Digital Library of Historical Directories Part of a World First in Online Learning
world first in internet access has been launched by the biggest of the National
Lottery good cause distributors, the New Opportunities Fund, to deliver the
EnrichUK experience across culture, history and community resources.
gateway gives one-stop access to a panorama of culture, history and community
resources of museums, libraries and galleries in England, Scotland, Wales and
Northern Ireland. It aims to help meet the public appetite for online learning
across the UK.
EnrichUK portal draws together 150 websites funded through the initiative into a
unique online collection ranging from national centres of excellence to regional
‘sense of place’, voluntary and community organisations and small local
Digital Library of Historical Directories project, based at the University of
Leicester Library, is creating an exciting and important resource for local and
family history, urban history and historical geography.
of counties and towns are among the most important sources for local and
genealogical studies. They include lists of names, addresses and occupations of
the inhabitants of counties and towns and also provide a wealth of detailed
historical and topographical information. High quality digital reproductions of
a large selection of these comparatively rare books, previously mainly found in
specialist libraries and record offices, are being made freely available online
to anyone with an Internet connection.
online national collection is bringing together a greater number and range of
directories than any one library could provide, selected from the University of
Leicester Library's own English Local History collection and also from other
important regional collections.
Historical Directories website also features a fast and powerful search engine.
Family surnames, occupations, addresses, place names and other key words or
phrases can be located easily and quickly to their exact places on pages within
the digitised texts.
who will reap the benefit of these historical sources include not only academic
local, economic and social historians, but also school students, amateur
genealogists and members of the public. Particular target audiences will
be school students at key stage 3, University students of history, family
history societies and researchers working on their own.
national EnrichUK portal was launched by Arts Minister Baroness Blackstone in
London at an event attended by hundreds of representatives of cultural,
educational, community and history organisations from across the UK which have
been making their resources and collections available on the internet through
the Fund’s ground-breaking £50 million digitisation initiative.
the speakers at the event at the I-MAX Cinema complex in London's Waterloo was
the Government's e-Envoy Andrew Pinder.
the portal, Baroness Blackstone said: "The combination of high
quality content and innovative technology spanning arts, culture, history,
community information and skills support is a world first. EnrichUK is
effectively a 'one-stop content shop' which can only fuel interest in internet
access across the UK, encouraging millions of people to take up and expand their
£50 million lottery good causes money (grants announced July 2001) has allowed
the 150 projects involved to digitise their images and resources so they can be
accessed on the worldwide web. Using the www.EnrichUK.net
site, anyone can investigate the vast collections for information and
background, or simply for pleasure.
councils, Universities and 'sense of place' groups have digitised material which
seeks to explain the special character, history and geography of counties and
districts across the UK.
Jill Pitkeathley, Chair of the New Opportunities Fund said: "The launch of
EnrichUK is a cornerstone of the most radical and exciting development in public
access and common ownership of culture these islands have seen in many years. It
complements the work being done by ukonline, the National Grid for Learning,
Learn Direct and also the People's Network funded by the New Opportunities Fund.
Perhaps some day this will be seen as being as important as the abolition of
newspaper stamp duty, the creation of the great public galleries and museums, or
the introduction of public libraries.
work and commitment of staff to this initiative - in voluntary organisations, UK
libraries, museums, galleries, educational institutions and community
organisations - is showcased by the EnrichUK web portal. Each project is playing
an important role in creating the largest anthology of publicly-funded online
materials the country has seen. I hope that as it becomes widely known to
internet users of every age and interest, it will help to enrich their
understanding of the wealth of cultures and knowledge of which our countries can
be justly proud."
e-Envoy Andrew Pinder said: “We live in an age where - from Barnsley to
Bucharest - communities can share their experience and culture. It has been
impressive to see so many diverse UK organisations working together to a
common purpose and it is an inspiration for others to develop similar learning
channels. The objectives of EnrichUK are very much in line with what ukonline is
trying to achieve: making the internet a tool that is relevant to people’s
lives and is easily accessible to all.”
NOTE TO NEWSDESK: For more information, please contact David Welding, Digitisation Project Director, University of Leicester, telephone 0116 252 2041.
This document has been approved by the head of department or section.