Webwatch – Attitudes to Poverty: Continuity and Change

Poverty is an ever-present and prevalent social reality that affects many people in society. But have attitudes to it changed over the centuries?

‘Attitudes to Poverty: Continuity and Change’ is a project established by the Glasgow Caledonian University, which offers some insight into attitudes to poverty from a historical perspective.

Co-funded by two subject centres of the Higher Education Academy: the Social Policy and Social Work Subject Centre, and the Sociology, Anthropology and Politics Subject Centre (C-SAP), the aim of the project is to demonstrate the efficacy of a joint approach to digitising authentic archival resources for educational purposes. Created using WordPress software, it provides access to articles that have been scanned from original bound volumes of the Poor Law Magazine of Scotland. These original documents are held in Research Collections at Glasgow Caledonian University. The use of optical character recognition (OCR) has transformed the scanned images into searchable text.

Categories of articles are listed by topic ranging from alcohol/alcoholism, criminality, disability and education, to juvenile delinquency, mental health and poor law. The articles can be downloaded in PDF format, and there is also the option to subscribe to any of the categories using RSS (Really Simple Syndication) functionality. Articles can also be searched chronologically (1859–1923).

A nice feature is that it allows you to use the ‘search within the site’ functionality of Google through its search field on the home page. So, for example, you wanted to search for an article containing the words “orphan children” on the project website, all the PDF articles containing that term will be returned. There is also the opportunity to post comments on any of the resources.

Project leader, Janice West, is the Senior Lecturer in Social Work, School of Health, Glasgow Caledonian University. More details on the background of the project can be found on the SWAP website.

Visit the website: http://blogs.spokenword.ac.uk/poorlaw/about/