Stormont Parliamentary Hansards

SPHERE (Stormont Parliamentary Hansards: Embedded in Research and Education) is a JISC-funded project based at King’s College, London and Queen’s University, Belfast, working in Partnership with the Northern Ireland Assembly Library, and the NIA Official Report (Hansard). Its purpose was to assess the use, value and impact of the Stormont Papers digital resource, and to use the results of this assessment to make recommendations for a series of practical approaches to embed the resource within teaching, learning and research among the wider user community.

This series of case studies and reports describe the analysis performed by the SPHERE project to examine current use of the Stormont Papers and determine functionality that would improve utilisation in the future. The analysis is based on TIDSR methodology which had been adapted to the nature of the digital resource in question. The study uses mixed methodology – an online survey and a series of semi-structured interviews with key users of the resource, as well as an interpretation of the web analytics data.

Three case studies, below, focus on how the SPHERE project identified use cases for outreach, teaching, and research.

All project reports are available at:

Publications based on this project are also available:

Hughes, L.M. (2012). Live and Kicking: The Impact and Sustainability of Digital Collections in the Humanities. In C. Mills, M. Pidd, E. Ward (eds), Proceedings of the Digital Humanities Congress 2012. Available online:

Hughes, L.M, Ell, P.S., Knight, G.A.G., Dobreva, M. (2013). Assessing and measuring impact of a digital collection in the
humanities: An analysis of the SPHERE (Stormont Parliamentary Hansards: Embedded in Research and Education) Project. Literary and Linguistic Computing. Available online:

Use case: SPHERE Outreach454.72 KB
Use case: SPHERE for Research476.78 KB
Use case: SPHERE for Teaching554.64 KB
Impact Analysis: SPHERE summary1.1 MB
Web Analysis: SPHERE1.32 MB
Web Survey: SPHERE477.79 KB