By Sara Charles

The latest update of the Bibliography of British and Irish History (BBIH) was published on 3 February 2020. The new update includes two important additions: first, records of more than 4500 new publications, and – second – a new results screen which makes it easier to browse and search lists of titles in the Bibliography. Below we explain these enhancements in more detail.

The Bibliography — a research and publishing project of the IHR, the Royal Historical Society, and Brepols — publishes 3 annual updates. Our next update of new content will appear in June 2020.

A new look for BBIH

Following its latest update (February 2020), the Bibliography of British and Irish History has a new look!

When you next search the Bibliography (BBIH), you’ll see that your results display in a new and more detailed format. Search results now appear more as they would in a library catalogue — with details of each work’s title, its author, the collection in which it appears, the publisher and its page range now available at a glance on the first screen you see.

To the left of this new display, there’s also now a more prominent red icon which appears when the title is a new addition to BBIH as part of its latest update. Next to this marker, you’ll find another new label which identifies whether the displayed item refers to a ‘Book’, an ‘Article’ (which includes book chapters as well as journal articles) or an edited collection (described in BBIH as a ‘Miscellany’).

A new BBIH screen listing selected titles published in 2019.
As well as a more detailed description of each record, results lists now
indicate whether the title is a Book, Article or Miscellany.

The new BBIH display makes it much easier to identify and get a sense of each publication that’s listed. This enables you to check whether a particular record’s worth exploring in greater detail: by clicking through to the full record page for your chosen book, article, chapter or edited collection.

If it is an important title, the new BBIH interface also makes it easier to access or download a record for your research. Underneath each title listing, you’ll now find quick links to ‘Export’ or ‘Cite’ your chosen work, or to ‘Find a copy in your library’. These options were also available in the previous version of BBIH but only accessible as part of a work’s full record page. Now you can export, cite or look for a copy of an individual title at an earlier stage in your search. This means quicker navigation and less clicking to get to the information you seek.

New BBIH results screen showing quick links to ‘Export’, ‘Cite’ or ‘Find a copy’ of a chosen work in your institution’s library, here Oxford University.

As previously, the new interface lets you select multiple titles for export. In addition, from February 2020 it’s possible to print a screen of results for later reference: just use the new ‘print’ option at the top of each results lists.

And when you find an author whose work’s of interest, you can now click through to his or her author page in BBIH direct from the results list: simply click on the icon next to the author’s name. This takes you to the author’s page in BBIH. Here you’ll find not just a full listing of his or her publications in the Bibliography, but also a full profile including an author timeline of publications and charts of those publications by time period, category and theme.

Click on the graph icon next to the author name to discover more about this person’s writing career (here William M Abbott or Lynn Abrams), including dates of publication and areas of publication.

We hope these enhancements to BBIH make for easier and quicker browsing and access of chosen records. Of course, we also appreciate that many regular BBIH users may wish to keep things as they are. If you do prefer our old style of listings, simply change the new ‘Detailed’ view to ‘Condensed’ in the drop down menu. 

You can move between ‘Detailed’ and ‘Condensed’ views of a search results page. ‘Detailed’ results provide a full record of each title within the list; ‘condensed’ view provides our previous format with less information displayed in the list.

New content added to BBIH

The February 2020 update also adds extensive new content to BBIH. Details of a further 4503 recent publications are included in this update, bringing the full BBIH listing to 614,291 records of books, articles, chapters and collections in British and Irish history. Of these latest records, 1536 are for titles published in 2018, 1820 in 2019, and 35 are for works from 2020.

The creation in 2019 of a new ‘Type of publications’ search also enables us to see the profile of these 2018-2020 publications. Content added in February 2020 therefore breaks down as follows:

  • 963 books
  • 184 miscellanies
  • 577 articles in a miscellany (collective volume)
  • 1652 journal articles 

The BBIH ‘type of publications’ search option (added in 2019) allows you restrict a search for by content type: here books, articles, chapters, collections, catalogues and theses.

The new BBIH search results display, showing records for 963 books, published between 2018-20 and added to the Bibliography in February 2020.

The February 2020 update also adds 650 new records relating to Irish history, 279 records relating to Scotland and 176 to Welsh history. London has an additional 249 records, while there are 681 new records for ‘Imperial and Commonwealth’ of which 164 refer to the American colonies. 

The next BBIH update will be in June when we’ll add further records relating to new publications from 2019 and 2020.

About the Bibliography of British and Irish History

The Bibliography of British and Irish History (BBIH) is the largest and most comprehensive guide available to what’s been written about British and Irish history, from the early 1900s to 2020.

It’s an essential resource for research and teaching, providing up-to-date information (and links) to more than 615,000 History books, articles, chapters, edited collections and theses.

New records are added in three annual updates. These records are searchable by a wide range of facets including: title, author, chronology, date and form of publication, historical topic and geographical region.

The Bibliography is a research project of the UK’s Institute of Historical Research and the Royal Historical Society, and is published by Brepols. BBIH is a subscription service and is available remotely via university and research libraries worldwide.

Sara Charles is a medieval historian, specialising in book history, hagiography and women’s lives. Sara is also assistant editor for the IHR’s academic journal, Historical Research, and for the Bibliography of British and Irish History published by the Institute of Historical Research and the Royal Historical Society.