Tag Archives: New Electronic Resources

Two New History Databases: Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) Daily Reports, 1974-1996 and AccessUN

Temple University Libraries recently acquired Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) Daily Reports, 1974-1996, an important new digital archive of full-text translations of foreign news sources from all areas of the world. FBIS will be of particular interest to anyone studying the Cold War and other major events of the last three decades of the 20th century. Currently Temple has complete online access to the parts of the database published by Readex to date, namely Parts 1 and 2, and which include material from the Middle East/Near East, South Asia, and Africa. Additional material from China (Part 3), Latin America (Part 5), and the former Soviet Union (Part 7) are scheduled to be released between summer 2008 and summer 2009. 

Because FBIS contains historical content (1974-1996), it complements rather than competes with NewsBank’s Access World News / AWN (1996 to date), and Dialog’s World News Connection / WNC (1995 to date), two Temple databases that already provide access to foreign news sources in translation. FBIS dovetails nicely with DNSA and DDRS, two primary-source databases covering the same historical era. FBIS also complements AccessUN, yet another historical Readex database now available to Temple affiliates. AccessUN is a commercially published index to United Nations documents and publications. It includes resolutions, treaties, and UN periodicals and covers the years 1945 to date.
For more information and links to all of the above databases, please see the History Libguide. Contact me with questions or concerns.

Significant History Acquisitions, FY 2006-2007

The following recaps the more significant history-related acquisitions in the just-ended fiscal year of 2006-2007: House of Commons Parliamentary Papers (1801-1900) – HCPP is perhaps the most important electronic resource acquired for the History Department in FY 06-07. “The House of Commons Parliamentary Papers are vital to the historical record of Britain, its former Colonies and the wider world. They are among the richest and most detailed primary sources for the history of the past two centuries, and are fundamental to an understanding of current legislation, policy making and the political environment. HCPP online, with searchable full text, and detailed subject indexing, makes it possible to fully exploit the enormous potential of this resource for the first time” (HCPP About). HCPP does not include Hansard’s Parliamentary Debates, which are available in printed form from the Library Depository. For more information about content and coverage see the Guide to Parliamentary Papers. Periodicals Index Online (PIO) – Formerly known as Periodicals Contents Index / PCI, “Periodicals Index Online is an electronic index to millions of articles published in over 5,000 periodicals in the humanities and social sciences. . . It is unique in combining a broad subject base with deep chronological coverage going back over 300 years” (ProQuest About – Periodicals Index Online). The database indexes many European foreign language journals. For full-text access to over 450 of the titles indexed in Periodicals Index Online, explore the complementary database Periodicals Archive Online (PAO). The over 130 full-text history titles in PAO can be accessed by clicking on “Find Journals” from the homepage, then on “Find Journals by Subject”; a right-hand column will display a list of subjects, including “History (General) [94 journals]” and “History (The Americas) [37 journals]” British Periodicals Online (Collection I) – This database consists of full-text access to approximately 160 journal titles published between the late 17th and early 20th centuries. It covers topics as diverse as history, literature, philosophy, science, and the fine arts. British Periodicals can be searched in tandem with hundreds of additional journal backfiles via the aforementioned Periodicals Archive Online. Researchers can also use the online Wellesley Index to Victorian Periodicals (part of C19) to link directly into full-text content in both British Periodicals and Periodicals Archive. “Crucially, the addition of attribution information from the Wellesley Index makes it possible to search for instances of a word or phrase in a given author’s contributions to periodicals even where these originally appeared unsigned or over a pseudonym” (ProQuest About – British Periodicals). Declassified Documents Reference System (DDRS) – This is the online version of the longstanding printed DDRS. The database currently contains over 78,000 post-WWII declassified documents that originated with the National Archives and U.S. executive branch agencies. The DDRS complements the Digital National Security Archive (DNSA), a similar Temple database containing over 63,000 declassified federal government documents. Though similar in purpose, each of these databases is unique. DNSA is a thematic database that focuses on 29 important events in post-WWII U.S. history (e.g. Cuban Missile Crisis, Iran-Contra Affair, the First Gulf War, etc.). DDRS, on the other hand, contains a much broader collection of materials. Important social and domestic issues are covered. DDRS also provides access to non-U.S. declassified documents from NATO. A minor difference between the two databases is the manner of release and provenance of the documents available. Many of the documents found in DDRS were originally requested by researchers via NARA’s network of presidential libraries. Many DNSA documents, on the other hand, came to light as the result of executive branch compliance with the 1966 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). African American Newspapers: The 19th Century (Part XI) – Part XI of this popular and important database includes full-text coverage of The Christian Recorder from January 1894 to December 1898. A full-page image upgrade is promised soon. Thesaurus Linguae Graecae – This database contains virtually all Greek texts surviving from the period between Homer (8th century BCE) and CE 600, as well as the majority of surviving works up to the fall of Byzantium in CE 1453. Note: A polytonic Greek font must be installed on your computer in order to view some texts. With some browsers, you may also be able to input your search in Greek; with others, you may have to input Beta Code or Latin Transliteration. Extensive information about font requirements is available at the TLG website. The Papers of W.E.B. DuBois – This set consists of 83 microfilm reels of the correspondence of W.E.B. DuBois, one of the most prominent early figures for African-American liberation. Coverage dates range from 1877 to 1965. For information about content see ProQuests’s collection description. —David C. Murray

