New @ the Library: More Streaming via Films on Demand!

Good news – the Library now subscribes to Films on Demand, the streaming video collection from Films for the Humanities & Sciences, one of the best known distributors of educational documentaries.  Subjects are very wide-ranging and provide great coverage in science & technology areas, in the social sciences, and humanities.  The streaming documentaries come from a variety of familiar and popular sources, including television news programs; PBS programs (such as the American Experience, Bill Moyers, NOVA, and the Ken Burns collection); TED talks, Scientific American Frontiers; California Newsreel titles focusing on African and African American topics, and more.

Films on Demand

Films on Demand – front page view

The streaming videos in Films on Demand can be searched by title or by video segments; an Advanced Search supports searching for titles with closed-captions, interactive transcripts, and other features.   Frequent users will want to create an account that allows creation of personalized playlists and organizing favorite content in customized folders, which can be a handy means for instructors to collect different materials for specific courses.  Instructors can easily place entire videos or specific video segments on Course Reserve, play them in media-equipped classrooms, or stream online, making Films on Demand a flexible and engaging content tool for your face-to-face, online, and distance learning courses.  (There is also an Embed feature that in theory allows you to embed the video directly in your Blackboard course pages, but…. I haven’t yet gotten this feature to work properly.  Perhaps this can be straightened out soon.)  Off-campus users will of course need to login with their Library Borrower ID and password to view.

Pass the popcorn, and enjoy!

ACLS Humanities e-Book collection

New-ish to the Library is the fascinating ACLS Humanities e-Book collection, from the American Council of Learned Societies.  This impressive collection has almost 4000 full-text scholarly books across the wide gamut of the traditional humanities (history; art & architecture; film & media studies; literature & literary criticism; linguistics; music, dance, performance; philosophy; political science, religion, and even sociology, to name a few).  There is a strong focus on “historical studies” focused on “African, American, Asian, Comparative/World, Eastern European/Russian, Economic, European, Latin American, Legal, Medicine, Methods/Theory, Middle East, and Science/Technology.”   You can download an Excel spreadsheet of the specific book titles included if you want to take a look.

Okay, we know it’s huge.  Even the title is a mouthful – so much so that you’ll see even the authors refer to it as ACLS HEB, or even just HEB.  So what can you do with HEB?  Happily, the collection boasts both an easy to use browse feature (that allows you to browse by title, author, or subject) and a very robust search engine that lets you quickly find titles / subjects / authors of interest.  Within a few clicks, you have the full-text of the book right in front of you.

acls ebook1   Once you find a book of interest, you can enter the book from its ACLS title record page.  You can go to the first page of the book and page your way through, or enter specific chapters / page ranges by using the linked Table of contents.  There are book reviews for my title linked on the page, plus the full citation and full cataloging record.  You can even get a larger version of the book jacket by clicking on your book’s image.

I found the book, Buñuel and Mexico: The crisis of national cinema, by Ernesto R. Acevedo-Muñoz and published by the Univ of California Press in 2003.  So you can see what I mean, here’s a graphic of the ACLS title page for the Buñuel cinema book I found.

Once you enter the full-text of your book, you can even choose the best display – page image, text,  or pdf – for your own reading comfort or downloading / printing needs.  You can also easily adjust the size of the page if you need a larger font or need to see an illustration in greater detail.

Speaking of illustrations, the few illustrations from book contents that I have seen have not been of the greatest quality.  This is probably the only drawback I can see during my own quick review of this collection.  Let me show you what I mean.

acls heb2

Hmmmm……  in a fantastic collection like HEB, it’s disappointing to see such blurry and grainy images.  This one comes from a book called Gay L.A. by Lillian Faderman.  There are lots of illustrations in this interesting book and none of them seems to be scanned clearly, which is really too bad.  It’s just not the same high quality images you will find in the original hardback book.  I haven’t found illustrations in other HEB books yet to compare but my guess is that this may be a current weakness throughout this collection.  You’ll need to see what you think.

So, do use this collection to find a surprising breadth of full-text eBooks in the humanities.  Don’t expect to find high quality book illustration images you can use (copyright permitting) in other projects.  You will though find nice quality reproductions of book covers.  And yes, you can find these books through Quick Search too.  Overall, a big positive addition to the Library’s collections.  Give ACLS HEB a test drive and let me know what you think!

Periodicals Archive Online – Digital Humanities & Social Sciences

I’ve just begun exploring in one of the Library’s newer tools, Periodicals Archive Online, from ProQuest/Chadwyck Healy.  It’s an index that leads to full-text articles in the arts, humanities, & social sciences.

One of the first things I noticed is that you can change the search interface to one of 6 different languages, including French (below), Spanish, German, Italian, and Portuguese – and of course the default is English.  This can make for a nice immersive experience for language students, and is also useful of course for researchers who prefer to search in one of these languages.  So, big bonus points from the beginning from me!

The next obvious question is what’s in here?  Here’s a useful list of titles that I found online at the ProQuest website – wow!  (Currently, the Library subscribes only to only some of the collections – see the title list for Collections 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 to know exactly what’s available.)

What breadth in terms of subject areas, in terms of international perspectives, languages, and in terms of years!

Broad subjects include art; drama; history; economics; folklore; literature, poetry, and literary studies; geography; religion; psychology; linguistics & psycholinguistics; education; African American studies; law; Cuban studies; music; anthropology; philosophy; sociology, women’s studies, and more.

International perspectives?  Cultural studies?  Race & ethnic studies?  I see Islamic studies in English and in German; African and African American titles; South Asian & Middle Eastern studies; many titles in French, German, and Spanish, with some in Dutch; Japanese religious studies; Latin American and peninsular Spanish studies; Korean and Chinese studies…

What about years?  This depends on the titles themselves, of course.  I do see some titles dating back to the 19th century, such as Geographische Zeitschrift (coverage in PAO from 1895 through 2000), Nederlands archief voor kerkgeschiedenis (1885-2000), Orientalistische Literaturzeitung (1898-2000), and Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society (1813-2000), to grab a few titles just at random.  Most journals seem solidly rooted in the 20th century, with the most recent coverage year apparently 2000.  The search interface does indicate you can search by date, with 1665 (!) being the first year listed through 2000.   Amazing!

I also definitely appreciate the built-in flexibility for researchers.  PAO lets you refine or filter your search results by language, by journal, date, and by subject.  Marked references can be exported into EndNote or other bibliographic management software packages.

TO test drive the index, I did some sample searching totally off the top of my head.  For starters, I did a search on medieval author Christine de Pisan (alternatively spelled Christine de Pizan), and found great articles in English and in French listed under both spellings.

Christine de Pisan

(No, Periodicals Archive Online does not seem to include images.  This illustration of Christine de Pisan “lecturing men” is courtesy of Wikipedia – love it!) But the index did very quickly find a number of focused and interesting full-text research articles that I wouldn’t have been able to easily find in any other single index, save for Quick Search.

Aside: Pisan was one of the earliest women writers to be able to support herself and her children through her prolific writings.  She was also a feminist, writing her ground-breaking Le Livre de la Cité des Dames in 1405 as a protest against the misogynistic leanings in the renowned Roman de la Rose.

Well, you can see I quickly got into source material of great interest to me – which is of course the job of any good index – to get you where you want to go.  Periodicals Archive Online is so flexible and so broad, it’s likely to include materials you’re interested in too.  Give it a try and see where it leads you!

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