11 November 2014

All proceedings from the Norwegian Parliament since 1814 are now online

Article 85 in the Constitution of 17 May 1814 states: The Storting shall meet in open session, and its proceedings shall be published in print, except in those cases where a majority decides to the contrary.

The Constitution here provides for public sessions of the Storting and for printed reports of its proceedings. The purpose of this provision is partly to enable the public to keep in touch with the Storting`s work, and partly to secure for posterity knowledge of what has taken place in the Storting. The principle of public sessions of the Storting constitutes an important guarantee for the proper functioning of popular government. The printed reports of the proceedings prevent a falsification of history, and these reports are the basics in the archive. The sessions in the Storting`s committees were held in camera.

The main purpose of having digitized proceedings on the web is to take Article 85 further and to increase the availability to all these important political and historical sources.

Since 1814 the documents and proceedings has been the main source to the Norwegian political history. The documents representing the same formal role in treatment of cases at the Parliament are collected and placed in bound collection.

Broad knowledge of the institution and theme you are studying and good questions is always the key right use of the sources in the archives. To use the parliamentary archives in studying for example political issues after 1814, the user have to know how the Storting works and how the institution cooperates with other institutions. The different parts in the Parliaments documents are:

  • Part 1 The budget
  • Part 2 Propositions to the Storting
  • Part 3 Bills
  • Part 4 White papers
  • Part 5 Documents
  • Part 6 Recommendations to the Storting
  • Part 7 Minutes from The Plenary Chamber / Stortinget
  • Part 8 Minutes from Odelstinget and Lagtinget
  • Part 9 The Register

This is how it was until 2009 when The Storting had a 2-chamber system including Odelstinget and Lagtinget. This system have gone through only minor changes during the 200 years since 1814, and that also made it easier for the digital version. Now the register is Part 7.

The documents from each part are all documents in a case. They represent the parliamentary treatment of each case within The Parliament and between The Parliament and the government. These connections are presented in the registers. Since 1814 the parliamentary archive has developed and made the registers through document analyses, and then given the cases and documents headwords and topics. This work is the main success criteria in the digital version presented at the web site Stortinget.no.

The digitized parliamentary proceedings on the web include 13 volumes of main indexes containing 18 600 pages and nearly 3 million pages of documents from the political processes in the Storting in the period 1814 to 2000/2001. The work was organized as a project in cooperation with the National Library (NL). The parliamentary archives used Creuna AS to develop the technicality seats and the interface, and NL used CCS Hamburg as subcontractor to create links between the index and the documents.

The main indexes are the entrance to the searches. This gives the user the ability to find individual issues and follow the entire procedure in the Parliament. In each match, there are links which lead to the related documents. To make the documents authentic, they have been scanned and presented as images of the printed pages. This also ensures proper reference to the documents, since it makes it possible to use the same references as with the printed version.

Three different inputs:

  • Search the main indexes
  • Search headwords and topics
  • Search publications

Searching the main indexes allows the user to navigate throughout the search base without regard to issues or topic in the indexes.

Headwords and topics are based on ​​a search in the indexes’ main topics and headwords. The headwords will lead the user to the correct topic. Search the topic makes it easier to narrow down the search and thereby increase the relevance of the matches.

The publication search is made to find individual documents from the parliamentary proceedings (propositions to the Storting, reports to the Storting, recommendations, and other documents).

The Parliamentary Archives, are also working on fourth input; namely search for speaker. This will be included in 2015.

On the same material the National Library has developed their own entrance to the documents based on free search in all the 3 million pages. These pages are not proof read, but the hits are still pretty good. The solution on NL`s web site www.nb.no complement the Storting`s.

Norwegian Parliament's print collections digitized  

Above: The Stortings’ librarian Gro Sandgrind together with MP Rigmor Aaserud (Labour – former minister of Government Administration, Modernisation and Church Affairs) in front of the print proceedings that have been digitized.

Below: Screenshot of website where the digitized proceedings can be searched. https://www.stortinget.no/no/Saker-og-publikasjoner/Stortingsforhandlinger/

Screenshot of The Sorting's website with digitized proceedings

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