Associated Press Images

TU Libraries is pleased to announce the addition of AP Images to its collection of databases. Capturing the greatest moments in history, news, sports, and entertainment as seen by the Associated Press, AP Images (formerly AccuNet/AP Multimedia Archive) is one of the largest collections of historical and contemporary news photographs, containing over 3 million images from the 1840s to the present, with thousands more added daily. In addition to AP’s iconic photographs, the collection also includes over 50,000 graphics, containing logos, graphs, maps, and timelines. Worldwide in scope, AP Images is a first-rate resource for all researchers interested in the impact of media on society or those simply in search of superb primary source photographs. Searching capabilities include the ability to search by keyword, person, date, or event, in addition to browsing feature photograph collections. All content from AP Images may be downloaded and used for educational purposes. Please feel free to contact me at devoek@temple.edu for further information about this resource. – Kristina De Voe

London Times Digital Archive (1785-1985)

The Times Digital Archive, another major newspaper acquisition by Temple Libraries, is a searchable, full-text and full-image archive of every page of the (London) Times from 1785 to 1985. This database has obvious appeal to anyone studying the history of Britain and her Empire. The database complements Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO), an important new resource recently discussed in the Library Blog. —David C. Murray

Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO)

For those of you, like me, who remember libraries prior to the advent of digital resources, ECCO will serve as a revelation. In a world of hype and spin, this is the real deal. Even younger, Web-savvy researchers will be utterly amazed by ECCO. According to Thomson-Gale’s “About” page, ECCO is the “most ambitious single digitization project ever undertaken”. It is based on the English Short Title Catalog, and contains the full-text of 150,000 book titles published in Great Britain between 1701 and 1800. ECCO provides, “in essence, [easy access to] every significant English-language and foreign-language title printed in the United Kingdom, along with thousands of important works from the Americas” (ibid.). ECCO complements Early English Books Online (EEBO), another Temple database that contains the full-text of nearly 110,000 English-language titles published between 1475 and 1700. It has never before been possible to quickly and comprehensively search the corpus of printed works spanning the entire history of Early Modern Britain. This opens up possibilities for research virtually unimaginable before the creation of ECCO, EEBO, and other primary source databases. Scholars from every conceivable field of inquiry can potentially benefit from access to ECCO. Obvious examples are history (including the history of science & technology), literature, political science, and even music. Important Note: The undergraduate researcher, especially, should work closely with his or her professor and/or a librarian to identify reference works and other secondary titles that can provide some context for the primary sources discussed in this post. It is important to understand wider social, political, economic, and military contexts in order to make sense of primary documents preserved in the historical record. —David C.Murray

International Medieval Bibliography Online

Temple now has access to the premier database for medievalists, The International Medieval Bibliography Online (IMB), which contains over 300,000 articles in thirty different languages. The articles come from journals, conference proceedings, essay collections, and festschriften chosen by a “worldwide network of fifty teams to ensure regular coverage of 4,500 periodicals and a total of over 5,000 miscellany volumes”. Extensive indexing–including separate indexes for subjects, people, places, repositories, and time periods–allows for precise searching. The IMB covers the period from 300 to 1500 CE and the geographic regions of Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa, making it relevant to scholars of classics, religion, philosophy, art and archaeology, history, literature, and Islamic studies. In addition to the IMB, here are some other electronic resources relevant to the study of various aspects of the Middle Ages: Encyclopedias:


