We’re pleased to announce that we have now added the latest 2000s module to the very popular Mass Observation Online resource. We already had access to the 1980s and 1990s modules.
About Mass Observation
Mass Observation is a pioneering project which documents the social history of Britain by recruiting volunteers (‘observers’) to write about their lives, experiences and opinions. Still growing, it is one of the most important sources available for qualitative social data in the UK. This latest instalment is a great resource for anyone researching aspects of the early 21st century. It complements our existing access to the original Mass Observation project archive, which covers 1937-1967.
This module has a strong emphasis on technological advancements and the changing means of communication that came with the new Millennium. Highlights include the Millennium Diaries, the events of September 11th and environmental concerns, as well as detailing the everyday lives, thoughts, and opinions of respondents.
Searching and browsing
You can browse or search Mass Observation in various ways.
Browse by directive: browse the different directives (surveys), which are arranged chronologically and by topic.
Browse all documents: browse all the individual documents, and then further filter your search as required.
You can also use the Advanced search box at the top of the screen to search for specific topics.
We’d recommend you start by reading through the Introduction (top menu) which explains more about the project and the different document types. If you’re looking for ideas about how to make use of it, take a look at the Research Tools, which includes essays, videos, exhibitions and chronological timelines.
Note that as over half the materials in these collections (mainly the pre-2000s modules) are handwritten, the database enables Handwritten Text Recognition (HTR) to help you search. We would recommend you read about how HTR works, to help you get the best out of the database, in the Introduction section.
We’re pleased to announce that we now have permanent access to the LGBT Magazine Archive following a well-received trial earlier this year.
This resource contains the full digitised archives of 26 LGBT publications, mainly from the UK and USA, including Gay Times, The Pink Paper, and The Advocate. Coverage dates from 1957 to 2015 (depending on the specific publication). Many of the titles have previously been difficult for researchers to access.
It is a great resource for researching LGBT history and culture, including legal contexts, health, lifestyle, politics, social attitudes, activism, gay rights, and arts/literature.
You can browse or search the archive in various ways: choose Advanced Search for options such as searching by location or document type (e.g. advert, letter, cartoon etc.)
Where can I find pictures relating to transport which I can use in my project? How do I find out what was broadcast on British television and radio on a particular day in the 1970s? Where are the best places to find examples of digital art? I need audio clips of scary sounds for my presentation – where to start? Are there any interesting oral histories in my subject area? How do I reference a podcast? I’ve found an ideal picture online, but I don’t know where it’s from – what can I do? Is there an authoritative list of famous music plagiarism cases anywhere, including audio clips?
We’ve updated and expanded our old images guide, and included new databases and resources for finding films and television programmes, plus audio content such as radio programmes, sound clips, podcasts and oral histories.
We’ve also updated the original still images section, which helps you find images of all genres and subjects, such as anatomy, archaeology, architecture…. and all other letters of the alphabet!
Need more help?
Keyword searching isn’t always the best way to search for audiovisual content, so if you want to find an image which looks like another one, search by colour, or find exactly what you want on Box of Broadcasts, visit our guide.
Finally, if you’re unsure whether you’re permitted to use an audiovisual resource in your assignment, and/or how to cite it, we can help with that too. Our guide contains plenty of helpful advice on using and citing audiovisual materials, and we’ve tried to include links to collections and databases which are licensed for educational use where possible (but please do check the terms and conditions in each case).
If you’re working on a dissertation, thesis or project right now, or will be doing so next academic year, what can you do if the Library doesn’t have access to all the specialist books and other information resources you need? How can you find out about resources relating to your research topic which are held elsewhere? Can you visit other libraries and archives if you’re away from Newcastle over the vacation?
Read on to find out how you can expand your search beyond our library….
