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SPARK Talks: A New Opportunity for Grad Students

spark-logoAs academic pursuits grow ever more complex and specialized, it’s critically important that scholars know how to clearly communicate their research, whether to undergraduates in the classroom, prospective employers, funding agencies, or to the general public. With this in mind, the Library presents SPARK Talks — a series of 5-minute lightning talks by CU grad students and postdocs that offer them opportunities to present their research to a diverse audience, get feedback, and network with other scholars.

Presenters will attend a workshop session (October 15, 2015, 4-6pm in Olin Library Room 106G) with Theater Professor David Feldshuh, who will introduce performance techniques embedded in everyday interactions that can improve communication and promote more confident, expressive and effective public presentations in a variety of formal and informal settings.

SPARK Talks will be held once a semester and will rotate through different libraries. Each SPARK Talks has an interdisciplinary theme. The inaugural SPARK Talks will be held on Oct. 22, 2015, 4 to 6pm in Olin Library Room 107, followed by a reception. The Fall 2015 theme is Intersection[s].

Interested in presenting on this semester’s theme? The deadline is Sept. 25. Apply today.

Questions? Visit our FAQ or contact us.

Gale’s Nineteenth Century Collections Online now available

Nineteenth Century Collections Online provides full-text, searchable content from a broad range of primary sources including a variety of material types: monographs, newspapers, pamphlets, manuscripts, ephemera, maps, statistics, and more. Selected with guidance of an international team of experts, these primary sources cover a wide range of academic disciplines and areas of study. They include works in Western and non-Western languages, and are sourced from rare collections at libraries and other venerable institutions from around the globe.

Special Cornell link that can be used in Blackboard, as a browser bookmark, or in email:

Note that NCCO consists of 12 parts, Cornell has access to 9 to date:

