British History Online has been awarded funding by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) as part of its Impact and Embedding programme. The award will allow us to carry out a detailed investigation of how people actually use digital online resources, both in teaching and in research.

This is a subject which the BHO team has studied in the past: we carried out benchmarking studies in 2002, 2005 and 2009 that were aimed at finding out how digital resources are used. We are now able to broaden out our previous approach by, for example, focusing more on teaching than we had done in the past.

The second part of the project will be to make some enhancements to British History Online, based on what we learn in the analysis phase. We will prioritise these enhancements based on the reported need for them and how resource-intensive they will be to implement.

This is a good moment for the IHR to be researching this topic, as we are just about to launch IHR Digital, the IHR’s new digital publishing and consultancy arm.

The report we produce at the end of the process will be published and should contribute to the establishment of best practice for digital online resources.

An initial project page can be found here.