Category Archives: Databases

Resource of the Week: Eighteenth Century Drama

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Eighteenth Century Drama is a new resource at RHUL and contains a vast amount of primary sources and information relating to the theatrical world in the 18th Century.

There are 3 main parts to Eighteenth Century Drama:

  • The Larpent Collection of plays – collection of 2,500 plays submitted for license between 1778-1824, and the diaries of Larpent’s wife and professional collaborator, Anna.
  • The London Stage, 1660-1800 – this section documents theatrical performances in 18th Century London, compiled from playbills, newspapers and theatrical diaries.
  • Bibliographical Dictionary – lists London performers, from well -known names to little known musicians and performers.

This is a brilliant resource that really gives you an insight into the theatrical world of the 18th Century.

Access this resource via our eResources A-Z page. Find out more about this resource and take a tour here.

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Holocaust Memorial Day: the Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive

For Holocaust Memorial Day 2017, we would like to tell you about the USC Shoah Foundation Institute’s Visual History Archive. This resource came about due to the film Schindler’s List, and its importance cannot be overstated.

The Shoah Archive contains 50,000 interviews with survivors and witnesses of the Holocaust. Interviews are approximately two and a half hours long and some are supplemented with photographs, documents, and artefacts pertaining to the interviewee’s family and wartime experiences. Interviews are in a wide range of languages.
Interviewees speak on the following topics:

  • Jewish Survivors
  • Rescuers and Aid Providers
  • Sinti and Roma Survivors
  • Liberators and Liberation Witnesses
  • Political Prisoners
  • Jehovah’s Witness Survivors
  • War Crimes Trials Participants
  • Survivors of Eugenics Policies
  • Homosexual Survivors

As well as Holocaust testimonies, the Archive also includes testimonies from the Armenian Genocide that coincided with World War I, the 1937 Nanjing Massacre in China, the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, the Guatemalan Genocide of 1978-1996 and the Cambodian Genocide of 1975-1979.

It’s a unique resource and researchers often come from far and wide to view the videos.

How do I use it?
This resource is only available on campus. There is a link on the Databases A-Z, under V, and once you’re on the site, you will need to create an account in order to log in, search, and view videos. Once on the website, you must register to create a personal username and password.

Searching the archive
Searching is easy, you can search on a topic, for a name, and use links in the videos to skip to particular sections relevant to your interests. The USC Shoah Foundation has a YouTube Channel with lots of information, but we’ve collected searching tips in this playlist.

Have you used the archive? Do you think it would be useful in your research? Contact library@rhul.ac.uk for more information, or leave a comment below.

Mass Observation Archive Online

The library now has access to the Mass Observation Archive online.

Mass Observation Archive Online is an online archive of British social history from 1937- 1972, with a focus on the World War Two period (1939-1945). The Mass Observation research project involved the scientific observation of public attitudes and opinions. Mass Observation online is an online archive of the original research documents created by the University of Sussex library. There is a large amount of help information available here.

Key features

  • File reports on a range of subject areas (1937-1972)
  • Day Surveys and Diaries recording every-day experiences and opinions of the general public (1937-1945)
  • Directives recording opinions of the general public on pre-determined research topics (1939-1945)
  • Books and Essays published by the Mass Observation project
  • Other personal papers collected by the Mass Observation research project

Subjects who might find this useful

  • History
  • Politics and International Relations
  • Sociology
  • Criminology
  • Media Arts
  • Geography

To read about using the physical archive you can view this post by one of our librarians who used it in her MA.

Mass Observation Archive

There are lots of specialist archives around the country which may help students here at RHUL.

One of these is the Mass Observation Archive which is based at The Keep in Falmer (near Brighton) in Sussex. The archive contains lots of material about everyday life in Britain on a large range of topice. The original Mass Observation social research organisation (1937 to early 1950s) collected lots of material via questionnaires, interviews and diaries. The Victoria Wood play Housewife, 49 (available on BoB ) is based on one Mass Observation diarist. Newer material has been collected continuously since 1981.

We also have access to the Mass Observation Archive online.

