Two Large-Scale Archive Projects Launched in the UK

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News today of the launch of two important but contrasting archive projects at Oxford and Essex universities.

A University of Essex led census project is set to create a massive historical research resource which focuses society in Britain for the period 1851-1911. The £1.06m project, is a collaboration between the university’s History Department and the UK Data Archive (UKDA), which is based on campus. It aims to bring together more than 200 million individual records from the censuses for .

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) has funded research on the collection, which is the largest of its kind in the world. Professor Kevin Schurer is leading the project. He said:

These records contain vast amounts of information on every house, household and individual in the country and are the basis of much of our knowledge of changing social and economic structures over this period. Bringing all the existing computerised versions of these censuses together will completely transform our ability to research this period... This will put British social scientific research at the forefront of international efforts in this field
The project will bring together computerised versions of the censuses that have been created by public and commercial bodies. Once it is complete, it is hoped that researchers from a wide variety of fields will be able to carry out cross-discipline studies of the highest quality. Ultimately, if further funding can be found, the project may lead to the creation of a Victorian Panel Survey.

For more info, see Essex University's website

Meanwhile, over at Oxford University, plans are afoot to have records of the Hundred Years War available to academic researchers and to the general public.

The Gascon Rolls, as the pieces are known, number 113 unpublished manuscripts and cover the years 1317 to 1468. They contain copies of letters, grants and many other documents mostly written in Latin, to be published in English summaries in on-line and printed form. It is expected to take three years to complete the project.

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