The digitization of old newspapers is transforming their value as source material. It is now possible to search across millions of pages of scanned and OCRed papers. There are free resources, such as Chronicling America from the Library of Congress and the Fulton County history site (which provides access to an incredible 25 million pages of scanned NY papers). And there are commercial products ranging from The New York Times and Washington Post from ProQuest to America’s Historical Newspapers from Readex. There is a Cornell guide to digitized newspapers that provides an overview of what is available.
The Library subscribes to as many of the commercial resources as we can, but they often are very expensive. What can you do if the paper you are interested in is not available through Cornell?
An option may be to use a newspaper product from a genealogical publisher. For a reasonable fee (often as low as $80/year), they can provide access to hundreds of titles that we do not own. Here are three examples:
- Newspapers.com is a new database from Ancestry, the company that produces the Ancestry.com database to which the library currently subscribes. Newspapers.com currently has over 800 papers and 25 million pages. Newspapers supposedly date from the 1700s into the 2000s.
- GenealogyBank.com from NewsBank, one of the Library’s sources for contemporary online news, claims to have over 6,400 newspapers available for searching. Because NewsBank also owns Readex, this may be a source for papers in series in America’s Historical Newspapers to which the Library does not subscribe.
- For UK papers, the genealogy site Findmypast.co.uk has added 200 UK newspaper titles published between 1710 and 1950. These are produced in conjunction with the British Library.
In most cases, these sites have limited free searching. Since these are intended primarily for the genealogical community, searching is often by name. Nevertheless, the full content of the paper is usually included. And these services often offer a free trial period. If they have the papers from an area of interest to you, it could be an affordable research expenditure.
Looking for authoritative information and background on a historical event, period, or character? the literature of specific language? the evolution of the language itself? Search or browse the full text of the latest editions of the renowned Cambridge Histories series. The 250 titles comprising over 300 volumes are available online, 24/7.
From the latest volume in the The Cambridge History of Arabic Literature series, Arabic Literature to the End of the Umyyad Period published this year, to the monumental 19-volume Cambridge Ancient History (published 1982-2005), chronological and thematic essays written by scholars and academic authors provide the historical and literary context for a wide range of cultures and eras worldwide. Multi-volume titles range from histories of China, India, Japan, Southeast Asia and Iran that cover centuries and millenia of change to histories of theater, philosophies, major religions, medical ethics, food, and human disease.
Each chapter is supported by a extensive bibliography and many include illustrations from primary materials. In short, the Complete Cambridge Histories Online are a continually evolving and updated corpus of scholarly literature in the humanities.
posted: 10/9/12 1:39 PM by moe1
Military historian David J. Silbey’s book, The Boxer Rebellion and the Great Game in China, offers a much-needed and fresh telling of this series of events. The author ably captures the drama and feel of the period with deft and stylish writing that yields insights into key events and personalities, and also into the so-called great game of empire amid the struggle between modern and barbaric, between old and new… Silbey does a splendid job in laying out the particular ambitions of the great powers (including the newly arrived ones, such as Japan and the United States) as they ran up against a crumbling dynasty and a restless and long-suffering people not willing to watch their nation be so easily turned into the next laboratory for the West’s great colonial experiment.
As part of a joint purchase with our partner library at Columbia, CUL will be adding 15 of the Oxford Bibliographies Online to our electronic holdings. The first of these, Atlantic History and Medieval Studies, are now listed in the catalog; the others should be activated shortly. Among the topics being added are Renaissance & Reformation, International Relations, and Islamic Studies.
The Oxford Bibliographies are intended to be “a starting point for organizing a research plan, preparing a writing assignment, or creating a syllabus.” The Atlantic History bibliography is typical of all of them. It currently offers peer-reviewed research guide articles to 112 subject areas. Each guide consists of a short introductory essay on the specific topic followed by an annotated guide to literature of the field.
If you would like an authoritative guide to the literature of an unfamiliar area, check out Oxford Bibliographies.
A recent review in Reviews in History from the Institute of Historical Research praises the project called Cultures of Knowledge (Cofk). CofK offers a platform on which early modern intellectual historians can meet virtually and exchange knowledge about early modern networks through the study of their correspondence. The reviewer notes that “the site structure makes sense, everything is explained clearly and everything works, updates are continuous and everything that ends up on the CofK website is worth reading. It is a gem of a resource.”
The reviewer’s one regret is that CofK and other resources for early modern studies are not more well-known. We can start to rectify that. Here are some projects that early modernists should have bookmarked and consult regularly:
- Cultures of Knowledge: An Intellectual Geography of the Seventeenth-Century Republic of Letters. http://cofk.history.ox.ac.uk/ “The ultimate objective of Cultures of Knowledge is to use the intellectual networks and epistolary cultures of the seventeenth century as a means of connecting transnational interdisciplinary research across the broad field of early modern intellectual history.”
- Early Modern Letters Online (EMLO). http://emlo.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/. A union catalog for basic descriptions of early modern correspondence from eight contributing collections. It hopes to add more institutions and guides over time.