You can search across the catalogues of over 170 UK and Irish academic and national libraries, together with other specialist and research libraries, via Library Hub Discover (formerly COPAC). The range of libraries included in Library Hub Discover is expanding all the time, and includes all UK universities, as well as the libraries of such diverse organisations as Durham Cathedral, the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Royal Horticultural Society.
In response to Covid restrictions, Library Hub Discover has also made it easier for you to find Open Access resources via its catalogue: it has recently incorporated the HathiTrust Digital Library, as well as the Directories of Open Access Books and Journals to its searchable database.
For a more in-depth and up-to-date search, you can also search individual academic library catalogues online. Need to look further afield? Search library catalogues internationally via WorldCat.
If we haven’t got the book you want, you can ask us to consider buying or borrowing it via our Recommend a book service.
If you need a copy of a journal article to which we don’t have access, you can apply for it via our inter library loan service, which is currently free.
You can search UK doctoral theses via the national EThOS service. This has records for over 500,000 theses, dating back to the year 1800, of which over half are freely available online (do note you have to register with EThOS before being able to download: it’s a separate login process to your usual University login).
The SCONUL Access Scheme enables students to visit most other academic libraries around the country, and in some cases, borrow from them. This service has recently resumed since its suspension during the Covid pandemic, but please note that not all academic libraries are currently participating in the scheme, so do check carefully before you visit, and read the latest information on the SCONUL Access site.
You will need to register with SCONUL Access before you can visit another Library, so do allow time for your registration to be processed.
If you want to consult archives or special collections elsewhere, you’ll need to check with the organisation in question beforehand (you’ll usually need to request to consult items in advance of your visit). If you can’t visit in person, archives services may still be able to answer queries, provide access to selected digitised items, or even operate a Virtual Reading Room, so it may well be worth enquiring.
Have you met BoB? Box of Broadcasts is a fantastic resource for all subject areas: an archive of over two million radio and television broadcasts from over 75 free-to-air channels, including all BBC channels, ITV and Channel 4, plus some international channels. New programmes are added to BoB as they are broadcast each day.
We know it’s a very popular resource, but are you getting the best out of it? Here are some quick tips for newbies and experienced users alike!
BoB is a huge database, so searching by keyword may retrieve a lot of irrelevant results, especially as the default search looks for your keyword in all programme transcripts (i.e. every word spoken in a programme). Click on the Search options link just under the search bar to see various ways of making your search more precise, including searching in the programme titles only, or limiting by date. This help video gives more detail:
Playlists and clips
You can create your own playlists: really helpful if you’re researching for an assignment, or preparing to teach a module. You can also search public playlists curated by other BoB users around the UK: just select Public playlists underneath the search bar, or explore this showcase of playlists for more inspiration.
We’ve got a wide range of specialist information resources for English literature students. We know it can be rather overwhelming knowing where to start, so this blog post gives you a whistle stop tour of what you can find.
Library Search and your reading lists are great starting points for finding books, journals and other resources for your modules, but we’ve highlighted below some more specialised resources which you’ll want to explore.
Interdisciplinary academic research databases
Interdisciplinary bibliographic databases, such as Scopus or JSTOR are a great starting point after Library Search, as they enable you to discover secondary literature, irrespective of the subject area, and have really helpful features to help you focus your search. This can be useful if your topic covers more than one subject area, or if you’re trying to scope your topic broadly. Content includes journal articles, conference papers, book chapters and reviews.
Specialist English literature research databases
Literature Online (LION) is an indispensable database for researching English literature. It comprises three main sections:
literary criticism: search articles from over 400 journals, together with the Annual Bibliography of English Language and Literature
primary texts: 350,000 works of poetry, prose and drama from the 8th century to the present
reference: encylopedias, topic overviews and author biographies
You can search all of these information types at once with the All button selected, or focus on a particular section by choosing the appropriate button.
If you haven’t used LION before, or would like a refresher, a good way to get an insight into the content, and different ways to search, is to try out the sample searches in this LION guide (Links to an external site.).
