Labour History News
Beatrice Webb launches LSE's digital library
100 years on…Beatrice Webb launches LSE’s digital library.
One century on and Beatrice Webb, one of the founders of LSE and its library, would be proud to know that her diaries are launching LSE’s Digital Library.
A savage attack on bankers, reflections on a demoralised Labour party, preparations for the monarch’s diamond jubilee and a celebration of the joys of retail therapy. They might sound like a portrait of the contemporary world but in fact are some of the highlights from the diaries of social reformer Beatrice Webb – today published digitally and in full for the first time.
Beatrice Webb, co-founder of both the London School of Economics and Political Science and the Fabian movement, left a fascinating 70-year account of social upheaval and history in the diaries which have now been made freely available online to launch LSE’s digital library.
The diary is now available online for the first time. Two versions of the diary have been digitised - the actual manuscript as well as a transcribed version that is cross-referenced with the date fields indexed from the manuscript version. Both versions can now be viewed side-by-side for comparison. The diaries are fully-searchable and contain a wealth of information not just on Beatrice's personal and working life, but on the social history of Britain and the world, spanning 70 years of social upheaval.
The diaries were chosen as the launch collection for the new LSE Digital Library. LSE is one of the first academic libraries to provide a digital library, a service which is becoming more and more necessary due to the requirement to collect, preserve and provide access to digital material. This is compounded by the popularity of social media today and its importance as a historical record, particularly to an institution like LSE.
A range of collections will be added to LSE Digital Library in the future. There is plenty of material held in LSE’s archives such as Fabian Society pamphlets, Charles Booth’s Poverty Map and 19th Century photographs. However it opens the doors for a much wider range of material such as LSE theses, blogs, working papers and podcasts from LSE’s lively public events programme. Library staff are also considering statistics, posters, microfiche, audio visual content, historical broadcasts, exam papers, websites and material relating to LSE history and staff.