Tag Archives | History

Why do archive files on Britain’s colonial past keep going missing?

The National Archives are home to more than 11m documents, many of them covering the most disturbing periods of Britain’s colonial past. The uncomfortable truths revealed in previously classified government files have proved invaluable to those seeking to understand this country’s history or to expose past injustices. Read More Article originally published on The Guardian

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Some dos and don’ts for historians beginning their archival research

By Fabienne Chamelot* After conducting archival research in Vietnam and Senegal as part of her PhD project, Fabienne is keen to share some of the insights gained through her recent fieldwork experience. Methodology and evaluation of source materials usually carve out the lion’s share off the content of  History courses. Less is generally said about how to search an archive or how to find relevant information. Yet the first couple of times in an archive can be puzzling or even challenging, especially abroad where a young (or not so young) researcher can feel out of their comfort zone. While each archive is unique and should be approached accordingly, a few general rules, as obvious as they may seem, are worth bearing in mind. So here are a few tips: Quality over quantity. In some archives permission to take photos of the documents comes in handy but can also lead to a counter-productive effect which is that historians may photograph a tremendous number of documents without a proper selection process. A photo is easily taken, free of charge, and it can be very tempting to photograph as many records as you can “just in case”. Yet these documents will have to […]

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