The University of Sunderland Library Culture blog. Helpful tips and information for people in the Department of Culture studying, teaching or researching in the fields of Languages, History & Politics or English.
See the Support for your Subject pages for more information about help and resources.
History and Politics
Department of Culture Research Blog
With 24/7 access to The Murray Library over the Spring Vacation there is no excuse not to finish off that dissertation or make an early start on your revision. We’re even offering non-staffed hours on the bank holidays so make the most of your library this vacation. Fit in a few hours work this vacation and you can definitely treat yourself to a chocolate egg or three.
For full details of opening hours at The Murray and St. Peters, visit the Library Website.
Culture Collisions is taking a break for Easter - check back with us on 28 April for our ‘Mining’ theme. This theme was prompted by some History modules (HIS207 and HIS370) which I’ve been doing a lot of work on lately to improve resources, but also because it’s a common subject for artists doing projects on the local area and one of the specialist topics in University of Sunderland Special Collections.
Kate Adie OBE, one of the country’s award-winning journalists will give a free lecture tomorrow April 5th 1.30pm at the Sir Tom Cowie Lecture Theatre at St Peter’s Campus as part of the conference: ‘First World War and it’s Global Legacies: 100 years on' Saturday, April 5th and Sunday April 6th, 2014. Full conference tickets are available here.
Kate will discuss the legacy of women in the First World War and will sign copies of her book, Fighting on the Home Front: The Legacy of Women in World War One. The audience will also have a chance to quiz her on her work and experience as part of a Q&A session.
Kate is an Honorary Professor of Journalism at the University, as well as holding an Honorary Fellowship. She grew up in Sunderland, and began her career as a journalist at BBC Radio Durham.
During her career she reported from some of the most dangerous places in the world; beginning with the London Iranian Embassy siege in 1980, reporting unscripted and live to one of the largest news audiences in history.
She went on to report on the American bombing of Tripoli in 1986 and the Lockerbie bombing of 1988. She was promoted to Chief News Correspondent in 1989 and held the role for fourteen years. One of her first assignments was to report the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. Over the next two decades she reported from the Gulf War, the 1994 Rwandan Genocide and the war in Sierra Leone in 2000.
In 2003 Kate withdrew from front-line reporting, and currently works as a freelance journalist, public speaker, and presents From Our Own Correspondent on BBC Radio 4. Kate Adie was awarded an OBE in 1993 and won the Richard Dimbleby Award from BAFTA in 1990.
The University of Sunderland library is proud to hold the Kate Adie Collection as part of it’s Special Collections and archives which is held at the Murray Library. Researchers, students and staff are welcome to research Kate’s work using the library’s collections. A number of Kate Adie’s most famous broadcasts are available to watch online direct from our archive collections. Please explore our online archive catalogue or contact our archivists or ask any member of library staff for more information. We also have a number of resources available to borrow from within our main collection.
This talk is free of charge and available to all. Tickets can be obtained here.
In the culture of digital photography we are used to images being manipulated. With airbrushed celebrities, Photoshop, Instagram and common apps on your phone for easy image editing. However, how often do we actually question the reality of a photograph? Photography is commonly thought of as a documentary medium, capturing events and everyday life as it happens, but from its earliest beginnings, the photographic image has been subject to manipulation. Can we really trust photographs as evidential resources?
There is an argument that all photographs are manipulated in some way, from staging the composition to processing techniques, before we even start thinking about after effects. Photographs are always likely to involve an element of illusion. When thinking about the truth of the photographic image
It maps the fakery of photographs, including well known examples like the Cottingley Fairies.
From a theory point of view, Sontag On Photography is a must read.
Thinking back to the Culture Collisions last week, photography can be propagandist, used to portray a particular vision of life, which is another form of manipulation. Have a look at something like Propaganda & dreams: photographing the 1930s in the USSR and the US and you will quickly see how the composition and subject of an image can used to portray a particular ideology.
When using photographs as a primary source you will need to consider the integrity, context and content of your image.
Many thanks to Rachel Dolan, Liaison Librarian for Media at University of Sunderland, for today’s Culture Collisions guest post….
