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Structure of data of the Wellington Papers Database

Arrangement of the database

The arrangement of the database is founded on C.M.Woolgar A summary catalogue of the Wellington Papers (University of Southampton Library, occasional paper 8; 1984). For the purposes of efficient information retrieval, the descriptions of the archive have been grouped into sections.

The first section contains an introduction to the archive and an overview of the main sections in it. The subsequent sections are taken from:

At present, the WP1 general correspondence material which is contained in the Database is for 1807-9 and for 1819-32.

The catalogue entries have been grouped into sections, so that it is possible, for example, to search the papers for 1820 in Wellington Papers 1, WP1/637-60.

Format of a catalogue record

Within sections, each record, effectively a description of an individual document or section of the collection, contains data arranged in the following order:

TITLE: This contains the reference number of the manuscript in the form #Docref=WP1/657/2. It is followed by a brief note of what the document is and a date.

A typical title section will look like this:

#Docref=WP1/638/2 Copy of a letter from Arthur Wellesley, first Duke of Wellington, to M.I.Brunel, regarding proposals for the rebuilding of Rochester Bridge, 3 January 1820 (docketed 4 January 1820)

CONTENTS: This section contains a calendar of the contents of the document. In exceptional circumstances the complete document may be transcribed, if, for example, it is already published; if it is of very great importance; or any part of it is written in pencil. In transcribing documents or extracts from them, the following conventions are employed:

All transcripts are labelled:


* * surround passages deleted in the original

[* *] surround deletions within deletions

\ / surround passages inserted in the original


A typical contents section will look like this:

Copy, in the hand of Lord Fitzroy Somerset, of a letter from Arthur Wellesley, first Duke of Wellington, Stratfield Saye, to Marc Isambard Brunel (incorrectly docketed as M.D.Brunel): the Duke encloses a copy of a letter he has received from Lord Melville regarding Brunel's papers and plans, which the Duke still has. The enclosure (not present) explains fully the circumstances surrounding the rebuilding of Rochester Bridge and the nature of the relationship between the government and the corporation of Rochester. The Duke thinks it might be worthwhile for Brunel to submit plans to the Rochester Bridge Corporation following the lines of Melville's suggestion.

3 Jan 1821 (docketed 4 Jan 1820) #Adate=03/01/1820 #Adate=04/01/1820

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: A description of the physical make-up of the document is given, for example:

One paper

ADDITIONAL REFERENCES: a note is made of any published version of the document or printed work referring specifically to it. Titles of printed works are entered entirely in upper case. The principal editions of the Duke's papers are referred to as follows:

A typical entry in this section will appear thus:

The letter is printed in the DESPATCHES, CORRESPONDENCE AND MEMORANDA, vol. 1, pp. 163-5.

INDEX TERMS: this section contains additional descriptors, each associated with the date keyed fields, to provide entries to cover concepts not defined in the contents section, occurring there with a limited date range, or expressed in a foreign language. The section is also used to express precisely names, titles, offices, etc. The terms do not form an index in the conventional sense, but are used to express concepts that would not otherwise be retrieved by free-text searching. Entries have the following form:

Rochester Bridge Corporation; Rochester, Kent
#Adate=03/01/1821 #Adate=04/01/1821
Sir Marc Isambard Brunel: civil engineering projects
#Adate=03/01/1821 #Adate=04/01/1820
Robert Saunders-Dundas, second Viscount Melville, First Lord of the Admiralty #Adate=03/01/1820 #Adate=04/01/1820

SORTING REFERENCE: This section contains codes, entered as two keyed fields (#Srf and #Trf), which can be used for drawing together coherent groups of otherwise scattered papers, for sorting them into date order or for restricting searches. For example, it is possible to isolate all the correspondence which the Duke of Wellington received as Master General of the Ordnance, or all royal correspondence. The current range of codes is listed separately. It is followed by the date in reversed form, yyyymmdd, and if appropriate, a note of whether the letter (if it is a letter) was sent TO or FROM the Duke. A typical entry for this section would be:

#Srf=GENCOR/1820/01/03/FROM #Srf=GENCOR/1820/01/04/FROM

AVAILABILITY: the word `available' is entered in this section if the document is available for research, or `unavailable' if that is the case. The contents of this section are available to all enquirers to the database.


SPECIAL CHARACTERS: this section contains a note of all characters which it has not proved possible to input ordinarily into the database. This include accents and diacritics. The convention is that the accent or diacritic precedes the character it inflects:

/etranger; Mu~noz

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