Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Google Newspaper Archive Collection

It seems once you land find one archive the rest sort of wander over to great you. On Google News there is a collection archive of scanned newspapers from various dates, cities and countries.

There are newspapers from the 1800s and 1900s as well as through the depression era and the 1960s in the US. Some of the newspapers only contain one issue and others have a full collection of publication.

It really is entertaining to read some of the early issues of various newspapers. The Covington Journal mission is to "cover politics, literature, education, agriculture and the news of the day."

You can perform a keyword search to find topics of interest. Keep in mind that usage and terminology has changed over time.

For example, suffrage was used in connection with slavery and then freed men and women. It later became a term connected to woman's suffrage. The term womens liberation came into use much later.

If you are looking for historical comparisons today's hot topics this is one of the places you should considers investigating.

Monday, February 14, 2011

No Love Lost at the Library

It's Valentine's Day and I've managed to drag myself out of the house into the library. I've been coming here most of winter intersession and expected today to be the same as most of this past month, pretty empty. So imagine my surprise to be lucky enough to find an empty computer terminal.

Everywhere today it's impossible not to see signs of Valentine's Day. Many bemoaning why is this holiday once again upon us. So thinking in terms of a librarian-to-be, I decided to make this my research topic of the day before settling down to my studies. I did a little research last week to see if we had many books in the Shatford library on this topic when constructing a book display. As expected, a search didn't yield many on this topic so I had to get a little creative in my search. My favorite book that I'd discovered awhile back when doing other book displays was:

Kissing: everything you ever wanted to know about one of life's sweetest pleasures by Andrea Demirjian, so I had to add this along with the other books on making home-made greeting cards, the history of chocolate and more. For film lovers, you may be interested in picking up The great romantic films by Lawrence J. Quirk. A classmate had picked up an ARC copy of And the rest is history : the famous (and infamous) first meetings of the world's most passionate couples by Marlene Wagman-Geller at ALA's Mid-Winter conference. This book is not on display as I will admit the ARC copy is not very picturesque at all, but it did prompt me in finding some books on famous couples. In my search, I found interesting books on Antony & Cleopatra and Diego Rivera & Frida Kahlo. If you're interested in the history of Valentine cards, take a peek at The Valentine and its origins by Frank Staff.

Here's an interesting and amusing article I found, Valentine's Day : From ancient saints to candy hearts that sheds a little light on the history of this holiday. This is my tribute to this holiday whilst wearing my "Librarians Have a Heart" t-shirt that I snagged at ALA's Mid-Winter conference in January.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

AFRO Archives - African American Newspaper

There are web sites that have open newspaper archives but it has been hard to find a collection of historical African American newspapers on-line. That situation is improving thanks to a partnership between the AFRO American newspapers and Google.

The AFRO Archives allows visitors to read and examine newspapers from various time periods. The archives can tell you what the important news items of the day, commentary and opinion and a text snapshot of the goods, services and products being targeted to readers of the newspaper.

I read a few of the early papers and I was surprised about seeing the railroad schedules listed for the various rail lines. I made me wonder about the importance of the railroad in terms of employment and receiving goods from other places.

I could also get a sense that some of the issues that make the news today have historical connections. When reading the paper it is important to remember that this is a view into the thoughts and attitudes of the past. It took a moment to understand that the whitecaps mentioned in a news story referred to member of the Klan.

You can browse the archive or you can enter a search term to find articles that contain key words. When I entered "library" I was presented with articles about libraries trying to open or trying to prevent from being closed.

One of the articles that I read from 1947 wrote about the work of the YWCA in helping to open the library to all citizens except colored children under 16.

This is the beginning stage of the archive, more newspapers from the AFRO American newspaper chain need to be added. This is a neat research tool that libraries and schools and history buffs can enjoy and use.