Senate House returns drop-box is now open 24/7!

Open24 hours
Image by Gareth Simpson

As a student of Royal Holloway, you have access to Senate House Library.

There is a Senate House returns drop-box on campus, which until recently has had limited opening hours. However, from now you can return your Senate House Library books whenever you wish. There is a security light to make it safe to deposit items when it’s dark.

A further improvement is that the box will now be emptied twice, rather than once, a day.

You can find the box at the University of London Despository – Building 39 on the campus plan.


#RHDigitalU: Digital Skills for University and Beyond

The Library has teamed up with Careers and CeDAS to offer you a series of digital skills sessions throughout November. These sessions can help you succeed in your studies as well as help improve your career prospects once you graduate.

  1. Careers are starting the series with a LinkedIn Day on Wednesday 12th November, which includes 2 workshops, a webinar, 1:1 appointments and a chance to get a professional photograph taken for your profile. You can just attend one part of the day or the whole programme – it’s up to you! Book now!




2. On 19th November, the Library is holding a workshop on how you are perceived online. This is the ideal opportunity to check your online identity and ensure that nothing from your digital past could come back to haunt you. Book now!



3. On 26th November, there will be a workshop from CeDAS on apps that can help you with your research. Book now!



Archives for Everyone!

Archive blog post image

In the past we’ve written blog posts about the collections we hold in the archives and also how to find archive collections in other UK repositories. In this post I want to introduce some of you to the archives just for fun or personal interest, not necessarily for your coursework or research. I think often the archives seem like an impenetrable fortress that only people with a proven academic reason can visit – that is not the case! Throughout the year we take part in lots of events which help us to showcase our collections to people who may not have been to an archive before. We run tours of the archives on Heritage Open Day and at the annual Garden Party and we also provide exhibitions for various events going on on campus. Last year we provided a display for the Play Festival about our theatre collections which is now on display on the 2nd floor of Founder’s library and earlier this term we held two sessions for the Feminist Society looking at the history of the College at the forefront of women’s education.

Next week we will be holding an event looking at the effect World War One had on the lives of students and staff at both Bedford and Royal Holloway Colleges. The event will have two short talks from Stella Moss (History) and Anne Varty (English) on life at the College during the War and student poetry written during the war. The event will also include a display of items and information from the archives. If you’d like to come along (the event is free and includes tea and biscuits!) you can book a ticket here.

In addition to events and displays we also have lots of examples of items from the archives on our website. There are online exhibitions on College Fashions (including sections on clothes for sport and academic and evening dress), College Community and Sustainability (including sections on the introduction of men and the infamous College fire drills) and Social Life at the Colleges (including sections on the importance of tea and student discos and balls).

We also have an exhibition which includes highlights from the Roy Waters Theatre Collection. The Collection contains Roy’s lifetime collection of theatrical ephemera including material on the backstage workings of the theatre and satirical productions.

The website also contains all the items of month (now in its thirty eighth month). These are a chance for us to show items from the archives, rare books and art collections that we think are interesting or are related to a current event or news story. This month’s relates to World War One and the event we are holding. Some of the most popular editions are the polar bear painting from May 2013 and these dashing chaps from November 2012.

Hopefully these little insights into the archives will give you an idea of the kinds of things we hold. Don’t be shy if you want to find out more about the archives, our contact details are on the website and we are on the third floor of Founder’s library if you want to pop up and take a look at the display we have up here about the opening of Royal Holloway College.

Annabel Valentine, College Archivist

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 for more information, or leave a comment below.