. I feel this is one of the purposes of interactions. The relevance of such interactions is that we learn from each others experience.
Coming back to the subject, Poland has also taken a decision to establish an organised Museum Exhibition within the Parliament building with a view to presenting the rich Polish parliamentary history.
The origin of Parliamentary Museum and Archives in India can be traced to 1976 when it was set up as the Parliamentary Archives of Photographs and Films. It was done with a view to preserve the past and the present for the future by protecting from the ravages of time and neglect all the precious records, historic documents and articles connected with the Constitution and Parliament, and through them to make the history and growth of parliamentary institutions and the political system better understood by one and all. The outcome of all these efforts led to the inauguration of the Parliamentary Museum and Archives on 29th December, 1989. After this building was inaugurated on 7th May, 2002, a permanent museum is in the process of being set up in a very spacious hall here.
The basic aim of our Museum and Archives is to function as a treasure house and research and communication centre. For this purpose, it acquires, collects and preserves a variety of objects or materials connected with Parliament and parliamentary institutions in India and abroad. These include rare objects, relics, models, paintings, photographs, audio-video materials, gifts and other parliamentary antiques like old historical furniture, wigs or dresses of parliamentary officials, manuscripts, private and personal papers of eminent parliamentarians, unpublished dissertations and small items which have been used by dignitaries connected with Parliament and parliamentary institutions. It could be a small pencil. It could be a pen used by a former Speaker.
The PMA has three distinct wings, namely (i) Parliamentary Museum; (ii) Parliamentary Archives; and (iii) Parliamentary Photographs and Films.
The collection of the Parliamentary Museum is so planned and exhibited as to give an integrated look and to provide a ready record of the developments, achievements, experiences, ideas, persons and events. Our future planning is directed towards dissemination of information about parliamentary institutions and the projection of a proper image and the encouragement of healthy respect for Parliament by stimulating interest in its growth, activities and achievements by the students, by the future generations of India and by the general visitors to that Museum.
Presently, our collection has models of 15 State Legislature buildings, eight foreign Parliament buildings, blown-up colour photographs of 80 foreign Parliament buildings and many more other interesting objects which may include the gown and wig worn by the erstwhile President of the Central Legislative Assembly and personal articles of our first Speaker, Mr. G. V. Mavalankar. The Museum also has more than a thousand stamps and more than 100 First Day Covers issued by our Postal Department from time to time and stamps of various other countries of the world, ashes of Mahatma Gandhi in a silver-bronze container and a fragment of moon presented by a parliamentary delegation from the United States.
The Parliamentary Archives is mainly concerned with the acquisition, storage, systematic cataloguing and preservation of precious records, personal papers of parliamentarians, historical documents and other documentary materials for promotion and dissemination of research and other literary activities in the field of our system of nation-building. Presently, we have about 40,000 documents of 61 eminent parliamentarians and freedom fighters.
Coming over to Parliamentary Photographs and Films section, we acquire, preserve, catalogue and display the photographs concerning all parliamentary activities. This section of the PMA also organises various temporary exhibitions. Such exhibitions are normally organised on the occasion of a new Lok Sabha being constituted or when Presiding Officers Conference takes place every year or when the statue of a national leader is unveiled in the Parliament precincts. Specialised exhibitions on various themes may also be organised by this section. Incidentally, like the present Public Relations wing, Parliamentary Museum and Archives also brings out a variety of publicity materials, for example, a set of folders on Indias democratic institutions. This contains eight folders on how democracy took shape in India. This was also brought out by the Parliamentary Museum and Archives section.
Presently, we are in the process of setting up a permanent museum in this very building. The proposal for developing and setting up a permanent structure, state-of-the-art museum in an area 11,500 square feet is under very, very active consideration and, if I may say so, it is almost in the final stages. This proposal envisages a world class hi-tech museum with the most impressive communication techniques and a dynamic display with flexibility of incorporating future additions in the exhibit structures. Technically, it will be a permanent exhibition, but we could also hold temporary exhibitions in this hall.
As soon as this process starts, the plan being visualised by the internationally renowned Museologists would take about a year. If you happen to be here next year, hopefully, we may be in a position to take you round our permanent museum and we would love to welcome you on that occasion.
Coming over to the Bureau of Parliamentary Studies and Training, I must say that Parliaments around the globe are now more conscious of their duty as well as the right to keep the people informed about their system and intricacies of the system. In the present age when Parliaments are obliged to pay far more attention to the publics right to know, it needs to be ensured that they are properly informed by disseminating authentic knowledge about the working of the system in our polity.
Various Parliaments offer a variety of training programmes to select groups, parliamentarians, administrators, experts, school and college-going children and legislators. Such training programmes may range from imparting basic knowledge about the system to a highly specialised one, for example, Legislative Drafting course. Training about the working of a Parliament and its system is also imparted under several exchange programmes. Some of the countries which offer parliamentary studies and training programmes under institutional arrangements are the U.K., the USA, Canada, Australia, Germany, Sweden and, of course, India.
The Bureau of Parliamentary Studies and Training was set up in January, 1976 as an integral part of the Lok Sabha Secretariat.
It is designed to provide the legislators and officials with institutionalised opportunities for problem-oriented studies and systematic training in the various disciplines of parliamentary institutions, processes and procedures.
The Bureaus activities include holding of orientation programmes, seminars, training and refresher courses, appreciation courses, study visits and so on and so forth. The orientation programmes for newly elected Members of Parliament and State Legislatures are aimed at familiarising the Members more closely with parliamentary traditions, operational mechanism and etiquette in order to help them in making the best and the most effective use of the precious parliamentary time.
The Bureau also organises seminars and specialised workshops. I would like to make a special mention here of the training programmes that we offer for officials of foreign parliaments. Parliament Internship Programme and International Training Programme in Legislative Drafting are the two very prestigious international programmes. The aim of Parliament Internship Programme is to provide to the foreign parliamentary officials an opportunity to exchange ideas in the context of their own experiences in the legislatures and to make them learn from our experience here in India. So far as the International Training Programme in Legislative Drafting is concerned, its purpose is to assist the Legislators of developing countries in drafting Private Members Bills, presuming that they do not have any infrastructure for learning the art. So far, 20 such programmes have been conducted by the Bureau of Parliamentary Studies and Training.
Coming to the last part, Facilitating Research on Parliamentary Systems and Institutions, Parliaments all over the world have been extending access to genuine researchers and scholars to the holdings of their Library and allied services. The purpose of granting the functional facilities is to ensure that the research on specified parliamentary topics is not hampered for want of original sources, besides enabling them to present an analysis on the basis of accurate and factual information and data. Many Libraries also extend certain facilities like providing free Photostat facility, consultation of original and rare documents, referring to audio-visual materials and other archival records relevant to their research study. In most of the countries, research on such topics is funded either by the individual researcher or by the universities, NGOs, private or statutory bodies. In our Parliament Library, we also grant access to the library to bona fide researchers for doing original research on parliamentary and constitutional subjects and extend certain other facilities to them during inter-session periods.
Since 1996, we have been granting two Research Fellowships, one in Hindi and another in English, every year for producing original studies in the fields of parliamentary institutions and systems, parliamentary practices and procedures, committee system, parliament and the people, and so on and so forth. So far, we have granted seven Fellowships for conducting original studies.
Since the year 2001, we have also been granting Fellowships for writing monographs. So far as Research Fellowship is concerned, that is of a longer duration, almost of the level of a Ph.D.; but so far as writing monographs is concerned, it is of a shorter duration, say, six months. So far, we have given three Fellowships for writing monographs.
A Fellowship Committee is appointed by the hon. Speaker, Lok Sabha, from time to time. It invites applications, scrutinises them, and makes recommendations for award of Fellowships. I must say that this is a very prestigious Fellowship. So far, only two or three Fellows have been able to finalise or complete their studies. This Committee is also assisted in its work by the Press and Public Relations Wing. As I said earlier, every activity has emerged from the Press and Public Relations Wing. In course of time, I feel, this Committee might also emerge as an independent entity from the Press and Public Relations Wing.
Before I conclude, I would like to say that communicating Parliament is not the function of only the services mentioned above; it is a continuous process. This is basically a public relations function, wherein every official, not necessarily connected with the services concerned, has to present the right image of Parliament and disseminate factual information. Every official has to act as an ambassador of Parliament, as an ambassador of the Legislature, and as an ambassador of such conferences.
In every PR or other communication activity, technical advancements in various mass media, their hardware and software, play a great role. But the role and attitude of the top leadership always plays a bigger and greater role. If the leader himself has the PR-orientation and the right perspective, he shall not only himself have a knack for the mass media mix but also guide and lead others to follow in removing the hurdles and barriers, including bureaucratic wranglings and delays in the way of perfect mass communication.
