British History Online to feature Calendar of State Papers

Speaking of materials useful for teaching, C18-L today contained the following announcement concerning British History Online:

British History Online, the digital library for British history from 
the IHR and the History of Parliament Trust, will soon be launching 
the Calendars of State Papers, Domestic (1547-1704, 1760-75). The 
volumes will be fully searchable, both individually and as a series, 
and are complemented very well by BHO’s current holdings of the 
Journals of the Houses of Commons and Lords, and the Statutes of the 
Realm. Also included will be selected volumes of the Calendars of the 
State Papers for Scotland and Ireland.

The volumes will be available by the beginning of the autumn term of 
2007. In the longer term, we plan to add further calendars of the 
holdings of The National Archives, funding permitting.

The original press release is available at:

Matthew Davies

Director, Centre for Metropolitan History
Institute of Historical Research
Senate House
Malet Street
London WC1E 7HU

Tel. +44 (0)20-7862-8698 <>

Check out the British History Online Website at:


After my exchange with Ellen, I was curious: are people out there using such resources for research, teaching, or both?  How do you introduce such materials to your students, and how useful do you find them?




2 responses to “British History Online to feature Calendar of State Papers

  1. Kirstin Wilcox


    Well, I just added the link to the the “Useful Links” section of the wiki I mentioned in my comments on “…w/r/t wikis” above. I hope to devote some time in class to discussing the differences between using the first hits obtained in a Google search and using scholarly and reputable online sources.

    Students seem to think that “research” means “Google search” or maybe “check wikipedia.” Since they’re going online anyway to get information, it seems to make sense to teach them how to look.

    Dave, can you tell us how you use online research sources in your teaching?

    KW (who is also seeing if she has corrected her WordPress identity in the way she intended)

  2. David Mazella

    As you know, your info librarian was behind some the guidelines I posted for Carrie. Why not use her for a walk-through of the electronic resources, along with the special collections people?

    I’m going to start doing a joint Special Collections/info lib visit for my classes, I think.

    In my Intro to Lit Studies course, I do all this work through the library visit and then a group annotated biblio assignment, but I’m thinking now that we need to really hammer this stuff into them at a number of points in the semester.

    The online stuff is new to me, too, as a real ongoing teaching resource, except that I think it would be useful to start developing course-specific webpages that enabled people to really start using it for their assignments and presentations, etc. Assignments that demand such information would be one way to go, as would presentations and bibliographies, etc.

    The principle, though, is really basic: students must be taught how to locate information in their field, assess its degree of authority and relevance to the topic at hand, and then use it properly in their coursework. Assignments should demand that students independently gather relevant info from multiple sources, stipulating maybe that info be taken from various media (books, journals, and online) or from different chronological ranges (pre or post 1980?), with an indication of the info’s relevance to topic.

    One of the most interesting things I learned from my annotated biblio assignments was that students found it VERY difficult to reproduce the argument or claim of an article in their biblio’s annotations.

    Be prepared to ask for something simple, from relatively few sources, and then give feedback and opportunities to revise until they know how to do rudimentary outlines and summaries of scholarly arguments. If they can do such things, they will be much better prepared to do the kinds of independent learning you want later on. And I work with grad students, too, on these issues.