Hansard goes full digital

by Sol Dolor10 Jul 2017
The Hansard is now fully searchable online thanks to a project that brought together the public and private sector.

The launch of the historical search comes as the Hansard, the transcript of debates in the New Zealand Parliament, including oral questions and proposed laws, celebrates its 150th anniversary. The country was one of the first to establish an independent team of Hansard reporters, 42 years before Westminster, according to the parliament’s website.

The project, which processed all 723 volumes of the Hansard, was spearheaded by the Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives, which worked with the University of California, the Google Books Library Project, and the HathiTrust.

“As one of the earliest parliaments to establish a Hansard service independent of the executive, New Zealand has a longstanding tradition of providing a transparent record of parliamentary proceedings,” Speaker of the House, Rt Hon David Carter, said. “This plays a valuable role in making the work of this House accessible to all New Zealanders. I note that 2017 is also the 20th anniversary of the Hansard including speeches delivered in Te Reo Māori, along with their translations. I am sure members would wish to acknowledge this occasion.”

David Wilson, clerk of the House of Representatives, said the completion of the project is an “epic milestone” for New Zealand’s written transcripts.

“It is exciting to see Hansard – an age-old service in our parliament – going completely digital. A thriving democracy relies on parliament’s work being accessible, transparent and accountable, and Hansard is central to this. Hansard has never been more available to the public – and for a 150-year-old institution, that is quite a feat,” he said.

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