Category Archives: Department of History

Resource of the Week: London Low Life

This week the resource of the week is London Low Life.

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This is a fascinating resource which gives you an insight into life in London during the 18th, 19th and early 20th Century. Included in this resource are digital images of rare books, interactive maps, essays and online galleries.

Explore this resource and see London as you have never seen it before!

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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

How to access Exam Papers

Very good luck in your exams! Here are some tips for reading past papers:

1. Are you on campus? If yes, carry onto 2.
If no, please use CampusAnywhere (If you don’t do this, you might not be able to see the papers.)

2. If you’re using Moodle: click on the Past Exam Papers link on the right to go through to past papers for that course code only.

past papers

3. To search the Past Papers database directly, go to the Library homepage, and click Exam Papers.

past papers homepage

4. Check you are logged in by looking in the top right hand corner – if it says log out your are logged in. If not then please log in.exam papers login

You can browse by Course Code, Department, and Year – and all exam papers can be downloaded as PDFs.

accesspaper

If you have any questions, please let us know!

Spring Term Library Workshops

Happy New Term! And with it comes new training workshops from the Library.

Last year, in the Autumn Term we saw 6547 students – that’s equivalent to all of the students in the Arts and Sciences faculties put together!

We’ve had some really nice and positive feedback on our sessions too…


 

[I] would definitely like to attend more of these workshops after attending this one

[The Librarian] who gave the workshop was very articulate, concise and knowledgeable.

this course showed me how to navigate [the Library website] efficiently to get to the parts that I need.

I thought everything we covered was of use.


But that’s not all – we’re always looking to  improve the workshops, so we’re keen to hear suggestions for more sessions, or changes we can make too.


I would be interested in attending a workshop on the more advanced features of EndNote.


So the workshops are great, but what’s on offer this term? All of our training can be found on the Training page of your subject guide, and you will need to register to attend (but this is free and easy to do – email us if you have any trouble).

Working on a dissertation or essay? Come to our Search Our Stuff and Find It Faster workshops on 17th and 26th February and practice search techniques.

New to referencing and bibliographies? RefWorks is a great resource for undergraduates, and EndNote is a powerful postgraduate referencing tool – come along on 28th January or 5th February to find out more. And if you’re already using RefWorks, but have questions, come to our Question and answer session on 11th March.
If you’ve only got half an hour to spare, or think RefWorks and EndNote aren’t for you, come to Bedford Library on 3rd March and get acquainted with free Zotero referencing. Researchers might find our half hour session on social referencing site Mendeley useful too.

Every Tuesday throughout Spring Term, Bedford Library room 2-03 hosts our Bitesize, subject specific workshops.

Something missing? Send an email to library@rhul.ac.uk and request a session!

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.

MediaHub

MediaHub provides a single search point for all the images and films from the collections of Education Image Gallery, Film and Sound Online, NewsFilm Online plus other services including the Archaeology Data Service (ADS) Image Bank.

You can find it in the Databases A-Z, under M.

Explore by Collection to see all of the video and image collections, including ITV News archives from 1953 – 2007; Channel 4 News archives from 1982 – 2007; Channel 5 News archives from 1997 – 2004; Gaumont Graphic British News from 1920 – 1934.

MediaHub Collections

 

Anything with the JISC MediaHub logo has been cleared for use in education and teaching, but MediaHub also searches lots of external collections too – these will be clearly marked with information for re-use.

As it’s Library Loves Art month, we’re particularly excited by the Fitzwilliam Museum collections in Cambridge. “Images covering a wide range of pictorial content drawn from the rich, diverse and internationally significant collections of The Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, including major artists such as Canaletto, J.M.W. Turner, George Stubbs and John Constable. Every image is tagged by geographical location and a date or period.”

Self-portrait, with the Colosseum, Rome. Maarten van Heemskerck. 1553. The Fitzwilliam Museum
Self-portrait, with the Colosseum, Rome. Maarten van Heemskerck. 1553. The Fitzwilliam Museum

 

Search Techniques

MediaHub defaults to an OR search, so the system will bring back media containing any of the keywords you search for. e.g. vietnam war brings back results with ‘vietnam’, ‘war’, or both

To make sure that your results contain all of the words you search for, use +. e.g. +vietnam +war brings back results with both ‘vietnam and war’

To exclude one particular word, use -. e.g. asia -korea brings back results with asia, but none with korea.

You can use the simple search box at the top of the page, and access many more options by selecting ‘Advanced Search‘.

Sharing

Images and videos can be saved and downloaded in a number of formats, and you can access a permanent link to the media so that it can be shared.

More Information

Box of Broadcasts (BoB) version 3.0

Box of Broadcasts has been updated and improved over Christmas – have you met BoB yet? BoB is an interactive media streaming service which is available both on and off campus anywhere within the UK. It’s a bit like BBC iPlayer but BoB can offer you much more. It is available for free to any RHUL student or staff member – although you will need to register your account to use.

If you regularly find yourself missing arts and cultural documentaries or any sort of radio or television programme you can now catch up whenever you like using Box of Broadcasts (BoB).

Quickstart tutorial:

What can you do using BoB?

Record programmes:
Once you have registered, you can request recordings of radio or television programmes broadcast up to 30 days ago, or to be broadcast in up to 30 days – up to 5 recordings a day.
You can record from any of the regular freeview channels, including BBC 1, BBC 2, BBC 3, BBC 4, BBC Parliament, BBC Scotland, BBC Wales, Channel 4, More4, Film4, ITV, Aljazeera, BBC radio channels, CNN, France24, RaiNews24 – and more. For a full list, check the BoB Programme Guide.
Any requested programmes are then available in the archive and also in your ‘My BoB’ area.

