British Online Archives – full access until 30th June 2020

*Access has been extended until 30th June 2020*

I’m happy to let you know that British Online Archives (BOA) are providing 30 days free access (starting from 23rd March) to its entire collection of digital primary sources in light of the Covid-19 outbreak.

BOA provide students and researchers with access to unique collections of primary source documents. Their website hosts over 3 million records drawn from both private and public archives. These records are organised thematically, covering 1,000 years of world history, from politics and warfare to slavery and medicine. Continue reading

New to the Library: Picture Post Historical Archive

Did you know the Library now has access to the Picture Post Historical Archive? This database comprises the complete archive of the Picture Post from its first issue in 1938 to its last in 1957 – all digitised from originals in full colour.

You can access the Picture Post Historical Archive via the Databases A-Z list or the Newspapers, magazines and other news sources guide. Access via DiscoverEd will also soon be possible.

Picture Post was a photojournalistic magazine, often seen as the UK equivalent of Life, that was considered a groundbreaking example of photojournalism and was hugely successful from its first issue and throughout the 1940s. At its peak it is estimated its readership was 80% of the British population. In the era before television, it became the window on the world for ordinary people, bringing the major social and political issues of the day into popular consciousness. Continue reading

Normandy landings: through our digital primary sources

On this day, 6 June, 75 years ago the Normandy landings took place. This was part of a major combined naval, air and land assault on German-occupied France by Allied forces, codenamed Operation ‘Overlord’. The D-Day landings saw around 150,000 Allied troops land on French soil but it was just the start of a much longer operation to liberate France. In this week’s blog post I have pulled together just a small selection of our digital library resources that will help you explore the Normandy landings, the events leading up to it and the aftermath. And you can use many of these to find out more about the many other events happening around this time that contributed to the end of the Second World War.

D-Day For the Second Front, ‘Illustrated London News’, Saturday 10 June 1944, pp. 644-645. From Illustrated London News Archive.

What did the papers say?

Operation Overlord was top secret, so it wasn’t until the 6th June that news of the invasion began to filter through. Reports of the Normandy landings does appear in some late editions of newspapers from that day but it is mostly covered in issues published the next day, 7th June, or on next subsequent publication date.

Front page of the ‘Daily Express’, Wednesday 7 June 1944. From UK Press Online.

The Library subscribes to a large number of digitised newspaper archives that will allow you to see what events were being reported on at the time and how they were being reported. Read full text articles, compare how different newspapers were covering the same issues and stories and track coverage of Operation Overlord from the Normandy landings onwards. Continue reading

On trial: Prosecuting the Holocaust: British investigations into Nazi war crimes

I’m happy to let you know that the Library currently has trial access to the brand new digital primary source collection, Prosecuting the Holocaust: British investigations into Nazi war crimes, 1944-1949, from British Online Archives. Drawn from the UK National Archives, this collection contains a wealth of information regarding the British government’s efforts to investigate and prosecute Nazi crimes.

You can access Prosecuting the Holocaust via the E-resources trials page.
Access is available both on and off-campus.

Trial access ends 30th April 2019. Continue reading

On trial: Archives of Sexuality & Gender

*The Library has now purchased access to Archives of Sexuality & Gender. See New to the Library: Archives of Sexuality & Gender*

Thanks to a request from staff and students in HCA the Library currently has trial access to the Archives of Sexuality & Gender from Gale. This fully searchable digital archive spans the 16th to 21st century and is the largest digital collection of primary source material relating to the history and study of sex, sexuality and gender.

You can access this digital resource via the E-resources trials page.
Access is available both on and off-campus.

Trial access ends 18th March 2019.

