Top 10 Tips for Teaching with Primary Sources

Portrait of the author as a young lecturer teaching eighteenth-century literary culture to students at the Tate through the work of William Hogarth.

│By Ben Wilkinson-Turnbull, Gale Ambassador at the University of Oxford│

Academics know that there is nothing more joyful or frustrating than working with primary sources. Imparting the ability to locate, appreciate, understand, and interrogate primary materials onto students is central to our roles as educators. But achieving this in the classroom isn’t always easy – especially when you’re also trying to teach through a pandemic! Drawing on my own experience of teaching in higher education, this blog post offers ten top tips on how to teach with primary sources.

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Practical Pedagogy with Gale Digital Scholar Lab, Part II: Approaches to Project-Based Teaching and Learning

Header image - Notes from a DH Correspondent

│By Sarah L. Ketchley, Senior Digital Humanities Specialist, Gale│

One of the most significant shifts that has been taking place in humanities research in recent years is the movement towards team-based projects and public scholarship, in contrast to more traditional models of individual scholarship that favour print publication. The teams that form to engage in digital scholarship are often interdisciplinary, reflecting the diverse skillsets needed to create and publish digital research. A digital scholarship team may comprise disciplinary scholars, computer programmers, data scientists, specialists in informatics and design, and could be made up of faculty, staff, students, and consultants. Similarly, the digital humanities classroom offers students the opportunity to learn the skills required to successfully participate in team-based projects. This blog post suggests ways to incorporate project-based activities in the class using Gale Digital Scholar Lab.

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Practical Pedagogy with Gale Digital Scholar Lab, Part I: Developing Your Syllabus and Learning Objectives

Notes from our DH Correspondent

│By Sarah L. Ketchley, Senior Digital Humanities Specialist, Gale│

There are many advantages to incorporating work with digital tools in the humanities classroom. As students graduate and transition to the workplace, demonstrable digital literacy is often a pre-requisite for employment, so students are keen to learn such skills, and to articulate what they have learned in a way that makes sense in professional settings.

The next two posts in this ‘Notes from our DH Correspondent’ series will highlight how classroom use of Gale Digital Scholar Lab provides an accessible entry point for faculty who want to teach Digital Humanities (DH) methodologies using text-based humanities data and offer a learning experience that is both relevant and enriching for students. Part I will provide suggestions and examples for drafting a syllabus and for identifying appropriate learning objectives in the DH classroom. Part II will cover ways to present the platform to students new to the field of DH or to working with historical primary source archives, along with suggestions for incorporating project-based learning, developing granular rubrics and options for assessing student work.

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The COVID Impact: New Modes of Presenting Your PhD Research During a Pandemic

Man in over-ear headphones on laptop

|By Meg Ison, Gale Ambassador at the University of Portsmouth|

In this blog post I will discuss the impact of the pandemic on the PhD experience, and focus on how and why online conferences and blog posts have become new and extremely effective ways for PhD students to disseminate their research.

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Announcing a New Partnership Between Gale and the British Society of Eighteenth-Century Studies

Design made combining Gale and BSECS logos

│By Chris Houghton, Head of Digital Scholarship│

Gale is delighted to announce a partnership with BSECS, the British Society of Eighteenth-Century Studies. This partnership provides free access to Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO) for all non-affiliated members of the society who are UK residents. From 1 February 2022, any member of BSECS resident in the UK without an existing affiliation to a UK or Ireland higher education institution will be able to apply for access to this seminal resource at no cost.

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PhDing in a Pandemic: The Impact of COVID-19 on Research and Teaching

Observations concerning the Plague

│By Ben Wilkinson-Turnbull, Gale Ambassador at the University of Oxford│

As an archival scholar trying to write a PhD thesis in a pandemic, COVID-19 has had a huge impact on my working life. The closure of archives, museums, and libraries during the lockdowns prevented me and many others from accessing essential primary resources needed for doctoral research. And without physical access to exciting objects, manuscripts, and printed items to help bring texts alive, inspiring undergraduate students whilst teaching them over Microsoft Teams became equally difficult. With COVID cases once again climbing, we are far from being free of the pandemic. But how can we try to minimise the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on higher education and research? And what will the long-term impacts of the pandemic be?