In the case of the Lok Sabha, the hon. Speaker, Lok Sabha, Mr. Somnath Chatterjee has taken several steps in taking Parliament to the doorsteps of the people in a short span of six to seven months of his taking over the charge. It is only due to his initiative that parliamentary proceedings are now telecast live throughout the nation by satellite channels. He also feels that proceedings of the Committees should also be carried live. With the stroke of a pen, he removed the procedural hurdles in the way of telecasting the so-called Zero Hour.
He has a clear perception, right attitude and the perfect initiative for bringing in the desired transparency by direct telecast of proceedings. He has thus effectively brought the Public Gallery to the houses of the people, if they wish to witness the debates. He feels, the people have the right to know as to how their representatives behave and act in Parliament.
Hon. Speaker, Lok Sabha, has also increased the frequency of interactions with media persons. He meets a variety of media persons - editors, correspondents, electronic media, regional Press, national Press - and apprises them of developments in Parliament and tries to facilitate communicating Parliament to the people through them. The message is very loud and very clear.
Such steps, I feel, would go a long way in bringing the transparency in the functioning of the Government and the Parliament and would definitely benefit the society in the long run.
MADAM CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, Mr. Sapra. You certainly touched on a lot of things that were very interesting to me. In New Zealand, we are just about to launch the telecast of proceedings of Parliament.
MR. N.K. SAPRA, LOK SABHA (INDIA): I would like to make a request. I might have been lacking in information or data as compared to my colleagues here. If you find that I have been lacking somewhere, kindly correct me and send me the information. It would definitely enlighten me.
MADAM CHAIRPERSON: We have got time for some questions. But please remember, you have to turn your microphones on and give your names. I am sure, Mr. Sapra would be happy to answer your questions.
MR. SUNIL DUTT NAUTIYAL, RAJYA SABHA (INDIA) : Sir, in your talk you have very rightly brought out the different aspects of Parliament which bring the Parliament nearer to the people. You have given the details about the various agencies in Parliament like the Press and Public Relations Wing to help in disseminating the important parliamentary activities to the people through media. I would like to say one thing in this regard. In fact, way back in 2000, there was a Conference on the relationship between media and Parliament which was held here in Delhi and the representatives of the Commonwealth Parliaments and the journalists participated in that. One of the recommendations of that Conference was relating to the need for familiarising the journalists and correspondents who are covering the proceedings of parliament with the intricacies of Parliament, as you rightly pointed out, about the functioning of the Parliament and its activities.
I would like to inform that for the first time in August, 2003 the Rajya Sabha organised a two-day orientation programme for journalists and correspondents who are covering the proceedings of the Rajya Sabha. There was a tremendous response to that and nearly 70 of them attended that programme. I think this was a very important step in the right direction. What happens generally is that the common people get the image of Parliament through their reading about it in the newspapers. The newspapers generally highlight the trivial aspects of Parliament. I was discussing this with Ms. Roslynn Membrey and she also agreed with me that this is what is happening in other Parliaments also.
It is important for the correspondents and journalists who are covering the proceedings that they appreciate the better aspects of Parliament, as you say, the positive aspects of Parliament. For this, it is necessary that they are not only familiarised with the practice and functioning of Parliament but it is also important on the part of the Press and Public Relations Wing that we have in Parliament, to coordinate. We have also set up the Press and Public Relations Unit in the Rajya Sabha on the pattern of the Lok Sabha regarding the relations between media people and Parliament and how they should be nurtured. They should be told that there are serious discussions being held in the House and they should also highlight them. There are some very important recommendations of the Committees which should also be highlighted by them so that the people come to know as to what the important recommendations are or which debate is taking place inside the Parliament. The people should know these things. This happens only when there is a constant nurturing of the bond between the Press and Public Relations Wing and the media people.
This is what I wanted to say. Thank you.
MR. N.K. SAPRA, LOK SABHA (INDIA) : I fully agree with you on this aspect. So far as we are concerned, we have been constantly interacting with the media. I am afraid, you do not have the Press Advisory Committee, but we do have it in the Lok Sabha. This has been in existence for the last 75 years. Incidentally we are going to celebrate 75 years of this Press Advisory Committee. We propose to hold a seminar in that connection. Earlier it was scheduled to be held in January, but because of this Conference we have postponed it. We have been constantly interacting with the media. They come to us for the facilities they require. If we have any problem with any media persons, we request them to look into it. Ab initio they take certain steps and advise or guide us. I must say that this mutual relationship is a very cordial relationship that we have. It is in the interest of both media as well as Parliament. The ultimate beneficiary is the general public. They come to know as to what is happening.
I agree with you that normally very trivial and very minor issues are taken up by the media. But it is their job. If we have to project our image we have to work towards it. I just said that there are so many other avenues. We have been following them. With the live telecast of the House proceedings, we are almost reaching the drawing rooms of the people, if they care to tune in. It is not only with reference to the parliamentary proceedings but it is also with regard to the other conferences also. If we had desired, this Conference would also have gone live throughout the nation.
MR. SUNIL DUTT NAUTIYAL, RAJYA SABHA (INDIA) : Are there mechanisms of re-assessing how the activities of Parliament are being reflected in the media in a positive way? There should be a mechanism of feedback.
MR. N.K. SAPRA, LOK SABHA (INDIA) : I am proud of the democratic polity of our people who are so mature that they cannot be befooled. Of course, once we have the ability, capability and the capacity, then we can reach to them as to what is being done in the Committees, what is being discussed in the Parliament etc. or which legislation is being made for their benefit. Once the proceedings of the Committees are telecast live our hon. Speaker has it in his mind almost that the proceedings of the Committees should also be carried out live then people would come to know what is happening. Lot of work is being done in the Committees.
Many times people ask me that your House is vacant, Members are strolling here and there, nobody is there, the empty benches are there, etc. Once I tell them that just go and see in the Committees they would know it. At a particular moment, when the House may be having only three or four or five or ten Members, the Committee rooms must be full; the Members must be busy doing serious parliamentary work. It is not that the work is being carried out only in the cozy and comfortable Committee rooms of Parliament House here but elsewhere also. Last year I was looking after the Urban and Rural Development Committee. When there was scorching sun at 50 degrees, the Committee Members were going round in the villages in the mud houses. We had gone there for three or four or five days together seeing the very small hutments that were being made by the Central assistance. We had gone there. So much of parliamentary work is being done. But it is not properly projected. It is only a question of right projection.
MR. SUNIL DUTT NAUTIYAL, RAJYA SABHA (INDIA) : Regarding the live telecast of the proceedings of the two Houses of Parliament, which has been done in the Winter Session recently, you rightly pointed out that this important step will bring the Public Gallery of Parliament into the drawing rooms of the country. I just want to ask one question. Sometimes there may be some unparliamentary language being used by the Members during such discussions in the House. How are we going to deal with such things?
MR. N.K. SAPRA, LOK SABHA (INDIA) : So far as telecasting is concerned, we are just helpless. The expunctions can only take place at later stages. As I said earlier, our people are so mature that they know what this gentleman is saying on the floor of the House. They may not be carried away by what he is saying every time. Whatever that Member or the leader is saying, his constituents may not be befooled every time.
MR. MOMKHLEM KHLEMCHAN (CAMBODIA): Sir, I would like to ask you some questions relating to the topic with respect to Lok Sabha in India. First, when the House is in Session or during the debates, are the proceedings broadcast directly on TV or on air? What is the voting system in Parliament of India? Then, I would like to ask about Researcher Service in Lok Sabha. Most of the researchers who are doing research, are they gathering information from primary data or secondary data to serve your MPs here?
MR. N.K. SAPRA, LOK SABHA (INDIA): I am sorry that I could not understand properly your first question.
MR. MOMKHLEM KHLEMCHAN (CAMBODIA): My first question related to the telecasting of proceedings when the House is in Session. Is your Information Department broadcasting the proceedings directly by TV or by radio, through private people or Government agencies?
MR. N.K. SAPRA, LOK SABHA (INDIA): So far as live telecast is concerned, as I said earlier, parliamentary proceedings were carried live initially through a low power transmitter having a range of ten to fifteen kilometres around the House. Then, a second channel was introduced some two years back and the primary channel carried alternatively the proceedings of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. The proceedings of the other House were carried on the other channel, that is, DD News channel which was transmitted only in the four metropolitan cities. Then, only in December last year, two satellite channels have been dedicated for parliamentary proceedings. Now, these feeds will be carried by cable operators and relayed throughout the nation. Action has already been initiated in this regard.
So far as second part of your question is concerned, frankly speaking, it is not the primary data on which parliamentary researchers rely; it is secondary data. We do not take responsibility for authenticity of any particular data because we always mention our source. Normally, this source is a Government organisation or a public undertaking or such other reputed body, but not a private body.
