MA Modern and Irish History
Semester 2 (Jan - June)
Co-ordinator: Prof Peter Gray
What is this course about?
This course is designed to provide you with practical experience of the methodologies involved in creating historical calendars, finding aids or databases that may be useful to other researchers and users of archives or depositories. It offers hands-on work with primary historical sources and insight into archival practice and the skills of scholarly editing, transcription and data management.
How is the course taught and assessed?
The course is taught in collaboration between members of School staff and archivists at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland and Queen’s Library Special Collections. There are training seminars at Queen’s and PRONI, followed by individual supervision by history staff. After training, you will be expected to produce a calendar of historical documents, a finding aid to primary sources on an agreed topic, or a historical database. Materials at PRONI, QUB, or other local depositories can be used. A calendar should transcribe, annotate and provide a critical apparatus for the sources selected; and finding-aid should locate, describe and critically assess the primary sources available to pursue research on a given topic. After successful examination, you will have the opportunity to make corrections and offer your finished work to the relevant institution for public use.
Assessment is by a calendar of primary sources, a finding aid, or a historical database (8-10,000 words), prefaced in each case by a 5,000 word contextualising essay.
You will be encouraged to identify a collection of documents or finding-aid/database theme related to your MA dissertation topic.
Recent calendars include:
• Additional Craigavon Papers, PRONI T.3775/1-26
• Scarman Tribunal Exhibits, QUB Special Collections
• Greenlees Letters, Union Theological College, Gamble Library
• Brotherhood, 1887-9, Belfast Newspaper Library
• Foster Pamphlets, Vol. 25: The Lucas Controversy, 1749, QUB Special Collections
• Letter Book of the Belfast Academical Institution 1816-18, PRONI SCH/524
• Minute Book of the Belfast Ladies’ Institute 1867-97: Victoria College Belfast Archives
• Calendar of articles in Unity magazine, 1969-72: Linenhall Library Belfast
• Infanticide File, National Archives of Ireland, CIF 1888/1862
Recent finding-aids include:
• Sourcing Primary Material relating to the Boer War available in NI
• Finding aid for Anglo-Egyptian relations 1919-60