Film and Television Literature Index
If you’re researching a film or television studies topic, including literary adapations, then you may find Film and Television Literature Indexto be useful. It includes articles from academic journals and film magazines, and coverage is focused on film and television theory, writing, production and reviews.
There is a vast range of digitised literary archives available, and it would be impossible to list every one, but we have picked out some major resources on the English Literature subject guide, in the General literary resources > archives section. These include:
Click on the links above for blog posts giving more information about these fascinating archives.
We also have a fascinating range of historic and contemporary literary archives in our own Special Collections section: please browse the web site by subject to find out more and read here for how to consult items and get further advice.
Literary texts: historic book collections online
As well as the many individual literary print and e-books in our collections, we also have access to several major online collections of literary texts from different historical periods, which feature in-depth contextual information, facsimile images of the original texts, and sophisticated search and analytical features.
From Early English Books Online (EEBO) and Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO), we have access to almost every book published in English from the fifteenth to nineteenth century, complemented by other specialist collections, such as Oxford Scholarly Editions Online.
Our blog post gives an overview of five of the major collections. You can find all the individual books from these collections on Library Search, but we recommend searching and browsing the databases themselves (for example, EEBO) to get the best searching and viewing experience.
Audiovisual resources: Box of Broadcasts and Drama Online
Box of Broadcasts (BoB) contains over two million programmes from over 75 television and radio channels. Coverage mostly dates from 2007 to the present day. It’s a great resource for finding literary adaptations on television, film and radio, together with documentaries about writers, and arts review broadcasts. Find out how to get the best out of BoB via our BoB blog post.
The Library has purchased various collections from the Drama Online database, which comprises the text of over 3,000 plays, from ancient Greek drama to contemporary works, together with contextual works relating to drama theory and practice. We have also recently bought several video collections, featuring films of major theatrical productions from the National Theatre, Globe and Royal Shakespeare Company.
Read more about this exciting platform and the very latest content on our blog post.
English Literature Subject Guide
This posting is just a taster of all the great resources available for your subject area. To access them and find out more, visit your Subject Guide and explore the databases and other subject specific resources which we’ve curated for English literature.
The Library has access to the digitised State Papers Online from 1509 to the end of the State Papers series in 1782, providing a fascinating research resource for early modern Britain and Europe.
What are the State Papers?
They are predominantly official papers of the Secretaries of State from the period, and include correspondence, reports, memoranda and civil service drafts, covering a wide range of domestic and international matters, and emanating from the highest levels of power. The collections include letters from popes, diplomats, and rulers of other countries, as well as records such as military and naval registers, and thus provide a fascinating record of the Tudor, Stuart and early Georgian periods in England and beyond.
It is an major resource for researching themes such as the monarchy, law and order, religious conflict, wars and treaties, international trade and the emergence of party politics.
What’s in this collection?
The digitised collections comprise the papers themselves, digitised from the original manuscripts, as well as the ‘calendars’, which catalogue and briefly describe or summarise the manuscripts, and which have been transcribed into text. The manuscripts themselves are mostly not searchable (except for a few series which have been transcribed). The calendars are searchable, and each calendar entry links to its manuscript, making the research process significantly easier than pre-digitisation.
How to search
You can search or browse the State Papers in various ways. We’d recommend selecting Advanced Search to access all the options for focusing your search. Note useful options such as fuzzy search, which enables you to search for spelling variants, plus the option to limit your search to records with a manuscript, and/or a transcript of the manuscript.
The Browse function may be useful if you wish to work through a particular series of State Papers: you can either browse the calendars or manuscripts.
There are various options for saving, downloading and exporting results.
Help and guidance
If you are using the State Papersfor the first time, we’d recommend reading the relevant About State Papers Online section to get an overview of what each collection contains.
You will also find very helpful contextual information in the Research Tools section.
Reference includes glossaries, explanations of dates, weights and measures etc;
Links gives links to useful guidance such as paleography courses.
