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Biographic research for ringers

  Before you start

Having done the research you can draw on it in many ways to get the most benefit from your effort. That benefit may be for the organisation on whose behalf you did the work, for ringing in general, for the wider community outside ringing or for your own satisfaction. Here are some ways you could exploit your work:

What to look for
Where to look
Search techniques
Exploiting the results
  • Write an article(s) – Magazines, newspapers and newsletters often include articles (from a few hundred to a few thousand words) ideally with pictures. Some local papers run articles on local history. Quite a few magazines have a heritage interest. Newsletters (ringing, local history, family history, ...) usually welcome material of interest to their members. The article must of course fit in with the publication’s remit, audience and style, so read some other articles to get a feel for what it is.
  • Write a leaflet or booklet – Booklets and leaflets on topics of local interest are often available in churches, information centres and visitor centres. They take a bit more effort to produce but they have a longer useful life than an article.
  • Give a talk(s) – Lots of organisations invite speakers to their meetings. There is guidance on how to find them at: targets (Archive). Some groups have a specific interest in history but many welcome talks on a wide variety of topics. Typically talks requested are between 45 minutes and an hour, but they may be shorter or longer. If you give a talk on ringing history to non-ringers, remember to preface it with a basic introduction to ringing itself.
  • Write a book – This is a major undertaking, but may be worth considering if you generate a large body of information. Books typically range from a few dozen to a few hundred pages.
    Finding a publisher for a specialist book can be difficult but worth exploring. Publishers specialising in ringing books are: Publications (Archive) and The Whiting Society: whitingsociety.org.uk. Self publication is an option but with a significant up-front cost (much lower than it used to be). You may be able to get a grant towards the cost, for example from a local civic society. There are several ‘Print on Demand’ services and/or e-book publishing, which can reduce the initial investment if you do not want to risk a large print run. You might also like to consider professional support for things like indexing and proofreading, see: indexers.org.uk and sfep.org.uk
  • Write a paper – If the results of your research include new insights whose significance goes beyond the story that you have uncovered, there might be an opportunity to publish it as a paper in a journal – if you can find a suitable one. Many counties have history societies that publish a regular journal. Societies are listed by Local History Online: local-history.co.uk.
  • Produce a poster or exhibit – Posters are a convenient way to ‘put a story on a wall’. They can add interest at tower or church open days – around a hall or in the foyer at meetings or conferences. Professional-looking pop-up banners offer a relatively cheap way to produce a large poster that can be stored and re-used. Ringing events are obvious targets but there are many other local events where your story might be of interest to participants.
  • Put it on the Web – Whether or not you use any of the paper based ways to make your work available, putting it on the web can provide wider accessibility. If you have already produced a booklet or poster, the simplest approach is to make it available for download as a PDF (which can be printed out).
    The alternative for reading on screen is to use the material to create a web page (or a set of related web pages), which is ideal for browsing, especially if you include links between different parts, and maybe to external sources.
    Either way you need a website to host it. You may not have your own website, but the organisation for which you did the work probably does. Make sure that the webmaster puts it somewhere that will be easy to find, with appropriate links to/from other pages, and entries in relevant indexes.
  • Provide information – You may find that once you are known to have done some historical research, other people come to you with questions about people or events. Sharing what you know with them may lead on to something else of interest, and can be satisfying

© CCCBR. Material on this website may be freely used for any purpose in connection with the promotion of bell ringing. For any other purpose please contact us.

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