Recording a programme:

Search the programme archive:
The BoB archive allows you to access not just programmes that you have requested but also programmes that users from any subscribing institution have requested. You can also access any publically available playlists and clips. Programmes remain in the archive indefinitely.
Look out for ‘Also available via Box of Broadcasts’ stickers on DVDs in the Founder’s Library, and use BoB to view films and programmes for your course.
Searching now allows you to view upcoming programmes which may be of interest. To only view currently available clips, choose ‘Available now’ under ‘Availability’ on the left hand side of the page once you have searched.

Create playlists and clips:
To add a programme to a playlist just click on the ‘Add to playlist’ link at the side of the programme. To create a clip from a programme click on the ‘Create clip’ link under the programme. All programmes, playlists or clips on BoB are given a persistent URL so their location will not change.

Creating clips:

Organise videos and clips using MyBoB:
Using your ‘My BoB’ area you can manage and access any recordings you have requested. Any programmes you have requested are listed here; if a programme has yet to be uploaded to the archive it will display a clock icon next to the title, once it is available to view the link will display as dark blue. You can delete a programme from your ‘My BoB’ area by clicking ‘Remove’

Please add your email address to BoB now – we will be making some changes to this log in process over the next term, and this will allow you to retain access to your clips and playlists.

Cite videos in your work:

Under each video clip are a series of tabs – click on ‘How to cite this’ to find citation information for the clip. NB. You may need to edit the order of this information to match your citation style.

Read and search transcripts of programmes:
Beside each video are scrolling subtitles of the programme – when you search in BoB you are searching not only the programme information, but the transcripts too.

How to register

Your first visit:

  • Go to Log in on the front page
  • Choose your organisation to log in: Type Royal Holloway University of London in the box
  • The first time you log in you will be taken to an Athens login authentication point. Do not use the Athens login box, but instead click on “Alternative login”, to the bottom left of the box.
  • In the quick search box type in Royal Holloway, click on “Go” and Royal Holloway should appear at the top of the list.
  • Click on this link, which will take you to a page which allows you to “Go to the Royal Holloway, University of London login page”.
  • You should first tick the “Remember this organisation on your computer” box, then follow the “Go to the Royal Holloway, University of London login page” link.
  • Enter your College username and password, click on “Login” and you will be taken to Box of Broadcasts, where you can register for an account.

Please add your email address to BoB now – we will be making some changes to this log in process over the next term, and this will allow you to retain access to your clips and playlists.

Subsequent visits:

  • Follow the link to Box of Broadcasts, and go to ‘Log in’ on the front page
  • If the system remembers, it will ask if you want to ‘Log in using your Royal Holloway University of London login’.
  • If not, in the ‘organisation log in’ box, type in Royal Holloway and click on “Go to login”.
  • Follow the “Go to the Royal Holloway, University of London login page” link.
  • Enter your College username and password, click on “Login” and you will be taken to Box of Broadcasts.

Once you’ve registered, try searching the archive. It’s a great source of films and cultural programmes, as well as news reports and documentaries.

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.

OR

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

2. Go to J

3. Select JISC Historic Books

Help:

The Library has put together a basic video tutorial here:

And the website has its own Quick Reference Guide.

 

 

 

 

 

 

RHUL’s Archive Collections

RHC PH/207/9
Students in a classroom at Royal Holloway College 1899

As Library Loves… Archives month draws to a close this post will tell you a bit about the collections we hold here at Royal Holloway. If you haven’t made it to one of our Explore Your Archive sessions you may still be in the dark as to what we actually have. The collections can be split into two main groups: institutional records and special collections.

 

Institutional Records

These are records which have been created by RHUL or its predecessors.  In the 1980s Royal Holloway and Bedford Colleges merged together to form RHUL and we have the records of both the Colleges in the archives. Bedford College was the first to open (in 1849 in central London) and was the first higher education college for women in the country. Royal Holloway followed a few years later and was opened by Queen Victoria in 1886. Both collections hold records from the opening of the Colleges including foundation deeds and trust documents as well as photographs, committee minutes, papers of student societies, student and staff records, College and student publications among many other things!

We also continue to collect records from the College today so that future researchers can look back at how the College operates now. This newer material isn’t always catalogued – it’s an ongoing process! So if you want to look at something which you can’t find in the catalogue get in touch and we can see if we have it.

 

Special Collections

Different repositories use the term ‘special collection’ to mean different things (something which puzzled me a lot when I first started working in archives!) but here we call any collection that has been created/collected outside the College and then donated to us a special collection. Our special collections include rare book collections as well as archives but I’m just going to focus on the archive special collections in this post.

Our main collecting area for special collections is theatre archives. We have three collections from theatre companies – Gay Sweatshop, Half Moon and Red Shift. All three contain similar records relating to the running of the company and the productions they put on. This includes administrative and financial records, scripts, promotional material (including flyers and posters) and photographs of productions. We also have two ephemera collections: the Coton collection which contains material relating to ballet and other forms of dance including photographs, postcards and programmes; and the Roy Waters collection which is the largest of our theatre collections. Roy Waters was a theatre enthusiast who spend 40 years of his life collecting anything and everything to do with the theatre. The collection is hugely varied and includes postcards, posters, playbills, programmes, autographed letters from famous actors and actresses and much much more!

We also have the Alfred Sherman papers which cover Sherman’s role as an advisor to Margaret Thatcher and the Anselm Hughes collection which are the personal and research papers of a liturgical music scholar.

 

You can find out more about all of our collections through our website: www.rhul.ac.uk/archives which also has a link to the online catalogue and our contact details.

 

If you don’t think our collections would be of use to you in your research but would like to find other collections which would be take a look at our previous blog about finding archives in the UK: http://libraryblog.rhul.ac.uk/2013/11/14/finding-archives-uk/

Annabel Gill, College Archivist