So far as primary data is concerned, as I said in my Address, for facilitating research, the fellowship that we offer is for the original work of that particular researcher. He is not an employee of this Secretariat. He has to do original research. Based on primary sources, he has to go and consult various debates. Even he goes to various places to conduct his research.
I am sorry that I was deprived of your talk this morning. We missed you.
MADAM CHAIRPERSON: Now, we close this session. I would request Ms. Azeemunnisa Khan to offer vote of thanks.
MS. AZEEMUNNISA KHAN (MALAYSIA): Mr. N.K. Sapra, thank you for giving us such an in-depth knowledge of the importance of communicating Parliament to the people. I am sure that all of us will agree with me that though we had a talk today, it was actually a lecture because he has covered so many aspects of the importance of communicating Parliament to the people and the various ways to do so. I am sure, when we go back home and assess our Parliaments and our services, we will find that we are very much lagging behind. I am sure, you will agree with me that we all have to have Lok Sabha as the benchmark when it comes to communicating Parliament to the people. I am sure that when I go back, this is the first thing I will do. I have taken down all the points mentioned by him. I would like to ask you if I can have a copy of your speech.
MR. N.K. SAPRA, LOK SABHA (INDIA): Definitely.
MS. AZEEMUNNISA KHAN (MALAYSIA): When we go back home, we would like to have a copy of it because you have covered so much and that too in depth. He has mentioned the important role that we have to play in regard to communicating many things of Parliament to the people which we have not thought about. We as Librarians always leave it to the Public Relations Department to do that job. As Librarians, we feel that we also have a role to play in communicating Parliament to the people. For example, Lok Sabha has started publishing its calendars. I never thought of it. Then, Lok Sabha has introduced Parliament to school-children. I am sure that many of us have not done this in our respective countries and not brought Parliament nearer to school-children yet. We only think of communicating Parliament by way of normal means of media like newspapers, news channels, etc. Even news channels only talk of prime news, the peak hour news.
He has also told us why it is the responsibility of ours, the Parliament staff, to communicate to the people the role of the Government and the Government polices because it is very important for the public to know what is going on in Parliament. I am sure, many people do not know that. He has talked about the importance of dissemination of information regarding Government's role and policies to the people at large, but yet he comments that still there is a communication gap. He mentioned about the positive aspects of Parliament which are not known to the public. He has touched on public relations exercises carried on in Lok Sabha. I am sure, he has touched upon various aspects which are carried out in the Parliaments all over the world.
Then, he mentioned about the importance of organising conferences and the importance of having news channels which will communicate to the people and publicise the co-operation between the Parliament and the people.
He has also given an overview of the media needs. He mentioned the importance of museum and archives, which I totally agree with. Many of us do not have Department of Museum and Archives in our Parliaments. Parliament of Malaysia has not even started thinking of having this Department yet. I am sure, when we go back, we have to think about its importance after listening to his lecture. I have understood why it is important to have a Department or Unit of Museum and Archives. It enables us to put our collection in archives before it gets lost or is not cared for.
We have also learnt from him the importance of having the parliamentary photographs and films and the importance of having exhibitions, study visits, training programmes and holding seminars like this one. I understand that your study visits have been carried on for many years.
MR. N.K. SAPRA, LOK SABHA (INDIA): They are there since 1976. It is going to be almost 30 years now.
MS. AZEEMUNNISA KHAN (MALAYSIA): I hope, many of us will be invited for your study visits.
MR. N.K. SAPRA, LOK SABHA (INDIA): Yes.
MS. AZEEMUNNISA KHAN (MALAYSIA): I am sure, we will benefit very much by that. Then, he mentioned about orientation programme for new parliamentarians and workshops, and fellowship studies. I do not know from where you get money for all this.
MR. N.K. SAPRA, LOK SABHA (INDIA): The money comes from the budget of Parliament.
MS. AZEEMUNNISA KHAN (MALAYSIA): What I liked most is his last comment about the role of the top leadership. I think that is really something which we can learn from him. The top leaderships plays an important role in bringing up the image of Parliament. I am sure, you will agree with me. I really appreciate his comment on this topic like he said how top leadership in just few months has brought up the image of Lok Sabha not only in the eyes of the public in India, but also the rest of the world.
I think, he has covered most of the topics and comments. I am sure, most of you agree with me when I say that we have to say a big thank you to Mr. N.K. Sapra for giving us such an in-depth account of this topic. Thank you.
MADAM CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. I now give the floor to Mr. Momkhlem Khlemchan of Cambodia to present his Country Paper on Cambodia, which he was unable to do this morning.
MR. MOMKHLEM KHLEMCHAN (CAMBODIA): Good afternoon, dear colleagues. I am sorry for being absent this morning and thus not being able to present this Country Paper of Cambodia.
Before I start my presentation, I would like to welcome all our colleagues. If you have any questions or if you want to ask anything about my country or the National Assembly of Cambodia, you can do so after I complete my presentation.
Today, I am very happy to be here. Please allow me to express my hearty deep welcome to the International Delegates and APLAPs colleagues attending the Eighth Biennial Conference in the Main Lecture Hall, BPST, Parliament Library Building in New Delhi, India. It is my honour and privilege to be here with you this morning. I take this opportunity to thank you very much and the UNDP in Cambodia for extending full support for attending this Conference.
As you may know, there are some challenges in my country in upgrading the services to the legislative bodies step by step such as information, research, library and some documentation which are almost duplicate. This includes managing most of the second hand books donated by the Asia Foundation, embassies, others and NGOs and based in Cambodia.
We have very few new books in library and other expert commissions or departments related to the Secretariat-General of the National Assembly, Cambodia. Since 1993 until now, we do not have much budget to buy new books that are most related to the lawmakers. As such, the library is quite small with a seating capacity for around 10 to 15 people, after it was established during 1993 and 1994 with assistance from the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), Asia Foundation, etc.
Now, the library has a collection of about 3,000 books in languages of Khmer, English, French and others with subscription of about 38 newspapers, magazines. Most of the departments do not have an annual budget for publication or purchasing new books or journals, except monthly bulletins on MPs activities.
After Cambodia suffered chronically in the wars for more than two decades, I believe that we will learn and share new skills to improve ourselves. We need to strengthen the leadership of this new generation, develop the human factor, infrastructure, to reform the education system and administration management in this country through the process of democracy etc.
However, I have the honour to appreciate the gathering here which is trying to exchange knowledge and experience. We particularly appreciate the Distinguished Guests for their exemplary work in capacity-building and for their activities in research and library services which have so greatly benefited our parliamentarians and our people.
This Conference is an important factor in our efforts to strengthen capacity-building and in the context of the changing dimensions of parliamentary library and information services in the Third Millennium among the countries of Asia and Pacific Region and world wide, especially in the era of globalisation. I will share all my knowledge and experience gathered from this Conference with my department at the Secretariat-General and try to help in doing its best in modernisation as much as possible.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for coming to this important Conference of the Eighth Biennial APLAP.
My name is Momkhlem Khlemchan; you can call me KC. I am doing work on information services for parliamentarians and library and research services since 1994 at the Secretariat-General of the National Assembly of the Kingdom of Cambodia. I am pleased to be here to meet our APLAP family who have come to participate in the Eighth Biennial Conference. I would like to thank specially the organisers for making it possible for me to be present at the Conference. I am also very pleased to thank my main sponsor, the UNDP.
Cambodia is a country with a total population of approximately 13 million people. Phnom Penh is the main Capital. I am cutting short my presentation here for lack of time.
The majority of Cambodian people are followers of Theravada or Hinayana and Buddhism, and other religions. Ninety per cent of the people follow Buddhism and the remaining people follow other religions.
From the allures of ancient temples of Angkor to the sights and sounds of Phnom Penh, the country has a wide variety of experiences to offer by way of ancient heritages. From 1863 until 1953, Cambodia was a French colony. After Independence on 9th November, 1953, King Norodom Sihanouk came in the era of royalist regime.
The country continued to develop, but there was political instability in Cambodia in the 1970s. But in 1975, the Khmer Rouge overthrew the Government and the period of extreme hardship continued for more than three years. The whole country was thrown into turmoil and people were forced to leave the towns and cities and went to live in the countryside. The country was like a prison where thousands of people died of deprivation, torture and starvation. During that period, from April, 1975 until January, 1979, schools and universities were closed and libraries fell into neglect. Finally, in January, 1979, the Khmer Rogue was driven out by the Vietnamese troops supported by Cambodian forces, who had previously escaped to Vietnam.
After almost three decades of armed conflicts and then, the recent events of July 1997, the royal Government has taken the lead with financial assistance from donor countries in setting and managing the domestic agenda. The Cambodian authorities worked hard to reach internal compromises and agreements, organised and conducted universal elections in 1998 and the first communal elections in early 2002 that will replace government appointed leaders with elected ones. This will be an important step towards democratic decentralisation.
