Studying Colonialism in Complementary Archives: Nineteenth Century Collections Online and Decolonization

│By Louis Venter, Gale Ambassador at the University of the Free State│

If you ask any seasoned historian what makes historical research unique, they will emphasise the crucial role of primary sources, which define and distinguish history from other forms of academic writing. In an ever-digitising world, historians can now access digital scans of genuine archival material from anywhere, eliminating the need to travel to distant archives, and making research more efficient.

Bringing together primary sources from multiple archives can enhance one’s research, and Gale Primary Sources offers two key complementary digital archives that can be used in tandem to study colonialism – Nineteenth Century Collections Online: Europe and Africa, Colonialism and Culture and Decolonization: Politics and Independence in Former Colonial and Commonwealth Territories.

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Finding Meaning in K-Means: Clustering Analysis in Gale Digital Scholar Lab

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

Of the six tools in Gale Digital Scholar Lab, clustering is often considered the most challenging methodology to interpret effectively. This blog post will explore the nature of this analysis tool and offer some tips for running an analysis.

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Going off Script: How Gale Primary Sources Can Be Used in Theatre Studies

│By Olivia McDermott, Gale Ambassador at the University of Liverpool│

For a subject such as drama, primary sources are continuously overlooked. Much academic study preceding degree level tends to focus on the practical realm of theatre. Though it is an important aspect, this sometimes leads to contextual ideas being ignored.

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The Warrior Queen: Lakshmibai, the Rani of Jhansi

│By Carolyn Beckford, Gale Product Trainer│

For Women’s History Month, I wanted to highlight a woman that many of us have probably not heard of before. Sure, we know about Cleopatra, the Dahomey Warriors, Boudica, Nana Yaa Asantewaa, Joan of Arc, and maybe even Njinga, but have you ever heard of Rani Lakshmibai?

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Redefining What Philosophy Means: Why Primary Sources Are Now More Important Than Ever

│By Jessica Crawley, Gale Ambassador at Lancaster University│

One of the most interesting and – to some – most perplexing aspects of philosophical writings is that newer does not equal better. For example, some of the greatest advancements in metaphysics were made by Aristotle, who was writing in Ancient Greece well over two-thousand years ago. Not only this, but our gendered and Western-mandated criteria of what ‘deserves’ the title of ‘philosophical writing’ is (finally) beginning to evolve.

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Concepts of ‘the Nation’ in Britain and Beyond

│By Jess Briony Hodgson, Gale Ambassador at the University of Sheffield│

Britain has always had a complex identity historically speaking – from Alfred the Great and the nature of medieval kingdoms, through to the fallout from Brexit, the way in which Britons conceptualise their nation and nationality has always been changing – and this makes primary source work all the more interesting.

When using primary sources such as those found in Gale’s digital archives, one main challenge is removing our own understandings of ‘the nation’ from the equation, so we can properly analyse the information and make accurate interpretations and comparisons. One space in which we can see a microcosm of all these changes is print media, particularly newspapers, which will have (for the most part) aimed to capture readers’ opinions and concerns, highlighting the changes in concepts such as the nation.

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The Sinking of the Titanic and its Cultural and Economic Impact

│By Yasmin Metto, Gale Ambassador at the University of Queen Mary│

The Titanic is one of the most famous and prolific ships in the world, inspiring adventures to the depths of where it sunk as well as creating a legacy that has lasted generations. Unfortunately, this can shroud the aftermath of the sinking of the Titanic, which was almost as devastating as the event itself. The sinking of the Titanic marked a multitude of impacts, especially culturally and economically. By using Gale Primary Sources to explore the cultural and economic effects of the Titanic sinking, it becomes evident that all of society was affected by the event.

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Exploring the Inspiration for Romanticism: Was it a Counter-Enlightenment? 

│By Isabelle Partridge, Gale Ambassador at the University of Exeter│

Emotion, nature and individualism are some of the key themes of Romanticism. This cultural movement became popular in Western Europe during the late eighteenth century and was expressed primarily through art and literature. However, the major intellectual movement which preceded Romanticism was the Enlightenment, during which philosophers emphasised rationalism in the pursuit of knowledge. Thus, Romanticism has often been posed as an opposite reaction to the Enlightenment.

Through using Gale Primary Sources, I have gained access to a number of notable works from the Romantic period, from paintings to poems, as well as the opportunity to explore how these works have been perceived since their initial creation. Primary sources highlight how Romanticism was a dynamic and varied movement. Romanticism responded not only to the Enlightenment, but the many political and social developments, such as revolution and industrialization, which had created a backdrop for the turn of the nineteenth century. 

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Making Peace Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Primary Sources

│By Tom Taborn, Gale Ambassador at the University of Oxford│

Primary sources can be, let’s face it, intimidating. In the first few weeks of university the idea that we should use them was constantly drummed into me. I, like most other students I know, immediately ignored this advice, and ploughed into the swelling lists of secondary sources. Primary sources seemed like a distraction from the stress of churning out an essay, and the few students who did use them seemed like god-like beings who’d mastered pomodoro timers and bullet journaling in the pram.

Over the course of my first year, however, I realised that they were exactly the opposite. Primary sources are the stressed student’s best friend. Reading what real people thought, how they talked, and what they felt, can make the trickiest topics easier. And more than that, they can be fun. The archives in Gale Primary Sources made using primary sources so much less terrifying as a student for me. This is the story of how my worst essay was saved by a primary source, and how yours can be too.

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An Interdisciplinary Treasure Chest: The Pacific Coast Counterculture Collection

│By Robert P. J. Cooney, Jr., Graphic Designer, Editor and Writer responsible for the Pacific Coast Counterculture Collection│

More than fifty years have passed since the rebellion of American youth during the 1960s that became known as the Counterculture. Now, this exciting and colourful movement is the subject of Gale Primary Sources’ Pacific Coast Counterculture Collection, which is part of their new digital archive Power to the People: Counterculture, Social Movements and the Alternative Press, Nineteenth to Twenty-First Century. The digital collection contains a unique mix of printed material – pamphlets, publications, periodicals and more – that captures the diversity, creativity and impact of individuals and small groups that emerged during this intense time.

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