New Databases Boost Research in African American history

By Lisa German

Each year, all the libraries in the CIC pool funds in order to take advantage of consortial buying power to purchase library resources at a better price than we could obtain on our own. We purchased three databases this year: Nineteenth Century Collections Online from Gale, African American Periodicals, and Afro-Americana Imprints from Readex.

Nineteenth Century Collections Online is a set of archives arranged in modules that will be published over several years. The CIC purchased the first four modules encompassing over 10 million pages whose topics include British Politics and Society, Asia and the West: Diplomacy and Cultural Exchange, European Literature, 1790-1840 and British Theatre, Music and Literature: High Popular Culture.

African American Periodicals contains more than 170 periodicals published between 1825 and 1995 created by Readex, in partnership with the Wisconsin Historical Society that documents African American culture, history, thought, and opinion.

The Afro-Americana Imprints was created from the Library Company of Philadelphia’s collection and contains books, pamphlets, and broadsides spanning more than 400 years of African American History.

These two chronicles of African American history and culture have a tremendous impact on the ability for scholarly research. According to Alexia Hudson-Ward, associate librarian at Penn State Abington, “Locating and using pre-Civil War era primary source materials for African-American Studies is extraordinarily challenging. So many of the important items that provide a view of this history in totality (such as pro and con slavery periodicals and advertisements) are literally spread throughout the United States in various repositories, archives, and libraries. This is why having both of these databases is so valuable. Archival “mining” time is significantly reduced which can allow for uncovering of new historical insights for students, faculty, and researchers.”

These databases are now available to all faculty and students in the CIC. They are accessible through the Databases A-Z list on the Libraries’ front page. As soon as the MARC records are available and loaded into The CAT, these databases will also be searchable via LionSearch.