Tag Archives: librarylovesresources

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

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


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.


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.


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


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


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


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.


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



Resources in Numbers

This January the Library Loves Resources – and we’ve updated our Pinterest board with some facts and figures to celebrate.

Number of e-books available

E-book poster

To find out how to find e-books using LibrarySearch watch the video below

Top 10 E-resources

Top10eresources poster

To find these databases, go to your Subject Guide, or the Databases A-Z

Student Book Requests


In the Autumn Term, we’ve bought over 100 student requests. Don’t forget, you can request a book for your course or assignment using the More Books form.

Look out for more updates on The Library in Numbers!

2013 Exam Papers Are Go!

Exam papers for courses run in 2012-13 are now available!

The Exam Papers are held in Royal Holloway’s Institutional Repository, which holds all sorts of things from PhD theses to academic research and work.

You can access the Exam Papers in a couple of ways…

1)      Through Moodle (the link is usually found on the right hand side of the page under the “Library Resources” section)

2)      Through the Library homepage

3)      Using the web address for the Institutional repository:


However you decide to access the exam papers, you should be greeted by the Repository homepage:

You will automatically be logged in as a guest, but this will NOT give you access to the exam papers. You will need to LOG IN using your computer username (i.e. abcd123 or wxyz456) and password to access the exam papers. Click on “Login (with CC Username)” found on the left hand side of the screen & then log on:

To view the available exam papers click on “Past Exam Papers” (second from the top of the listed collections). Exam papers are divided by subject area and most of these will be displayed on this first page. Clicking on the relevant department with link you through to the exam papers for that subject.

As you may have noticed, not all subjects are listed, like Criminology & Sociology or French for example. For those courses not listed here, you can view the available exam papers by doing either of the following:

1)      To view exams for each department by year, click on “Department/Year”.

2)      To see a list of all the courses for each department, click on “Department/Course Code”.


When clicking on the desired year or course code, you will find that this takes you through to a page listing the Exam Papers as PDF files. From this click on the exam paper you want to see and this record will contain the PDF file, which you will be able to click on and download.

record with arrow

Hopefully this has proved a helpful “how to” guide on access the exam papers, but should you have any problems, please do not hesitate to contact the library: library@rhul.ac.uk

British Pathé online

Charles Pathé (1863-1957) was a pioneer of the moving image, who founded a company with his three brothers in Paris in 1896.  A London branch was established in 1902, and by 1910 it was producing the Pathé Gazette twice a week for the country’s growing number of cinemas.  The company had many other interests, including cinema equipment, films and audio recordings, but it was best known for its news services.

Pathé news continued to be produced till 1970, so it recorded the world in the twentieth century through two world wars, revolutions and the Great Depression to the postwar years, the Iron Curtain and decolonisation.  Over 90,000 clips covering a vast range of subjects have now been made available on the website http://www.britishpathe.com/

These clips are free for the public to stream and view.  They contain a fairly obtrusive copyright statement across the foot of the screen, but are still fascinating and enjoyable. They are potentially a treasure trove for anyone interested in social history.

British Pathé home page

The home page (above) features a different clip each week.  When this blog was written, the week of the Australian Open tennis championship, it was a clip of Fred Perry winning that tournament in 1934.

There is a simple search engine, and the collection can be searched in full or under broad categories. A general search for “Library” (I know, but I’m a librarian . . . ) produced a video of (very quiet) activity in the long lost British Museum Library Round Reading Room in 1947, among many other results.

All rights to the material remain with the company,  this is not public domain material. Downloading clips for re-use has to be paid for, usually £30 to £40 per clip according to length. However, anyone can create a free user account, which then lets you mark your favourite clips to return to.  There is no limit to the number of times you can stream a clip online.

Adrian Machiraju


JSTOR (short for Journal Storage) is a major source of journals for the Arts and Humanities. If you are studying in these areas you will often find that academic journal articles you need are here.

Login using the link on the Databases A-Z page.

If you are off campus you can use the login above and enter your Username and Password or use the VPN (More information here).

What is JSTOR?
•JSTOR is a research and teaching platform for the academic community to publish, discover, and preserve scholarly content.
• JSTOR includes over 1,400 leading academic journals and primary source materials valuable for academic work, including the most current issues of 174 journals.
• The entire archive is full-text searchable, includes images and multi-media files, and is interlinked by millions of citations and references.
• Founded in 1995, JSTOR is a service of ITHAKA, a not-for-profit organization.

JSTOR have PDF guide which is a useful quick reference on how to do things.

How to do a basic search

When you first log into JSTOR, you will see the Basic Search box.

Enter your keywords and click the Search button.

How to do an advanced search

To get to Advanced Search, click the Search pull-down in the menu at the top and select Advanced Search.

You can enter your keywords and combine them with AND, OR and NOT, quotation marks, and parentheses, just as you would in Basic Search.

  1. Use the pull-down menu to the left of the search box to select AND, OR or NOT
  2. Include links to external content – includes search results that have full-text content in another database or on the web. You can leave this option selected but it might lead to things we don’t have access for.
    Include only content I can access – eliminates search results with no full-text in JSTOR.
  3. Item Type allows you to narrow do your search by whether you want an article, an ebook, a pamphlet, etc.
  4. Date Range allows you to limit your search to items that were published in a certain time period
  5. Check off the disciplines (subject areas) that you want to search down at the bottom of the Advanced Search page.
  6. Language lets you restrict your search to only documents in English (or another language).