I used the archive when I was studying for my MA Film Studies as part of my dissertation on Women, Romance and World War II. The archive interviewed and collected information on all sorts of topic including film and was an invaluable resource to me. (It even surveyed cinema queues)

Books and journal articles can tell you a lot but the material here is primary resources, written by ordinary people. From the archives I learnt a lot more than I could have done just from reading books or even contemporary newspaper articles.

Amongst the things I found out were:

“Almost invariably the Nazi salute has resulted in laughter from the audience while anti-war talk has been received with great interest.” (17/3/A: Film Questionnaire 1939)

One questionnaire asked for suggestions on how cinemas should be improved –

“Patrons cars should be washed and polished for free whilst in a cinema’s car park.”

“That a rigid ban should be imposed on the consumption of peanuts.” (BOX 2: FILMS 1936 – 42, 17/2/A: The Bernstein Report)

 

In an Interview with the Manager of  Classic Cinema Tooting. On Thursday 16th November 1939

“Our business is kept by women. In wartime they have husbands and sons serving, say sons, your age, who they know have got no life, they have sacrificed everything, they’ve got to mix with Tom, Dick and Harry, and may lose an arm or a leg. That’s the woman’s view. Therefore in the suburban halls we leave war films entirely alone.”

(TC 17 Box 4)

This really gave me a sense of what the actual cinema-going public were thinking and helped me to form my research as it reminded me that indeed the men would be off fighting so women would want less war and more escapism.

There were also surveys of the 1536  letters to Picturegoer magazine in 1940. This included an analysis of topics covered, 47% were about stars and 55% were written by men. Whilst the books I was reading were telling me all about the soldiers and the war this helped me shape the idea that people were turning to the cinema for escapism and even taking the time to write to magazines about it. These letters also drew attention to the fact that Deanna Durbin was one of the most popular stars at this time, not something I was able to find out elsewhere where the books and contemporary accounts are often written by critics and don’t necessarily reflect public opinion.

My favourite box of treasures was FILMS M36-50 Box 1 as this contained reports from the Mass Observation correspondents.

Gems from this include this overheard conversation reported by G.L. Wallace:

1. “ I suppose it will be a long time before we shall see “Gone With The Wind” here, did you see in the paper that they weren’t to let people in for under 2/6?”

2. “No, not really, still I suppose it is a long film, four hours long isn’t it?”

1. “I read 3 hours and 41 minutes, still the book was very long.”

2. “I never read the book, that sort of stuff bores me.”

1. “Well, I hope they have the film here, my Gert (?her daughter) wants to see it awful badly”

Gone With the Wind was released and in terms of tickets sold is still the most successful film at the British Box office (BFI. 2010. The Ultimate Film, 4/9/2006 2004 [cited 03/07/2010 2010]. Available from http://www.bfi.org.uk/features/ultimatefilm/) – people obviously did part with their 2/6 but nowhere else did I find anything about the fact that people were discussing it.

Joyce Ausden:

“Children, by the way, are amused at the sight of any Germans “Goose Stepping,” they shout with decisive laughter. They also boo loudly at any picture of Hitler.”

G.L. Wallace:

“Wartime cinema audiences are definitely more responsive than they were before the war, except possibly for the short period immediately before the outbreak. With regard to chorus-singing, for instance. People will sing perfectly happily in a music-hall, and extremely unwillingly in a cinema, yet, when I went to one of our larger local cinemas on the evening of Sept. 2nd, everyone, myself included, bawled happily at the tops of their voices. This chorus-singing, mainly with an organ, is catered for to a much larger extent since the war. Quite a different aspect of people’s rather free-and-easy attitude in the cinema was shown by the fact that quite large numbers of the audience booed and hissed when Hitler appeared on the screen. Rude remarks were shouted too such as “I’d like to wring his bloody neck”, and “Pity somebody doesn’t bump him off.” These, however, have died down not, although there are occasional humorous remarks when any members of the German Government appear on the screen. The sudden outburst of songs and jokes about them have made the German Cabinet appear to the average man in this country to be a secondary “Crazy Gang.”

