In order to help minimize spread of the coronavirus and protect our campus community, Cowles Library is adjusting our services, hours, and building access. Read more…


How to find newspapers on Nexis Uni (formerly Lexis-Nexis)

Newspapers from your hometown or specific regions can be hard to find. Cowles Library provides “Nexis Uni” which has thousands of newspapers from around the county and the world. It isn’t always easy to “drill down” to one particular title, so we’ve provided the following short video.

Kanopy Access Changes

Kanopy logoEffective February 1, 2020, Cowles Library will begin mediating requests for streaming films on the Kanopy platform, and priority will be given to films requested for course use. This is a change from the more direct click-and-play access model the library has used since adopting Kanopy in fall 2017.

The model will continue to allow click-and-play access to already-licensed films until their license expiration date, and will allow new licensing requests only for course-related films.

A Difficult Decision

Increasing costs of the service led to our decision to adopt this new model. Knowing how popular this service is with our faculty and students, we struggled with this decision. We understand that click-and-play access is more convenient than mediated requests, and we do not enjoy placing restrictions on popular resources. The service’s growing popularity, however, has nearly doubled our annual expenditure for Kanopy films in the last year.

Kanopy’s Pricing Model

Unlike familiar streaming video platforms like Netflix and Hulu, which use a flat-rate subscription fee, Kanopy’s business model is based on the number of views per title, and four views of any film results in a charge to Cowles Library of $150 for a one-year license. This model is, unfortunately, unsustainable for the library as Kanopy becomes more popular and annual costs become unpredictable.

Many other libraries that use Kanopy are struggling with this same issue, as this Film Quarterly article illustrates.

Requesting Films

  • If you have used a Kanopy film for a course and are concerned about the license expiration, contact the library at
  • If you find an unlicensed Kanopy film you would like to use for a course, complete the request form on the Kanopy website as early as possible. In the message area, please let us know when you intend to use the film. The request form looks like this:
Example of the Kanopy request form
  • If you intend to use a film for a course, but it does not need to be streamed (e.g., you’ll show it in class vs. having students watch it on their own), contact the library at to see if we can find a DVD or Blu-ray version that may be less expensive.

Kanopy License Expirations

Here is a current list of Kanopy and Swank films the library has licensed. If you do not see a film listed here, it means that we do not own a license or our license has expired.

Wall Street Journal – Now Available at Drake

The Wall Street Journal is now available to all students, staff, and faculty at Drake University! Once you’ve signed up, you can access it directly from their web page, and once you’ve logged in, you can access it from anywhere.

Signing up is easy! First, make sure you’re logged in to Drake web email or to Then use this link: , using your Drake email as username and set up your password. That’s it! Once you have your account set up, you can also download and configure their app (see below).

Have an existing WSJ account? Look for a pop up directly under the email address box that says, “Already have an account? Sign in here.” That will enable you to reactivate your account under the Drake-sponsored membership.

This subscription gives you access to the last four years of WSJ content; if you want to access backfiles, you can search issues back to 1984 using this interface.

App authentication: Go to Profile > Log in, and enter your Drake credentials (email and password). After logging in, you have the choice to verify email or continue to WSJ (see below). It’s best to click “Send Verification” otherwise it will pester you each time you log in.

Having other issues? Call us at 271-2111 OR email:

Library Liaison meeting – Apr 2019

Below are some of the links (plus agenda and slides) from the April 11th, 2019 Library Liaison meeting.

Main takeaways

1) Please contact or  if you’re interested in exploring “textbook alternatives” for one or more of your classes. See below for more details.

2) Journal Watchlist: The journals that are not highlighted will be canceled unless usage improves. (See link, below)

3) We discussed the University of California’s decision to drop their “Big Deal” package with Elsevier and push for Open Access (OA) alternatives with the support of their faculty. We need to continue to be aware of and push back against publishers who employ “super-inflationary” price increases each year, and the effect it has on our declining budget. Publishers such as Clarivate Analytics (Web of Science)  and McGraw Hill (Access Pharmacy) are two examples. Cowles Library is currently in a “Big Deal” with Elsevier, and we have negotiated favorable terms in that contract.

Ithaka Survey:
Excellent response rate (49% of full-time faculty completed the survey), and we’re very thankful to those who took the time to complete it!

The library is analyzing the data to find opportunities to improve existing services and develop strategies and partnerships for new services.

The library will reach out to liaisons in the coming months as we develop more detailed proposals for these opportunities.

Links of general interest:

“Watchlist” of lesser-used journals and databases:

Cowles Library’s “Textbook alternative” website:

Where to find an “Open textbook”:

Open “learning object” repository (texts, syllabi, games, simulations, etc.):

Detailed meeting materials:

Expanded Elsevier content available!

