Spotlight on: FBI Files

This is part of an occasional series highlighting some of the digital resources available at the Library that will be of interest to students and staff in History, Classics and Archaeology.

Federal Bureau of Investigation [Public domain]

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was formed in 1908 by then Attorney General, Charles Bonaparte, under President Theodore Roosevelt. Initially known as the Bureau of Investigation (it added “Federal” in 1935) over the next 110 years the FBI’s remit and influence grew considerably and they are synonymous with American cultural, social and political history in the 20th century and beyond.

The FBI have been involved in a large number of famous, not so famous and infamous cases dealing with organised crime, terrorism, civil rights, white collar crime, espionage, violent crime and more. And did you know that through the Library you have access to a range of digitised files from the FBI?

FBI Files in Archives Unbound

Through the Library’s subscription to Archives Unbound (an enormous digital primary source database) you have access to over 20 collections of digitised material direct from the FBI, covering over 70 years of American history. You’ll spot some famous cases and names within these but possibly also some less known. However, between them they provide a fascinating insight into the political, cultural and social climate of the United States in the 20th century.

FBI File: Julius and Ethel Rosenberg

Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were a nondescript couple accused in 1950 by the U.S. government of operating a Soviet spy network and giving the Soviet Union plans for the atomic bomb. The trial of the Rosenbergs, which began in March 6, 1951, became a political event of greater importance than any damage they may have done to the United States. It was one of the most controversial trials of the 20th century. Their guilt and the harshness of their sentences continue to be vigorously debated to this day. Continue reading

Spotlight on our Centre for Research Collections

On Tuesday 30th January we’ll be holding a Discovery Day event in the Main Library where representatives from 3 publishers of digitised primary source collections and our very own Centre for Research Collections will be on hand to help you navigate through and find useful material in the huge range of primary sources you have access to at the Library.

The University of Edinburgh holds world class collections, including rare books, archives and manuscripts, art, historical musical instruments and museum objects ranging from geological specimens to anatomical models. These unique collections are and can be used for teaching and research within the University and by the wider community.

The main entry and access point for these collections is the Centre for Research Collections (CRC) which is based on the 6th floor of the Main Library. The CRC is open to all researchers, including students, staff, visiting academics and members of the public. Continue reading

Spotlight on ProQuest digital primary sources

On Tuesday 30th January we’ll be holding a Discovery Day event in the Main Library where representatives from 3 publishers of digitised primary source collections and our very own Centre for Research Collections will be on hand to help you navigate through and find useful material in the huge range of primary sources you have access to at the Library. ProQuest are one of the publishers who will be attending and this blog post highlights the fantastic collections the Library has access to through them.

The Library has access to a large and broad range of primary source collections that can be accessed via the Primary Source database list or the separate Newspapers & Magazines list and Images & Moving Images list.

Through ProQuest the Library has access to around 45 of these fantastic databases. ProQuest has built its expertise in preserving and widening access to significant research collections over 75 years, partnering with large and small libraries and archives, to bring you collections encompassing government, humanities, and historical documents that formerly may have been difficult to retrieve. Alexander Street Press and Chadwyck-Healey databases are also part of the ProQuest suite of resources.

Below are the databases you have access to via ProQuest. As there are so many I have split them into broad categories. Continue reading

Spotlight on Gale Cengage digital primary sources

On Tuesday 30th January we’ll be holding a Discovery Day event in the Main Library where representatives from 3 publishers of digitised primary source collections and our very own Centre for Research Collections will be on hand to help you navigate through and find useful material in the huge range of primary sources you have access to at the Library. Gale Cengage are one of the publishers who will be attending and this blog post highlights the fantastic collections the Library has access to through them.

The Library has access to a large and broad range of primary source collections that can be accessed via the Primary Source database list or the separate Newspapers & Magazines list and Images & Moving Images list.

The Library is very lucky to have access to 12 of these types of databases from Gale Cengage, a leader in education, learning, and research resources online. This actually gives you access to around 300 collections of primary source material. Gale’s digital collections span 500 years of history and a wide breadth of topics, including politics, society, business and leisure. Continue reading

Spotlight on Adam Matthew digital primary sources

On Tuesday 30th January we’ll be holding a Discovery Day event in the Main Library where representatives from 3 publishers of digitised primary source collections and our very own Centre for Research Collections will be on hand to help you navigate through and find useful material in the huge range of primary sources you have access to at the Library. Adam Matthew are one of the publishers who will be attending and this blog post highlights the fantastic collections the Library has access to through them.

The Library has access to a large and broad range of digital primary source collections that can be accessed via the Primary Source database list (see also the separate lists for Newspapers & Magazines and Images & Moving Images).

Adam Matthew are a publisher who specialise in producing high-quality, digitised primary source collections online. They put together thematic collections sourced from libraries, archives, museums, etc., around the world and they have databases that cover the Medieval period onwards.

The Library is very lucky to have access to 11 of these collections (or databases) from Adam Matthew and all can be accessed via the Primary Source database list.

China: Culture and Society

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Spotlight on film and moving images

This is part of an occasional series highlighting some of the online resources available at the Library that will be of interest to students and staff in History, Classics and Archaeology.

While previous posts in this series have looked at groups of online primary source collections, in this post I wanted to highlight resources that give you access to film and moving images, including films, documentaries, TV programmes, public information films, archival film footage, cinema newsreels, advertising, home movies, etc.

Film provides a fascinating insight into the past through documentary, archival and amateur film footage and a deliberately constructed historical world through feature films. However, using film as ‘historical evidence’ is far from straightforward; specific skills are required to understand the complexities of the visual medium, its relationship to the society from which it emerges, the industry which created it and those who consumed it. Despite these obstacles, film is a crucial means for understanding the recent past.1

Academic Video Online

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Spotlight on Archives Unbound

This is the second in a (very) occasional series highlighting some of the online resources available at the Library that will be of interest to students and staff in History, Classics and Archaeology.

Archives Unbound from Gale Cengage provides access to topically-focused digital collections of historical documents. This is a vast array of valuable primary source material covering a broad range of topics from the Middle Ages onwards and the material supports the research and study needs of students and scholars. Most of collections are chosen for Archives Unbound based on requests from scholars, archivists, and students.

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At present the Library has access to 9 collections from Archives Unbound, primarily covering topics and events from the twentieth century with one exception. Descriptions of these collections comes from the Archives Unbound site. Continue reading

Spotlight on Digital National Security Archive (DNSA)

This is the first in an occasional series highlighting some of the online resources available at the Library that will be of interest to students and staff in History, Classics and Archaeology.

The Digital National Security Archive (DNSA) from ProQuest gives you access to a vast collection of important declassified U.S. government documents. This provides valuable primary source material central to U.S. foreign and military policy since 1945 and helps advance research in history, politics and international relations.

IFWithin DNSA are collections that cover U.S. policy towards critical world events, including their military, intelligence, diplomatic and human rights dimensions. Each collection is overseen by a subject expert and they allow researchers to directly access the original documents that shaped responses to these critical world events.

With the recent purchase of the collections U.S. Policy in the Vietnam War, Part I and II the Library now has access to 7 collections via DNSA.
[As of August 2017 4 new collections have now been added.]

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