Archive for February, 2017

Admitted Student Agenda 2017

(15-20 minutes of library, 10 minutes of ITS, 20 minutes of questions)

  • Video
  • The University Library:
    • Do you use a library now?
    • What do you use it for?
    • What resources do we have?
  • College Myths
    • College is about being independent
      • Ask a librarian
    • Everything is online so it isn’t necessary to go to the library
      • over 400,000 volumes
      • DVDs, magazines, popular reading books, audiobooks
    • You only need a reference librarian if you get stuck in your research
  • Library resources:
    • Speaking Center
    • Writing Workshop
    • Tutoring
    • 24/7 space
    • No Fines
  • Websites:
  • Cowles Library Tour
    • 2-3pm

Historical Abstracts

This post is part of a series of “Resources and Services” posts from the Faculty of Cowles Library.

Historical Abstracts is one of the many databases the Drake community has access to through Cowles Library. If you are looking for research articles on non-American history, this should be one of your first stops.

Doing historical research of Canada or the United States? You should check out America: History and Life.

Looking for articles on the history of anywhere else in the world? You should use Historical Abstracts.  Historical Abstracts indexes and gives abstracts for over 2000 journals. It includes key historical journals from almost every major country as well as a great selection of journals in the social sciences and humanities that are of interest to researchers of history.

A few questions I’ve heard over the years from users of this resource:

Q: What is an Abstract?
A: An abstract is a summary of an article. Historical Abstracts gives summaries and index terms to the articles in its database. Users can read the abstracts to see if the article is something they are interested in.

Q: Why isn’t there full-text available for all of the articles I find in this database?
A: That’s a long story, mostly it’s because of expense. We can get you any article you find in the database. If there isn’t full text, click on Check for Full Text @ Drake . This may lead you to the full text article. If it does not, it will lead you to Interlibrary Loan.

Q: What is Interlibrary Loan?
A: We have another library send us a copy of the article for you. For more information go to Interlibrary Loan 

Any questions about using Historical Abstracts? Just ask!

ProQuest Black Studies Center

This post is part of a series of “Resources and Services” posts from the Faculty of Cowles Library.

Are you interested in researching contemporary or historic topics related to African-Americans, the African Diaspora or Africa? Then take time to explore the Black Studies Center, a fully cross-searchable gateway to Black Studies that includes scholarly essays, recent periodicals, historical newspaper articles, reference books, and much more. This dynamic resources includes four collections:

  1. Schomburg Studies on the Black Experience, which features Interdisciplinary essays written by leading scholars on the Black Experience, audiovisual resources, and a timeline of key events in a variety of themes that link to resources in this database.
  2. The International Index to Black periodicals, which covers scholarly and popular Black Studies journals, including full text for many titles. It also includes The Marshall Index,a guide to black periodicals for the years 1940-1946.
  3. Historic Black Newspapers, including the full digital files of The Chicago Defender (1910-1975) and The Daily Defender (1956-1975)
  4. Black Literature Index, which features over 70,000 bibliographic citations for fiction, poetry and literary reviews published in 110 black periodicals and newspapers between 1827-1940.

The Black Studies combines all four of these databases so users may choose to search all four at once or search a single one.


List of All Resources and Services announcements

Most popular:

1) New York Times Digital Subscription
2) Chronicle of Higher Education

Catching Up

What to do on (yet another) rainy Saturday afternoon in Hamburg? I managed to get all my errands run this morning while it was merely cloudy. Now the showers have returned so rather than venturing into the damp before I have to, I thought that it would be a good time to formulate another post.

This past week, I finally succeeded in taking the bus tour of the city (Stadtrundfahrt) that I had been promising myself I would take so I could get my bearings here. The pressure to accomplish this was increased due to the fact that a cousin of mine is coming to visit and he no doubt expects me to not get us lost. I took the train and a subway line to the Hamburg waterfront on the Elbe River and found waiting for me a red double decker bus. Boarding the vehicle, I surrendered my ticket and was given a pair of airline-type headphones. Once I took a seat, I plugged them in and turned the dial on the panel to “English.” I opted for the headphones because my German is fair at best and I thought I would get better information if it were in my native language. That may not have been a good choice since the English guide was pre-recorded and was more of a highlight reel, a “best-of” program. I probably should have struggled with the live-action German guide.

