Building a Digital Archive: The Role of Privacy and Content Breadth in ‘Refugees, Relief and Resettlement’

Refugee Children from Occupied Countries

By Bennett Graff, Senior Acquisitions Editor, Gale Primary Sources

Released in 2020, Refugees, Relief, and Resettlement: Forced Migration and World War II is a digital collection of primary sources that documents the largest displacement of people in human history to occur within the near decade-long window that comprised the period just before, during, and shortly after the Second World War.

When Gale creates any of its archives, a good deal of thought goes into its conception and execution. In my role as an editor advocating for an archive devoted to the history of modern refugeeism and forced migration, I had several goals in mind. First and foremost was to shine a historical spotlight on an issue that is very much with us today and will remain with us for decades to come. I discussed the topical nature of the archive in this post. Second was to illustrate the sheer breadth of the topic at hand. The displacement and resettlement of nearly 60 million people extended from South America through Europe, Africa, and Asia to the far reaches of the Pacific Rim. The content included in Refugees, Relief, and Resettlement: Forced Migration and World War II had to represent this reach as broadly as possible. And finally, in laying bear the special historical circumstances of refugees and displaced persons, it was necessary to consider the delicate situation of these often “state-less” individuals by respecting within reasonable means the private information that the publication of any collection of primary sources inevitably brings to the surface.

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Building a Digital Archive: The Role of Relevance and Research Trends in ‘Refugees, Relief and Resettlement’

Migration Maps, primary sources

By Bennett Graff, Senior Acquisitions Editor, Gale Primary Sources

Released in early 2020, Refugees, Relief, and Resettlement: Forced Migration and World War II lets students and scholars explore the largest displacement of people in human history, which occurred in the near decade-long window just before, during, and shortly after the Second World War. When Gale creates any of its archives, a great deal of planning – which can range from two to five or more years – will have gone into its conception and execution. During that period, Gale’s editors weigh a series of factors before the decision to proceed with the project. In this post, we’ll consider two of these factors in relation to Gale’s Refugees archive: contemporary relevance and academic research trends.

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Suomi mainittu! – Finland in American News in the Late Nineteenth Century

Pauli Kettunen, Gale Ambassador at the University of Helsinki
I am a second-year student in a programme ambitiously titled ‘Society and Change’ – there is not enough space to describe it here, if you had started wondering! At the university, my main interests are in Political History, in addition to all the other things concerning the history of civil society. In my free time I like cooking, reading, exercising, complaining about politics, and gaming. My latest addiction is reading science fiction by Alastair Reynolds.

Primary sources are essential to the study and research of history, but most of the time students only read textbooks, journal articles, and other academic material. It is, of course, important to study what has been researched, but with such sources the history has already been written out. To my fortune, I took a course in which an essay had to be based on physical archival sources, so I have been to the National Archives of Finland, to inspect material for it. Browsing propaganda leaflets from the 1940s was fascinating, and I decided I wanted to be able to formulate my own interpretations again, and not only rely on texts written by others.

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