Essays gives more detailed insights into each collection, written by experts.
Key documents picks out important highlights from the collections.
You can also click Help in the top right of the screen for in-depth help with searching and exporting.
October is Black History Month, with the theme Proud to be: “inviting black and brown people of all ages throughout the UK to share what they are proud to be.”
On the Library’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) guide, we’ve highlighted books and other resources from our collections which focus on black British people and themes across many fields, such as politics, law, music, art, business and literature.
Please take a look, and if you would like to suggest books which you think we should add to our collection, we’d love to hear from you: just fill in our suggestion form.
Don’t forget to explore the other sections of our EDI guide too: it aims to curate and highlight information resources of all kinds, relating to different EDI themes. You’ll find books, films, social media, digital and physical archives and more. We’d love to get your recommendations for anything we’ve missed, and you can still catch up on our summer reading challenge if you’d like to be inspired, or inspire others.
You can read about Newcastle University’s events to mark Black History Monthhere.
All the titles are individually catalogued on Library Search, or if you prefer, you can browse them from the publishers’ platforms via the links above. NB If you are browsing any of the Bloomsbury subject collections, under Access, tick Purchased/Open Access.
If you’re looking for UK or international news from the last thirty years or so to today, then make sure you explore Nexis. The Nexis database has recently moved to a new platform (Nexis Uni): we think you’ll find it is easier to search than the old version, and it has some really useful features.
If you’re used to ‘old’ Nexis, don’t worry: the content on Nexis Uni is exactly the same, and you can still use the ‘expert’ search features if you want to.
What does it cover?
Nexis Uni enables you to search over 17,000 news, business and legal sources. This includes most UK national and regional newspapers, together with international sources, including newspapers, newswires and news magazines in multiple languages. Coverage of news titles often dates back to the 1990s and includes today’s news. Coverage is text only, and doesn’t include images, layout, adverts etc.
Nexis Uni also gives access to specialist business information, including dossiers on major UK and international companies, together with specialist legal information.
How to search news on Nexis Uni?
There are various ways to limit your search to newspapers/news sources, but the simplest is to select the News button from the Guided Search section:
Type in your search term (use ” ” if searching for a phrase), select your date range, and click Search.
Once your results are displayed, you can then further limit your search by date, publication type, location, language and more.
If you want to search news from a particular country, such as the UK, select Location by Publication>International> and then choose your continent and country.
If you would like to try more complex searching (e.g. searching in a particular section of the newspaper, or combining terms together in various ways), then click on Advanced search from the home page.
There is more detailed guidance about searching in the Nexis help centre.
Searching/browsing a particular newspaper
If you want to find a particular newspaper, choose Menu>All Sources, and then type the newspaper’s name in the Search within sources box. Click the three dot menu to get more information about coverage of the newspaper in Nexis Uni (NB ignore the phrase which says Archived source: no longer updated).
You can also use this route to add one or more newspapers as search filters, if you just want to search across certain titles only: to do this, type the newspaper title in the top search box entitled All Nexis Uni.
If you’re using Nexis Uniregularly, we’d recommend you create a Nexis account, which enables you to set up alerts (click the bell icon at the top of your results listing), save searches, annotate and bookmark items, and share these with others. You can read more about alerts here.
Please note: if you had previously set up alerts or saved searches on ‘old’ Nexis, they won’t migrate to Nexis Uni, so you’ll need to set them up again.
Should I use Lexis or Nexis for UK news searching?
The ‘news’ section on the Lexislegal database enables you to search UK national and regional (but not international) newspapers. Nexis Uniis produced by the same company, and should have the same UK news coverage as Lexis, though Nexis Uni also includes a wider range of news sources such as broadcast news and news wires. We also think you’ll find the Nexis search and personalisation options are better, and easier to use, so we’d recommend Nexis. However, you might prefer to stick with Lexis if you use it regularly for legal information.