“The Blackout has made a great deal of difference to cinema-going in this district. On a normal weekday night (except Saturday) when the weather is reasonably fine about the same number of people go to the cinema as in peace-time. But if the night is at all cloudy or unpleasantly wet, the number is very much smaller than usual. Before the war the cinemas on Saturday night were packed and many people had to queue up and stand, now however the cinemas are no fuller on a Saturday night than on any other night. There has been a great increase in the number of people going to the first performances (approx 2-5) and also to the second house while the last house is often fairly empty, depending on the weather conditions etc.”

I could never have achieved such a rich picture of cinema-going in wartime without the Mass Observation Archive. You can access it online here.

Helen Rimmer

Watching Theatre Online – yes please!

Have you seen our new resource, Digital Theatre Plus?

Digital Theatre Plus productions. digitaltheatreplus.com

 

Digital Theatre Plus is an online video resource which provides access to a range of productions: Shakespeare, classic plays, new writing, classical music and opera. It will be useful for students studying Shakespeare, adaptations and those interested in playwriting.

It is easily accessible from the English Subject Guide under ‘Multimedia Resources’. 

Once you’ve accessed the site, you can stream productions in full, or break them down by scene, act, or speech – and the database also includes interviews with the cast and creative teams behind a number of the productions. Digital Theatre Plus are always adding to the collection, and you can sign up for updates or follow them on Facebook.

If you’re watching from home please use CampusAnywhere to access the site without having to log in, but if you’re on campus you should find that you can watch any of the productions.

Any problems or questions, please contact Kim in the Library on k.coles@rhul.ac.uk.

Library Enquiry of the Month: Off-campus access

How do I access online resources off-campus? It’s one of our most common enquiries in the library@rhul.ac.uk inbox – but luckily it’s very easy to solve!

Road to nowhere in Iran

CampusAnywhere is a service that allows you to connect to your campus Y: Drive and restricted webpages such as Library databases which want you to log in every time you use them. This can be complicated, and repetitive, so using CampusAnywhere means you only have to log in once, and can access resources automatically – as though you were on campus.

It’s available for Internet Explorer (7, 8, 9, 10, and 11); Firefox; Mac OS X 10.7 (and higher); iOS (iPad/iPhone); Android – 4.x (Ice Cream Sandwich); and Linux. All you need is an internet connection and your RHUL username and passwords.

Sounds good? We know! Visit the IT webpages to get the right version for you.

Finding recent magazine issues using Nexis UK

Browsing journals online can be difficult, depending on the database that you have to use to access them. You can use the ‘Journals by Title’ search in LibrarySearch to find a publication.

Some are very easy to use, and make it clear where the most recent issue is – such as in the video above.

Here are some examples relevant to Media Arts which are a little more complicated…

Accessing Variety using the FIAF database

To look up access options for the Variety magazine, go to LibrarySearch (librarysearch.rhul.ac.uk) and use the ‘Journals by Title’ search:

librarysearchvariety

Select ‘View Online’ to see the access options:

varietyaccessoptions

 

If you’re using FIAF, you should be taken to a page with some bibliographic information on the journal, and under ‘List of issues’ a collapsible list of contents pages, which should link to the PDF of articles wherever possible:

varietyFIAF

Click ‘PDF’ to view the article.

Accessing Screen International using the Nexis UK database

Some publications, like ‘Screen International’ are only available via the Nexis UK database. You will need to follow the link to Nexis, but then try using the date range filters to narrow down the range of articles. Clicking ‘Search’ should take you to a recent list.

 

If you have any questions about accessing publications, leave a comment or email library@royalholloway.ac.uk.

New resource – Credo Reference

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Researching a topic? You’ve probably been warned about the perils of using Wikipedia for your academic work, but what’s the alternative? The Library has recently subscribed to an excellent resource, called Credo Reference. Using Credo, you can find quality information from respected reference works, such as encyclopedias and dictionaries. It’s very easy to use and includes a mind mapping option, which allows you to see concepts that relate to your topic area. There is also an image search and you are free to use these images in your academic work (remember to cite and reference it).

Get started by watching this video:

 Then head to http://search.credoreference.com to try it out!

