Spotlight on CIA History

Three new library books take a critical look at the 60-year history of the CIA:

Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA (c2007) by New York Times reporter Tim Wiener. Listen to the author discuss his book (Real Player required).

In Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic (c2006), Chalmers Johnsonargues for the disbandment of the CIA: “I believe we will never again know peace, nor in all probability survive very long as a nation, unless we abolish the CIA, restore intelligence collecting to the State Department, and remove all but purely military functions from the Pentagon” (21). Can the American Republic survive “clandestine operations” abroad; the creation of a “private army” answerable only to the president; or the secrecy engendered by “a government within a government”? Nemesis is the third book in a trilogy that also includesBlowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire (c2000) and The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic (c2004).

David Barrett, a political scientist at Villanova University, is the author of The CIA & Congress: The Untold Story From Truman To Kennedy (c2005). Barrett examined recently declassified CIA documents, the so-called 700-page “family jewels,” linking the agency to the attempted assassination of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro and others. Listen to Barrett discuss his findings (Real Player required).

The Federation of American Scientists has made available online the CIA’s ownFactbook on Intelligence. Two Temple databases offer declassified CIA documents: Declassified Documents Reference System (DDRS) and Digital National Security Archive. More CIA history? Click United States. Central Intelligence Agency — History, or explore the Force & Diplomacy subject guide.

David C. Murray

New Database Trial: Illustrated Civil War Newspapers & Periodicals

Illustrated Civil War Newspapers and Periodicals is the definitive online resource for research and study about Lincoln’s presidency and the events leading up to and throughout the American Civil War years, as presented by the media of the period. The database contains 65,000 pages drawn from 49 periodicals, including 15 campaign newspapers, most of them illustrated—3,720 issues published from 1860 to 1865. Originally printed in 16 different cities, many of the publications are now rare and hard to find, with an item sometimes extant only in a single archive. Carefully sought out and compiled from 17 different museum, library, and private collections, and thanks to the generosity of institutions such as the American Antiquarian Society, the Chicago Historical Society, and a number of private collectors, these resources are now available to modern scholars in electronic form for the first time” (

The trial will run through the remaining part of August and all of September. This is a username and password authenticated trial; use the information below to gain access to the database:

August Password:
Username: reviewer
Password: 67commencement7
(Valid until 8/31)

September Password:
Username: reviewer
Password: 5dictatorial92
(Valid until 9/30)

Please provide feedback in the comments or send me an email.

David C. Murray

Eighteenth Century Journals Trial

Yet another history database trial! This time around it’s Eighteenth Century Journals I from U.K. publisher Adam Matthew. “Eighteenth Century Journals I contains material from the Hope Collection at the Bodleian Library, Oxford, one of the finest surviving collections of eighteenth-century periodicals. In this resource we have drawn together 95 rare journals printed between 1693 and 1799, combining major publications with more ephemeral works to underline the broad variety of eighteenth century print journalism” (Adam Matthew). There is minimal overlap with the recently acquired ProQuest database British Periodicals I, EEBO or ECCO. Feedback welcomed in the comments or via email.

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 for further information about this resource.

– Kristina De Voe Unique History Database Trial

We’ve set up a trial to a rather unusual history database called Originally marketed to genealogists, has only recently come to the attention of research libraries. Institutions supporting serious history research and scholarship are taking an interest in because of a unique partnership with NARA, the National Archives and Records Administration. According to a NARA promotional document created in early February, “The National Archives and are working as partners to bring unprecedented access to selections of the vast holdings of the National Archives.” Highlights include Papers of the Continental Congress (1774-89), the Matthew B. Brady Collection of Civil War Photographs, and the Investigative Case Files of the Bureau of Investigation, 1908-1922. More recently added according to the website are records of the Constitutional Convention. The technology for displaying images is really slick: zoom way in on a document, rotate it, even add your own comments and annotations. The last “feature” is perhaps not ideal for serious scholars as it tends to clutter the screen. At least the annotations can be turned off.

One caveat with this database is that the NARA material is interspersed with documents uploaded by genealogists, amateur researchers, and individual subscribers. Granted, individuals often have nice things to share. However, it’s incongruous to give local and family history documents the same weight as primary-source NARA material. Clearly the developers of this database are striving, in a Web 2.0 sort of way, to be as inclusive and interactive as possible. Please have a look at this database and let me know what you think in the comments or via email.

David C. Murray

Journal Finder Enhancements Now In Place

The Journal Finder enhancements announced earlier this month are now in place. We hope you’ll agree that the new Journal Finder, powered by Serials Solutions, combines a cleaner, more responsive user interface with enhanced search and navigation capabilities.

Serials Solutions is the name of both a company and the e-journals management system used to power the new Journal Finder. Put another way, Journal Finder is simply Temple’s branded name for the back-end Serials Solutions management system. For all the geeky technical details read Serials Solutions AMS page. Temple librarians work diligently with Serials Solutions to ensure that Journal Finder provides the most accurate, up-to-date record of the Libraries’ serials holdings.

