Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

Seven new databases bring cultural history to life

  Posted on: April 30, 2013

map of east coast of AfricaGot a yen for medieval travel? How about a trip through mid-century Britain, 19th-century China, or the brutality of 18th-century slave markets?  

You can experience these distant social landscapes almost first-hand via seven fascinating databases added to TRU Library’s online collection this month.

The new research resources — of particular interest to scholars in history, literature and other cultural disciplines — are from Adam Matthew Digital, which publishes unique primary source collections from archives around the world.

Spanning subject areas from Medieval travel writing to mid-20th-century social observation, the databases contain a welter of pamphlets, photos, letters, paintings, maps and journals, all scanned into digital formats. “They’re all primary sources,” says TRU Library’s systems librarian, Michael Purcell.

The searchable new online resources include:

  • Mass Observation Online,  a collection of unpublished reports on everyday life and culture assembled in Britain from 1937 to 1972. The collection was digitized from  portions of the archives of Mass Observation, the organization that originally produced these materials.
  • China: Trade, Politics and Culture 1793-1980,
    Manuscript material relating to the activities and observations of British and American diplomats, missionaries, business people and tourists in China from 1793 to 1980, together with rare periodicals, colour paintings, maps, photographs and drawings.
  • photo of textile millDefining Gender, which contains original source material (1450-1910) that will enrich the teaching and research experience of those studying history, literature, sociology and education from a gendered perspective.
  • Eighteenth Century Journals I & II, for the study of all aspects of the eighteenth century. They offer a wide variety of newspapers and periodicals, many extremely rare and which existed only in short runs. The greyscale images have fully searchable text.
  • Empire Online, an interactive digital resource enabling undergraduates, postgraduates, academics and researchers to explore colonial history, politics, culture and society.
  • Medieval Travel Writing, which provides direct access to a widely scattered collection of original medieval manuscripts that describe travel — real and imaginary — in the Middle Ages. These sources convey much about the attitudes and preconceptions of people across Europe in the medieval period, shedding light on issues of race, economics, trade, militarism, politics, literature and science.
  • Slavery, Abolition and Social Justice, designed for both teaching and research, brings together documents and collections from libraries and archives across the Atlantic world covering an extensive time period from 1490. Close attention has been given to the varieties of slavery, the legacy of slavery, the social justice perspective and the continued existence of slavery today.


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