This online research guide provides instruction on reading, understanding and researching a range of archival diaries available for research at the Glucksman Library.
The resource is designed to assist students and researchers at all levels with their research. It aims to build basic archival and information literacy, and outline useful historical research methods. Its lessons offer both a broad introduction to the work of the Special Collections and Archives Department and its collections, as well as specific research advice relating to historic research methods, the consultation of archival diaries as sources for social history, and guidance relating to the reading and transcription of archival sources.
The ‘TITLE’ project is a collaboration between Special Collections and Archives (archival expertise) and the Department of History (subject-matter expertise) to develop an online digital resource that can be used for self-guided teaching, and within a classroom context. We hope this will encourage greater engagement with Special Collections and Archives by students (as a learning tool) and lecturers (as a teaching tool).
The project was funded under the 2019 Strategic Alignment Teaching and Learning Enhancement (SATLE) Fund by the National Forum for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (T&L) and launched in May 2021.
The project aligns with three of T&L’s four strategic priorities:
Teaching and Learning in a Digital World
Relatively simplistic technology can greatly enhance student and faculty access to lesser-known resources already available at the Glucksman Library. This online resource allows students to access these resources from any location, which is particularly useful for inclusion on blended learning programmes. It was designed with best practice in online teaching in mind, but ultimately, as a resource that is simple to use and maintain.
Teaching and Learning Enhancement Within and Across Disciplines
Archives and History are cognate disciplines very much dependent on each other and this collaborative facilitates excellence in teaching and learning by combining the two.
This resource allows students to study at their own pace in order to gain a good understanding of some of the key principles of the archival process and historical research. These include understanding the difference between primary and secondary sources, and then learning to critically evaluate and work with a particular source: the diary. The resource is designed so that students can engage with the material at any level of study.
The launch of the project also aligned with the launch a few months previous of UL’s new Digital Library, which hosts a number of digitised collections from the Special Collections and Archives Department, including the three diaries included in the resource.
The immediacy, relatability and succintness of diaries make them perfect teaching resources for archival literacy and research methodology sessions. During the Autumn Semester 2019/20, the project team co-taught an introduction to the transcription and analysis of nineteenth-century diaries as sources for social history. Following the success of this session, the team decided to develop an online resource to further explore the archival skills and historical analysis the researcher must employ to better understand archival diaries.
It was important to the project team that the resource used technology in new ways to bring historic diaries to life for researchers, and with this in mind, an interactive learning element, in the form of an ‘escape room’ type game, was incorporated into the project plan. As the project was developed, feedback was sought from students undertaking the MA in the History of the Family in 2020/21, and their feedback has been incorporated into the final product.
The development of a research guide and online resource for archival diaries held within the collections, with the input of both UL faculty and Special Collections and Archives staff, will provide easy access to teaching plans for faculty, and enhance student engagement with the primary research resources held at UL. It is hoped that this project will be added to over time, exploring other types of primary sources.
Project lead: Dr Kirsten Mulrennan, Archivist, Special Collections and Archives
Dr Kirsten Mulrennan holds a BA in English and History from UL, an MA in Archives and Records Management from UCD, and in 2013, she graduated with Ireland’s first PhD in Archivistics from UCD. She has worked as a professional archivist in a variety of services, and has lectured on the Archives MA at UCD. She joined the Special Collections and Archives Department in the Glucksman Library in 2018, and is responsible for faculty and student engagement with primary sources.
Dr Rachel Murphy, Associate Teacher, Department of History, and IRC Laureate Fellow
Dr Rachel Murphy is based in the Department of History at UL where she lectures on the MA History of Family and works as a post-doctoral researcher on the Death and Burial Data: Ireland 1864–1922 project funded by the Irish Research Council. A graduate of the University of Oxford, Rachel completed a PhD in History and Digital Humanities at University College Cork, and also holds a Diploma in Teaching, Learning and Scholarship from UL.
The project team would like to thank T&L, as well as the Centre for Transformative Learning (CTL) at UL, for their support of this project. They would also like to thank their respective departments, as well as the following individuals:
Dr Mary Fitzpatrick, Head, Centre for Transformative Learning
Rosaleen Archbold, Senior Administrator, Centre for Transformative Learning
Ken Bergin, Head, Special Collections and Archives
Caleb Derven, Head, Technical and Digital Services
Sinéad Keogh, Digital Librarian, Technical and Digital Services
Olivia O’Keeffe, Library Assistant, Technical and Digital Services
Ray Boyce, Array Graphics
Dónal McFadden, third year UL student, BSc Computer Games Development
- Resource homepage
- Individual lessons
- Read more about each diary
- Digitised archival diaries
- Individual diary samples
- 'Diary Challenge' game
- Further reading and about the project