Now, Cambodia is part of the family of the Association of South East Asian Nations, and has joined ASEAN Free Trade Agreement and the World Trade Organisation, etc.
The National Assembly was established in 1993 on the basis of the results of the universal elections that have been organised by United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia according to the Paris Peace Agreement of 23rd October, 1991. Thereafter, the Kingdom of Cambodia had its first Constitution.
On 23rd May, 1993 was elected a Constitutional Assembly which would develop a Constitution. Contesting in the General Elections were 19 political parties for 21 Constituencies to elect 120 parliamentarians. The Constitution was promulgated on 24th September, 1993. At the same time, the Constitutional Assembly became the National Assembly for the first term for a period of five years starting from 1993. The first-term National Assemblys composition was: FUNCINPEC : 58 seats; Cambodian Peoples Party : 51 seats; Buddhist Liberal Democratic Party : 10 seats; and MOLINAKA : 1.
The second General Elections took place on 26th July, 1998 with 39 political parties competing for 122 seats for 22 Constituencies. Of the 122 Parliamentarians, there were 64 of Cambodian Peoples Party; 63 representing FUNCINPEC; and 15 representing Sam Rainsy Party.
The Third General Elections were held on 27th July, 2003 to elect 123 Parliamentarians with 23 political parties competing in 24 constituencies. The elected Parliamentarians comprised of 73 members of Cambodian Peoples Party; 26 members of FUNCINPEC, and 24 members of Sam Rainsy Party.
With respect to legislation, the National Assembly of the first term had adopted 90 laws and the National Assembly of the second term had adopted 86 laws. The total of the adopted laws by those two terms was 176 laws.
Also, in 2000, as the National Assembly building was too small in comparison to the number of the officials and support staff, the General Secretariat decided to move a number of departments and offices to be stationed outside the building which earlier represented a Buddhist Institute.
At the beginning of 2003, due to the increase of workload over the period, the Permanent Standing Committee of the National Assembly decided to build another new National Assembly palace in an area located in Sangkat Tonle Bassac. The new National Assembly complex will be completed and inaugurated in the beginning of 2007. We are getting financial support from China for this.
The draft laws or the proposed laws shall be tabled first before the Permanent Standing Committee of the National Assembly. All draft laws or proposed laws shall be in written form, divided into articles and accompanied by explanatory notes.
The Permanent Standing Committee shall review the draft laws or proposed laws and then decide to submit them to one of the nine Expert Commissions of the National Assembly. Owing to paucity of time I would now cut short my presentation.
The National Assembly is assisted by nine Expert Commissions. The Secretariat of the National Assembly is elected by a two/thirds majority in the National Assembly and nominated by a Royal decree.
About the General Secretariat, we have seven Departments. They are: Department of Administration, Department of Personnel, Department of Finance, Department of Internal Relations, Department of Legislation, Department of Legal Researches, and Department of Communication/Information. In these Departments we work closely with each other. After about every three-four years, the staff moves from one Department to another. Earlier, I was in the Library for four years. After that I was doing legal and general research for four years. After that I moved to Information Department. A couple of months later on, I will move from Information Department to International Public Relations. So, the staff keeps moving within the General Secretariat.
I would like to tell the APLAP family that Cambodia is an under-developed country. Among the 75 poor countries around the world, Cambodia is still counted among the poorest. It is very hard to communicate with the world for us as we have no communication networks. It is very hard to communicate with our friends in the world. This is the first step for Cambodia to reach out and link with the world.
In conclusion, I would like to request all of you to help Cambodia in building up the sectors of information, human resources, manufacture and infrastructure; and help Cambodia as far as possible. We can work as people of the world. We Cambodians are still suffering from the memories of war. I have seen war in my lifetime. I do not like war. I like peace as any other person in the world does.
We are very much suffering. We need the help from the world. Thank you for giving me an opportunity to present my presentation.
MADAM CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, Mr. Momkhlem Khlemchan. I hope everybody would read his paper to fully understand the situation in which he is working in Cambodia. We would certainly hope how best we can help in this situation. We have got to go quickly and there is another session to go. I may leave at 5 o'clock and go home. I would miss the last two sessions of the Conference unfortunately.
We will take a tea break. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and I am sure you would certainly enjoy the rest of the discussion. Thank you very much.
The Conference then adjourned for Tea.
The Conference re-assembled after Tea at 1627 hours.
(Shri John Joseph, India, in the Chair)
MR. CHAIRMAN: Welcome friends to the last session of the day on IT in Parliamentary Library and Information Service.
The other day, when the keynote address on the Changing Dimensions of Parliament Library and Information Service in the Third Millennium, Mr. G.C. Malhotra, our Secretary-General had made a brief description of the achievements the Parliament libraries have made in the field of information technology and how the IT is used in the service of Members of Parliament, he had also made projections into the possibilities of the use of IT in Parliament libraries. Today, to deliver the keynote address on IT in Parliamentary Library and Information Service we have with us Dr. Karl-Min-Ku, Chief Secretary, Education and Culture Committee, Legislative Yuan and Vice President of APLAP.
Dr. Karl has been associated with the APLAP since its founding in 1990. He was the Vice-President of the APLAP for two terms from 1990-1994. He was the President, two years term, of the APLAP during the years 1994-1998. Then there was a gap of just two years and again he has been the Vice-President of the APLAP. So, he has been the longest serving office bearer of this Association. It is not simply because he has been with the APLAP that he has been picked up as the keynote speaker on the subject of IT, but his contribution in the field of IT in the service of the Chinese Taipei Parliament has been significant.
He was the Project Leader in 1984 and he developed the legislative information and development project. It was with the assistance of the Asia Foundation of the USA. In 1985, he set up the Legal Information Centre in the Legislative Yuan. In 1986, he set up a Computer Centre and developed a Chinese full code for the information of the Chinese-speaking people. In 1992, he developed seven databases for the use of Parliament in Taiwan. This had become operational in 1992 itself. It is open for the general public as well as to the Members of Parliament. In 2001, he set up a Digital Library in the Parliament and this was brought to the knowledge of the IFLA Conference in Boston in USA, which was very much appreciated by the people there.
In 2002 he had set up a new Knowledge Management system in the Taiwanese Parliament. This was, I am told, for the first time that such a system was introduced in any Parliament library in the world. He is now incharge of the Current Awareness Reporting Service of the Parliament. This service is used for the purpose of giving information to all Members of Parliament on the developments that are taking place in the Parliament. On the basis of requests from Members, information is supplied to each and every Member through email so that they can know what is happening. In this way he has been doing his best to give benefits of Information Technology for the improvement of the working of the Parliament. In tune with the suggestions made by the Keynote speaker during the first theme, he would now be telling us about the prospects of IT in the Parliamentary Library Services.
May I now request him to please deliver his Keynote Address.
MR. KARL-MIN KU, CHINESE TAIPEI, VICE PRESIDENT OF APLAB: Many thanks to all the friends here. As we are talking about IT/ICT application organisations or an organisation, the first thing we need to study or understand at large is about the functions that an institute would be performing. Parliament library, as I understand, is one such kind of an institute.
In the 21st century there are three basic functions, as I understand, for any parliamentary library. These tasks are to provide a democracy memorial of the country; to serve as to conduct the freedom of information and access to legislation and to offer the Knowledge Management (KM) for the Legislature and the Members Office. These services should be provided to the Parliamentarians and the law-making researchers in each country.
The goal of these tasks will not be achieved and we even cannot get any proper results for its service purpose if we ignore the current IT/ICT applications and the Parliamentary library service system. The service-oriented applications should be within an IT/ICT complex.
In general, an efficient IT/ICT technology system complex which when applied in a Government organ like the legislative branch, which consists of at least four components, should have enough capacity of hardware. We need to have enough cyber space. Then, there should be a dynamic software which should be upgraded all the time to provide information. It should be like a live chain. Then, there should be a multi-communication channel netware for service purposes. Most importantly, we should have machine readable dataware. All the above mentioned IT/ICT wares have to integrate into a web-based platform and upgrade to a level of Knowledge Management system. Thus, the IT/ICT system complex can provide a variety of information/knowledge services to match the functional goals. Data/Datahousing/Dataware is the key element of any successful information system be it a traditional library, a hybrid library or a digital library at large. Data is the basic processing element for any information. Information is the basic connecting element for any knowledge. Data, information, knowledge can form a chain, a cycle; they also can appear in the different forms from the cycle. The relationship of data, information and knowledge is just as like the relationship of water, ice, snow and steam. However, they all are the resources of wisdom and the vital energy of human activity.
During the past three decades, telecommunication technology has been progressing rapidly. Vast application development in human society and the media message process which includes data, voice, image and graphics are all in a revolution of digital status and digitalization. Therefore, data/datahousing/dataware that conveys the messages must be brought under proper IT/ICT applications to support directly as a real time solution in an on-line digital library. In other words, a knowledge-based service can be provided by an on-line digital library through the network system and website service. In our I got some initial experience about it and I named this kind of library management and services as a "Weblibrary", a concept which I presented as a paper at the IFLA open meeting in Boston, USA in the year 2001.