–Fred Rowland

Historical Newspapers

The library is pleased to announce our new access to Proquest Historical Newspapers, encompassing complete full-text coverage of the New York Times, 1851-2003 (more recent access available through LexisNexis Academic), and the Wall Street Journal, 1889-1989 (more recent access available through Factiva). The papers are available cover to cover (including advertisements) in digital images. They are full-text searchable and searching can be limited to date ranges as well as type of article from news and editorials to editorial cartoons and photos to obituaries and marriage notices. Electronic access to these newspapers adds a range of historical news that was previously only available to us on microfilm. Students will be particularly aided by access to the New York Times of the mid-twentieth century, an era which is frequently requested by undergraduate researchers. —Derik A Badman

Early American Newspapers, Series I, 1690-1876

Temple Libraries on March 23 acquired Early American Newspapers, Series I (1690-1876), a third major component of the Archive of Americana. “In 1690, Benjamin Harris published Publick Occurrences, the first newspaper in America. The British colonial governor immediately suppressed it, and only one issue was ever published. However, beginning with the Boston News-Letter in 1704, the early American newspaper industry thrived, experiencing particularly strong growth following technological advances in the 19th century. Early American newspapers, published often by small-town printers, documented the daily life of hundreds of diverse American communities, supported different political parties and recorded both majority and minority views” (Readex). “Early American Newspapers, Series I, 1690-1876 offers fully searchable, cover-to-cover reproductions of more than one million pages from more than 650 historical American newspapers, focusing on titles published in the 18th century” (Readex). EAN, Series 1, is based on Clarence Brigham’s famous History and Bibliography of American Newspapers, 1690-1820. —David C. Murray

ArchiveGrid = NUCMC Improved

Manuscript catalogs connect advanced history researchers with important primary documents housed in obscure and not-so-obscure collections all over the country. Generations of scholars have turned to the National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections (NUCMC) to track down collections critical to historical research. ArchiveGrid is a new database from the Research Libraries Group (RLG) that also allows researchers to locate relevant manuscript collections. “Thousands of libraries, museums, and archives have contributed nearly a million collection descriptions to ArchiveGrid. Researchers searching ArchiveGrid can learn about the many items in each of these collections, contact archives to arrange a visit to examine materials, and order copies” (ArchiveGrid). RLG is providing free access to ArchiveGrid through May 31, 2006. After this date ArchiveGrid will remain free if RLG receives additional funding to continue the project. If funds are not found, ArchiveGrid will be made available to institutions as a subscription. All records in the NUCMC catalog are said to be available in ArchiveGrid. Given that ArchiveGrid is a brand new resource, researchers should consult both databases for the sake of completeness. Graduate students and senior scholars should cross-check online search results against the print version of NUCMC. —David C. Murray Postscript: History researchers might also wish to consult Ready, Net, Go!, an index/guide to archival research on the web created by the Special Collections Division of the Howard-Tilton Memorial Library, Tulane University.

PA County Histories to 1900

The Libraries are pleased to announce the acquisition of Pennsylvania County Histories to 1900. This database provides full-text access to PA county histories written during the late 19th Century. Philadelphia, Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery counties all receive extensive coverage. Researchers will appreciate the inclusion of beautiful period maps, illustrations, and portraits of individuals. The histories are our main source of information about important local citizens, some of whom received little or no coverage in the regional and national press of the day. Observes Temple historian Greg Urwin, “Nineteenth century county histories customarily listed the names of all the men who enlisted in volunteer units, and often gave their service records. These books also often contained brief biographies of prominent locals (usually men) and descriptions of prominent businesses.” For more on the history of Philadelphia and surrounding counties, check out the following titles in the Diamond catalog: Berks County (Pa.) — History Bucks County (Pa.) — History Chester County (Pa.) — History Delaware County (Pa.) — History Montgomery County (Pa.) — History Philadelphia County (Pa.) — HistoryDavid C. Murray