Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Database spotlight: Black Thought and Culture

So, as part of my continuing quest to explore and tell you about all the databases to which your library subscribes (there are a couple of hundred, after all), today's offering is Black Thought and Culture.
BLTC (which is how Alexander Street Press abbreviates it; I personally would have gone for either BTC or BTaC, but that's neither here nor there) is a great resource for students. It's intended for research in black studies, political science, American history, music literature and art. BLTC contains 1,297 sources with 1, 110 authors, covering the nonfiction works of African-Americans from colonial times to the present. It's thoroughly indexed, so I found it very easy to search and browse. You can search by author, topic, influence, gender, time period (including birth and death years), nationality, region, age, education level and religion, among other criteria.

Primary sources begin with the works of abolitionist and former slave Frederick Douglass (whose Feb. 14 birthday was one of the reasons this month was chosen as Black History Month). The collection specifically includes the works of W.E.B. Du Bois, Booker T. Washington, Langston Hughes, Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, Zora Neale Hurston, Ralph Bunche, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., Angela Davis,Thurgood Marshall, Jesse Jackson and many others. In the case of many of the major writers and historical figures, BLTC is striving to obtain their complete nonfiction works. When complete, the collection will include the first-ever complete full run of the Black Panther newspaper.

One of the goals of BLTC is to provide a wide range of previously unavailable material, including correspondence by Jackie Robinson and other athletes (I know many of you like to choose sports figures for your research topics, and sometimes have difficulty finding good sources, so remember this), letters by Ida D. Wells and interviews with Paul Robeson. Approximately 20% of this collection has never been published before!

You can find BLTC on our home page under "Articles and More," and there is also a link under the "What's New" heading. Library director Michael Martinez is constantly on the lookout for new resources for you, so check the list periodically. You never know what you'll find! And if you see a new (or old) database that you find particularly useful, let us know! We often get databases on a trial basis, so your feedback is vital.

Blog to you later!

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