Off we went, first through the harbor district where an entirely new residential area has been constructed where warehouses once stood. The ground was raised 20 plus feet so it would be protected from flooding, an ever increasing risk due to climate change. The Elbe is being hemmed in by new higher flood walls, too, for the same reason. The city government realized some time ago that a city center devoted only to corporate offices meant a dead city twelve hours a day, so they began building AFFORDABLE housing and amenities (shops, services, infrastructure) to support it. It’s based principles of sustainability so all buildings are energy efficient and public transport is the rule. The gizmos you see on the roof in the photo below are wind powered generators–a new generation configuration.

Hamburg Harbor City


The city is still  major port; more than 100,000 cargo and cruise ships pass through Hamburg’s harbor each year. This year Germany had its largest budget SURPLUS in modern history. It apparently pays to invest in infrastructure. Do you think the Trumpster and “fellow Republicans” are listening or paying attention? Three guesses.

Harbor View


Of course, there’s lots of “old” Hamburg to be seen as well. The city has been around for more than a thousand years and while the original settlement is long gone, there is still much evidence of its history. Great sections of Hamburg have been destroyed over the years. There was a “great fire” (like London’s) that took out much of the original merchants’ area in the 1800s; there has been the occasional flood and then there was the small matter of WWII and the firebombing of the city that was carried out. Despite this, as I said, there’s a lot of “old town” left. The grand Rathaus or town hall, dating to the 19th century, is standing, as are a number of churches and public buildings. The center of the city has a number of pedestrian areas and shopping streets. While modern skyscrapers stretch above many streets, the general sense of Hamburg is that most of the buildings are of modest height and, rather than being torn down when they have outlived their original purposes, they are renovated or remodeled and put to other uses. The old central post office, seen below, is now home to offices for doctors, lawyers and other professionals as well as a gym.

Old Central Post Office


Then there are the churches, of course. Everybody comes to Europe to see the churches. St. Michael’s Church is THE Hamburg landmark. Destroyed twice, to the foundations, since it was built in the 1800s and compulsively rebuilt and restored each time.

St. Michael’s Church


Oxford Scholarship Online E-books

Oxford Scholarship Online includes the full-text of books published by Oxford University Press in 16 broad subject areas;

 Biology; Business and Management; Economics and Finance; History; Linguistics; Literature; Mathematics; Music; Neuroscience; Philosophy; Political Science; Psychology; Public Health and Epidemiology; Religion; Social Work and Sociology

These scholarly books date back to the 1980s and new books are added during each year.  After putting a topic in the search box and getting a list of results, be sure to check the availability in the left margin because some books have restricted access.


Oxford Handbooks Online

Oxford Handbooks Online

OHO provides lengthy, in-depth review articles covering several broad subject areas written by leading scholars in their respective fields.   The library currently has online access to those handbooks that have been published in the following seven subject areas;  Business & Management, History, Literature, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology and Religion.   Each of the broad subject areas has content from handbooks that have been published within each field.   The handbooks are similar in type to subject specific encyclopedias.  The entire set contains over 20,000 articles in over 530 handbooks that address the key points surrounding the past development, current situation and future outlook  of each topic covered, as well as extensive bibliographies at the end of each essay.  The library currently has 71 of the Oxford handbooks on our shelves in the form of print books, which typically range from 600-800 pages in length.

A user can either do a single search across all subject areas or just within one selected subject area.   There is an advanced search option that enables one to search by specific fields, rather than full-text, such as; abstract, author, title, subject, bibliography and publication date.  The results are sorted by relevance, but can also be sorted by title, author or publication date.   All of the results are available in full-text.   For instance, if you search for “Presidential elections” in the Political Science module, you will retrieve over 1000 full-text articles and 3 complete handbooks that relate to that topic.  This resource is good for an extensive overview of any topic included in one of the seven subject areas mentioned above.