There are two ways to track down journals in the new Journal Finder: Search and Browse. Each of these functions is contained inside its own light blue box on the Journal Finder home page. The Search function allows you to search for a complete or partial title (the default) or for a word or words in any part of the title (“Title contains all words”). You can also search for a title by its ISSN or International Standard Serial Number. The greatly enhanced Browse function, located in the lower of the two light blue boxes, allows you to retrieve an alphabetical list of titles by subject. This can be helpful if you’re trying to get an idea of the journals Temple subscribes to in a particular academic discipline, for example archaeology or film studies.

David C. Murray

4 New History Journal Databases

The Libraries have acquired four new full-text journal databases, all of which contain significant history content.

Blackwell Synergy – Provides access to 20 history journals including Diplomatic History, Gender & History, Journal of Religious Studies, and The Journal of the Historical Society.

Cambridge Journals Online – Provides access to 26 history journals including Central European History, The Historical Journal, The Journal of African History, and Urban History.

Sage Journals Online – Although known primarily for its science publications, Sage Journals provides access to eight important history journals: European History Quarterly, German History, Indian Economic & Social History Review, Journal of Contemporary History, Journal of Urban History, The Medieval History Journal, Studies in History, and War in History.

History Compass – This “database” is in fact a peer-reviewed journal written by historians with undergraduates in mind. In this regard it is unlike the other databases discussed here, all of which cover multiple journals. What makes History Compass truly unique is the inclusion of little extras such as RSS feeds, lists of most read and cited articles, podcasts, and teaching and learning guides. Cambrdige Journals also has RSS feeds.

David C. Murray

New History of Slavery Database Trial

The Libraries have set up a trial to a new Adam Matthew digital resource titledSlavery, Abolition, and Social Justice, 1490-2007. Clicking on the title link will provide access to the full database for four weeks, or until about July 13, 2007. The database is not yet feature complete; content will be released in three major phases in 2007, 2008, and 2009. Those who tried out earlier Adam Matthew database trials — Empire OnlineDefining Gender, etc. — will be familiar with the attractive interface and unique blend of primary and secondary-source material.

Note that the “download entire document in PDF” feature won’t work during the four-week trial. However, it will be possible to view, print and save individual images from the collections. During the trial period access will be from on-campus only. Please email me with your comments about this or any other history resource.

David C. Murray

The Western Tradition: Free Online Streams

I’m a night owl. OK, insomniac actually. For the sleep-challenged among us there’s little to watch on the tube after midnight. Yes, TiVos and DVRs have helped, and IPTV is just around the corner. But back in the early 90s, when I was a grad student at the University of New Mexico, those technologies were still a long way off.

One show that took my mind off the fact that I couldn’t sleep was The Western Tradition, a 52-part lecture series covering the entire sweep of Western history from 3000 BCE to the current age and beyond. The series was produced by WGBH in Boston (c1989), and is now available for free on the Annenberg Media web site. The appeal here lies primarily in the person of recently deceased UCLA history professor Eugen Weber. The British-educated Weber delivers up engaging lectures in an over-the-top, highly mesmerizing, English accent. My local Albququerque public TV station would insidiously run these lectures back-to-back, thus contributing to my insomnia. After listening to lecture 9 on The Rise of Rome who could possibly resist lecture 10, The Roman Empire?

David C. Murray

Google Books: Hold Your Horses?

Writing for the American Historical Association Blog AHA Today, Robert B. Townsend reminds us that Google Books, perhaps the most hyped digital initiative ever, has its problems. Among those discussed by Townsend are poor scan quality,incorrect or nonsensical metadata, and the application of copyright restriction to titles which rightly belong in the public domain, such as federal government publications. To these could be added incomplete metadata (where are the Library of Congress Subject Headings?); lack of control in searching when compared with most modern library catalogs and databases (Hey Google, ever heard of truncation? How about proximity search?); and several others. Townsend doesn’t want Google Books, the project, to be abandoned; he simply wishes to see the brakes applied: “What particularly troubles me is the likelihood that these problems will just be compounded over time. From my own modest experience here at the AHA, I know how hard it is to go back and correct mistakes online when the imperative is always to move forward, to add content and inevitably pile more mistakes on top of the ones already buried one or two layers down.” Many cataloging librarians would I’m sure sympathize with that last thought.

Several of the commenters on Townsend’s post point out that it is not Google’s responsibility to play by the rules of libraries or the academy. After all, isn’t Google Books just a slick marketing tool for connecting users with libraries and bookstores, where the original, printed versions of titles can then be borrowed and purchased? Arguments such as these, however, ring hollow in the face of the glowing testimonials posted by Google on its own web site. Take, for example, this quote from the Library Journal’s editor-in-chief: “[Google Book Search] has the potential to revolutionize research and to make the libraries of the world into the world’s library.” Or this from a Bodleian librarian at Oxford: “Public domain books belong where the worldwide public can use them; and that is where the Bodleian, like its other library partners, wants them to be seen.” No, the reality is that people in and outside academia have very high expectations for Google Books. Google knows this quite well, and plays into the hype for all it’s worth.

Hopefully Google and its library partners will not ignore the legitimate concerns raised in Townsend’s post. Rather than work to slow down the pace of digitization, librarians will undoubtedly continue to drive home the message that Google Books is merely one of a host of book digitization projects that students can and should investigate during the course of their research.

David C. Murray