  • British politics and society
    Includes tens of thousands of primary sources related to the political climate in Great Britain during the “long” nineteenth century. From Home Office records and papers of British statesmen to working class autobiographies and ordnance surveys, British Politics And Society is a remarkable resource for scholars looking to uncover new connections or explore new directions in understanding 19th century British political and social history. British Politics And Society enables researchers to explore such topics as British domestic and foreign policy, trade unions, Chartism, utopian socialism, public protest, radical movements, the cartographic record, political reform, education, family relationships, religion, leisure, and many others.
  • Asia and the West: diplomacy and cultural exchange
    Features primary source collections related to international relations between Asian countries and the West during the 19th century. These invaluable documents include government reports, diplomatic correspondence, periodicals, newspapers, treaties, trade agreements, NGO papers, and more. This unmatched resource allows scholars to explore in great detail the history of British and U.S. foreign policy and diplomacy; Asian political, economic, and social affairs; the Philippine Insurrection; the Opium Wars; the Boxer Rebellion; missionary activity in Asia; and other topics. This resource also includes personal letters and diaries, as well as nautical charts, maps, shipping ledgers, company records, and expedition and survey reports for more than a century of world history.
  • British theatre, music, and literature : high and popular culture
    Features primary sources related to the arts in the Victorian era, from playbills and scripts to operas and complete scores. These rare documents, many of them never before available, were sourced from the British Library and other renowned institutions, and curated by experts in British arts history. Interest in the arts became big business in the Victorian era, as a burgeoning middle class became patrons. This resource explores Victorian popular culture, penny dreadfuls, music, the history of the English stage, the Royal Literary Fund, and more, and provides a detailed look at the state of the British art world with not only manuscripts and compositions, but also documents like personal letters, annotated programs, meeting minutes, and financial records.
  • European literature, 1790-1840 : the Corvey collection
    Includes the full-text of more than 9,500 English, French, and German titles. The collection is sourced from the remarkable library of Victor Amadeus, whose Castle Corvey collection was one of the most spectacular discoveries of the late 1970s. The Corvey Collection—one of the most important collections of Romantic era writing in existence—includes fiction, short prose, dramatic works, poetry, and more, with a focus on especially difficult-to-find works by lesser-known, historically neglected writers. As a resource for Romantic literature and historical studies, the Corvey Collection is unmatched. It provides a wealth of fully searchable content with digital research tools that enable scholars to uncover new relationships among authors and works, on range of topics including Romantic literary genres; mutual influences of British, French and German Romanticism; literary culture; women writers of the period; the canon; Romantic aesthetics; and many others.
  • Europe and Africa : commerce, Christianity, civilization, and conquest
    Many research topics emerged from the colonial conquest and the legacy of slavery in modern South African society—the Anglo-Boer War, imperial policy, and race classification among them—that this volatile corner of 19th-century history draws enduring interest from scholars and students. To support their research, Nineteenth Century Collections Online: Europe And Africa: Commerce, Christianity, Civilization, And Conquest delivers monographs, manuscripts, and newspaper accounts covering key issues of economics, world politics, and international strategy.
  • Photography: the world through the lens
    Assembles collections of photographs, photograph albums, and photographically illustrated books and texts on the early history of photography from libraries and archives worldwide, delivering approximately 2 million photographs from Britain, Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas. While some images are well known, many have rarely been viewed. Key areas of research covered include: exploration and travel; empire, colonization, and life in colonized regions; topography and archaeology; daily life in 19th century in countries across the globe; people and portraiture; science, medicine, and criminology; photography as reproduction of art works; and key events and wars.
  • Science, technology, and medicine : 1780-1925 parts II & II
    The collection consists primarily of two components: Journals track the connection between major episodes in the history of science, specifically in general science, medicine, biology, entomology, botany, chemistry, physics, mathematics, geology, paleontology, and technology. Monographs in the hard and social sciences touch upon the history of anthropology, archeology, ecology, public health, sanitation, geography, oceanography, astronomy, industrial and battlefield technology, and the philosophy of science.
  • Women: transnational networks
    Issues of gender and class ignited 19th century debate in the context of suffrage movements, culture, immigration, health, and many other concerns. Using a wide array of primary source documents, Nineteenth Century Collections Online: Women: Transnational Networks focuses on issues at the intersection of gender and class from the late 18th century to the era of suffrage in the early 20th century, all through a transnational perspective. The collection contains deep information on European and North American movements, but also expands its scope to include collections from other regions. Researchers and scholars will find rare content related to social reform movements and groups, high and “low” culture, literature and the arts, immigration, daily life, religion, and more.

Gale’s Artemis platform allows basic text mining of these collections:

State Papers Online Eighteenth Century part I, 1714‐1782: Domestic – now available


State Papers Online: Eighteenth Century, 1714-1782, part 1: Domestic, Military, Naval and Reigsters of the Privy Council, represents the final section of the State Papers series from the National Archives in the UK before the series was closed and replaced by the Home Office and Foreign Office series in 1782. Covering the reigns of the Hanover rulers George I (1714-1727), George II (1727-1760) and part of the reign of George III (up to 1782), the series provides unparalleled access to thousands of manuscripts that reveal the behind the scenes, day to day running of government  during the eighteenth century.

Special Cornell link that can be used in Blackboard, as a browser bookmark, or in email:

Cambridge Archive Editions Online — now available


Cambridge Archive Editions Online presents a wealth of historical reference materials which otherwise would remain unknown, difficult to access, or fragmentary. Considered collectively, this body of documents represents many thousands of original documents of the National Archives (UK) represented in facsimile, including numerous maps, on the national heritage and political development of many countries. The value and discoverability of this content is enhanced immeasurably through CAE’s document-level citations and rich indexing. For many years CAE has specialized in the history of the Middle East, Russia and the Balkans, the Caucasus, Southeast Asia, and China and the Far East. Now, through collaboration between Cambridge University Press and East View, these materials are made searchable and accessible as never before in e-book form.

