Every year, more and more research is done by scholars online via academic databases. Print journals, scholarly monographs, newspapers, periodical indexes, and even ephemera and image collections are steadily transitioning from print to electronic.
Historically, research using print collections took place in library reading rooms with material owned by the library. Increasingly, research using electronic collections takes place outside of the library using proprietary digital platforms subscribed to by libraries. This change greatly affects how libraries function — an ownership model morphs into an access model — and how research is done. Database searches are crucial to uncovering information, but little is known about how these searches work. Additionally, it’s not always easy to find what full text content is covered in these database titles.
The goal of Beyond Citation is to help the researcher to better understand how academic databases work, and provide easier access to the database’s holdings information. For the CUNY Digital Praxis Seminar, the Beyond Citation team needed to determine which databases to feature in its initial launch, and what information to gather about each title.
First, we wanted to feature humanities databases and steer away from STEM titles. (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.) Second, we ideally wanted to cover titles that were available at the CUNY Graduate Center’s Mina Rees Library, and we wanted representation from the big three “e” vendors: EBSCO, Gale, and ProQuest. Additionally, we wanted to cover different kinds of content, including historical newspapers, scholarly journals, and historical e-books from both non-profit and for-profit companies.
After much discussion, the Beyond Citation team has decided to focus on the following databases and collections for its initial launch.
19th Century U.S. Newspapers (Gale)
Early English Books Online (EEBO) with TCP (Text Creation Partnership) (ProQuest)
Gale Artemis: Primary Sources – Nineteenth Century Collections Online (NCCO) and Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO).
Project Muse (Johns Hopkins University Press)
Artemis Literature Resources (Gale)
We are open to and eager for feedback from users of these titles, or from any other researchers and librarians who use databases in their research. More to come in future posts on what information we hope to gather from each title, and how that information will be displayed. You can reach us at BeyondCitation [at] gmail.com and follow us on Twitter @beyondcitation as we get ready for the launch in May.