Archives of Sexuality & Gender include documentation covering social, political, health and legal issues impacting LGBTQ communities around the world, as well as rare and unique books on sex and sexuality from the sciences to the humanities, providing a window into how sexuality and gender roles were viewed and changed over time. The types of documents covered include periodicals, newsletters, manuscripts, government records, organizational papers, correspondence, posters, books and other materials. Continue reading

New to the Library: The Baltimore Afro-American

I’m happy to let you know that the Library now has access to the digital archive of The Baltimore Afro-American (1893-1988) from ProQuest Historical Newspapers. Founded in 1892 it is the most widely circulated black newspaper on the Atlantic coast and the longest-running family-owned African American newspaper in the United States.

You can access The Baltimore Afro-American (1893-1988) via the Databases A-Z list and Newspapers & Magazines database list. You can also access the title through DiscoverEd* Continue reading

Battle of Cable Street: through our newspaper archives

On this day, 4th October, in 1936 large crowds of people gathered in London’s East End, an area of the city that had a large Jewish population, in an attempt to stop a march through the area by the British Union of Fascists (BUF). The protests turned into a riot with anti-fascist demonstrators clashing with Police, large numbers of demonstrators were arrested and even larger numbers of them (and Police) were injured. But they did manage to prevent the march from taking place.

In this week’s blog post I’m using some of the Library’s digital newspaper databases to find primary source material about the Battle of Cable Street (as the demonstrations became known).

Screenshot from Illustrated London News, October 10, 1936, p. 635. From The Illustrated London News Historical Archive.

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New to the Library: Service Newspapers of World War Two

I’m really pleased to let you know that following a successful trial the Library now has access to Service Newspapers of World War Two from Adam Matthew Digital, a brand new digitised primary source collection just released this year. This resource gives you unique insight into the story of war as told by the newspapers and magazines that brought information, entertainment and camaraderie to the forces.

You can access Service Newspapers of World War Two via the Databases A-Z list and Newspapers & Magazines database list. You can also access it through DiscoverEd.

Service Newspapers of World War Two contains an extensive range of both rare and well-known wartime publications for soldiers serving in major theatres around the world. Publications are included from many key nations involved in the conflict, such as the US, Canada, New Zealand, India, and the countries of Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Both Allied and Axis publications are presented, offering a broad view of the war and the experiences of those on its front lines. Continue reading

New to the Library: Foreign Office Files for China, 1919-1937

I’m really pleased to let you know that the Library has recently purchased access to the Foreign Office Files for China, 1919-1937 from Adam Matthew Digital. This means we now have access to the full Foreign Office Files for China database covering the years 1919 to 1980. This fantastic resource provides access to the digitised archive of British Foreign Office files dealing with China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

You can access Foreign Office Files for China, 1919-1980 via the Databases A-Z list, Primary source database list, the History Subject Guide or DiscoverEd. Continue reading

Channel Islands occupation: through the Library’s online primary sources

On this day, 30 June, in 1940 the Germans invaded the Channel Islands which was the beginning of nearly 5 years occupation. In this week’s blog I’m using some of the Library’s online resources to find primary source material to discover more about this facet of the Second World War.

I recently had the opportunity to visit the Jersey War Tunnels, one of Jersey’s many tunnel complexes built by mostly forced and slave labour under German command during the occupation.I have to admit that before that visit I really knew very little about this period in the Channel Islands history but I was inspired by the incredibly moving and fascinating exhibition to try and find out what primary source material was available to us through the University Library’s fantastic online primary source collections about the occupation.

© Mark Cairney

There are many stories that could be told about the Channel Islands occupation and I encourage you to seek them out but due to the nature of our online primary source collections and time limits I’m focusing on what the outside world, mainly Britain, knew (or didn’t) about what was happening on the Channel Islands during the occupation.

The blitzkrieg nears Britain

The first half of 1940 was a dark time for the Allies in the Second World War. In fairly quick succession Denmark, Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands and France were invaded by Germany. With the evacuation at Dunkirk (Operation Dynamo) and France, faced with no real other choice, signing an armistice with Germany in June of that year, Britain was now on its own and under threat.

The Daily Mirror, Tuesday, 18 June 1940, p. 7. UK Press Online. Accessed 25th May 2018.

Continue reading