An update to the Bibliography of British and Irish History was released on 9 October, containing 5,500 new records, of which over 3,500 deal with publications of 2011-12. Nearly 600 of the new records deal with the history of Ireland (or with Anglo-Irish relations and the Irish Diaspora) and 277 of them relate to the history of London, including information on recently completed theses on London history kindly provided by the Centre for Metropolitan History.
We are very pleased to announce reduced subscription rates for Friends of the Institute of Historical Research and for Fellows and Members of the Royal Historical Society, representing a very substantial discount on the normal individual subscription rate (and a significant enhancement to the benefits of becoming a Friend of the IHR or joining the RHS for those who do not already have access to the Bibliography). We hope that this offer will make the Bibliography more accessible to retired academics and independent scholars. Subscriptions are currently available for the calendar year 2013 but, for those who reply early, subscriptions will commence on 1 October 2012 at no extra cost. Free trails are available until 15 July. For more information about the offer, Friends of the IHR should email the Development Office (or telephone +44 (0)207 862 8791/8764); RHS Fellows and Members should email the RHS office. You can find out about becoming a Friend of the IHR here and there is information about membership of the RHS here.
The latest update to BBIH, published on 13 June 2012, contains just over 5,000 new records, of which 2,413 describe books and articles published in 2011-12. The complete database, including titles from Irish History Online and London’s Past Online, now contains over 518,000 records. In addition to these new records, we are pleased to announce an important new feature: you can now stay up to date by saving searches on topics of interest to you; each time BBIH is updated, if there are any new records that match your searches, you will receive an email with a link to them. A video tutorial and a help page on this topic are available.
When I first started to edit BBIH I used the Concise Dictionary of National Biography and then the CD-Rom version. Both were very useful, however searching them did slow down the process of editing and checking material for inclusion. Then came the online versions of ODNB and life was so much easier. As time has gone on I’ve created a favourites folder entitled “Biographical databases” in which are placed all of the national biographies outlined in the recent piece in Reviews in History (and a few more).
I can only echo Martin Farr’s comments on these resources, their usefulness and coverage. All have their individual idiosyncrasies but all are easy to use. I’m not a fan of the Australian search which defaults to a “text” search rather than a “person” search (as with ODNB). To search a specific name in the Canadian, users have to click on “search” or “advanced search” as only a “full text” search is available on the home screen. The New Zealand is the niftiest – a search will bring up names first and then the word in text. Farr does not mention the Welsh Biography Online however I particularly like the Welsh resource for its layout of search fields. Sadly the University of London does not subscribe to the Irish dictionary but the Irish helpfully provide a snippet view which goes some way in aiding research. I can find no Scottish online equivalent. There is the Dictionary of Scottish Architects (DSA), a database providing biographical information and job lists for all architects known to have worked in Scotland during the period 1840-1980, whether as principals, assistants or apprentices. There is also an Internet Archive version of A Biographical Dictionary of Eminent Scotsmen(1870). If anyone knows of a Scottish one I’d be grateful if they would let me know.
And why the title – The Bible, Shakespeare and national dictionaries of biography? Well if I were marooned on a desert island, trawling through the national dictionaries (preferably online) would fill countless hours….
Following a previous blog on the online availability of the Bibliography on Swiss History (BSH) I can report that volumes for the years 2008 and 2009 of the Bibliography have now been published. They are available in PDF format on the BSH site.
All the bibliographic records for the BSH volumes from 1975 onwards are available in the Bibliography on Swiss History database. This database is continually updated and also contains entries for the issues 2010 and 2011 which have not yet been published in PDF.
The latest update to BBIH, published on 2 February 2012, contains 4,062 new records, bringing the overall total to nearly 514,000. The new records include some 600 relating to Irish history and 187 dealing with the history of London, including information on newly completed theses relating to London provided by the Centre for Metropolitan History. You can find out more about BBIH by visiting our project page.
All issues of the Bibliography of Swiss History/Bibliographie de l’histoire suisse are now available online.
The BSH volumes 1913-1974 have been scanned, tagged, and uploaded. The digitization was carried out with the agreement of the Swiss History Association, publisher of the BSH since1957. Full text searching can be carried out across a selected range of volumes or across all volumes simultaneously.
The BSH volumes from 1975 onwards are available in the Bibliography on Swiss History database. Volumes 1975-1998 were re-catalogued in 2010 and integrated into the database. At present the years 1975-1998 and 1999-2010 do not have the same structure but they are being unified. So hopefully from spring 2012 the 87,000 bibliographic records in the BSH database will have the same structure.
For those interested in other historical national bibliographies there is the European Historical Bibliographies project.This projects lists fifteen bibliographies and provides a brief outline for each bibliography, its history, institutional background, contents and classification system, and mode of publishing – especially their online presence.
A colleague is working on English Historical Documents and came across the name of Godfrey of Boullion in the context of Caxton’s publications. In Caxton defends the historicity of King Arthur (1485), Caxton, in his preface to Malory’s King Arthur, outlines his “nine worthies” including Godfrey, “…whose acts and life I made a book for the excellent prince and king of noble memory King Edward IV.” We discussed why Godfrey was in the company of such other “worthies” as King Arthur, Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great, and Charlemagne.
Later the same day the IHR Director’s seminars listing was circulated and, you’ve guessed it, Godfrey appears again, this time in a seminar – Godfrey of Bouillon: the development of a First Crusade hero, c. 1100–1325.
The latest update to the Bibliography of British and Irish History, launched on 7 June 2011, contains 5,620 new records, bringing the overall total to 504,000. You can read more about the Bibliography here; subscribers and members of subscribing institutions can go straight to the Bibliography by visiting http://www.brepolis.net/ and clicking on ‘Enter databases’.