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RE-INTRODUCING HANSARD IN BERMUDA


transcribers for 90 days before they are archived. Also, the workflow enables word processor integration and integrated multi-channel audio players. This enables the transcribers to listen to audio from the Speaker’s microphone or the Floor. The Harmony


workflow suite empowers transcription teams to easily and efficiently collaborate on production of transcripts from audio recordings. This module can be expanded to include video streaming, high-resolution recording and more. The Hansard reports


are transcribed from the audio files that are captured by the Sliq Media software. Additionally, meetings are started through their online database, which is titled the SliqStream Event Centre. Once the Sliq Scribe Annotator is started, this part of the software enables the transcribers to determine


ensure all data is duplicated, just in case the system should malfunction. The maintenance of our servers is provided by Quest Consulting Ltd. The Harmony software is from Sliq Media, which is a Canadian firm based in Montreal. Their software captures audio recording for the transcribers to write each report. Additionally, all the microphones were changed to provide higher resolution for sound quality and a higher amplified voice projection. We also received immense help from the British Columbia provincial Legislature.


SLIQ workflow includes: • • •


Audio,


Annotations, Template and


• Remote Access. The Sliq workflow offers


audio recording, which is held on a database. The audio files are additionally available to the


what time a Member of Parliament spoke. Additionally the Annotator operator types the Member’s title and the first five words spoken. After the transcribers have


written the draft report, the “Members Proof” or “Blues”, a copy is sent to all Members of Parliament. After the document has been carefully examined by Members of Parliament and the editor, an official report is compiled into printed bound volumes, with a complete index. Previous reports can be seen on www. parliament.bm.


The hurdles When the Hansard Steering Committee was established, the main goal was to implement a Hansard in a relatively short time frame. We were confronted with a few obstacles before Hansard came live. One major obstacle was the installation of the audio and networking cables. The installation was a long and tedious process, as the contracted


company had to drill through certain solid limestone walls built over 180 years ago. This endeavour took approximately one week. After the walls were properly


drilled, the cables were run from the first floor through the second floor. Next, cables had to be properly terminated and connected to the microphones to ensure high- resolution sound quality. Through the support of the technicians this endeavour was finally completed with no time to spare – testing started 24


“Through great perseverance, our operation continues to run smoothly and has been doing so since the implementation date.”


hours before the spring session on 6 May 2010. Finally, May 2010 marked


a milestone in the history of our honourable House as we took this next bold step in the modernization of our Parliament. Then Deputy Speaker Dame


Jennifer delivered a special report to the House lauding the accomplishments of this special project. Although the infrastructure was in place, a Hansard style guide had to be developed. The guide was prepared to provide information and guidelines specific to Hansard production and to address certain rules of grammar such as abbreviations, citations, diacritical accent marks and sentence constructions, to name a few. The Steering Committee also


agreed to launch this initiative as a pilot project for the purposes of assessing the drafts and consulting with Members to finalize all decisions required to satisfy all stakeholders with the final product. Members and the public were


pleased and continue to sing the praises of the Hansard. The Speaker of the House, Hon. Stanley Lowe, OBE, JP, MP, called the Hansard development a “quantum leap”. One of our Members expressed his delight because Hansard transcripts were unbiased and more accurate and dependable than articles in the print media as journalists sometimes misconstrued Members’ speeches.


Costs for Hansard Although the Hansard project has been a costly endeavour, it has been value for money and cost- effective. The total capital cost of the project, including installation of the infrastructure, was Bermudian $357,000 (the Bermuda $ equals the U.S. $). The methodology, process


and procedures surrounding the production of Hansard is continually being assessed and so far, all stakeholders including Members of Parliament are very satisfied. Additionally, transcribers, an editor and proof readers of JanScription International LLC, (six in total) produce the Hansard verbatim reports. We have also decided to outsource the Hansard production as it cuts down on cost tremendously as compared to hiring a full time complement of Hansard staff. Our information technology


advisors maintain the software and servers on a regular basis. A truly valuable lesson learned from the entire experience is that it is important to hire staff with technical and project management expertise and sound knowledge of Hansard systems and technology.


More to do Through great perseverance, our operation continues to run smoothly and has been doing so since the implementation date. The second phase of the


Hansard production is to provide audio streaming of the proceedings which is to begin in November. It is also envisaged that there will be a Hansard for the Senate as well in the near future.


The Parliamentarian | 2012: Issue Three | 203


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