Today we trust that data, information and knowledge are highly sophisticated components of digitalized library for its content management. Content Management is a process of problem solving for the knowledge providing service to the knowledge consumer, various clients and users, in an enterprise, Government agency or institute. Librarians have a lot of content management experience from both digital and non-digital library management.
For instance, before library automation, librarians used manual catalogue system, bibliographies, and periodical index to provide proper knowledge contents from a book or a couple of books/materials. And in this computerized age, MARC, machine readable catalogue format, about which the delegates mentioned this moning, is the most important part of the process. It helps librarians in managing bibliographies and index for the knowledge media control, whatever it is monograph, an article from a periodical, a music record or even AV materials.
MARC breaks a new frontier of the bibliographical management system indeed. It also brings a powerful tool for tracing knowledge content and context also. Consequently, a new series of information services such as ISAR (Information Storage and Retrieval), SDI (Selective Dissemination of Information), citation indexes and so on has been created for the librarys clients.
Since the 1980s, the industry of database is in a mature stage as all kinds of database are being produced during these years. It consists of numerous database, bibliographical database, text database or document database, image database, etc.
So, the digital databases are gradually becoming the major media of knowledge collection in our library. Database collections which are connected on the website, partially substitute for the book collection in recent years. And this approach will be more and more advanced in the coming years, and the web-based library will become a new pattern of librarianship. It now serves as the knowledge base for the economy, society and knowledge in this new century.
Although a library has to play the important role of knowledge media storage at any time and anywhere, on the other hand, how the mining and finding out of useful and meaningful information/knowledge from this kind of storage whatever it is traditional collections or modern collections in digitalized form on the web is still a big challenge to all librarians and knowledge managers. We, librarians, are one kind of knowledge managers. For the readers, the knowledge consumers, content service is a practical reality indeed.
Today, content management must depend on the metadata. Metadata is literally data on data. A librarian not only can design the metadata for the different knowledge domain or different knowledge media if it is necessary, but also knows how to implement it into an information system for the clients. Therefore, library and information professionals may all agree with that famous and foremost sentence in the circle of computer people that the content is the king of any information system nowadays. This key concept was approved in the last decade of the last century because we are also a main pillar of human resources in the information system for our Parliament service.
For librarianship development, Internet/Intranet system assists us to organise a service net that can offer proper information and the knowledge at the right time for the right people with the required effect. By the way, content resources can concentrate on a website that serves as the knowledge base for the library knowledge service.
The Parliamentary Library in my country, Legislative Yuan started its first computer application project in 1984. The purpose of this pilot project was to develop a series of Chinese Database Information Systems and to provide them for public access. In 1992, we finished our first project including all of its computerization planning and seven database information systems of legislation such as the Chinese Code database. Most of you may understand the US code used in the US Congress. During the 1960s, we collected all kinds of amendments from the legislative records in our system and we finished collecting also other data base during 1992 including Legislative Literature database, the Interpellation database and so on. And the system could be accessed via the telecommunication equipment either inside or outside of the Parliament because that period was pre-Internet age. We did not have Internet as yet in 1992. But after 1995 or 1996, we used the Internet system to have a proper kind of database access.
In 1998, the parliamentary library started the second stage of its IT/ICT application project with construction/implementation of the web-based digital library and offered personalized services through the Internet system. After this paper and the paper of my colleague, Mr. Wang, we will bring some more information through our DVDs which will be complementary to the two papers from the Taiwan delegation.
The website library contents can be divided into five domains or, as we call them, zones, each with its own type of service suited to the different character of the information it supplies. These distinct domains of service and content were named browsing zone, searching zone, disseminating zone, reference zone, and leisure zone.
And in the year 2001, the organisation entered into large-scale development of a knowledge management system as the third stage of IT/ICT application for enhancing the legislative services to the Member's Offices and the public as well. Here, I have to mention that in our country, in Taiwan, we have about 225 seats for the Parliament. Each Member has his own office. In each office, he or she has, at least, six to ten staff. We call them private or personal staff. They are meant to serve Parliament Office. So, the major users or the major clients of our library are the Member's Office or the personal staff of the Member's Office. That is what I have to mention. Two years before we finished e-content news knowledge management system. That was, as I understand, the initial part of the results of the third stage of the IT/ICT application of our Parliament library.
After this, we have another paper. Let me introduce my colleague, Mr. Show-rong Wang. He will present that paper. He serves as the Director in the Parliament library since last summer. Later, he will present a paper focussing on the e-content news knowledge management system.
The IC/ICT experience reminds us, reminds particularly me, that I or we have to understand and catch up with the dynamics of IT/ICT application and development domestically as well as globally.
MR. CHAIRMAN: It was an interesting, brief and informative presentation. Does anybody want to ask any question or want to make any comments?
DR. KARL-MIN KU (CHINESE TAIPEI): May I ask my colleage Mr. Show-rong Wang to present the paper? Then, we may answer the questions together. Okay?
MR. SHOW-RONG WANG (CHINESE TAIPEI): Good afternoon everybody. My name is Show-rong Wang. I come from Taiwan, not Thailand, not China. I am from Taiwan. It is very great to see all of you, everyone of each country. It is my honour to have this opportunity to present our article to you on the management strategies of the e-content news knowledge management system and services for Member's Office of the Parliament.
If there are any questions after my presentation is over, Dr. Karl-Min Ku told me, that he is ready to answer them. It is because he served our Parliament Library as a Director for nearly twenty years. He devised the system, conducted it, completed it and improved it. So, he is very familiar with the system. Now, let me begin my presentation.
It is about the management strategies of the e-content news knowledge management system and services for Member's Office of the Parliament
The e-content News Knowledge Management System serves as a result of the third generation of IT/ICT application development in Taiwan's Parliamentary Library. The system is designed to provide a fully digitised environment for the Members and staff of Parliament to manage their daily news collection work. This article describes the system's development background, the evolution of News Services, and the management strategies of the KM System.
Background and Forward
Taiwan's ICT applications have experienced a fast growth in the country in the past two decades and become a highly popular phenomenon across the main segments of the population, including enterprises, academic institutions, industries, the Government and Parliament. The evolution of the Chinese Language Information Technology in the 1980s that can process around a hundred thousand Chinese characters was critical to the implementation of ICT applications.
The Legislative Yuan, the Parliament of Taiwan, started her first computer application project in 1984. The purpose of this pilot project was to develop a series of Chinese Database Information Systems and to provide them for public access. In 1992, the first project completed almost all of its computerization planning that included seven database information systems of legislation which could be accessed via the telecommunication equipment.
In 1998, the organisation started the second stage of its IT application project with construction/implementation of the web-based digital library and offered the personalised services via internet. And, in 2001, the organisation engaged in a large-scale development of a knowledge management system as the third stage in the ICT application for enhancing legislative services to the Members Offices and the public as well. All the three stages of the IT/ICT applications and services were devised/conducted by the Library and Information Service (the LIS) of the Parliament whose official name now is the Parliamentary Library (PL) of Legislative Yuan.
Second, I come to the evolution of news services. Daily news is an important media for understanding and catching up with the dynamics of the socio-economic, domestic and global concerns. The news information service has become a trend within every Parliamentary Library around the world since the latter part of the 20th Century.
As for the news services in our Parliament, we have witnessed its evolution spanning five main phases:
News clipping and filing services;
News images in microforms/micrographic services.;
Computerised news index services;
News document databases with the images/CD-ROM services; and
E-content news knowledge management services.
The British newspaper librarian, Mr. Geoff Smith, once pointed out that libraries which hold newspaper collections and provide services based on them, and users wishing access to newspapers and their contents, have experienced many times of change for years and will continue to do so in the future. New technologies have been and continue to be developed which offer opportunities for improvements in access, while traditional methods of collection and preservation remain in widespread use and are an essential understanding for improvements to access in the future.
Today, the challenge is how to consolidate the discrete news services in libraries that were created in different periods and integrate them into one service system, ensuring that the users will get the correct and complete information they need.
Third is the management strategies of E-content news.
The News Content Knowledge Management (KM) System of the Legislative Yuan in Taiwan was launched in May of 2001. The KM System is a fully digitalized (e-lized) functional operation system which include e- acquisition, e-collection, e-mining, e-maintenance, e-service, and e-delivering operations for both e-content and metadata of 1.5 to 2 million news items or pieces in each year beginning from the year of 2002. The management strategy for the system can be described briefly as follows:
About acquiring the raw data of daily news items directly from the 23 contracted media companies, except for commercial advertisement, the e-content News KM System acquires all the issued news, including nationwide and local news, metropolitan and suburban news, as well as any rural village or small town news, the newspaper issues.
