British History Online

British History Online (BHO) is a digital library of core sources for the medieval and modern history of Great Britain. BHO was launched in 2003 and is a well-used resource: in the 12-month period to 30 September 2010 there were just over 17 million page views and almost four million visits; it has a comprehensive set of usage data going back over a number of years.

JISC's funding of an impact analysis of the site provided for a further stage to (and expansion of) an ongoing longitudinal analysis by the BHO team of the impact of digital resources in the historical profession. These analyses, which were mostly interview-based, took place in 2002, 2005, and 2009-10. The team were always aware that these benchmarking studies focused on research alone and that teaching and learning had not been investigated. The present project has enabled the team to fill this gap in our knowledge of the use of digital resources, and of BHO in particular, in teaching and learning, as well as to extend our benchmarking of the impact of digital resources in research.

Our study sought to answer the following questions:

  1. how is BHO currently used in university-sector teaching in the UK? Is it used for teaching to a greater or lesser extent than it is for research?
  2. which new functions, or improvements to existing ones, would be most welcomed by teachers and learners, and thus aid the greater embedding of BHO in teaching practice?
  3. which new functions would be most welcomed by university librarians?
  4. can the impact of BHO in research, about which the project team already knows a great deal, be demonstrated in a clearer and more statistically grounded way?

All project reports are available at:

Final Case Study: British History Online747.09 KB
Impact Analysis: British History Online86.42 KB