Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Connected Histories

Connected Histories currently enables cross-searching of 15 major online resources, including the John Johnson Collection. They are: British History online, British Museum images, British Newspapers 1600-1900 (NB currently only the 17th and 18th century Burney collection: 19th century newspapers will be added soon).  Cause papers in the diocesan courts of the Archbishopric of York 1300-1858, Charles Booth archive (LSE), Clergy of the Church of England database 1540-1835, Convict transportation registers database, House of Commons parliamentary papers, John Foxe's The acts and monuments online, The John Johnson Collection of Printed Ephemera (ProQuest), John Strype's Survey of London online, London Lives 1690-1800, Nineteenth century British pamphlets, Origins.net, The proceedings of the Old Bailey online 1674-1913.

Most of these resources (except Origins.net) are free to all or free to HE within the UK. They are all very powerful research tools in their own right.  Putting them into a cross-searchable resource enables fascinating links to be made. Ephemera take their rightful place in providing insights into our history.

You can choose which of the resources to cross-search. Clearly Crime is well represented. The John Johnson Collection Murders and Executions broadsides and other crime ephemera were digitised for the ProQuest project and a further project Mapping Crime enabled this material to be cross-searched with other collections, such as Harvard and the Old Bailey online. The addition of the Convict transportation registers database has enabled the fates of those sentenced to transportation to be traced.

Connected Histories has identified eight major research areas which will be well served by this resource and has written guides about each: Crime and justice, Family history, History of London, Imperial and colonial history, Local history, Parliamentary history, Poverty and poor relief, and  Religious history. There is a further guide on Searching for images which focuses on the John Johnson Collection and the British Museum.

You can save searches to your personal workspace, download images, etc. Connected histories is on Twitter: @connecthistory.

I searched for "frost fair" and got results from 5 resources. I could then choose to restrict these to document type, date range or availability (free or subscription).

Search for frost fair. (C) Connected histories

A search for Criminal (not a serious search of course!) returned 255,621 results across 14 resouces, including the (subscription only) Burney Collection (17th and 18th century newspapers).

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