What is the USC Shoah Archive?

The USC Shoah Foundation Institute’s Visual History Archive contains 50,000 digitized interviews with survivors and witnesses of the Holocaust. Interviews are approximately two and a half hours long and some are supplemented with photographs, documents, and artifacts pertaining to the interviewee’s family and wartime experiences.

Interviewees speak on the following topics:

  • Jewish Survivors
  • Rescuers and Aid Providers
  • Sinti and Roma Survivors
  • Liberators and Liberation Witnesses
  • Political Prisoners
  • Jehovah’s Witness Survivors
  • War Crimes Trials Participants
  • Survivors of Eugenics Policies
  • Homosexual Survivors

In April 2013, the Visual History Archive expanded to include a collection of 65 audiovisual testimonies of survivors and witnesses of the 1994 Rwandan Tutsi genocide. Conducted in two countries (U.S.A. and Rwanda), and two languages (English and Kinyarwanda), this initial collection of 65 Rwandan testimonies was accomplished in collaboration with Aegis Trust and the Kigali Genocide Memorial.

In February 2014, 12 audiovisual testimonies of survivors of the 1937-38 Nanjing Massacre were integrated into the VHA. These testimonies are in Mandarin and were conducted in Nanjing, China through a partnership with the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall.

It’s a unique resource, and Royal Holloway Library is the only place in the UK with access to the collection – which means that researchers often come from far and wide to view the videos.

How do I use it?

There is a link on the Databases A-Z, under U, and once you’re on the site, you will need to create an account in order to log in, search, and view videos.

  1. Follow the link to the website
    • If on-campus, no login is needed to access the website
    • If off-campus, you will need to sign in with your Royal Holloway computer username and password
  2. Once on the website, you must register to create a personal username and password
  3. Due to high bandwidth, videos to be viewed must be downloaded to Royal Holloway’s servers rather than viewed directly from USC website.
    • Some videos already downloaded and available for immediate viewing; just click on the videos marked “Viewable now” to watch
    • Others must be requested for download. Because our server space is limited, students must get tutor’s permission before requesting a download.
  4. Once requested, the video will be added to Royal Holloway’s servers and will be available to view after 12-48 hours. Videos can only be viewed on campus, but you are able to log in and make a request for a video to be downloaded from any off-campus PC.

Searching the archive

Searching is easy, you can search on a topic, for a name, and use links in the videos to skip to particular sections relevant to your interests. The USC Shoah Foundation has a YouTube Channel with lots of information, but we’ve collected searching tips in this playlist.

Have you used the archive? Do you think it would be useful in your research? Contact library@rhul.ac.uk for more information, or leave a comment below.

Literature Online (LION)

Literature Online has a new look! So what better time to feature it as Resource of the Week. If you’ve never used Literature Online, it’s got some really useful features and a huge collection of over 330,000 works of English and American literature covering poetry, drama, and prose from the 8th to the 21st centuries. LION also includes thousands of critical articles, essays, biographies and encyclopedia entries.

How to find it:

On your subject guide

OR

Go to the Databases A-Z
Go to L
Click on the Literature Online link

Quick Search: searches all content, including texts (poetry, prose, drama), literary works, criticism and reference.

LitOnlinequicksearch

Text Search: find full texts of poetry, prose and drama, but author or literary movement.

Use the ‘Look up’ function to get more reliable results.

LitOnlinetextsearch

View texts by this author to read full texts of their works. You can also search for works in a particular genre, or by an author in a certain time period, or of a particular nationality.

LitOnlinetextsby Bryon

Author search: find biographies, full texts, criticism and reference on a particular author

LitOnlinesearchwithinausten

Use the ‘search within text’ function to search for instances of words of phrases in a particular work

LitOnlinesearchwithinresults

Criticism search: find full texts of articles on a topic of your choice.

LitOnlinecriticism

Reference search: find biographies of authors, bibliographies on certain topics, and more. Use the ‘look up’ function to be more specific.

Tick ‘biographies’ to search for biographical information on authors.

LitOnlinereferencebiography

For more hints and tips, go to the Literature Online guide.

 

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