By Tania Chakraborti, Gale Ambassador at Durham University
Writing a humanities essay at university can be a daunting experience; when it comes to primary sources there can either be too few available or, confusingly, too many to choose from! How do you go about sifting through so much material and where do you start? That is where Gale Reference Complete comes in; with over 13 million pages of historical primary sources ranging from the medieval times to present day (as well as reference and periodical content) Gale’s multi-discipline and easy-access resources make sifting through the wealth of information a rapid and enjoyable process. There are several resources encompassed within Gale Reference Complete which support a range of disciplines: Academic OneFile and General OneFile provide periodical resources; InfoTrac Newsstand provides access to more than 2,300 major world newspapers; GVRL is an eBook platform, Archives Unbound is a vast collection of niche primary source archives, and finally Gale Literary Sources is perfect for finding those well-needed critics for your English Literature or Modern Languages essay.
Archives Unbound is a perfect resource for History, Politics or Philosophy research and, offering a staggering collection of otherwise hard-to-find primary materials, can also support post-graduate studies. It boasts an impressive 265 collections with 45 wide-ranging collection categories ranging from African American Studies to Gender Studies to Holocaust Studies. The latter category has 14 diverse collections.
One interesting collection found under the category ‘Holocaust Studies’ is titled U.S. Relations with the Vatican and the Holocaust, 1940-1950. The collection tracks a wealth of unique correspondences, personal interviews and memos, which survey U.S.-Vatican relations in the World War II era, the Vatican’s role in the Second World War and treatment of Italian Jews in official Vatican policy during this period. When one visits the collection, a list of topics is easily visible, so you don’t have to trawl through the staggering 35,000+ images in the collection to know whether its contents are applicable to your research!
Within this collection there are 39 pages of results, with 764 documents pertaining to the research area such as this one on the Vatican’s coinage data for the U.S. Treasury made in 1949. The document can be seen below and is incredibly insightful in showing the close interactions between the Vatican and the U.S., and how integral state relations built on economic groundings were for the function of diplomacy.
What Archives Unbound is most useful for is finding sources from a vast array of global or trans-national contexts. I have often personally found finding sources on topics outside of the European geo-political framework can prove a hard task, with many ‘limited access’ or ‘no full text available’ messages popping up on my screen when I search for the source I want. Yet, Archives Unbound offers insights into a range of cultural and political landscapes that previously seemed frustratingly inaccessible. There are 50 collections pertaining to Asian Studies for example, ranging from a digital collection on U.S.-China relations during the Tiananmen Square demonstrations, to over 16,000 pages relating to U.S. State Department records on the India-Pakistan conflict in the early 1960s.
With Archives Unbound, the efficiency of finding unique, relatively untouched primary sources is greatly increased, enabling humanities students to easily add nuance to their essays. Yet, Gale Reference Complete isn’t just limited to the humanities; Academic OneFile and Gale Virtual Reference Library can equally be used by Science or Technology students due to the access they provide to up-to-date journals, newspaper articles and eBooks. The citation tools are so straight-forward that the necessary reference can be inserted straight into a piece of work, whilst the range of sources allows researchers to stay ahead of the curve with access to emerging new research in a diverse set of fields, as can be seen below when one clicks ‘Biology’:
Whatever the subject, Gale Reference Complete provides easy access to countless resources. So whether a student is studying the sciences, the social sciences or the humanities, there’s something for everyone.