- Mapping the Republic of Letters. https://republicofletters.stanford.edu/ “A collaborative, interdisciplinary humanities research project looking at 17th and 18th century correspondence, travel, and publication to trace the exchange of ideas in the early modern period and the Age of Enlightenment.” The project is described here.
- e-corpus. http://www.e-corpush.org/ is a French collective digital library “that catalogs and disseminates numerous documents: manuscripts, archives, books, journals, prints, audio recordings, video, etc.” Among the 27 virtual collections are the correspondence of Nicholas Claude Fabri Peiresc (1580-1637) and one on the “Landscape of War” in the 20th century.
- Europeana. http://www.europeana.eu/portal/ Europeana is a growing collective digital library for Europe with contributions from 1500 institutions. There is a small amount of early modern correspondence included. You can search for correspondence by searching for “what:Correspondence” and then use the “Timeline” display to see material that may be of interest from a particular century.
- Electronic Enlightenment. http://resolver.library.cornell.edu/misc/6993675 A subscription product from the Voltaire Foundation that was announced earlier on this blog.
For a number of years now, the Library has subscribed to 200 data sources made available in electronic form by the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS). NEHGS does not allow remote access to its American Ancestors web site; one had to use a computer in Olin Library in order to consult the resources.
We have recently been able to add Uris and Kroch libraries to the facilities that can connect to the site. The data sources available include town and vital records, diaries, court, land, and probate records, and the full text of many genealogical periodicals and books. It can be a useful supplement to anyone working in New England and New York history.
You can find American Ancestors by searching for that name in the catalog or simply going to http://www.americanancestors.org from a computer in OKU.
Google has added a new free feature to its Google Scholar database that may be of interest. Google Scholar Citations allows you to build a profile of your scholarly work. That profile can be either public or private. (My profile is here; Google is using Richard Feynman’s profile as an example.)
Once your profile is completed, you can see who has cited you – at least according to the Google Scholar database. It also presents a graphic display of citations:
You can sign up to be alerted when new citations to your work are added to Google Scholar. You can select other authors with public profiles and ask to be alerted when new articles are added to their profiles. And Google promises to use its matching magic to identify new articles by others that may be of interest to you.
The major changes associated with the Olin fire safety improvement project may be over, but that hasn’t stopped the staff of Olin/Kroch/Uris from making incremental improvements to the building. Three improvements are likely to be of interest to CU historians:
- After many years, we were finally able to install outlets by all of the graduate student carrels on floors 3-7 in Olin. As you can imagine, the graduate students who have commented on the change are very, very happy.
- Staff recently reconfigured the North Reading Room on the first floor of Olin to consolidate the reference collection, increase the number of user seats, and allow more light into the building.
- Later this year, the library staff offices on the 5th floor will be renovated to become a graduate reading room. This will replace the former History graduate room on the 6th floor, which has been closed for a number of years because of construction. All of the graduate study rooms will be consolidated in 501 Olin (except for the Classics reading rooms). The construction of 501 is expected to conclude by March 30 2013 and we’ll be able to open it by the fall.
Readex has offered us trial access through 14 September to two new additions to its digitized newspapers collection, of which we currently own 4 series. Both can be accessed via the record in the catalog for America’s Historical Newspapers.
Series 8 and Series 9 of Early American Newspapers include full runs through 1922 of important, long-running 19th- and early 20th-century titles from diverse regions of the U.S. Readex is also offering access to digitized copies of the Washington Evening Star. The archive, which will eventually cover 1852-1922, documents the “paper of record” for Washington, D.C., which was also an important conservative voice for much of its history. To access just the Star, follow the link to the Readex newspapers, then open the Newspaper Titles tab and pick the Evening Star.
Proquest is offering through the month of August trial access to all of the titles in its History Vault collection. This consists of digitized version of products formerly available only on microfilm. The Library has already purchased its Vietnam War and American foreign policy, 1960-1975 and Black freedom struggle in the 20th century collections; we now have access to the NAACP Papers, Slavery and the Law, and Southern Life and African American History, 1775-1915, Plantations Records, Part 1, as well. Any faculty member or graduate student interested in testing the new resources should contact Peter.Hirtle (at) cornell.edu for login information. He also encourages feedback on any of these resources.
The library recently added the digital version of the Alexander Hamilton papers to its American Founding Era collection in the Rotunda product from the University of Virginia. It joins the other digital collections in the set to which we already have access: the Adams Papers; the Thomas Jefferson Papers; the Dolley Madison Digital Edition; the James Madison Papers; the George Washington Papers; the Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution, and the Founders Early Access program which provides access to transcribed but unedited and unpublished papers from the on-going editorial projects.
The digital edition of The Papers of Alexander Hamilton contains all twenty-seven volumes of the print edition—all the writings by and to Hamilton known to exist, some 12,500 documents—including all editorial annotations. The catalog record for The Papers of Alexander Hamilton Digital Edition is found here.« go back — keep looking »