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Newspapers and historical research: a study of historians and custodians in Wales

Secker, J. (1999). Newspapers and historical research: a study of historians and custodians in Wales. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, University of Wales)


Examines the historiographical and practical problems of using newspapers in historical research. Studies the methods of different types of professional and non-professional historians, to evaluate the value of newspapers as historical documents and the problems particular to them. Examines the difficulties associated with newspapers in library collections from both the perspectives of newspaper users and custodians. Seeks to provide recommendations for both groups to facilitate the use of newspapers. The research adopted essentially qualitative methods. Using questionnaires and interviews, the opinions and experiences of historians in Wales were studied. Case studies of newspaper collections in Wales were undertaken to examine current policies and strategies at a local level. The research was also undertaken with collaboration from the British Library Newspaper Library and with specific reference to the work of the NEWSPLAN project. Concludes that newspapers are an important source for all manner of historical enquiries, but that historians often require further guidance in order to search, use and evaluate them. Different patterns of use were observed among different types of historians. Also suggests that newspapers are unlike other historical documents, because of their nature and role in society. Specific techniques are provided to assist the historian using newspapers. The use of newspapers is also shaped by the policies and strategies of both local and national newspaper collections. Thus, guidelines and recommendations are provided to assist these organisations. Further work is urged, to understand the needs of historians and the specific problems that newspapers present, following the five million pound Heritage Lottery Fund Award for the NEWSPLAN project in March 1999.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History
Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > Z665 Library Science. Information Science
Departments: Professional Services > Learning, Enhancement and Development
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