Drake University’s Cowles Library is pleased to announce that we now provide access to the
majority of content on Elsesvier’s ScienceDirect platform. This includes journals, as well as
books. Elsevier offers high-quality, peer-reviewed and highly-cited content in the life sciences,
physical sciences, health sciences, and social sciences.

Access here:

To make sure you see content to which we subscribe, click on the “Access type: Subscribed and
complimentary.” You can also limit your search to journals, books, handbooks, reference
works, and/or book series.

Drake University now has access from 1995-present for a majority of the journal titles hosted
on Elsevier’s ScienceDirect platform (called: Freedom Collection 2018).  The only titles that are
excluded from our agreement are the third-party titles they are not allowed to license (Lancet,
Neuron, American Journal of Medicine, etc.).  Many of the third-party titles will still be available
to patrons via Get-It-Now (Document Delivery).

In addition, we now have access to all book content on Elsevier’s ScienceDirect platform, called the “All-Access” collection.  This collection includes books, book series, encyclopedias, handbooks, and major reference works. See below.

Alexander Downing materials

An exciting collection of documents has been uncovered belonging to Alexander G. Downing (1854-1932), pioneer Iowan and life member of the Drake University Board of Trustees.   Our Special Collections’ copy of “Downing’s Civil War Diary” (c1916, edited by Drake History Professor, Olynthus B. Clark) reveals that on June 24, 1865, Downing took leave to Louisville, Kentucky.  The University Archives has discovered the original, handwritten pass he carried in hand during that journey.  Other contents include letters thanking Downing for his monetary contributions to Drake, one signed by President Hill M. Bell, the other by Francis Marion Drake.   The digitized collection is accessible here.



New Resources for Foreign Language: Mango Languages / Transparent Language Online

Whether you want to learn a new foreign language or practice a familiar one, there are two new databases to help you: Mango Languages and Transparent Language Online.

Mango Languages is an interactive database that provides lesson plans for 72 different languages. To track your progress, create an account. Mango conveniently tracks your learning yours, the courses you studies, and the lessons you’ve completed. Each lesson begins with conversational goals and grammar goals.


Transparent Language Online is a language-learning service offering over 90 language options. Note: users must create a free account to use (click “Sign up” to create an account). To create an account, you must be on campus and connected to Drake Wifi.

Literature Resource Center and LitFinder (Gale)

Literature Resource Center (LRC) is one of several new literature databases Cowles Library has added to help support all types of literary research. These databases expand our online access to literary criticism, critical reviews, author biographies, along with thousands of poems, plays, and works of short fiction. LRC includes biographical information about authors and literary criticism of authors’ works from dozens of sources. LRC covers a wide range of literature–not just fiction–from all time periods and from around the world.

LRC also includes several tools that help you establish the context surrounding authors and their works.

  • Topic Finder is a graphical way of displaying the context of your term, which can lead to connections you may not have otherwise considered.
  • Term Frequency shows the trend of one or more terms over time.
  • Criticism Over Time (image, below) displays a timeline of literary criticism for a particular work and allows you to jump right to critical essays from a given year.

Criticism Over Time in Literature Resource Center

You can use LRC in conjunction with LitFinder, which provides access to the full text of thousands of poems and short stories. Visit our LRC Research Guide and LitFinder Research Guide for more information and video tutorials.

Cowles Library adds dozens of new resources in 2017!

Cowles Library has added dozens of new resources in almost every subject category of interest to Drake students and researchers. We have created a full list, plus specialized lists based on major/discipline (and interdisciplinary, too!) Check them out at:

Health and Wellness Resource Center (Gale)

The Health and Wellness Resource Center by Gale is a consumer health resource with access to many full-text health science databases which contain more than 1,000 medical journals, periodicals, and articles from more than 2,200 general-interest publications, medical newspapers, newsletters and news feeds.  Additionally, this resource has streaming videos with transcripts from Healthology, Illumistream, NBC and ORLive.

Most importantly though, it has access to a variety of electronic full-text dictionaries and encyclopedias including:

  1. The Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine
  2. The Gale Encyclopedia of Surgery and Medical Tests
  3. The Gale Encyclopedia of Genetic Disorders
  4. The Gale Encyclopedia of Cancer
  5. The Medical and Health Information Directory
  6. Medical Health Information Directory
  7. Merriam-Webster’s Medical Desk Dictionary
  8. various Thomson Healthcare and Micromedex drug guides.


However, this database is partially searchable in SuperSearch.

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