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Rediscovering China and the World in the Nineteenth Century, Part II

China and the Modern World
Learn more about China and the Modern World: Imperial China and the West Part II, 1865–1905 in this blog post – or register below for a live webinar!

|By Liping Yang, Publishing Manager, Digital Archive and eReference, Gale Asia|

Gale has recently released China and the Modern World: Imperial China and the West Part II, 1865–1905. Consisting of volumes 873–1768 in the highly acclaimed FO 17 series of British foreign office files plus seven volumes of Law Officers’ reports relating to China from FO 83, Part II covers the latter half of the nineteenth century (see my first blog post about this module – Rediscovering China and the World in the Nineteenth Century for the main topics covered in Part I). The complete Imperial China and the West provides a vast and significant primary source archive for researching every aspect of Chinese-Western relations from 1815 to 1905.

Here, with the help of Handwritten Text Recognition (HTR) technology, researchers will be able to conduct full-text searches across more than one million pages of manuscripts relating to the internal politics of China and Britain, their relationship, and the relationships among Britain and other Western powers—keen to benefit from the growing trading ports of the Far East—and China’s neighbours in East Asia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. Imperial China covers a wide range of topics including diplomacy and war, trade, piracy, riots and rebellions, treaty ports, Chinese emigration, and railway building. In this blog post I’ll walk you through some of the fascinating topics and themes covered in the approximately 600,000 pages of manuscripts included in Part II.

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Gale Primary Sources Learning Centers – Built by Experts

Workshop with laptops and icons from Gale Learning Centers

|By Becca Bowden, Associate Acquisitions Editor, Gale Primary Sources|

Launching in a selection of Gale’s archives in autumn 2021, Gale Primary Sources Learning Centers will bring a new level of support for students and instructors looking to get the most out of using primary sources, both in their research and in the classroom. Shaped by feedback from Gale Primary Sources users, the Learning Centers are intuitive, all-in-one instructional resources that are designed to orient users with the content in our archives, spark inspiration for research and act as a best practice guide when it comes to skills like searching, citing and using primary sources. Tailored to each unique archive, they will include key topics, sample searches, case studies and contextual materials.

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Coming Soon: Learning Centers for Gale Primary Sources

Student studying on laptop and notebook

| By Megan Sullivan, Product Manager, Gale Primary Sources |

I’m delighted to announce the upcoming launch of Learning Centers for Gale Primary Sources, available in select archive products this autumn 2021. The culmination of a year of research and development, the Learning Centers will provide comprehensive teaching and learning support for faculty and students.

Built with the student researcher in mind, the goal of the Learning Centers is to orient new users with the content and topics available in a digital archive; spark inspiration for new research topics; and provide guidance and best practices for searching, browsing, citing, and reusing primary sources. The Learning Centers will also prove invaluable for faculty and librarians, providing an all-in-one instructional tool that helps students get acclimated with a primary source database.

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Simla, McMahon, and the Origins of Sino-Indian Border Disputes

McMahon Line

|By Liping Yang, Publishing Manager, Digital Archive and eReference, Gale Asia|

From May 2020 to February 2021, Chinese and Indian border troops engaged in melee, face-offs, and skirmishes along the Sino-Indian border near the disputed Pangong Lake in Ladakh and the Tibet Autonomous Region, as well as near the border between Sikkim and the Tibet Autonomous Region. This series of disputes has resulted in numerous casualties, attracting worldwide attention in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Such border disputes are nothing new. Three years prior to this in June 2017, the troops of the two countries had a border standoff in Doklam, a strategic location near a trijunction border area involving China, India, and Bhutan. Actually, China and India even went to war between October–November 1962 over their disputed Himalayan border.

Many of these border disputes and clashes can be attributed to the controversial McMahon Line. What is this line? And how did it come about? We can find some illuminating historical records on this in China and the Modern World: Diplomacy and Political Secrets, 1868-1950, a collection of rare historical materials selected from the India Office Records now held at the British Library.

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