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Mass Obs Online : British “anthropology of ourselves”, 1937-1967

Hand-drawn images on yellow lined paper, likely drawn by a child, show an umbrella, a pig, and a human figure.

The Penn Libraries have acquired the digital collection Mass Observation Online. This resource, digitized from the Archive of Mass-Observation housed at University of Sussex by Adam Matthew Digital, reproduces an enormous body of material that describes everyday life of ordinary people in Britain from the eve of World War II through the mid-1950s and beyond.

Mass Obs Online presents original manuscript and typescript papers, printed publications, and photographs generated through the Mass Obs project. The database provides:

Mass Obs Online includes a map-driven discovery tool for diarists. The Adam Matthew Digital platform provides fulltext searchability for the File Reports and Publications. Materials in the other Mass Obs modules are provided with detailed metadata. Every document may be viewed online, with PDF output offered. The database also includes a brief history of Mass Obs, scholarly essays providing background and suggestions for research strategies, and an interactive contextual chronology.