Special Cornell link that can be used in Blackboard, as a browser bookmark, or to email to students:

Gale’s Slavery & Anti-Slavery digital collection –parts II-IV now available

Gale’s Slavery & Anti-Slavery collection consists of four parts:

  • Slavery and Anti-Slavery Part I: Debates over Slavery and Abolition
  • Part II: Slave Trade in the Atlantic World
  • Part III: Institution of Slavery
  • Part IV: Age of Emancipation

From the Gale site:

Part II, The Slave Trade in the Atlantic World  covers the inception of slavery in Africa and its rise throughout the Atlantic world, with particular focus on the United Kingdom, France, and the United States.  This collection features a wide range of materials, from monographs and individual papers to company records, newspapers, and a variety of government documents. More international in scope than Part I, this collection was developed by an international editorial board with scholars specializing in European, African, Latin American/Caribbean, and United States aspects of the slave trade.

Part III: The Institution of Slavery explores in vivid detail the inner workings of slavery from 1492-1888. Through legal documents, plantation records, first-person accounts, newspapers, government records and other primary sources, Part III reveals how enslaved people struggled against the institution. Sourced from the National Archives at Kew, the British Library, the U.S. National Archives  and the University of Miami, among others, these rare works explore such topics as slavery as a legal and labor system; the relationship between slavery and religion; freed slaves; the Shong Massacre; the Dememara insurrection; and many others.

Part IV: The Age of Emancipation includes a range of rare documents related to emancipation in the United States, as well as Latin America, the Caribbean, and other areas of the world. From the time of the American Revolution, when northern states freed relatively small numbers of slaves, to later periods when an increasingly large free black community was developing, emancipation was a long-sought dream, and ultimately a political and moral expectation.

Special Cornell link that can be used in Blackboard, as a browser bookmark, or to email to students:

African Blue Books, 1821-1953 – now available online

About “African Blue Books, 1821-1953” from the British Online Archives site:

The Blue Book was a key item of considerable standing in 19th century colonial administration.

With a particular focus on the latter nineteenth century and early twentieth century, the focus of these Blue Books is upon economic development; imports, exports and each territory’s balance sheets are a recurring theme throughout. Ecclesiastical records, public works and population statistics are also common themes. The enforcement of the Blue Book structure upon various territories has resulted in some degree of standardisation where administrations were compliant. Analysis of the data within these documents and the different emphases as governments changed, reveals patterns of social change during a period for which limited other records are available.

Colonial Regulations of the time state that:

“The Annual Blue Book containing accounts of the Civil Establishment, of the Colonial Revenue and Expenditure and of various statistical particulars etc. must be completed as early as possible after the close of each year. The various returns which it comprises must be filled up with the greatest possible accuracy and the Statistical Tables must be full and complete, blank copies of the book in sheets will be annually transmitted to each Colony from the Colonial Office”.

The bare statistical material which the Blue Book provided was somewhat daunting, and the annual report was intended to present in a readable form the gist of the information which the book contained. The directions given in the Colonial Regulations referred to above to colonial governors as to the compilation of the annual report were somewhat terse: “The Governor, in transmitting the ‘Blue Book’ to this Department, must accompany it with a report which should be written on one side of the paper only, exhibiting generally the past and present state of the Colony and its prospects under the several heads specified in the Book…”

Not all governors, however, provided reports of the required standard.  In 1887 governors were informed that, whereas hitherto it had been the practice to wait until a sufficient number of reports had been received, to form a volume, it was now proposed to publish reports separately as they arrived, but, it was added, “It has been decided only to publish the more interesting and important Reports,..because in some cases the Reports contain too little to be worth producing separately”.

