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Speed Databasing - Library Staff Learning Hour

Activity information

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Today, you're going to meet and explore some of the Library's new e-resources - you might just find your perfect match!

We are going to look at 5 different e-resources over 5 rounds. In each round, you will have 5 minutes to open the resource, try out one or two searches and/or browse some of the contents, and make some notes on your first impressions. We'll then discuss the resource as a group before moving on to the next round.

When you're looking at each resource, try to think about:

  • What kind of material(s) does the resource cover?
  • How can you can limit/filter your searches/results? Is there an Advanced Search option?
  • Can you browse the contents of the resource? If so, what browsing options are available?
  • Are there any special features or tools?
  • To whom would you recommend this resource?
  • What do you like/dislike about the resource?
  • Did you find any particularly interesting documents?

If you want to make notes, you can use the worksheet and/or the Padlet below:


Here is a list of the different e-resources that we're going to look at. For each round, you can open the resource by clicking on the link. Think about the questions above. You can either try searching for your own keywords, or browsing the content if you prefer, or use the suggested keyword(s) for each resource below. If you want to, you can also open the corresponding dating profile which gives an overview of the resource.

Round 1: Mass Observation Project 1981-2009

Mass Observation Project captures the experiences, thoughts and opinions of everyday people in late 20th and early 21st century Britain, through the responses to a large collection of directive questionnaires sent out by Mass Observation. Access to material from the 1980s and 1990s is currently available, with material from the 2000s due to be added later this year.

Try searching for one or more of the following keywords: Christmas / gardening / clothing

Round 2: LGBT Magazine Archive

LGBT Magazine Archive includes the historical archives of 26 influential magazines covering LGBTQ+ interests, dating back to 1954.

Try searching for one or more of the following terms: "gender identity" / AIDS / "Gulf War"

Round 3: Very Short Introductions

Very Short Introductions includes the full text of all 692 titles in OUP’s Very Short Introductions series, covering hundreds of different topics across a broad range of subject areas.

Try searching for one or more of the following keywords: viruses / Hollywood / multilingualism

Round 4: First World War Portal

First World War Portal is a large collection of primary source material relating to the First World War, including diaries, letters, personal narratives, military files, ephemera and artwork.

Try searching for one or more of the following keywords: ambulance / Indian / morale

Round 5: National Theatre Collection

The National Theatre Collection of 50 filmed plays is part of Drama Online. Once you've logged in to Drama Online, click on Collections in the top navigation bar and then on National Theatre Collections 1 & 2. This will allow you to browse (and watch) the available plays.

Want to know more?

The Subject Guides contain list of databases and other resources that are most relevant to each subject, and are a great place to start if you're not sure which e-resources to direct students to. 

Why not try the speed databasing activity with additional e-resources to familiarise yourself with more of the Library's databases?

You can also view a full A-Z list of databases that the Library subscribes to.