Using automatic download technology to collect raw data in a variety of news formats from the computer centres of the contracted media companies and loading it into the PL system, which runs every day from 11.30 p.m. to 4.00 a.m.
Mining and organising the collected raw data by using a system of peoples names, subject, keywords, geographic names, code or bill names and so on.
Maintaining the incoming and outgoing data of the structural database in real time, including the index system, to ensure the quality of the KM System.
Delivering and distributing the relevant news index and news content to each clients ICT terminal device on demand.
Promoting and arranging e-learning programmes to bridge the clients digital divide with a smart KM System and enhancing the information literacy in general.
The management strategy of this e-content KM System is based on three things: (i) a well-structured network infrastructure; (ii) clients with enough information literacy on office automation; and (iii) proper IT equipment deployed in each Members Office.
Fourth is the News Service Strategies for the Members Offices.
The e-content News Knowledge Management System represents the latest results of ICT applications development in the Parliamentary Library of the Legislative Yuan at the beginning of the 21st Century. The system is not just offering public access via website and internet service, but also providing knowledge management abilities to support the Members Offices information/knowledge needs and decision-making processes.
The Parliamentary Library in Taipei offers its clients a special service called "Getting all your favourite news". Under this service, each Members Office can get and use the instant news services that are prepared by the News KM System every day in the early morning within six minutes. The staff of the Members Offices, or the Members themselves can start their daily work with the use of this service to keep up with that updated news information, whether in the Parliament Office or in their District Office.
The strategy of six minutes for getting all the favourite news is highly recommended by the library staff and it contains the following:
To receive the Members personal news services or to react to the news that appeared on any of the 23 media companies on that day;
To check what happened in his or her election district that the Parliament Library News System prepared for the office of each Member beforehand and it could be sent to their e-mail boxes;
To focus public forums on the Bill and the Act and to understand the social responses and opinions;
To check the Governments performance and the administrative achievements;
To analyse the various views of the different political parties; and
To select the subject topics and subscribe online to get the subject news services. The KM system will send it out automatically and continuously to clients on coming days.
In addition, the e-Content News System also offers a traditional online database access and information inquiry services.
In the twenty-first century, a parliamentary library needs to provide three basic functions to Parliament and the public as well, that include the democracy memory of the country, freedom of information and access to legislation, and knowledge management for the Legislature and Members offices.
The management strategy of the e-Content News System focuses on the goal of these parliamentary and parliamentarian functions, and it encourages all the people to use the system either with the news index or the news content. Thank you.
DR. KARL-MIN KU (CHINESE TAIPEI): This DVD also contains some contents. This DVD demonstration will include two phases. The first phase will be the IT-ICT application in the whole Parliament and the second phase will be the IT-ICT application in the library services.
DR. KARL-MIN-KU (CHINESE TAIPEI) : Thank you for your attention to this part.
MR. CHAIRMAN : That was a very fascinating and interesting presentation. Now, I am sure that there will be some comments or questions to Mr. Karl. Is there any question?
MS. AURORA CHRISTIANA SIMANDJUNTAK (INDONESIA) : It is very impressive, Dr. Karl. But just tell me how you managed to get all the funding and the support from your Members. How did you do it? Thank you.
DR. KARL-MIN-KU (CHINESE TAIPEI) :This is a simple question but a very typical one to answer. We have to do it like marketing. If we want to provide that kind of service, we have to consider how is our marketing and how is our consumer there. So, as I mentioned earlier, in our Members' offices, they have staff there. So, we just encourage their staff and the Members themselves to avail of those kinds of services. We convince them that these are the kinds of services which will help them in their parliamentary business in the Parliament.
MS. AURORA CHRISTIANA SIMANDJUNTAK (INDONESIA): You try to convince the staffers and the Members. Of course, that is not going to be easy. So, we all can learn and, maybe, copy your way so that we can go ahead and improve ourselves. It is not easy.
DR. KARL-MIN-KU (CHINESE TAIPEI) : Just as my colleague, Mr. Wang mentioned, I have been engaged in it for 20 years. I also have been Parliamentary Librarian for almost two decades. The Chairman also mentioned, may I say, the achievement. If we do a job not just for salary or for meeting living expenses and devote to a work and contribute ourselves to deal with it, I think, that makes some difference. Maybe, I can say that I am and I was proud to be a Parliamentary Librarian.
DR. RAVINDER KUMAR CHADHA, LOK SABHA (INDIA): Sir, you are having almost two million news items every year. That is what your paper says. Then, you are also storing a whole lot of material about books, reports and other things. That too is accessible through a single database. Are you using SAN system or NAS system for storage of the data? What is the kind of software programmes that you are using for retrieving information from such huge data? You also mentioned about MARK being used. Is all that metadata being developed through MARK system or Dublin core? How is the metadata being assigned and all that?
DR. KARL-MIN-KU (CHINESE TAIPEI) : I will try to answer your question, if I could. I have mentioned it in my paper or the keynote address. Now, we have set up a digital library and I have named it knowledgebase. It majorly focuses on the database service, the database which services us in whole. It is in three parts. The first part is our own database. It is developed, conducted and implemented by us. Also, a very important thing is to maintain that database which is there in the library. This is one way. The second way is that we are also acquiring sub-scripts, a lot of Chinese commercial database which I account in my mind to be over two dozens. Then, we have certain database assistance which publishes in Taiwan or in China mainland. The third branch of this is what we call western foreign languages database. You may see that the glass of DVD mentions not only English but also other languages, like the German, Dutch etc. As for English database, we are focused not only on North America but also European countries, and Canada and Australia as well. So, you are just seeing this dimension. It is two years ago that I had brought it in standard. My Turkish colleague may remember it.
During the first two years, we also got some other kind of progress or advancement such as we do often very convenient interface, database access interface for our clients or readers. For instance, we have a uniform database access interface for the Chinese commercial databases. It is to suit the simple Chinese character. We also provide the second uniform multi-database access interface for those foreign language databases. We subscribe to it from different countries, almost all the countries around. The third is easy one, that is, metadata implementation. In this part, I can say that I am and I was very proud that we have used the metadata system in our own developed database assistance, which now has up to 26 databases and which is maintained by the staff of our Departmental Library.
MR. CHAIRMAN: I think, that is all. Now, we can go to Ms. Rasieli Bau for vote of thanks.
MS. RASIELI BAU (FIJI): Dr. Karl-Min Ku, on behalf of my colleagues of APLAP, who are present here this afternoon, I would like to thank you for the in-depth knowledge you shared with us, concerning IT in parliamentary library and information services. We found that your presentation was very interesting and very informative. Also, your presentation this afternoon brings a lot of challenges in carrying out our duties to the utmost satisfaction of our clients. We know that your library has come a long way in terms of development. I am sure, for us, the developing countries, it is a true good example to study and analyse it. We also know, Sir, that you are the longest serving office-bearers of APLAP. With your experience, I am sure, a lot of us will learn from you how to deal.
We wish you and your family all the best in your future endeavours. Now, I shall ask my colleagues to show their appreciation in the usual manner. Thank you.
DR. KARL-MIN-KU (CHINESE TAIPEI) : Thank you.
MS. ROSLYNN MEMBREY (AUSTRALIA): We are waiting to get the CD. I apologise because you are probably getting sick of the sound of my voice by now.
I wanted to tell you a little bit about our Digital Electronic Monitoring Service that we launched in November last year. As I said, yesterday, our Members of Parliament are very interested in all forms of the media. So, not only do we have the newspaper clipping database that I was talking about earlier today, we have also, since the 1970s, made video and audio recordings of all the news and current affairs programmes broadcast on Radio and Television in Canberra. We are allowed to do this under the Australian Copyright Act, which allows us to make copies of programmes, provided that we only make them available to Senators and Members in the performance of their parliamentary duties. We interpret that to mean news and current affairs programmes; it does not mean we can record a cricket match or a car race or a beauty contest or the latest drama programme because they are not related to parliamentary purposes. Mind you, some Members do tell us, for example, if there is a soccer game or something on, "I want you to record that because one of my constituents is playing in that team." So, they can dream up an excuse for parliamentary purposes.
With the analogue television transmissions that we have in Australia, we will go digital in about six years time. What we have been doing is recording these programmes on video cassettes and audio cassettes and then when a Member wants to copy the programme that we have recorded, we make a copy on a video cassette tape or an audio cassette tape and then they have to come to the library to pick up a copy or if they are in their electorate office, we have to post it to them and it takes twenty-four hours to get to them. So, what we decided to do was to provide this service digitally straight to their desktop. It has taken about twelve or fifteen months to develop this project. We waited nearly six years till we thought the technology was mature enough to be able to provide this service. In early 2003, we sent out a request to all the people in the video recording industry and said, "This is the job we want to do. You tell us how we can do it." We got 14 responses to that request. Out of those 14, we decided on one supplier who could help us provide exactly the service we want to do.
