Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Assessing hidden savings in using British History Online

During June 2012, we undertook a survey of British History Online's registered user base looking at their opinions towards the issue of sustainability. This is the first in a series of blog posts in which we explore the results and deals specifically with the issue of hidden savings.

We asked our users the following question:

Thinking about when you have used British History Online, has it ever saved you making a journey from your home to a library?

If they replied 'yes', we asked a series of follow-up questions to ascertain how many journeys were saved, their mode of transport, the distance travelled, the duration of the journey and cost of any ticket. By combining these figures, we have estimated the level of saving in terms of time and cost achieved by researchers who use the service.

Our methodology is at an early stage; in its draft form, it shows that, on a conservative estimate, we save the United Kingdom Higher Education community interested in history approximately £1.2 million per annum. This equates to around 71k individuals, just over the average number of users which visit BHO in one week.

The methodology also allows us to look at reducing carbon emissions which have to be reported by universities to the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) from 2013. We'll be publishing this methodology in full over the coming weeks.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Journal of the House of Lords: new volumes

We have just published four new volumes of the Journal of House of Lords on British History Online. These are volumes 31-34, which cover the period 1765-76, and thus are a useful source for, among other things, the British reaction to increasing tension and hostility between the American colonies and the British government, as well as the War of Independence itself. As an example of the colourful rhetoric, here is a motion for an address from October 1775

That the Powers which they have assumed, and the arbitrary and oppressive Acts which they have done, leave no Doubt of their traiterous Purpose to induce the Colonies to shake off the Controul of the Supreme Legislature, and to bury in an ungrateful Oblivion the Remembrance of the great Industry with which they have been planted, the softening Care with which they have been nursed, the many Advantages which they have enjoyed, and the Expence of Blood and Treasure with which they have been protected by this Nation.

The publication of these volumes fills a gap in BHO's digitisation of the Lords Journal and we are pleased to say that we now have 42 volumes available in this series, all of them freely available.