This is a guest blog post for the Culture Collisions series by our Art and Culture librarians on the theme of propaganda showcasing resources from across the library collection. The range below can be used to research the conflict in Northern Ireland from a variety of perspectives.
Chronicle - BBC Northern Ireland - to access go to: Discover A-Z and browse our list of Resources until you see BBC Northern Ireland.
The audio-visual archives of the BBC contain a wealth of material gathered since it was founded in the 1920’s but it remains largely inaccessible, held on film or videotape and indexed to serve the needs of programme-makers within the BBC.
The Chronicle project contains material digitally transferred from the BBC NI news archive between 1963-1975 and provides Authenticated Users with access to digitised copies of news and current affairs material covering Northern Ireland and The Troubles, along with web-based tools allowing it to be searched, viewed and annotated.
Any notable events or broadcasts missing from this period have either not yet been digitised or are absent from the original film collection, or may not have been recorded by BBC NI at the time. Here are some examples of key events in the Northern Ireland Conflict contained in the resource:
'Bloody Sunday' (30 January 1972); the scene below shows Queens students walking from University to Tyrone House, Malone Road in the aftermath of Bloody Sunday.
Derry March (5 October 1968); the footage below shot from within the crowd at times shows Police dispersing the Civil Rights March using batons.
BFI Screen Online This website provides a guide to Britain’s film and TV history which features hundreds of hours of film and TV clips from the BFI’s National Archive. It contains some useful commentary on the Northern Ireland conflict. To access it just go to Discover A-Z and browse our list of Resources . It is available on campus to all members of University of Sunderland.
The Special Collections in Murray Library at University of Sunderland hold the Kate Adie archive which has some highlights of Kate’s reporting on the conflict. Some of these have been digitised and are available to watch online.
Kate Adie reports on the bombing of Ulster Defence Regiment Barracks (UDR) in Belfast. Running time 1 minute and 5 seconds. 06/06/1979
Kate Adie reports on an IRA bombing of RAF Uxbridge. Includes interviews. Running time 2 minutes and 59 seconds. 09/01/1981
There are many further resources exploring or depicting Northern Ireland and cinema in our library catalogue:
One of the databases the library subscribes to is the John Johnson Collection: an archive of printed Ephemera. This contains thousands of items selected from the John Johnson Collection of Printed Ephemera.
Ephemera is defined by The Ephemera Society as: ‘The term ‘ephemera’ covers a wide range of documents including leaflets, handbills, tickets, trade cards, programmes and playbills, printed tins and packaging, advertising inserts, posters, newspapers and much more. In the words of the society’s founder, Maurice Rickards, “the minor transient documents of everyday life”.
These sources help to provide a snapshot of how everyday life in Britain was in the eighteenth, nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
The database can be searched as a whole collection or by sections - Nineteenth-Century Entertainment, the Booktrade, Popular Prints, Crimes, Murders and Executions, and Advertising.
You can search by a multitude of possibilities including keyword, place, publisher, printing process and document type (also useful is the select from list feature so if you’re not sure what printing processes are you can check them out on the list first). Documents included are as diverse as books, pamphlets, envelopes and volvelles.
A useful research feature of this database is My Archive, where you can sign up free of charge to create your own profile and store saved searches and items. This profile can also be used to store searched images in the Lightbox.
We’ve been listening to your feedback about library services and have developed some improvements to the ‘My Account’ feature of the library catalogue. Now simply log in with your University user ID & password instead of your campus card barcode.
You also asked for an easier way to manage your library messages, and we’ve made this happen; pre-overdue, overdue and reservation notifications are now sent to My Account as well as your university email account.
If you’ve got any questions or comments please get in touch:
email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
post on our page: facebook.com/uniofsunlib
Come and share your feedback with the library at our “Share-o-Meter” stands in City Space and the Prospect building today 11am - 2.30pm - for an easter egg and the chance to win an iPad air - the more you share your feedback with us the more exciting the prize to be won so share and tweet and tell your friends!
