durham university historic collections for researchers 2014

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Historic collections for researchers

Sarah Price and Richard Pears

What are historic collections?

Could also mean

Could even include

Why use them?

Take away from history why, how and to what end things have been done, and whether the thing done hath succeeded according to reason; and all that remains will be an idle sport and foolery, than a profitable instruction; and though for the present it may delight, for the future it cannot profit.Using historic collectionsFinding printed secondary materialFinding archive material key things to rememberUseful websites and portals for archivesFinding and accessing printed materialOnline resourcesPathways in archivesTips for using archivesCopyright and Freedom of Information

Finding material: where to start?Secondary readingBibliographiesFootnotes/referencesReference worksBibliographiesGuidesOnline guidesTutors

Finding secondary sourcesCatalogues for monographsBibliographic databases for journal articles and reviews e.g. Historical Abstracts, Jstor, IBSSTheses e.g. Index to theses, EThOSAccess by visiting (SCONUL Access) or borrowing (Document Delivery Service)

Catalogues, already mentioned COPAC also WorldCat Theses said secondary but also older theses that may well form part of primary sources8The archive environmentThe National ArchivesRecords of central government and the central criminal courtsOther NationalsBritish Library, Houses of Parliament, etc.County Record OfficesRecords relating to the administration of the historic county and other local materialUniversity archives Material collected to support research and teaching and other material related to the administration of the UniversitySpecialist archivesFor example, businesses, charities, churches, organisations, etc.Private and family collectionsPapers relating to families, individuals, estates etcFinding archival materialNot organised/categorised in the same way as booksDont fall into neat categoriesHow they have been collected or created is part of their storyKey is the creator or creating bodyWho might have created the record? Where might it be?Remember to think around the subjectRemembernot everything has survivednot everything is keptnot everything is easy to find

10Finding archival materialArchive cataloguesEach archive will have own catalogueNot all onlineNot all completeDurham University Special CollectionsUseful sitesNational Archives Search the ArchivesAccess to ArchivesNational Register of ArchivesARCHON

Finding archival materialSearch strategiesThink laterallyCombine search terms Boolean searchingUse wild card/fuzzy searchesFinding materialLocally held copiesPrinted sources and microfilm / microficheOnline sources many from Library catalogue

Online resourcesDiaries, manuscripts rare books, newspapers (articles, adverts, images, obituaries), photographs, historic interviews in film or transcriptionDigitised as text or, more often, as an imageVarying quality Varying ability to search many rely on the record Accessing online resourcesCatalogue http://library.dur.ac.uk/ DISCOVER http://discover.durham.ac.uk Definitive listing www.dur.ac.uk/library/resources/online/databases/ Subject filter www.dur.ac.uk/library/resources/subject/ for your own subject area www.dur.ac.uk/library/history for historic resources

Full text online collectionsDemo Times digital archive and Mass Observation hover over circle for hyperlink (done by creating a transparent circle)15E-books as primary sourcesAmerican Council of Learned Societies 16Accessing printed booksRare books held in archives but listed in library cataloguesMain collections in Durham University Library catalogue and listed on Special Collections pagesSome collections at other institutions in COPACPrinted collections of sources or translationsThe University Library holds over 60,000 pre-1850 printed works. Its collections are richest for the16th and 17th century but also include over 200 incunabula (books printed in the 15th century) and aconsiderable range of 18th century material.

Rare books held in archives but listed in library cataloguesMain collections in Durham University Library catalogue and listed on Special Collections pagesSome collections at other institutions in COPACPrinted collections of sources or translations e.g. Surtees Society, Camden Miscellany

DDS for non-unique, probably more modern collections of sources17Pathways in archivesPathways and journeysLocal

NationalDiariesNewspapersBusiness recordsParish recordsPolice recordsUseful tips for working in archivesContact before visitOpening times, ID, facilities, advance orderingGo preparedPaper, pencils, laptop, camera, referencesWear/take warm clothesBe organisedCheck references, take full notesAsk for help

Understanding archival references

HO 42/95 f.375Collection = Home OfficeDivision = Domestic Correspondence Subdivision = part year 1808Folio HO 42: The National Archives, Home Office, Domestic Correspondence, George IIICopyrightArchival material is still subject to copyright lawSome records are restricted check!Normally okay to cite in research without permissionSituation will change if work is being published (theses count!)


Freedom of InformationFOI Act passed in 2000 and came into full effect from 2005Information is assumed to be open unless one of the specified exemptions appliesAnyone can send in a written request Is a right of appeal

Useful linksNational Register of Archiveswww.nationalarchives.gov.uk/nra/default.aspAccess 2 Archiveshttp://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/a2a/ARCHONhttp://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/archon/


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