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5-3-1852: Prince Albert still won't get out of the can
May 24, 2012 6:25 AM   Subscribe

The diaries of Queen Victoria, totaling 47,000 pages and running from the age of 13 until her death, have been digitized. The site will be free to UK users, but open access for the rest of the world only runs through the end of June.
posted by Horace Rumpole (33 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
My least favorite part of the digital age is that when we die there will be no paper record of how we lived.
posted by BostonEnginerd at 6:34 AM on May 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Obligatory snark: So the colonies are not welcome either, despite many of us being created under Victoria's watch?
posted by Popular Ethics at 6:35 AM on May 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


I'm glad they had the typescript copies linked as I made a hash out of translating her handwriting.

Her drawings show good draftsmanship but not much artistic flair. But I'm not saying that's a bad thing, since it's the state I myself aspire to.

Also, I'm reading the Willoughby Chase books to the kids which is set in what we would call Victorian times, although the books are an alternate history where the king is James III1. They (the kids) have been amused at some of the old-timey British ways of speaking (such as "the state I myself aspire to"). I should read them some of this as a sample.

1I'm sure that means something to an old-timey British person but the implications are lost on me.
posted by DU at 6:37 AM on May 24, 2012


BostonEnginerd, I know quite a few people who still keep paper journals (using non-acidic paper and good ink pens). I've kept one myself since age 5.
posted by fraula at 6:37 AM on May 24, 2012


I was going to be crass, but I'll just say that "open access for the rest of the world only runs through the end of June" really irritates me enough that I don't want to look them now.
posted by Edogy at 6:43 AM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is fascinating, but I think the time limit on viewing the journals outside of the UK is a downer. Are we supposed to speed read through all the scans before the deadline?
posted by Anima Mundi at 6:45 AM on May 24, 2012


...but open access for the rest of the world only runs through the end of June.

We are not amused.
posted by mazola at 6:46 AM on May 24, 2012 [16 favorites]


> Are we supposed to speed read through all the scans before the deadline?

Individual pages are linked as predictable, scrapeable PDFs. Just sayin'.
posted by scruss at 6:51 AM on May 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


This is fascinating, but I think the time limit on viewing the journals outside of the UK is a downer. Are we supposed to speed read through all the scans before the deadline?

TTRack. And I'm betting if a torrent isn't up already it will be by the end of June.
posted by Mitheral at 6:55 AM on May 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well, that means we have to get through 1270ΒΌ pages a day for the next 37 days. I guess I better get cracking.
posted by crunchland at 6:57 AM on May 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


The site will be free to UK users, but open access for the rest of the world only runs through the end of June.

Looks like colonialism is alive and well.

In unrelated news: I and some of my more puritan friends are gonna go off and create our own internet, where we can be free of such tyrannical rule. And in 200 years or so it'll come full circle in that the people who control that internet at that time will have no point of historical context and they'll start enforcing tyrannical rules, forcing another group of individuals to vacate the premises and form their own thing then.
posted by Blue_Villain at 7:10 AM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh wow, even the earliest ones are in English.
posted by Jehan at 7:16 AM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is very cool, and even if they're being snobby/cheap about allowing international access it's a big step up from having to go to the royal library and file a request.

It would have been cooler though if someone had turned up copies of the (presumably juicy) pages that princess Beatrice destroyed.
posted by Wretch729 at 7:18 AM on May 24, 2012


June 8, 1856

Dear Diary,

Meet a most peculiar man today! He claimed to have come from the future to meet "The Kevin Bacon of 19th Century History." Quite absurd. I disabused him of any notions of such familiarity by informing him that I am indeed the "Francis Bacon of English Royalty" and then proceeded to have the rapscallion forcibly removed from my presence.

Later, had tea & biscuits with Albie. He said I'd make a lovely Empress of India, the flatterer.

- HRH, Vicky
posted by Panjandrum at 7:47 AM on May 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Her drawings show good draftsmanship but not much artistic flair.

She was taught by Edward Lear at one stage, of course.
posted by Segundus at 7:50 AM on May 24, 2012


Looks like colonialism is alive and well.

The access restrictions have been imposed not by Her Majesty but by the commercial publishers ProQuest, who are publishing the material in partnership with the Royal Collection and the Bodleian Library. So your complaints should be addressed not to Buckingham Palace but to Ann Arbor, Michigan.
posted by verstegan at 7:54 AM on May 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Looks like colonialism is alive and well.