There are also the following short videos to help you:

How to search:

This video shows how to use the Advanced Search feature:


Keeping up to date:

It’s January! And the Library Loves Resources!

Happy New Year!

This month the Library is all about its resources, and keep an eye on our blog, Twitter and Facebook for updates, hints and tips on some of the great resources you can use in your assignments and projects.

We’ll be re-blogging and adding new content throughout the month, but for a sneak peek scroll down to our tag cloud on the right-hand bar, and click ‘librarylovesresources’

What’s more, every other Wednesday for the whole of Spring Term, we’ve teamed up with academic support and are holding drop in sessions in the Bedford Library Teahouse, so come along on and ask us any questions you have about using library resources and academic writing:

Wednesday 15th January 2pm – 4pm

Wednesday 29th January 2pm – 4pm

Wednesday 12th February 2pm – 4pm

Wednesday 26th February 2pm – 4pm

Wednesday 12th March 2pm – 4pm

Wednesday 26th March 2pm – 4pm

Social Care Online – New Interface

Social Care Online is provided by the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) and is the UK’s largest database of information on all aspects of social care and social work.  Content includes legislation, government documents, practice and guidance, systematic reviews, research briefings, UK grey literature, digital media, books, text books and journal articles.  If you have been using Social Care Online for your research be aware that the old interface will no longer be available from the new year, instead you will need to search the new Social Care Online beta version.

How do I access Social Care Online?

Under E-Resources on the Social Work subject guide


1. Go to the Databases A-Z guide on the Library subject guides

2. Go to S

3. Select Social Care Online


Searching on a topic

Use the standard search box to search for your topic and then filter the results by using the options on the left hand side.


Advanced search

To get access to advanced search features, save searches and export results you will need to first register with Social Care Online.  Once you have done this you will need to login to start searching.

The advanced search allows you to select multiple keywords which you can combine with the search operators AND, OR and NOT in the following fields:

  • Title
  • Author
  • Editor
  • Publisher
  • Publication Year
  • Subject terms
  • Location
  • Abstract

JISC Historic Books

JISC Historic Books is a database that provides access to scans of historic editions of books:

What does it contain?

BL 19th Century: Over 65, 000 recently digitised first editions from the British Library’s 19th century collection, comprising over 25 million pages of previously rare and inaccessible titles.

ECCO: Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO) is a digital collection of more than 180,000 titles published in Great Britain and its colonies during the eighteenth century.

EEBO: Early English Books Online (EEBO) contains the scanned images, and plain text digital versions where available, of over 125,000 books published in English up to 1700.

Content from all three collections can be searched at once, or individual collections can be selected and browsed.

How to access the resource:

– Under E-resources on the English and Drama & Theatre subject guides.


1. Go to The Databases A-Z guide on the library subject guides.

2. Go to J

3. Select JISC Historic Books


The Library has put together a basic video tutorial here:

And the website has its own Quick Reference Guide.







The Shakespeare Collection Online

The Shakespeare Collection is an extensive collection including e-books of the most recent Arden Shakespeare editions, other editions and adaptations of Shakespeare’s works, other works published during Shakespeare’s time, prompt books, theatrical diaries, criticism, reviews, images, and reference materials. It is a great place to begin studying Shakespeare, and has lots of clever features.

How to access:

– Under E-resources on the English and Drama & Theatre subject guides.


1. Go to The Databases A-Z guide on the library subject guides.

2. Go to S

3. Select Shakespeare Collection

Searching for a play

Use the basic search to find texts of Shakespeare’s plays:

shakespearecollection basic search

Under Texts – Arden editions select they play you are interested in and you can read the full text. Click on View Notes to read the Arden notes on the text.

shakespearecollection viewnotes

Comparing texts

You can also compare historical editions of texts with the recent Arden edition.

To compare the first known editions of Hamlet (1603 & 1604 Quartos) and the modern, Arden edition of the play:

  1. Open The Shakespeare Collection and go to the basic search page.
  2. Enter “Hamlet”, select the “Keyword” radio button, and click on the search button.
  3. Under the Arden tab, mark the Arden edition of Hamlet.
  4. Under the Historical tab, mark the second and third items (Quarto 1 and Quarto 2).
  5. Open Quarto 1 and click on the “Compare Documents” link.
  6. Scroll around in the left window to get a good view of the play.
  7. In the right window, open the Arden edition of the play.
  8. Scroll and compare the two versions.
  9. In the Arden edition, select “View Notes” for more information about the scene.
  10. In the top right corner of the right screen, select “Compare Another”.
  11. Open the 1604-1605 edition of the play.
  12. Page forward to get to the start of the play.

Searching for a quotation

You can use the Basic Search to find a quotation, or instances of a word or phrase.

1. Type the quotation into the search bar, and select the “Entire Document” radio button. Click Search.

shakespearecollection quotationsearch

2. Choose “First Relevant Scene”. The quotation you searched for will be displayed in red.
3. Choose the “Next” button to skip to the next instance of the word/quotation.