Usability test for British History Online
Jonathan Blaney, 16 August 2011
We would like to ask your help, as a registered user on British History Online, to find ways in which we can improve the website. If you could spare a few moments to take an online test about how well the current British History Online website works, we would be very grateful.
The survey is part of wider research that we are doing into reducing the impact of 'information overload' on the usefulness of the website to historical research and teaching. This will enable us to show better value for money to all our funding sources by leading to greater and more informed use of the site as a whole, strengthening its case for sustainability. Additionally, the results will contribute to a national policy for digital resource usability in Higher Education by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC), which supports information technology in Higher Education, so your input will be extremely valuable to us and more widely.
New video tutorials available
Jonathan Blaney, 05 March 2011
Two new screencasts (video tutorials) are available on the site. They are very brief and are designed to help people get the most out of their use of British History Online.
One screencast explains how to use the advanced search function, and the other shows what can be done on the browse page.
We plan to add more screencasts in the coming months, introducing some key content of the site.
Please let us know what you think of the screencasts on the 'contact us' page.
Four more Somerset volumes live
Jonathan Blaney, 02 December 2010
Four more volumes of the Victoria County History of Somerset are now live. These volumes, numbers 1, 4, 5 and 9, cover the natural history and early history of the county, the Crewkerne and South Petherton hundreds, the Hundred of Williton and Freemanors, and Glastonbury and Street respectively.
This means that all of the currently published volumes of the Victoria County History, Somerset, are now available to read on British History Online:
Alumni Oxonienses, 1500-1714
Jonathan Blaney, 03 August 2010
The first two volumes of the Alumni Oxonienses, 1500-1714, are now online. The Alumni Oxonienses lists all known members of the University of Oxford, along with biographical details where known, and the relationships between members (such as fathers and sons and siblings). There are entries for the famous, such as John Donne or Lancelot Andrewes, but the great value of this source is its coverage of many obscure lives. The section covering the alphabetical range Abannan to Kyte is now online, and we plan to add the rest of the series in due course. Sample the Alumni Oxonienses here:
Five more House of Lords journals
Jonathan Blaney, 23 April 2010
Five more volumes of the Journal of the House of Lords have been added to British History Online. These cover the years 1776 to 1793, and thus a time of revolutions in France and North America. Several volumes also detail the protracted trial in the Lords of Warren Hastings, former governor-general of Bengal. Edmund Burke was one of the prosecutors and described Hastings as "the captain-general of iniquity"; neverthleless Hastings was eventually acquitted. In volume 38 there is some interesting detail of the state of George III's health: for example on 4 December 1788 the house heard a report of the Privy Council's examination of the king's doctors.
New Ordnance Survey Map Function
Jonathan Blaney, 02 February 2010
A new feature has recently been added to the historical maps on British History Online. This allows users to compare the historic map with a modern Ordnance Survey map on the same screen.
This function is available for both the 1:10560 and the 1:1,250 maps. Simply click on the "Show modern OS" button to see the modern map, and the same button will hide it again. The modern map can be dragged with the mouse to scroll.
It is already possible to view the historical map as a modern satellite image in a separate window.
Try out the new map comparison here:
Rymer's Foedera With Syllabus
Jonathan Blaney, 04 January 2010
Volumes eight and nine of Rymer's Foedera have now been published. This printed collection of treaties was published in the early eighteenth century; in the nineteenth century the Record Office produced a syllabus, or English summary, of its contents. To make the Foedera more useful and searchable we have combined the two texts in a tabular format, with the Syllabus entry on the left and the full text of the Foedera on the right. There are 18 more volumes of the Foedera, which will be published in the coming year. Read the series so far here:
Calendar of Papal Registers Now Complete
Jonathan Blaney, 22 December 2009
The Calendar of Papal Registers relating to Great Britain and Ireland is now complete. These 14 volumes cover the period 1198 to 1492, and thus the papacy of Innocent III through to that of Innocent VIII. These volumes provide a detailed insight into the relations of the papacy with Great Britain and Ireland in the medieval period.
