Dangerous Liaisons - UW Libraries

June 16, 2017

New Resources: Checking in with the Format Collections

Kian Flynn

As a liaison to departments in the social sciences, my first instinct when helping students find sources for their papers is often to turn to UW Libraries Search or a specific scholarly article database, like Academic Search Complete or PAIS. But often a question will come up that’s better served, or complemented, by a format collection in our GMM (Gov Pubs, Maps, Microforms & Newspapers) unit, and I have to shift gears.

The GMM collections often come from a mix of free and proprietary sources, and, since individual articles, maps, and documents are not always represented in UW Libraries Search, half the battle is remembering what we have access to, and for what time periods.

Fortunately, our access to collections grew this past term with several key additions that hopefully will prove useful when you’re hunting down pesky primary sources. Here’s a rundown of what’s new in GMM:

  • The Oregonian (online, fully-searchable coverage from 1861-present via Access World News; image format for 1861-1987)

This is a big addition to the Libraries’ local Pacific Northwest newspapers collection, and includes coverage of events such as the opening of the Astoria-Megler bridge between Oregon and Washington in 1966:

Astoria bridge

Astoria bridge opening, July 29, 1966

Another prominent addition to our online Pacific Northwest newspaper coverage.

The AJC (formerly the Atlanta Constitution) is the first major southern paper that we have online access for back to the 19th century. This coverage will provide students with a southern perspective of major events in American history including the Civil Rights Era, and fills in gaps in our microfilm holdings of the paper for the early 20th century and 1970s. The Atlanta Constitution front page, the morning after the March on Selma:

March on Selma

March on Selma, 3/8/1965

  • Japan Times (online, fully-searchable coverage from 1897-2016 in image format)

On the international front, we now have the Japan Times, the largest English-language newspaper in Japan, back to 1897. This coverage includes the World War II era and this front page following the attack on Pearl Harbor:

Pearl Harbor, 12/8/1941

Pearl Harbor, 12/8/1941

  • GovInfo (one-stop shop for free public access to more than a million official publications from all three branches of government)

The Government Publishing Office (GPO) is currently transitioning from fdsys.gov to a new, more streamlined interface, govinfo.gov. Govinfo.gov will continue the mission to provide free public access, content management, and digital preservation for government information. Govinfo.gov is currently in beta, but you can test it out here the next time you’re tracking down the latest from Congress (including the full-text of Paul Ryan and Nancy Pelosi’s ‘We are United” remarks on the floor of the House on Wednesday) or the President. Fdsys.gov and govinfo.gov provide free access to government documents back to the early 1990s. Older documents are available via subscription databases and in print.

Last month, the UN unveiled the UN Digital Library, which provides a single access point to current and historical UN information in six languages. Content is organized by UN body, agency, and document type, and includes full-text access to draft/final resolutions, committee reports, meeting records, and much more.

Data-Planet offers access to statistical data from a broad array of governmental and private sources like the U.S. Census Bureau, National Science Foundation, United Nations, and Zillow Real Estate. Data-Planet provides a basic mapping function and lets users download shapefiles of any datasets that have geospatial data. Take a look at some example maps created with Data-Planet data from a DL blog post earlier this month.