Our Berlin Wall Piece: How to Gather and Analyse Primary Sources for a Research Project

laptop and books

│ by Kyle Sheldrake, Strategic Marketing Manager – Insight and Development │

Primary sources are a valuable resource in research projects, and digitised primary sources combine two advantages: the speed of identifying sources via targeted searching with having thousands of sources at your fingertips whenever they’re needed. The process of creating our Long Read on the Berlin Wall reminded me a lot of the essay writing process at university, so I thought this would be a good example to explain how to break down the process of gathering and assessing primary source material for a research piece, as this may be helpful to our student readers looking to incorporate primary sources into their essays.

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Discovering FDR through Gale Primary Sources

FDR

│By Tom English, Gale Field Sales Executive – North UK │

I recently enjoyed reading three excellent books on Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR), 32nd President of the United States: Jean Edward Smith’s single-volume biography, FDR, which provides an excellent overview of his life and presidency; David B. Woolner’s The Last 100 Days: FDR at War and at Peace, which gives an incisive and detailed account of the final days of his life, including negotiations with Stalin and Churchill at Yalta and his fight to the end to build international institutions to prevent future wars; and Susan Dunn’s A Blueprint for War: FDR and the Hundred Days that Mobilized America, which tells the story of how FDR outmanoeuvred those who opposed America’s support for Britain and Russia in WWII. 

Having thoroughly enjoyed the secondary sources on FDR, I thought that I’d delve into Gale Primary Sources to see what’s there…

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DH2019 – Lifting the lid on how we created the Gale Digital Scholar Lab

Busy crowd at the DH2019 Conference in Utrecht, the Netherlands

│By Chris Houghton, Head of Digital Scholarship, Gale International│

It was a real honour for Gale to expand our partnership with ADHO (the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organisations) and serve as Gold Sponsor for their DH2019 conference. This incredible event brought together 735 participants from Europe, 203 from North America, 72 from Asia, 38 from Africa, 11 from Oceania, and 7 from South America. In total, 1066 scholars working in, or with an interest in Digital Humanities, attended, coming together earlier this month in Utrecht, the Netherlands.

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From Archives to Arguments – a Project Course at the University of Helsinki makes use of the Gale Digital Scholar Lab

│ By Rebekka Väisänen, Gale Ambassador at the University of Helsinki │

The English Philology corridor at the University of Helsinki has an area which we call the Aquarium, a glass-walled space that is often used for smaller faculty events, informal gatherings, and course “end offs” (the last meeting at the end of a course). On the 17th of April, I arrived there to see the poster presentations for the “Archives to Arguments” course, a module in which students use the Gale British Library Newspapers and other archives to do linguistic research into democratization

Read moreFrom Archives to Arguments – a Project Course at the University of Helsinki makes use of the Gale Digital Scholar Lab

Gale Digital Humanities Day at the British Library

| By Chris Houghton, Head of Digital Scholarship, International Gale Primary Sources |

Thursday 2nd May was a landmark day for Gale which served to illustrate how our relationship with the international academic community has changed over the last decade. After months of hard work, we were delighted to present the inaugural Gale Digital Humanities Day, held at the wonderful British Library. The day featured a packed schedule of talks delivered by academics and librarians from Japan, the US, Australia, the Netherlands and the UK. The audience of around a hundred academics, librarians and students – many of whom had also travelled from outside the UK – enjoyed talks discussing the latest research and teaching innovations in Digital Humanities.

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Islamic Solidarity Games – A Brief History

By Vicky Pavlicic, Senior Strategic Marketing Manager, Gale International EMEA

©Reuben Mosley | Aerial Flying Manager at Baku 2017, 4th Islamic Solidarity Games | London, United Kingdom

I first became aware that the Islamic Solidarity Games was a major sporting event last year, when a friend announced he was moving to Baku for 8 months to help plan the ceremony. His official job title for the event is ‘Aerial Flying Manager’ – remember the flying Mary Poppins’ in the opening of the London Olympics? That’s the kind of thing he does. He has spent 8 months preparing for the opening and closing ceremonies. “What are the Islamic Solidarity Games?” I asked, unable to hide my ignorance…” A bit like the Olympics for the Middle East” he replied…Well if this is the case, why hadn’t I heard about them before?

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Supporting Your Local Data Miner

Data Mining Image

By: Dr. Dallas Liddle, Associate Professor and Chair of English, Augsburg College

Marshall McLuhan is supposed to have said that “the content of a new medium is always an old medium.” He intended the observation as wry cultural criticism, but as a literary historian I am grateful every day that so many new research media are now brimming with the contents of great past media: newsstands, theatres, libraries, music halls, stereopticons, and magic lantern shows. Lately I have started to hope that the benefits of these research tools may go far beyond the convenience of having so many original texts, images, and artifacts instantly available. New methods of “data-mining” using database archives, if we do them creatively and well, may help researchers better understand how the old media forms themselves worked and developed.
The hope grows from recent experience. I started “data mining” the Gale Times Digital Archive not long ago, after struggling for nearly twenty years with questions about Victorian newspapers that traditional archival research had been unable to answer.

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