Jonathan Blaney, 11 December 2009
We have now made our annotation tool easier to use. If a text is available for annotation you can still follow the old procedure, and click on "Comment on this article" at the top of the page. However it is now also possible to double click the text you wish to annotate with the left mouse button. Using this function inserts a hyperlink at the relevant point in the text, so that your annnotation will be more easily spotted by others. We therefore hope this change will improve the experience for readers, who will be alerted to the presence of an annotation for the piece of text they are reading.
Note that once you have added an annotation you can view it and all of your other annotations in My account > View your annotations.
Calendar of Treasury Books now complete
Jonathan Blaney, 11 November 2009
The Calendar of Treasury Books is now complete. These calendars detail state income and expenditure from the Restoration up to 1718, in 32 volumes. This series complements two others on BHO: the Calendar of Treasury Papers and the Calendar of Treasury Books and Papers. Read all three series here:
Parliament Rolls of Medieval England now online
Jonathan Blaney, 14 October 2009
The Parliament Rolls of Medieval England are now available on British History Online, as part of the premium content section of the site.
In this publication historians describe every parliament held between 1275 and 1504, that is those for the reigns of monarchs from Edward I to Henry VII. Where the rolls for the parliament survive, as happens for nearly all of the later parliaments, these are transcribed in full. Alongside this is presented a modern English translation of the original Latin, Anglo-Norman, or Middle English. A tabular format makes for easy comparison between the parallel texts. An appendix for each parliament details what is otherwise known of the business conducted there.
Subscribers should be assured that this important enhancement to our premium content is added at no extra cost.
Read the Parliament Rolls of Medieval England here:
10 volumes of the Journal of the House of Lords
Jonathan Blaney, 29 August 2009
10 more volumes of the Journal of the House of Lords are now live. These new volumes cover the period 1718 to 1764, and thus the end of the reign of George I, the whole of that of George II, and the very beginning of the reign of George III. Four more volumes will be added to the site in the coming months. Read these volumes, and others already live, here:
Calendar of State Papers, Colonial now complete
Jonathan Blaney, 04 July 2009
We have now added the final volume of the Calendar of State Papers, Colonial. This volume, number 45 in the series, deals with the year 1739. Read all 46 volumes of the series here:
New Timeline Function on BHO
Jonathan Blaney, 30 June 2009
We are pleased to announce a new monarchs timeline function for British History Online. This is a compact way of displaying all relevant series for a particular monarch; it will enable our users to see at a glance the periods covered by the given volumes in a series and, additionally, to drag the timeline forward and backwards in time.
At the lowest level is a compressed timeline, divided into decades, with a representation of the density of coverage on BHO. In the main body of the timeline the reign is indicated by a red line, while the BHO volumes are shown as green lines. Click on any green line to get a summary of that volume's contents and a link directly to the volume. At the top some of the key events of the reign are shown as green boxes. Click on any box for more information about the event in question.
To scroll simply drag the timeline. For example, to move forwards in time click on the timeline and drag to the left. Or use your mouse's scroll wheel to move back and forth. We plan to add more timelines in the future, but to see all of our current timelines go to our Periods page and choose a monarch. Alternatively try the Henry VIII timeline here:
Jonathan Blaney, 10 June 2009
The Calendar of the Cecil Papers Preserved in Hatfield House is now live. These 24 volumes cover the papers of the leading political family of Elizabethan and Jacobean England. William Cecil, Lord Burghley, was chief advisor to Elizabeth I, and his son Robert was Secretary of State to both Elizabeth and James I. Unusually, these state papers have remained in the family archives at Hatfield House. Among other highlights, this calendar covers the Casket Letters attributed to Mary, Queen of Scots and material relating to the Gunpowder Plot. Read the whole series here:
Six Volumes of Papal Documents
Jonathan Blaney, 25 April 2009
Six volumes of Papal documents are now live. These consist of Petitions to the Pope, the Calendar of Vatican Papers for the first part of the reign of Elizabeth I, and three volumes of the Papal Registers. The Registers are entries in the Vatican archives which relate to Great Britain and Ireland; more volumes in this series will be published online in the coming months. Read these six volumes here:
Calendar of Papers Preserved in France
Jonathan Blaney, 18 March 2009
The Calendar of Documents Preserved in France is now live. This volume consists of Record Commission transcripts of documents found mostly in Normandy, and dated up to 1206 (the end of English control of the region). Read the volume here:
Calendar of State Papers, Spain
Jonathan Blaney, 07 March 2009
The complete series of the Calendar of State Papers, Spain, is now live. These 19 volumes cover Spanish papers concerning relations with England for all the Tudor monarchs up to Elizabeth. The Elizabethan papers can be found in the complementary Simancas series which is already live on the site. Read the whole series here:
Journals of the Board of Trade and Plantations
Jonathan Blaney, 05 February 2009
The complete series of the Journals of the Board of Trade and Plantations is now online. Covering the period 1704-1782, the journals provide many details of colonial administration. Read the entire series here:
Calendar of Treasury Books and Papers
Jonathan Blaney, 24 December 2008
The complete series of the Calendar of Treasury Books and Papers is now live. As a result of a change in the original calendaring policy, the material hitherto calendared separately for the Treasury Papers and Treasury Books series, is united from 1729 onwards. As the editors say, the joint calendaring of the Treasury Books and Papers gives a more complete picture of the work of the Treasury from 1729 until the end of the series in 1745. Read the whole series here:
Calendar of State Papers, Venice, now online
Jonathan Blaney, 06 December 2008
The complete series of the Calendar of State Papers, Venice, is now live. These 38 volumes cover the period 1202-1675, and calendar papers in the Venetian archives which relate to English affairs. Covering a period in which Venetian diplomacy was central to European politics, these calendars offer a rich external view of English history. Read the whole series here:
Letters and Papers of Henry VIII now complete
Jonathan Blaney, 29 November 2008
The Calendar of Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, of Henry VIII is now complete. Covering the whole reign of Henry VIII, the calendars give direct access to key events, such as the divorce from Katherine of Aragon, the Henrician Reformation, and the fall of Thomas Cromwell. These essential calendars of state papers are freely available together for the first time, in transcriptions which have been carefully edited to ensure high-quality results. View the complete series here:
Announcing the Calendar of Cecil Papers
Jonathan Blaney, 07 November 2008
We are pleased to announce the digitisation of the 24 volumes of the calendars of the Cecil Papers in Hatfield House. These documents of William Cecil, Lord Burghley, represent state papers which have remained in the Hatfield archives. As the papers of the central governmental figure of Elizabeth's reign, they will provide an essential complement to our calendars of state papers online. The Calendar of Cecil Papers is scheduled to go online in spring 2009 and will be free to all users.
Calendars of State Papers
Jonathan Blaney, 04 November 2008
British History Online is pleased to announce that 200 volumes in the AHRC-funded State Papers project are now live. The goal of the project is to complete the digitisation of the Calendars of State Papers, in order to make these important documents freely accessible to the academic community and the general public alike; we are able to ensure a reliably searchable result by creating verbatim transcriptions of at least 99.9% accuracy.
In order to foster scholarly collaboration we have also included a feature which allows any interested user to update, correct, or enhance the calendars for the benefit of all. We plan to make the remaining 150 books in this project live within the next twelve months.
The total number of volumes on British History Online is now just over 800, of which 85 percent are completely free; the remainder is included in a subscription service which supports and sustains the free publications.