Hints of Spring

Tuesday, February 21, 2017


Today seems like a good day to write. Overcast, gray skies are just not conducive to prose production, at least not for me. For Edgar Allen Poe, perhaps, or Steven King, darkness and gloom might just do the trick, but it doesn’t wind my watch. So, today looked like it was going to be another one of those. A peek out through the curtains when I awoke revealed rain-spattered windows and a stiff wind. It rained all last night and there must have been some wind, too, because the sidewalks and streets were littered with dead tree branches–anything from twigs to baby forearm diameter–and dotted with puddles of considerable depth. However, by the time I set out for my office at the center, the clouds had broken and patches of blue were everywhere overhead. It’s March cold, though; the wind has a bite but the grass in the parks is definitely turning green. No flowers yet, but there are the beginnings of buds on the trees. It almost made me want to blow off the whole office thing and be outside, but some sense of duty reined me in.

Tomorrow, finally, I have arranged to take a tour bus around the city. I tried to do this last week, but I misunderstood the system. I had been under the impression that the tours were all run by one company and that they commenced from the main train station. Turns out, there are at least three companies and the one I had signed on with departed from a street corner halfway across town and I was unable to get there in time. They were kind enough to let me re-book for tomorrow, though, so I’ll make sure I leave in plenty of time to get there. I’ve never done this sort of touristy thing before but since I’m here for a while, I thought it might be an easy way to get my bearings. In addition, my cousin is coming from the States to visit in a couple of weeks and I want to be able to show him around and this is a good way to get started.

One final story–which you librarians might appreciate: I have a University of Hamburg library card which allows me to use the facilities and to borrow books, among other things. Well, I needed a book for one of my projects and requested it online. The library here is “closed stacks” so the deal is that you place your order and when you know the book has been retrieved by a trusty student worker, you go to the borrowing section, a big room with lots of shelves. On the shelves are the books ready for loan. Using part of your ID number, you find out which shelf you should go to and then, using another part of the number, you find your book. You then take book and ID to a machine which reads the RFID strip embedded in the book somewhere and the bar code on your ID and off you go.

That went fine, but due to my nervousness, I ran into a problem. Before you enter the area where the books are held, you are required to place your coat, briefcase, beverage container, etc. in a free locker which you then lock using a PIN. There are four or five rows of these little cabinets, about five high and twelve or fifteen long. Each aisle is color coded and each locker has a name on it–a city name, an author, a country. Works fine unless you forget which locker you put your stuff in. Yup. I tried a bunch, thinking I was in the right aisle and in the right tier, but no luck. What an idiot! So, off I go to the front desk and ask for help. The folks at the desk apparently had experienced such requests before and they were quite helpful, if a bit annoyed. The guy who came to assist me opened about a dozen lockers, none of which contained my stuff. In desperation, I tried a couple of unlikely candidates, and voila! There’s my stuff. Enough embarrassment for the next three months. But the sun was still out and I walked home in the unfamiliar light with a new book to read.

Strasbourg: City of Fattened Geese

It’s amazing. Really. Really, really amazing. I’m on my first research trip since arriving in Hamburg and I continue to marvel at what one can do while one is getting from one place to another in Europe. This trip underscores that sense, yet again.

At present, I’m sitting in a very comfortable train car, well-lighted, large windows, quiet and with more space than airline coach seats. We are whipping through western Germany in pitch dark at more than 200 km per hour and I’m composing an entry to the blog—which I COULD upload directly to Cowles Library’s web page, if I chose to do so. The trip from Hamburg to Strasbourg is almost exactly five hours in each direction and at 125-130 MPH, that means about 500-600 miles covered. Beats driving that distance in a day. And did I mention that all the fast trains (ICE-the Intercity expresses) have FREE WiFi? Meanwhile, we think self-driving cars are the way of the future. Well, we’ll see…