(Power Point Presentation was about to start)
This is what they will get when they play back at their desktop. They will get it played back through Windows Media Player. At their desktop, they will get play back and that looks like this. As you can see, they can expand it to full screen.
We call this service, "the Electronic Media Monitoring Service". Each Senator and Member has an icon on their desktop. When they click on it, this is what they will see. It has a list of the most recent programmes that we have recorded from television and radio. I think, this stuff was recorded on the 13th or the 14th of January, just before I came away. By scrolling down, they can find all the programmes we have listed. On this screen, you will see several important things. First, there is an item number. Just look at item number four. Then, there is 2CN. It is the name of the Radio Station from where this programme was recorded. 2CN Breakfast says that it is a Breakfast Programme on 2CN. Over here, you will see 182 and that means the programme lasted for 182 minutes. It was recorded on the 12th of January. Then, you will see two little icons. One is for captions and I will explain that a little later. The second one tells you whether it is a Radio or Television programme. By clicking on that icon, you can play back.
At the top of the screen you will see four radio buttons. One is called Browse, one is called Basic Search, one is called Advance Search and one is called Programme Guide. What we are looking at now is the Browse Screen. All they need to do is just scroll down and see the programmes that are recorded.
You will see a little plus sign on the left side of Programme No.15. What we have done is called segmentation of programme. The 7:30 Report in Australia is a current affairs programme which every night might have four or five different stories. My staff in Electronic Media Monitoring Unit will segment it, that is split it up, into those four or five different stories. Each one is titled with separate Meta data, names of people who were being interviewed and the subject about which the programme was broadcast are added.
By clicking on the plus sign, Members and Senators can see the programmes that are segmented. They can decide if they want to watch one of those programmes. So, they will have instant play back of any programme they select. The 7:30 Report, you will be surprised to hear, is recorded at 7:30 at night and finishes at 8 oclock. That is why it is called the 7:30 Report. Any time after 7:35 they can start playing that programme back on their desktop PC. If they are running into their office a little bit late and they know they want to see the 7:30 Report, they can just click on to this system and it will play it back to them.
The other thing that we do in Australia is, all television channels have captions, which is the text as the way it is spoken, which scrolls across the screen. We are ready to pick up that text and record it in a database. These are the captions that we are recording. So, it is just straight text that is picked up from the television signal and put in the database. So, a Senator or a Member knows what the topic is about. They can put in a search term and it will find the programme for them. So, they know if it is 7:30 Report four nights ago and it was Leader of Opposition talking about Loggerhead Turtles, they just put those search terms in and the caption will come up or they can play the programme back.
Here is what happens if they want to do a Basic Search. They can put in the date when the programme is recorded, and the medium whether it is television or radio. They can say whether it is all television channels or all radio stations or only some. They can mention the name of the programme. All of that they can put in as a search term. What I was trying to show you was, whenever they do a search in the captions, the search term would be highlighted so that they can check and pick up the right term. One of the things they can do is that they can play back the audio file if it is just an audio programme. Instead of playing back a video file, they will play back a radio file. I would not show you that because we are wasting time now.
This is the service I was talking about where on average, each month, we supplied about 400 videotapes in recent years. We launched this in November of last year and in the first month we had 5000 hits on this database. So, it has proved already to be a brilliant success, and it is all due down to the hard work of my very clever staff who have had this idea in their heads for a long time and have been patient enough to wait for it and get it installed. The Members and Senators in our Parliament certainly seem to be able to appreciate it. I think you might like to see yet another application of technology in our environment. Perhaps this is an idea which you can develop in your Parliaments.
DR. RAVINDER KUMAR CHADHA, LOK SABHA (INDIA) : Since it is a session for IT in Parliament Libraries, I thought, it will be very interesting to tell the story of IT in Indian Parliament - as to what we did and how we did, where we were successful and where we were not. This will give you some idea and it will help you in developing your own system. When you go back, maybe you will be able to learn from our experience - what we did and how we did.
We started automation in Lok Sabha Secretariat in 1985 when we requested one of the national agencies, namely, National Informatics Centre (NIC), which is responsible for automation of Government institutions, to conduct feasibility study. With the result of feasibility study, we set up a very small computer centre in Lok Sabha in 1985. The initial mission of the centre was to organise the in-house data. What we mean by the data which is being developed in-house is that the same should be organised in such a way so that people can have access to parliamentary information.
In 1985, initially we developed some index-based databases. What I mean is that indexes of various parliamentary information were developed; parliamentary debates were scanned, keywords were assigned to the parliamentary debates and with the result, we could develop the indexes for INSATs. Similarly, indexes of parliamentary questions. All index-based information was developed and the same was made available on our system, on the Internet. Anybody who is interested to search the information about Parliament, he can come to us and we could search from our database and what discussions have taken place and what is the relevant data and exact information, that could be located. Since, it was index-base databases, we did not have the full text. It was only referring to the full text and one can go and search for the information.
It was in 1989 that we felt that we must go for further automation and by that time technology was already ripe. We were asked to look into the further automation activities of the Lok Sabha Secretariat and accordingly we started automating the activities of various Branches - Reporters Branch, Questions Branch, Committee Branches, Security Service and LARRDI Service. In between when we were doing all these things, at the technology level also, things got changed. This was the era when the Window system became popular and we shifted from Unix to Windows; we started installing PCs in different departments of Lok Sabha Secretariat and then LAN was developed. To connect all the PCs in our three buildings, we also had the VAN linkage and all our Internet accessibility is through the NIC gateway. So, we linked with NIC with the hi-speed VAN linkages and Internet accessibility became popular. This was the time when we wanted to motivate our staff and when the staff support was required, we started working on the system with the help of motivated staff. With the result, in 1996, we could launch our Home Page. On 15th March, 1996, our Home Page was inaugurated by the then President of India and we also brought the first Electronic Book. This was the first Electronic Book in the country, which was also released on 15th March, 1996 covering information on Constituent Assembly debates, Constitution of India, decisions, interactions from the Chair and Parliamentary information was covered in the Electronic Book.
Today, the Parliament of India Home Page has got whole lot of information which is being developed within Parliament. I will go a little back and try to tell a story of Reporters Branch INSAT, how we started putting our INSAT on to the Net. Before we started the automation, Reporters who take the notes in the House, used to come and type the debate on manual typewriter. They used to cut stencils on a manual typewriter and then these stencils were rolled on the cyclostyling machine. We used to print a bulk report on the next morning covering almost 200 to 250 pages. When we introduced the computerised system, instead of typing on the manual typewriter, they started typing on the computers and as usual, there was lot of resistance - my friends are sitting there - in the beginning. Somehow they could slowly feel the advantages of the Word Processing software packages and they felt very happy and they started feeding the data on the computer. With the result, we were able to save the time and stationery because the report which used to be a bulk report started coming in a very systemic format. We were able to save 50 per cent of the paper - we calculated as 50 per cent at a later stage. Press reporters received a lot of help and benefit from this. Earlier, in case there was some mistake, they had to throw out the stencil and cut a new stencil, as corrections on the stencils were difficult. That was a different part, but the benefit to the Parliament Library was that all the transcriptions which were done there, used to come to us and that particular copy we started putting into HTML format and we started converting into web-based format. We release that data on to the Net the very next day. That means, the parliamentary debates of today are available on the Internet the very next day. This is a great service not only to the Members of Parliament but to the Press reporters and to the general public. At times if we are late in putting the information, we start getting telephone calls because Reporters use this information a lot and Press people are really after this information because they have to make their stories, and part of their stories are made from the research or debates which are available on the very next day.
If you look into the structure of our Home Page, this is the information which is available - Parliamentary Questions and Answers (full text); Debates of Lok Sabha (full text): Bills (full text); Synopsis of Debates Parliamentary Committees - Composition and Reports; The Constitution of India; Constituent Assembly Debates (full text); Members Home Pages; Indian Parliament Introduction; Directions by the Speaker; Decisions from the Chair.
This is how it looks. It also has a section on the Speakers Office and the details about the Speakers office.
Now I come to the Business of the House. If I go into the history as to how we started putting the Business of the House on to the Home Page, we had to struggle a lot for that. Earlier, right from the type stage, we came to the stage where electronic data used to be sent to us as a file to the computer centre and the computer centre used to open the file and convert the data into HTML format and then released to the Home Page. All this process used to take lot of time and it used to be ready only by 10 Oclock or by 11 Oclock. Then the whole purpose the exercise used to be defeated. Now what we are doing is, the concerned Department which finalises the Business of the House, they convert the data into the HTML format and straightaway put it on to the Home Page and it is released on the net. The Members of Parliament, before they receive a printed copy, they can see the electronic copy on the net and their purpose gets served. They are able to see what business is going to take place the next day.
