Slavery & Anti-Slavery: A Transnational Archive

The PSC Library recently acquired access to a new online research database! The new database, Slavery & Anti-Slavery: A Transnational Archive, contains an enormous amount of documents about slavery, the slave trade, emancipation and abolition movements, not only in the United States, but throughout the world. According to the publisher, the archive contains over 12,000 books, 71 manuscript collections, Supreme Court records and briefs in 377 cases, along with chronologies, bibliographies, and more.

To get to the database, first go to the PSC Library website, then click on the “All Databases” link to go to the database list.
Click on "All Databases" on PSC website

Once you are on the databases list page, click on “S,” then on Slavery & Anti-Slavery: A Transnational Archive.
Click on S then on Slavery & Anti-Slavery

Once you are in the database, you have a number of options. You could simply type some keywords into the search box, or you could try an advanced search, which will give you options to limit results by publication date, source type, and other categories.

One of the more interesting ways to begin if you don’t have a particular topic already in mind is to start with the Research Tools section.
Research Tools section

Using the Research Tools link, you can learn about the the various collections that make up the databases, which tells you a bit more about their contents. For example, the image above shows the contents of one of the collections, namely documents concerning slavery and its abolition in the Danish West Indies (now known as the US Virgin Islands). If you have any questions about accessing this research database or using it, feel free to contact the PSC librarians!

EBSCO eBook Academic Collection

ACCESS EBSCO EBOOKS

As many of you know, the PSC Library offers access to a huge number of eBooks. While some of these are fiction, the vast majority are non-fiction titles that cover all the difference academic subjects. In fact, even though the library holds around 30,000 physical, printed books, we provide access to over 100,000 eBooks!

Recently, the library switched its main eBook provider, so I’d like to go over some of the basics of the new system. The quickest way to find eBooks is to use OneSearch on the main library website, just as you would to find other library resources.

OneSearch

Let’s say you searched for “ebola.” Your results page might look like this:

search results

As you can see, the results for this search include a print book for the first result. But in the third result, you see the title Ebola: Essentials, Response Efforts, and Prevention Issues. That book is an eBook, as indicated in the text under the book cover image. Also note the link that says “PDF Full Text.” If you click on that, you will be taken to a page where you can read the book in its entirety.

ebook reader page

Note the arrows in the middle of the page, which allow you to advance to the next page, or go back to a previous page.

ebook reader page arrows

You can also click on the Table of Contents link, expanding sections by clicking on the “+” boxes. By doing this, you can link to individual sections of the book. toc

If you would like to send a link to an eBook to your professor or other student, make sure to use the “Permalink” button at the top of the page and copy the URL that opens up when you click on it.

ebook reader permalink

From this page, you can also easily get a citation for the eBook. Simply click on the “Cite” button at top, scroll down to find the citation format used in your class, and copy and paste the citation into your document. Remember to double-check the citation for accuracy! While this tool is a great time-saver, it is not perfect, and is no substitute for an understanding of citation practices.

ebook reader cite

As you can see in the images above, there are also buttons that let you save and email pages. You can use these to remember important pages, and to send yourself a link to eBooks in which you have found useful information.

Finally, if you would simply like to browse the available eBooks by subject, click here, and you’ll be brought to this page:

ebook page

You can also get to this page from the main library website, by clicking on “Find,” in the menu, and then “All Databases.”

find all databases

On the page that opens, click on “E” and then “eBook Academic Collection.”

az ebooks

As with most PSC library resources, these eBooks are available off-campus. If you use OneSearch from off-campus, remember to click on the guest access link at the top of the screen, where you will be asked to enter your login information.

Feel free to ask a librarian if you have any questions, or if you’d like a tutorial on eBooks or other resources!

Shark Week!

Shark Week starts this Saturday, June 26, on the Discovery Channel, and after nearly 30 years, has become a summer TV staple. Though criticized in the past for truly unbelievable programming, one thing remains true: people are fascinated by sharks. Representing a very real but rare danger, stories about sharks and shark attacks regularly attract fans.

Starting in the 1970s with the publication of Jaws, and later the hit Spielberg film, shark stories — fictional and real — have captured the world’s imagination. While these stories are exciting, and sometimes silly, it’s impossible to deny the true power and majesty of the creatures themselves.

Take some time this summer to learn a little more about sharks with these titles from the library. And don’t worry: there are no sharks in Lake Michigan. Probably.

shark1

shark2 shark3

In Memoriam: Umberto Eco

Out of all the deaths of famous and somewhat famous people that have occurred recently, the one that personally hit me the most was that of Umberto Eco.

When I was around 13 or 14, I read his novel Foucault’s Pendulum, which I had found serendipitously in a bookstore. At the time, I was fascinated by all the historical references, and to the conspiracies and secret societies which it described and satirized. To this day I still think it’s a great satire of what happens when you really jump down the rabbit hole of conspiracy theorizing. And from a literary perspective, the writing in this, and other books of his that I would later read, strike me as just the right mix of erudition and accessibility. You enjoy reading Eco, not only for the story, but for the use of language, which comes across even in translation from Italian. You also inevitably learn something.

Many years later when I heard about Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code, which tread upon some of the same ground as Foucault’s Pendulum, I was annoyed that such an inferior work could enjoy so much more success.

Eco had an amazing ability to make the past seem like a living, breathing reality, something that really comes across best in the other three novels pictures above:  The Name of the Rose, The Island of the Day Before, and Baudolino. The first is a murder-mystery set in a medieval monastery, with a Sherlock Holmes-type monk sent in to investigate. The Island of the Day Before is concerned, among other things, with the 17th and 18th century race to discover an accurate way to measure longitude, with all its immense implications for transoceanic navigation. Baudolino is about a peasant boy sold off to the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, who eventually goes off in search of the legendary Kingdom of Prester John, and after wandering through a variety of fantastical lands, ends up in Constantinople while it is being sacked by the Fourth Crusade.

Of course, as well known as he was for his literary works, Eco was also a scholar, working most often in literary theory and “semiotics,” the study of signs and signification–a field in which he was a central figure. This scholarship certainly informed his approach to literature, and to some extent it’s no surprise that his earliest novel, The Name of the Rose, would deal with questions of medieval philosophy, the subject of his earliest scholarly work. At the same time, his scholarly concerns never seemed to displace the artistry or fun in his fiction works, something that isn’t true of many figures.

Thanks for the stories, Mr. Eco.

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Harper Lee, 1926-2016

Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird and its sequel Go Set a Watchman, died today at the age of 89.

A native of Monroeville, Alabama, Lee was 34 when To Kill a Mockingbird was published in 1960. The success of the novel, and its immediate connection to the current political and cultural climates, led quickly to the production of a film adaptation starring Gregory Peck. The movie was released in 1962, and received 3 Academy Awards, including Best Actor for Peck and Best Screenplay Adaptation. The book was also the recipient of a number of awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1961.

In 1964, Lee declined to give any more interviews, citing her exhaustion with answering the same questions again and again. She also wrote no more novels. When it was announced that a sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird would be published in 2015, questions were raised about its authenticity, and Lee’s actual intentions.

Harper Lee was one of the 20th century’s most renowned and celebrated authors. To read her novels, watch the film version of To Kill a Mockingbird, or learn more about her, check out one of the items below.

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Check These Books Out!

Need something to read between classes?  The Prairie State College Library is always acquiring new books for our patrons.  The selections below, and many others, can be found on the shelves located outside our Quiet Reading Room.