The National Archives is a fantastic source of primary information including documents, films, diaries and podcasts. Particular highlights include:
More about diaries…
Diaries are an incredibly important source of primary information for historians. Perhaps of particular interest to Sunderland students are the diaries of Sunderland born Pte Arthur L Linfoot who joined the Medical Corps in 1915. These diaries are being revealed one day at a time in an online blog.
Diaries are also the feature of Operation War Diary - a community history project.
For help and advice with using diaries as a primary source check out chapter 6 of the book below which focuses on just this topic.
Drop into City Space on the City Campus or St Peter’s Library - (Prospect Building) on St Peter’s Campus anytime between 11am and 14.30pm this Thursday 3rd April and find out more about how we’ve been developing our library services this year and investing in you.
Our friendly librarians will be waiting with our “share-o-meter” to capture your feedback and lots of lovely easter eggs too - take a break from your revision and final projects and come and see us and find out what it’s all about…
"Prior to the invention of the camera, a visual understanding of what war looked like was hard to come by." Brewer, P. (2005) War in Focus. London: Carlton Books. p.7
Brewer’s introduction nicely summarises the difficulty of the outside observer to understand the experience of war, outlining how literary and visual representations before the photograph, failed to capture the realities of war.
War photography is often tragic and harrowing and is a rich primary source for students of history, politics, arts or culture more widely. In the Murray Library, browsing the shelves at 778.907 will open up a world of photographic primary sources which are a great resource to use in your research.
In this section you will find my favourite library purchase of the past year. WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY: Images of Armed Conflicts and its Aftermath
It is a beautiful (and very heavy!) catalogue that includes more than 480 images depicting the facets of war from the Crimean and American Civil Wars to Iraq and 9/11.
Coincidentally, while thinking about this blog post, I came across a programme that was shown on BBC4 last night Which Way is the Front Line from Here? The Life and Time of Tim Hetherington A documentary about the war photographer Tim Hetherington that will be well worth watching.
Here’s a few of the highlights from our collection to consider when thinking about primary sources for war and conflict.
As well as books in the library to help with using primary sources you’ll also find advice online. Choose wisely and take help from respected organisations such as the National Archives . They provide advice on reading and interpreting texts and citing archive sources and podcasts about researching a famous person using the archives.
These areas have been assembled with the support of the History academic team so you can rely on their academic quality. For the Digital Archives area an explanatory commentary for each source will help you determine it’s strengths and the usefulness relating to your area of research. If you’d like to suggest a resource for inclusion here based on your research experience please get in touch.
The library has many books on your subject topics but did you know that you can also find a wealth of information on writing and research skills with a focus on your particular subject?
It really is worth spending a little extra time getting to grips with writing in an academic style appropriate for university research and polishing up on study skills to make your life easier when you’re researching and to help you get the best marks in your projects. For more in depth research projects such as dissertations, special projects and dissertation proposals you might find yourself using new types of research sources, for example historians and linguists using primary sources.
Brundage, A. (2013) Going to the sources: a guide to historical research and writing. 5th ed. London : Wiley-Blackwell. (This item also available as an e-book). One of the main considerations for historical research is building a sufficient body of quality primary sources - this book considers how to do this, using the internet for historical research and using non-textual sources. Also covered is how to write a history book review, something required in several history modules.
Cottrell, S. (2013) Study skills handbook. 4th ed. London : Palgrave MacMillan. This key text is an easily accessible, practical guide to all you need to know about study skills. See particularly chapters 6: Core research skills, 7: Critical Analytical Thinking and 13: Research projects, case studies and dissertations (This item also available from Murray Library Reference Collection).
Dobson, M. and Ziemann, B. (eds) (2009) Reading primary sources: the interpretation of texts from nineteenth- and twentieth-century history. London : Routledge. Another invaluable reference text for historians and more from this title later in the week….
Tosh, J. (2010) Pursuit of history. 5th ed. London : Pearson. (particularly ch. 5 Using the Sources) (This item also available as an e-book)
Many of these support texts are not designed to be read cover to cover just once but dipped into as and when required over the whole course of your study. So make the most of the library resources available to you not just for your topic but also to develop your skills as a researcher and your confidence in using sources.