Anyway, Strasbourg is in Alsace, one of those areas of Europe that has been fought over like a bone for centuries. One minute it’s French, the next it’s German. Now it’s French again. Lots of French and German place names mixed in together. The city is rather small (pop. ca. 280,000) but bustling. The old town is situated on an island in the middle of the Ill River. It’s not much of a river, more like the Des Moines or the Raccoon than the Mississippi. It meanders a bit but is contained nowadays by concrete and stone walls and buckled in place by numerous bridges which connect the island to the newer parts of town. To the east, it feeds into the Rhine. The city is perhaps best known for its påte de foie gras, the cooked, macerated livers of overfed geese. Right up there with caviar as one of those foods that we all know about but can’t afford. I didn’t see to many geese; maybe they’ve all given their livers, or maybe they were in hiding.

The buildings are grand and solid; the streets are a mix of narrow and crooked and wide and fairly straight. The city is also home to the European Parliament, which sits on a site a bit closer to the edge of town toward the Rhine. Also on the east, just off the island, are a number of stately public buildings surrounding a large green area: the Place de la Republique. It’s there that I found the National and University Library Strasbourg and the object of my visit, a single example of Arabic block printing that needed to be examined. The library has 3 million volumes and is, according to Daniel Bourneman, who is the Director of Special Collections and my shepherd during my visit, the second largest library In France. Their archives are awesome in terms of storage: state of the art environmental conditions, security, and display and study facilities. Built in 1895, the interior of the building was completely modernized in 2012. When I visited today, students and other readers were already lined up in the morning chill waiting for the 10 AM opening.

I didn’t have a lot of time to explore, but I got a sense of the place and its rhythms. On Sunday evening, for example, after arriving at around four in the afternoon and settling in to my hotel room, I wandered out to see how far it was to the library. (I had only a two-hour window to study the block print and wanted to be on time for my appointment.) Having done that, and discovering that it was a fifteen-minute walk door to door, I went looking for a restaurant so I could eat dinner. I headed back toward the train station since I had seen a number of possibilities near there. To my surprise, virtually all of them were closed. My first thought was that it was Sunday so of course they’d be closed. On the point of desperation—I hadn’t had more than a cup of coffee since breakfast—I went into the first place that was open. The young woman who greeted me from behind the bar asked if I wanted something to drink. In my awful French I said no, I was hungry and wanted to eat something. Sorry, she replied. The kitchen is closed. My stomach growled. But, she continued, it opens at 6:30, so you can dine then. Relieved, I decided to have a glass of wine and warm up, glad that I might come back in an hour and a half or so and fuel up. When I did return later, lo and behold, there were restaurants open everywhere! So another cultural lesson learned. And able to sleep on a full stomach.

Oxford Bibliographies Online

Oxford Bibliographies Online 

This resource provides annotated bibliographies on a variety of topics within five broad subject areas; Atlantic History, Education, Music, Psychology and Public Health.   The bibliographies include a range of sources from Reference works, books, journals, data sets and textbooks that have been peer reviewed by scholars in the field.   You can select one of the five subject areas to search or search across all five subjects at once.    For example, if you search for slavery in the Atlantic History category you get a list of 213 different topics relating to slavery, with each topic providing a bibliography of sources.   For each source listed in the bibliography there is a link to see if Drake has access to this source in print or online, or if you would need to request it on ILL.  The list of sources for each topic is updated to reflect current scholarship.

Education Source

This post is part of a series of “Resources and Services” posts from the Faculty of Cowles Library.

Education Source is a database Cowles Library subscribes to that includes materials on all levels of education to our users. From early childhood to higher education, this database provides full text of over 1,900 journals and citations for over 5.5 million articles.


If you’re interested in looking at more specialized scholarship, Education Source collects work on different specialties like health education and multilingual education. Whether you’re interested in looking at education explicitly or a topic that is adjacent to education, Education Source can provide you with a unique perspective.


This resource is partially included in SuperSearch so you can get an idea of what’s included there but to get access to all of its resources you’ll want to access Education Source directly through the article databases link on our website.

List of All Resources and Services announcements

Most popular:

1) New York Times Digital Subscription
2) Chronicle of Higher Education

Scroll to Top