Now I come to Questions. Questions in Indian Parliament are another aspect. Each Member can ask maximum of five questions in a day. Whatever questions are asked by the Members, we send those details to the Ministry concerned where the Executive receives those details and they prepare the answers of those questions. If you look into the answers of those questions, they are quite detailed answers and at times, they may run into 10 to 20 pages or sometimes they are of half a page to one page. Most of the time, the answers are quite long. These are very vital information because Members ask a lot of questions. Questions can be asked in different forms. It can be a statistical question, it can be a question about factual details. Since it is a privilege of the Members, they ask all type of questions.
This is a vital source of information because a lot of Government information comes to the Parliament or comes to the public in the form of questions. This was very important that these questions were released for general public so that they could get that information which is normally not available or which normally the Government is not very keen to give it out. Our problem was, in case we start feeding the answers on those questions ourselves because they were sending the answers in the analogue form, it would take a lot of time. What we did was we requested the Ministry concerned to send their answers in electronic form as well. But then they had the problem. Their problem was that they could finalise the answers almost by the eleventh hour. If the question is to be presented the next day, they were able to finalise the answers the previous evening. They said that it was not possible for them to give the electronic copy of the same. Then we gave them an offer to send the electronic copy at a later stage. Now, sometimes we get the electronic copy after a week; sometimes after 15 days or sometimes it comes after the Session. We do get all the information in electronic form. Now it is the responsibility of the concerned Ministry to send the details. We get all these things and put it in our data base so that people can search it for future use and they can get the information.
Now, the software has been developed by us which is in SQL form. We can retrieve information Ministry-wise, Member-wise, Date/Session-wise or subject-wise. If you look into the search, you get a page like this and you can search the things. These are the results of the query. We have two types of questions Starred and Unstarred questions. Once you are interested to have the full details, you can just click that button and you get the total text of the questions. This is very important as far as general public is concerned. In case, a question is asked on the floor of the House, MPs have the privilege to ask supplementary details on the particular subject. Now, Hansard has been linked here and you can get further details if you are interested in getting the details of supplementary questions asked on the floor of the House. These are the lists of supplementary questions and answers.
In our system, most of the discussions take place in bilingual. Members have got the privilege to ask question in 16 or 17 languages, which are official languages for the Parliament. But most of the discussions take place in two languages. Initially, it was really difficult for us to have a software, which can handle both the things simultaneously. It took us three years of research where we could put both the languages simultaneously on the screen. Data base helps to access the questions.
I have already told you the story about debates. Earlier, only the index of debate was available. But now the full text is available from 1993 and we can make search. Now the Members get full text of it if they want to have it. You have a query form. You can get the desirable data based on the heading of Type of Debate; on the basis of Members name etc. This is the search about the fund allocation. You get this kind of result. You get the details Member-wise etc. For example, if you are looking for questions asked by Prof. Ram Gopal Yadav, you get the details.
Now I come to Web Casting. When Mr. Sapra was talking, he probably missed this aspect. He said that we have reached the bed rooms or drawing rooms of each and every persons in the country. We have also reached on to the bed room or drawing room of everybody in the world because our debates are web-cast simultaneously. We do a simple thing. We take the feed from the TV, put it on to our server and it is simultaneously web-cast. Anybody, who is interested, he can go to the Home Page and start seeing that. We are not archiving this for the time being. There is a proposal where we will be archiving this debate in a digital form. At present, this is done in analogue format.
Now I come to Bills. The same exercise is applied here. We get the details of the Bill from the Ministry of Law, which is responsible for making or drafting the Government Bills. We then put it into our data base. Anybody who is interested can search the Bills Information. It is through the Parliamentary Bills Information System where one can search it and it gives you the status of the Bill as to when it was discussed in Lok Sabha, when it was discussed in Rajya Sabha, when it was passed and assented to. We can get all the details once we go to that.
This shows Parliamentary Committee Information. Here, all the information about the Parliamentary Committees, their composition, the subjects being discussed, their reports, etc. are given. We get the data from the Committee Branches. Again, the data comes from the source, which is a part of the Lok Sabha Secretariat. Anyway, we get the data from the Committee Branches and all the details about the Committees are put on the net.
This shows the composition of the Committee. The next one on MPs Home Page is a very interesting one which we are doing since, I think, 1992 or probably earlier. We are putting here the complete information about the Members of Parliament. We also have allocated one page to Member of Parliament, where the details about a particular Member is given. We have said that every Member of Parliament can have his own Home Page and any data that he would like to post can be passed on to us so that we could post them on his behalf, on his Home Page. Whatever information you need about him, if you are interested in it, about his contribution in the Parliament, etc. in whatever form, all can be had just by a click. Of course, his address, his e-mail id., his telephone number, etc are also available. This is how a Members Home Page looks like. This is Mrs. Sonia Gandhis Home Page. On the left side, you could see the links like biography, her debates, etc. From this Home Page, we can find out the discussions that she participated in, her e-mail id., her telephone number, etc.
This was about the information which we have gathered from different sources. Coming back to Parliament Library, as I was telling you during the tour, it is the second largest library of the country, after the National Library, having 1.2 million publications. We have also automated our activities from 1992 by using LIBSYS, an indigenously developed software package covering almost all the major functions of the Library. We have all kinds of web-enabled services. You can search this also. It is searchable through Net. You can search our Library from your place also. All these details can be found out; this is how it looks like searching, digital collection, new additions, etc. It is a simple search; there is advanced search also.
If you look for a book or publication, it looks like this. We also have a digital library where we have about 175 CDs at present. What we have done is that all the CDs have been mirrored in a server. We have got a CD server where the CDs have been mirrored and we have kept the CDs in our lockers. Anybody who is interested to retrieve information through CDs which are reference books, yearbooks, reports, atlas, e-journals, etc. he could just log on to our server and this information can be retrieved by them. What is important is that the server helps us in retrieving the information. As per copyright problems, it is accessible only on the Intranet and not on Internet. These are the CDs which are available with us.
Press Clipping is another thing, which of course needs further modernisation. At present what we are doing is this. We are scanning the clippings which we have selected and putting as a database which is specially designed for this. These can be accessed and searched with the help of certain key words, the title of newspaper, the date of newspaper, etc. It is a Stex software which we are using. We have to scan it and feed the database. Then, people could search it again on Intranet. All these clippings are available there. It is at present in the image form.
We also have a Documentation Service where we take out all important articles from newspapers, journals, which we receive in the Library. These are all indexed and in case the full text is available in the electronic form on the Net, we do copy them and keep them on to our server for future references. This is how it looks like. There is a search menu, where you can search on the subject.
In 1993, another decision was taken where the Lok Sabha Secretariat decided that every MP should be given a computer for his residence, for his personal usage. So, we provided a laptop or a desktop computer and in addition to this, a handheld computer. So, the MPs can also automate their activities. After giving computers to the MPs, the responsibility of ours increased a lot because now, they are able to log on to our databases by sitting at their residences or in offices and then, a lot of demand comes to us. So, we have to upgrade all our systems after this facility was given to them. Initially, we thought that it will be to automate the office activities, to access Parliament database, to access Government information, etc. This is how they are using this.
As I was telling you, we also have developed a Speakers Home Page which gives information about hon. Speaker, his visits, his personal details, his photographs, etc. All these details are available on his Home Page. We also have kept a website on Legislative Bodies in India, which gives the details about the State Legislatures. The connectivity to all the State Legislatures site is through this, and information about those State Legislatures are also available on this. This was done during the Presiding Officers Conference. In fact, every year, we have a Conference of Presiding Officers where the Speakers of all the State Legislatures and the Speaker of Lok Sabha, the Deputy-Chairman of Rajya Sabha meet to discuss their issues of common interest. So, this is when the site was developed. This is very heavily used by the Members as well as the State Legislatures.
We have also developed APLAP site for this Conference. This is having all the papers which are being presented, and all the details like constitution, etc. are given. This is also kept on our server. So, you can access it; the moment you go back, if you have not carried anything from here, all the conference proceedings, etc. are available in this site.
We also have a very strong network which is connecting all the three buildings of Parliament. We are using High End Switches, connected to router, modem, and we have a LAN connectivity with the help of three 2 MBPS lines; we also have radio frequency links; inside we have all fibre cables on a Cisco 6513 Switch, which is a Layer 3 Switch, whereby we are able to use all the Layer 3 capabilities of the Switch.
We have two dedicated ISDN lines of 2 MBPS; they are available for LAN connectivity. This is how the network is being used for various things. This is what the story of Indian Parliaments automation is and how we have gone into this step by step over the last ten years or so. Thank you.
MR. CHAIRMAN: I suppose, that brings us to the end of todays discussion. Thank you.
The Conference then adjourned for the day.