2020 - Week 27

Unto us a bot was born

Way back in week 21, we went live with Tweaty Twacker, a Twitter bot account that tweets every time the FCO lays a treaty before Parliament. We thought we’d like to do something similar for Statutory Instruments, so librarian heads were scratched and we decided a bot tweeting whenever a made instrument gets laid might be interesting to some folks. Which is how Made ‘n’ Laid came into existence. On Thursday morning, Twitter sent over the requested API keys, by Thursday lunchtime Librarian Jayne had written a new SPARQL query to return all made instruments laid in the last couple of days and by bedtime Michael had copy pasted some code from Tweaty Twacker. And everything seemed to work. For now anyway. We’ll keep an eye on things for the next few weeks but we think it’s too simple for anything much to go wrong.

If you’re reading this and wondering what a made and laid instrument is then:

s/procedure/process mapping

We took a bit of a break from parliamentary procedure modelling this week but couldn’t bring ourselves to entirely abandon the mapping of processes. Back before lockdown Anya, Michael and Silver had embarked on some work with Felisia and Ganesh from the Gubmint Computational Section looking at how we might model their step-by-step guides using our procedure / process model. We poked Ganesh this week to arrange a pixel based meeting in the not too distant future. Which triggered an itch that needed to be scratched. So some time was spent with the GOV.UK guide to marriage and civil partnerships and a new flowchart started to emerge. So excited by this was Michael, that he fired up his model railway and sat down to write some words. Which Anya and Robert kindly edited into English. And which are now on his blog. Michael extends his thanks to Nick who pressed the actual publish button after Michael took a little too much drink and lost the keys to his website.

Your weekly egg timer update

The plan this week was to spend a little more time testing. But plans are for project managers and we have neither. Busy librarians self-organised and testing was put off til next week. At which point we hope the egg timer will return correct dates and your eggs just how you like them.

So there was no progress on code, but code is merely fish compared to proper information management and a well managed policy. For our timing of eggs to be reliable, we need to ensure the calendar data we add is accurate. We also need to ensure that we have un œuf information about un œuf future dates so that the egg timer does not leap off the end of the pier of time. This became a problem this week when the Commons announced that the Conference Recess previously announced was now not announced. But with no real details of what would happen instead. Jayne got in touch with Journal Office Jane about what she does in such circumstances. Michael thinks he preferred her first answer of, “if it aint published, it aint happening”, but this was swiftly followed by the advice that where anything is unannounced a normal sitting pattern should be assumed. For some defintion of normal. Librarians Jayne and Jayshree continue to tweak calendar days in reaction to assorted announcements and unannouncements. We now wonder if we need to add additional day types and additional calendars to prise apart the announced sitting days, virtual sitting days and adjournment days from the presumed sitting days, virtual sitting days and adjournment days. Nobody ever said any of this would be easy.

All about the collaboration

Last week we mentioned a meeting between Jayne and ParlRules Tom to begin mapping our procedure routes to their House of Commons public Standing Orders. This took the form of a public Google Spreadsheet. Because we always work in the open. Jayne has spent some of this week creating a play pen version of our draft negative procedure and annotating some of the lines with little yellow dots to show where routes are described by Standing Orders. This is important work: if you have any ambition to be open and transparent, citing the source of your underlying ruleset is not optional. We now intend to send the picture round to a few of the usual suspects for idiot checking. So Messrs Evans, Atkins and Kelly can expect emails shortly.

Tiny chisel news

This week was mostly spent back in the world of models for library publishing. Our gallant team took chisels to both image and text and carved out a new link from collections to publishers. They also took a second punt at the contribution model, which has been reshaped but not re-commented. More work for next week.