Jinfo Blog250 years of British Social History

Tuesday, 3rd March 2009

By Penny Crossland

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Historical content can be easily disregarded by those involved in the information sector, especially when we are engaged in daily struggles to keep abreast of constantly changing information and evolving technology. The Joint Information Systems Committee, a body supported by UK HE and FE funding bodies (http://www.jisc.ac.uk), recently announced an agreement it had reached with ProQuest (http://www.proquest.com) to make more than 500 British Periodicals available online. The database is free of charge to UK universities and research councils and contains digital archives of journals from the 1680s, through the Victorian era and up to the 1930s. (http://digbig.com/4yjeb) The database contains keyword-searchable pages from a wide variety of publications, including scholarly journals, art periodicals and family magazines. Researchers keen to engage in time travel can discover what the world was like and what trends preoccupied the public up to 250 years ago. Publications include titles such as the Gentleman’s Journal for the War (1693 – 1694), the Anti-Slavery Reporter (1825-1833), as well as the Belfast Monthly Magazine (1808 – 1814) and Golden Hours, a magazine for ‘family and general reading ‘(1866 – 1884). A full list of publications available is on the British Periodicals information site (http://digbig.com/4yjec) Illustrations and advertisements that are in the printed source are also searchable in the digital edition. The British Periodicals database has been launched as part of JISC’s UK National Academic Archive (http://digbig.com/4yjed), which contains an expanding collection of archived resources made available to students and researchers. It almost makes you want to go back to university – research would have been so much easier and quicker with access to such a rich resource.

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