With the quality of the Annual Reports so variable, the more rigorously standardised Blue Books gain an increased significance through their increased level of, though certainly not absolute, reliability. In May, 1904 the Foreign Office decided that something must be done about the annual reports “to put the condition of our Protectorates more clearly before the House and the Public”. The Indian “small Blue Book” was examined as a possible model and rejected as too detailed; in any case it was felt that it would:

“be preferable for our Protectorates, which must before long be handed over to the Colonial Office, to follow Colonial, rather than Indian, models. We have already in working order the annual Blue Book. All we do now is to assimilate our annual reports to the Colonial Report on the Blue Book. The Blue Book remains in manuscript. But the Colonial Office experience is the publication of the report on the Blue Book induces those people who genuinely desire information to go to the Office and consult the manuscript volume which is there open for such inspection. It is this system which we thought of introducing as otherwise we find that the information contained in the Blue Book is not made use of to its fullest extent.”

The Annual Reports, currently available on microfilm, do assist with the interpretation of the data in the Blue Books; however, data such as income and expenditure can be analysed and comparisons between countries can be made, through use of these books alone. This collection is a digital extraction from our existing microfilm series, Government publications relating to African countries prior to independence.


Special Cornell link that can be used in Blackboard, as a browser bookmark, or to email to students:


Colonial State Papers Online – now available

New: Artemis Primary Sources for Text Analysis

Artemis is the Greco-Roman goddess of the hunt. Artemis isn’t a digital collection; it’s an interface, a platform, a tool that allows researchers to hunt, to do more sophisticated analysis collectively of all the Gale digital primary source collections. These would be collections such as The Making of the Modern World (MoMW) and Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO).

The hunt of Artemis translates into full text searching of more texts, some of which you might not have known about, or thought to search, leading to unexpected and intriguing results that suggest new avenues of inquiry.

It also translates into an easy way to experiment with new approaches and methodologies for working with large corpora. Artemis makes it easy for users with limited technical know-how to explore the basics of visualization, text-mining, term clusters, topic modeling, collaborative annotation. In other words, it’s a gateway into the digital humanities.





If you find these approaches to be fruitful and exciting, and your research outgrows this platform and corpora, please get in touch with me, vac11 at, and I will try to facilitate the next level.

Gale’s “The Making of the Modern World” now available!

Produced by Gale, The making of the modern world (also known as MoMW)  provides full-text and full-page-image access to books from 1450-1914, and pre-1906 serials. It’s scope is international; it’s strength is economics.

It focuses on economics of the past interpreted in the widest sense, including political science, history, sociology, and special collections on banking, finance, transportation and manufacturing. It’s based on Gale’s microfilm collection: Goldsmiths’-Kress Library of Economic Literature which combines the strengths of two pre-eminent collections–the Goldsmiths’ Library of Economic Literature at the University of London Library and the Kress Library of Business and Economics at the Harvard University Graduate School of Business Administration–along with supplementary materials from the Seligman Collection in the Butler Library at Columbia University and from the libraries of Yale University.

The collection is two parts. Cornell has access to both “the Making of the modern world. Part I, The Goldsmiths’-Kress Collection, 1450-1850” and “The Making of the modern world, part II: 1851-1914.”

Topical strengths of these collections:

Agriculture, Banking, Capitalism, China, Colonies, Commerce, Depression and Recoveries, Empire, Finance, Mughal, Empire, Ottoman, Free Trade, Theory and Practice, Imperialism, India, Industrialization, International Labour Organization, International Trade Agreements, Japan, Mercantilism, Mining, Money and Monetary Policy, Navigation acts/acts of trade, Politics, Population, Emigration and Immigration, Slavery and the African Slavery Trade, Staples and the Staple Theory, United Kingom, United States, Wars, Wheat and other Grains, Social conditions, Socialism, Trades and manufactures, Transport, etc.


Trial to Brill’s Mediae Latinitatis Lexicon Minus Online

Announcing a trial to Brill’s Mediae Latinitatis Lexicon Minus Online:

You should be able to access this off campus. Let me know if you have problems.

Please let me know what you think about this resource.  We do already have this dictionary in print (and on CD Rom, available for short-term special check out):


Trial ends December 17.  Feedback welcome: vac11 at

keep looking »


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