The Victorian Professions was a three-year, UK Economic & Social Research Council funded project, which sought to investigate whether, during the Victorian period, the professions formed a distinct self-sustaining social group with its own mores and values. Starting in January 2014, the project team based at the Universities of Oxford and Northumbria, looked at 16,000 individuals drawn from census data for Alnwick, Brighton, Bristol, Dundee, Greenock, Leeds, Merthyr Tydfil, Morpeth, and Winchester.
An important product of this research was a database of Victorian Professions, made accessible online via a dedicated project website. In addition to individual records, this website also contained interactive family trees, which enabled users to easily navigate between related individuals. Over time, however, this functionality was lost and there were increasing concerns over the digital sustainability of the project’s database.
Working in close partnership with Professor Laurence Brockliss (Principal Investigator) and his colleague Dr Harry Smith, as well as with the Faculty of History IT team, the SDS service was able to translate the database surfaced on the Victorian Professions website to the SDS platform, ensuring it will be safe for decades to come. Further to this, through use of keyword tagging and Group Project folders, the SDS service was able to re-forge the connections between related records and enable platform users to seamlessly navigate between the records of family members, and between individuals taken from the same town sample (e.g. Winchester).
The work of the Sustainable Digital Scholarship team has allowed us to make this valuable historical resource available to as wide an audience as possible for as long as possible. The team were great to work with, providing expertise in an increasingly important area; their help meant the process of migrating our data was straightforward and efficient.
Dr Harry Smith