This is only to get you back for all the Youtube/Hulu &co videos we are not allowed to watch in Britain. We don't get to see all your TV shows; you don't get to see our Royal diaries ;-)
posted by Petrot at 7:58 AM on May 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


Pfft. You still get the short end of the stick.
posted by crunchland at 8:11 AM on May 24, 2012


Can someone in Britain check to see if she has Prince Albert in a can?
posted by Curious Artificer at 8:57 AM on May 24, 2012


read the post title FIRST, read the post title FIRST ...
posted by Curious Artificer at 8:57 AM on May 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


So what dates do I consult to look up that business with the werewolves? Or instructing William Gull to eliminate witnesses to the Royal Dirty Laundry?
posted by Ipsifendus at 8:59 AM on May 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


It would seem to me that transcription is (1) essential for these to have any real utility and (2) a perfect project for crowd-sourcing. So, naturally, that's not going to happen.
posted by The Bellman at 9:03 AM on May 24, 2012


Does it include her attempts to eat the last remaining Dodo bird?
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 9:08 AM on May 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm betting if a torrent isn't up already it will be by the end of June.

Queen Victoria was notoriously hard on pirates. (See also, d_w_s, supra)
posted by The Bellman at 9:14 AM on May 24, 2012


May 19, 1858

Dear Diary,

It has come to our attention that the inhabitants of our colonies in the Province of Canada have taken to celebrating our birthday by engaging in all manner of riotous behaviour and debauchery. We have been told that these activities include the consumption of unhealthy qualities of ale, abandonment of larger settlements, detonation of small explosives, harassment of the local wildlife, and various other acts of lewdness that we will not tolerate to hear described. We shall speak to Lord Stanley about it first thing on Monday.

Albie continues to insist on wearing plaid trousers, the German weirdo. We simply throw up our hands.

-Vicky
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:19 AM on May 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


Now all I want is a version fully illustrated by Kate Beaton.
posted by fight or flight at 9:25 AM on May 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


These can't possibly be under copyright, can they? Why doesn't someone* just upload them to archive.org?

*: besides me
posted by Flunkie at 9:43 AM on May 24, 2012


Hint for anybody wanting to get round annoying UK geographical restrictions: Expatshield.

Also good for Iplayer usage.
posted by MartinWisse at 10:07 AM on May 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Here are the terms and conditions. It's not uncommon for a big historical digital resource to be made freely available to UK users through a university or a public library - effectively, through a bulk purchase agreement - but that doesn't seem to be what's happened here.
posted by GeorgeBickham at 10:10 AM on May 24, 2012


These can't possibly be under copyright, can they?

Copyright is asserted in the digital images of the original documents, which is not unusual although may not be sustainable in the long or even medium-term (see Bridgeman vs. Corel) and in the metadata. Copyright in unpublished manuscripts used to be perpetual in the UK: the unpublished portion (if any) of Queen Victoria's diaries may or may not remain in copyright until 2039.

IANAL, obviously, or an archivist dealing with rights-permissions.
posted by GeorgeBickham at 10:20 AM on May 24, 2012


It's neat, but honestly I'm just glad that it will provide a bunch of material for Andy Zaltzman and Kate Beaton.
posted by benito.strauss at 10:40 AM on May 24, 2012


10 Nov 88

So glad that this dreadful business is over. Have issued orders that Dr. Gull is to be shot on sight if he comes to palace. Not sure what to do about Eddy; the "flu", perhaps? Hmm.

Anyway. Dreadful dream last night. Shabby, unbelievably hairy man with numerous silver rings appeared to me and told me that he was writing something called a "graphic novel" about the Whitechapel mess and asked several very specific questions. Told me he was "dream-travelling" and would be back if "Glycon" allowed it. Northern accent. Must tell kitchen not to serve kidney pie after 9 PM even if We demand it.

V.
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:28 PM on May 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


All I know about Queen Victoria I got from here.

DISCLAIMER: I wrote the "outroduction" for one of the NAoQV books in which Pab Sungenis allowed me to steal the "What have we learned tonight" gag from another, more famous and funnier Craig.
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:46 PM on May 24, 2012


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