Friday, 8 June 2012

Digitisation & access to Queen Victoria's Journals

Queen Victoria’s Journals from the Royal Archives have been digitised by the Bodleian Libraries, Oxford and the Royal Archives, London.

These journals cover the period 1932-1091 and are available online. In total, there are 141 surviving volumes numbering 43,765 pages. Their release has been timed to coincide with the celebrations to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II - the only British Monarch other than Queen Victoria to have reigned for 60 years.

There are four different versions of the journal - the originals written by the Queen (only 13 survive, covering the period 1832-1836); an abridged handwritten transcript written by Princess Beatrice (the Queen's youngest daughter); a typed transcript prepared for Lord Esher; and some draft volumes written by the Queen. None of these versions covers the whole period, from 1832 to 1901.

The journals detail household and family matters, reflect affairs of state, describe meetings with statesmen and other eminent figures, and comment on the literature of the day. They represent a valuable primary source for scholars of nineteenth century British political and social history and for those working on gender and autobiographical writing.

In addition to the digitised hand written journal pages, a portion of the pages have already been carefully transcribed and rekeyed to enable powerful searching and easy reading. Resources include: finding aids (e.g. pet names, family trees), essays, quotations, website links.

Users can access the journals in a multitude of ways including: searching through journals according to year, month & day; visually browsing high resolution colour scans of illustrations and inserts from the journals and sketchbooks by decades; scrolling through a timeline and carrying out powerful keywords searches. Where multiple versions of the same entries occur, e.g. by Lord Esher and Princess Beatrice, these can be compared by the user.

ProQuest are providing open access to Queen Victoria's Journals until 30 June 2012, following that a subscription version via ProQuest will be made available.


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