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Accessing our archival and manuscript heritage

Frequently asked questions

As succinctly as possible: what is this project all about?

We believe that Higher Education (HE) libraries have a wealth of resources that could be used by adult learners; typically those that are investigating their family or local history, but that adult learners are unaware of those resources or find HE libraries intimidating and imprenatratable. This project is about finding out what resources in HE libraries would be valuable to adult learners, and how to better advertise them or promote access to them.

Who is the target audience for the project?

Anyone who is engaged in any sort of research which is can be supported by library and archival materials, and are not in the HE sector. The project will initially focus on family and local history researchers and groups, but the project will not necessarily limit itself to these groups.

Where is the project based?

Senate House Library, University of London.

Is it just about adult learner access to Senate House Library's collections?

No. Obviously as the project is based at Senate House Library then its collections will be the primary examples used in the project, however one of the broader aims of the project is to generate a model of how HE libraries generally can interact with public libraries to support adult learners.

What will the project actually produce?

The main outcome of the project will be a web site featuring tutorials on how to use HE library resources, downloadable library resources, links to other sites and online community building tools. The project is not just about putting things online however: we also intend to produce resources in more traditional formats to accompany the web site.

Is this that web site?

No, it isn't. This is the project web site, which gives access to the project documentation, progress reports, and other similar information. The final website is currently under development, and will be announced here.

What are the time scales for this?

The project started in August 2004 and will complete in October 2005. An initial prototype of the web site should be available Easter 2005.

Who is funding the project?

The project is funded partly by the LASER fund and partly from residual funds from the EARL (Electronic Access to Resources in Libraries) Consortium.

Can I contribute?

You're more than welcome. See our contact details on the staff page if you are interested in the academic or professional research side of the project. We are particularly interested in contacting local and family historians to discuss how they undertake their research and to set up a focus group to help design and evaluate the project web site. See our call for contributions.