Biography resources for your work

The three biography databases below are very useful and you should not overlook them in your research. One of the amazing things about these online sources is that you can search by religion, gender, occupation and more. So you don’t have to have a particular person in mind to use these databases. You can just have a certain type of person in mind, i.e. a Quaker abolitionist in 18th century Britain; a Baptist African American female teacher from the 19th century; or an Irish American involved in the steel industry in the 20th. All databases below are available on the library’s A-Z database list.

African American Biographical Database

A resource of first resort when you are looking for biographical information, including photographs and illustrations, for African Americans. From the famous to the everyday person, AABD includes profiles and full-text sketches providing both biographical detail and illuminating narratives chronicling the lives of Black Americans.

American National Biography
Offers portraits of more than 17,400 men and women — from all eras and walks of life — whose lives have shaped the nation. More than a decade in preparation, the American National Biography is the first biographical resource of this scope to be published in more than sixty years.

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
56,000 lives … 63 million words … 10,300 portraits … all on your desktop. For more info, see the blog I wrote on the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

Also check out Biographies Illustrated Plus and Biography Resource Center.


Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy Online

Hello All, Great news: we now have the Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy Online! It’s available from the All Databases list. REP has both superb content and an equally superb interface. There is also supplemental content online that is not in the print volumes. To give just one example of the excellent documentation in this reference source, the bibliographies of major philosophers give the authoritative editions of the authors’ works, both in the original language and in English translation. Coverage of this encyclopedia is very broad and skips over many disciplinary boundaries. To provide just a few examples, there are articles on Augustine, Martin Luther, Maimonides, Ibn Sina, and Confucius that would be of interest to students of religion. There are articles on ethics, business ethics, and journalistic ethics. If your interest is literature there are articles on katharsis, mimesis, poetry, tragedy, and literature and philosophy. For social scientists, there are articles on the history of the philosophy of the social sciences, the philosophy of the social sciences, and on prediction in the social sciences. For historians, there are articles on the philosophy of history and on Chinese theories of the philosophy of history. Key Features (from REP web site)

  • 2,000 original entries from a team of over 1,300 of the world’s most respected scholars and philosophers
  • Covers an unparalleled breadth of subject matter, including Anglo-American, ethical and political, cross-cultural, interdisciplinary, continental and contemporary philosophy
  • Over 25,000 hot-linked cross-references between articles and new links to other editorially reviewed websites
  • An invaluable resource for all levels of users – students and general readers gain a rapid orientation with accessible summaries at the beginning of every in-depth article
  • Regularly upgraded with new material, revisions, and bibliographic updates, REP provides access to the latest scholarship and major developments in philosophical inquiry worldwide

Also, don’t forget about philosophy encyclopedias on Gale Virtual Reference Library: Encyclopedia of Philosophy, and the New Dictionary of the History of Ideas. —Fred Rowland

Cambridge Collections Online

I am very pleased to announce that Cambridge Collections Online (CCO) is available. Featuring the highly regarded Cambridge Companions, CCO is currently comprised of 144 Cambridge Companions to Literature and Classics and 93 Cambridge Companions to Philosophy, Religion, and Culture, with new volumes added each year. The material covers authors, like Augustine, Maimonides, and Hemingway, and topics, like American Modernism, Crime Fiction, and Arabic Philosophy. Cambridge Companions have become essential to faculty and students who want good general introductions and overviews of subjects in the humanities.

Each volume features contributions from major scholars in their respective fields. Take the Cambridge Companion to Ancient Greek Law as an example. Of the twenty authors who contributed chapters, seventeen had at least one book in Temple’s library catalog from a major university press (and in most cases several). CCO will prove useful to undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty. Faculty will use it to study areas outside their specialties, to help prepare for lectures, and to assign to students as course material. Graduate students will use it to write papers and to prepare for preliminary exams (Temple offers masters and PhD degrees in English, Philosophy, and Religion, to name just a few of the relevant degrees). Finally, undergraduates will use it to write papers and to study for tests.

CCO is available from the All Databases list on the library homepage. Check it out today!