Browse highlights of the project here:
New Timelines on British History Online
Jonathan Blaney, 03 October 2008
British History Online has introduced an expanded set of timelines. Covering eight periods from 1509 to 1714, these bring together under thematic headings part of the range and variety of sources available on British History Online. The sets of suggestions for each topic would be particularly suitable as an introduction for undergraduates to the use of primary sources, and the analysis of how such sources may complement, modify or contradict one another. Further expansion of the timelines is planned for the coming months. Read the timelines here:
New Annotation Tool for British History Online
Jonathan Blaney, 27 September 2008
British History Online is pleased to be able to launch a new annotation tool. Registered users will now be able to correct factual or transcription errors in the original calendars, add background, link to a corresponding resource or add a document transcription. User annotations - which will update, correct, and expand the calendars - will be visible to other readers. A free registration to the site is required. In the first instance, the annotation feature has been activated for the State Papers Colonial and the Journals of the Board of Trade and Plantations:
State Papers, Simancas
Jonathan Blaney, 16 September 2008
All four volumes of the Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), are now live. These volumes, calendaring the papers in Spanish archives that relate to English affairs, cover the whole of the reign of Elizabeth I. They illuminate, from the Spanish perspective, events such as the Babington Plot, the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots, and the Spanish Armada. Read the entire series here:
Calendar of State Papers, Milan, now live
Jonathan Blaney, 30 August 2008
The Calendar of State Papers, Milan, is now live. This calendar deals with Milanese relations with England between 1385 and 1618. Read this calendar here:
17 volumes of the Calendar of Treasury Books are now online
Jonathan Blaney, 05 August 2008
17 volumes of the Treasury Books are now live. These volumes detail the revenues and debts of the Treasury from the Restoration in 1660 up to 1705. The remaining volumes in the series will be added in the near future. Read the whole series so far here:
Four more Henry VIII Letters and Papers volumes now live
Jonathan Blaney, 18 June 2008
Four more volumes of the Letters and Papers of Henry VIII are now live. These volumes include two covering 1545, the antepenultimate year of Henry's reign. There are also now over 100 volumes live from the project of which this series forms part: British History Online's completion of the digitization of the calendars of state papers. Read the whole Henry VIII Letters and Papers series online so far here:
Three volumes of Treasury Papers now online
Jonathan Blaney, 03 June 2008
Three volumes of the Treasury Papers are now live. These first three volumes cover those papers from the period 1556 to 1707 which were preserved in the Treasury. Further volumes of this series, and the related Treasury Books series, will be added in the coming months. Read the first volumes here:
State Papers, Foreign now complete
Jonathan Blaney, 19 May 2008
The State Papers, Foreign series is now complete. These calendars start at the beginning of the reign of Edward VI and go up to July 1589, when calendaring stopped. Read the entire series here:
Five volumes of the Journals of Trade and Plantations now live
Jonathan Blaney, 06 May 2008
Five volumes of the Journals of the Board of Trade and Plantations, covering the period 1754 to 1782, are now live. Further volumes will appear in the coming months. Read the series so far here:
Calendar of State Papers, Colonial now complete
Jonathan Blaney, 22 April 2008
The complete Calendar of State Papers, Colonial series is now online. These calendars deal with colonial British history between 1513 and 1738. Read the entire series here:
Five volumes of Letters and Papers, Henry VIII, live
Jonathan Blaney, 15 April 2008
Five volumes of the Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, are now live. These volumes cover the years 1535-1537. Further volumes will be added in the coming months. Read the series so far here:
Eight more volumes of State Papers, Foreign now live
Jonathan Blaney, 12 March 2008
Eight more volumes of the State Papers, Foreign series are now live. These cover the reigns of Edward VI and Mary and the first years of Elizabeth. These complement the State Papers, Domestic series (subscriber only). Read them here:
Nine volumes of State Papers, Foreign now live
Jonathan Blaney, 19 February 2008
The first nine volumes of the State Papers, Foreign series are now live. These cover the years of Elizabeth's reign from 1564 to 1582. The rest of the series will be added in the coming months. Read the first volumes here:
Nine more volumes of State Papers, Colonial live
Jonathan Blaney, 11 February 2008
Nine more volumes of the State Papers, Colonial are now live. The first years of the eighteenth century, up to the death of Queen Anne, are now covered. Read the whole series so far at:
Three more volumes of State Papers, Colonial live
Jonathan Blaney, 16 January 2008
Three more volumes are now live. These provide more information on seventeenth-century British trade with the East and West Indies and America. Read the whole series so far at:
Two volumes of State Papers, Colonial now live.
Jonathan Blaney, 13 December 2007
The first two volumes of this calendar series are now live. These are: America and West Indies (1574-1660) and East Indies, China and Japan (1513-1616). We plan to launch 44 further volumes over the coming months. Read them both here: