Here’s the first of a short series of guest posts for the PGR Doc Blog by Dr. Sarah Evans from the British Library. Over the next few months, Sarah will be writing a couple of posts about the excellent resources available to early career researchers in the Humanities at the British Library.
Social Science resources at the British Library
Dr. Sarah Evans
The British Library (BL) has vast number of resources for research in social science which could add value to the work you do. Here I’d like to give you a better idea about the kinds of material we hold and to highlight some of the online resources which you will be able to access from your home institution.
We have a huge range of material collected by early anthropologists. For example, you can access the recordings made during the A.C. Haddon expedition to the Torres Strait in the late 1890s which are held on wax cylinders. A guide to these resources is available here. As well as this, 240 ethnographic wax cylinder recordings are featured on the Archival Sound Recordings web site for you to listen to in your own time.
At the BL you can also listen to oral history interviews on topics of national importance which we collect and archive. For example, a current project is underway to record life history interviews with women who were activists in the second-wave feminist movement in the UK.
Many of the recordings we hold are available for secondary analysis and are also a great resource for those studying the oral history and life history methods. They can be browsed via our sound archive catalogue.
If your research is focussed on the socio-historical study of ‘race’ and ethnicity we have a broad collection of resources which can help you. As well as official and government material (such as that surrounding the foundation of the Race Relations Board and 1965 Race Relations Act), we hold personal material of black Europeans and Pan-Africanists, such as Samuel Coleridge-Taylor.
As well as ephemeral material such as letters and pamphlets documenting the anti-fascist movements in the UK, our collections include the political magazine Black Dwarf (published in the late 60s and early 70s) with contributions by Tariq Ali and Eric Hobsbawm. These can be found in our newspapers and magazine collections on the main catalogue.
Material which charts fascism in the UK can also be found in our collections, and has been the subject of a bibliography researched by an intern working with us.
We have extensive photographic collections, with particular emphasis on early photography and photographs of former British colonies. Contemporary sociologists, human geographers and other social scientists are increasingly using these materials to make connections between the organization of domestic and personal life in the past and in the present.
Finally, our Management and Business Studies collections are very strong, including extensive collections of market research reports, company annual reports, patents and trade directories in the Business and Intellectual Property Centre (BIPC) onsite in London.
On the 14th October 2010 we launched our Management and Business Studies Portal which is a one-stop shop for accessing an enormous range of research documentation.
The Management and Business Studies Portal will also be trialing methods to connect users with research datasets by using the library catalogue to host information and links to selected relevant datasets. There will also be an accompanying resource guide tailored around Management and Business Studies datasets. It is planned that guides and datasets on further subject areas will created later on this year.
Members of our social science team are putting together topical bibliographies, organized thematically, which will support research and teaching. These currently include bibliographies on social research methods, as well as on topics like Globalization and Migration.
Please do visit our web pages and feel welcome to visit the BL when you are in London. If you’d like a reader pass our website will tell you how to apply.