—Fred Rowland

Sources for Economic Statistics

Today I want to mention some sources for economic (and social) statistics. The only advice I’d give for using economic statistics is to try to find a statistic from multiple sources because they can be reported so differently depending on source. Historical Statistics of the United States I really like this source. Covers recent few decades as well as past centuries. Statistics are easy to find and easy to use. International Financial Statistics Online Statistics from the International Monetary Fund Source OECD Development sources from the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development World Development Indicators Online Statistics from the World Bank

—Fred Rowland

Sage eReference, Blackwell Compass, and more

Sage is one of the academic and professional market’s major social science publishers. Sage eReference is a collection of 45 online encyclopedias. Here’s a complete list of titles. Accessible from the All Databases list. Other Reference Databases Don’t forget about our other reference databases. You’ve never had it so good. Gale Virtual Reference Library; Oxford Reference Online; xreferplus. Accessible from the All Databases list. Philosophy Compass and Religion Compass These are very new review journals in philosophy, religion, and other areas. Access via Journal Finder. Each article is a broad review of a particular topic with a discussion of the literature. They are supposed to be current and very relevant. Review journals have become very big in the sciences where new literature comes out at a crushing pace. These two for philosophy and religion are great tools for faculty that are approaching a new field, for graduate students who are studying for exams and dissertations, and for advanced undergraduates. Take a look and let me know what you think. —Fred Rowland

Business databases

When you are doing your research, don’t forget about Temple’s business databases. Although they might sound like unlikely sources, there are some good reasons to keep them in mind: 1) they are absolutely HUGE databases; 2) they are international so you will find info from and about places all around the world; and 3) businesses have penetrated just about every aspect of our lives (not a good thing). Below I’ve listed the two most important general business databases. Most business schools of any stature have these two. I’ve also linked some articles so you can get a sense of the stuff you might find. Business Source Premier: over 2800 full-text scholarly journals. ABI Inform: indexes over 4000 titles, 3000 in full-text, including the Wall Street Journal. —Fred Rowland

Refworks saves time

You know how you can finish a term paper at about 8:00pm the night before it is due, only to spend three or four additional hours slogging through the citations and bibliography? By the time the 11:00 news is on you’re wailing and gnashing teeth. Refworks can help end that pain. Just download the citations from the library’s databases into Refworks and output them in MLA, APA, or Chicago style. Doing a dissertation any time soon? Refworks can save you loads of time by organizing your sources. The end will come sooner than you think. Need to send a recently finished article out to five different publishers with five different citation styles? If you’ve been using Refworks along with the Write-N-Cite plugin for Microsoft Word, this task can be performed in a jiffy. You’ll think it’s a miracle.

Refworks, the online database that allows you to download, store, organize, and output references, is getting easier and easier to use because so many scholarly databases are enabling direct exports into it. Just two vendors EBSCO and CSA have enabled this for all of the databases we purchase from them, which comes to about 75 including Academic Search Premier, ATLA, ERIC, Medline, MLA International Bibliography, Philosopher’s Index, Index Islamicus, Criminal Justice Abstracts, and Sociological Abstracts. Refworks is free to all Temple students, faculty, and staff. Just click on the link above and sign up for a personal account.

Below are five video clips that show how to export references from selected scholarly databases directly into Refworks. You will need Adobe Flash on your computer to watch them (my understanding is that most computers have this now). In each I start from a search results list, select a few records, and then export them into Refworks. 
Philosopher’s Index

Academic Search Premier
Project Muse
Blackwell Synergy

And here’s one last video clip on outputting your bibliography using Refworks.
Outputting Bibliography

Check out Refworks today! You’ll be glad that you did. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

—Fred Rowland

News Broadcasts and News Transcripts

The library has a subscription to Vanderbilt University’s Television News Archive. This is a searchable database of television news stories going back to 1968. For CNN, you can view the actual broadcasts going back to 1994 (you will need RealPlayer on your computer to do so). You can purchase videos of news broadcasts from the other networks through the Television News Archives.

Although the records in the Television News Archive do not include the actual transcripts, you can in many cases find the full-text transcripts in Lexis Nexis Academic (go to “Guided News Search”, under Step 1 select “News Transcripts”, under Step 2 select to search “All Transcripts” or ones from individual networks). Use the database to track important national and international events as portrayed in the news. Use it to learn how religious issues are framed and reported.

—Fred Rowland