Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Pop Culture Universe, or The Database that Ate My Tuesday Afternoon

One of the perks of my job here at the library is the opportunity to explore different databases during my downtime. Maybe that sounds like about as much fun as balancing your checkbook? You might be surprised. Take Popular Culture Universe for example. It contains more than 300 full-text volumes of material covering pop culture over the last nine decades. Music, fashion, entertainment...if it caused a buzz anytime from the 1920s through today, there's a good chance you'll find it here. Need a catchy topic for your Marketing class? How about researching the way Madonna has reworked her image over the years? Need to find out about the way women's roles change during wartime? Why not look up Rosie the Riveter? You'll find serious and scholarly research on PCU; it's no TMZ or Perez Hilton-type gossip site. I especially like the overview page for each decade, with links to the major films, television series, books, music, plays, fads, products, discoveries, sports and news events. It would be a good starting point for any student who wanted to know what life was like during that time.

There is the danger of distraction, of course. Start researching one topic about the 1960s, and you may easily find yourself surfing the database for hours reading about "The Andy Griffith Show", for example. Just speaking from my own experience here. It's not a bad way to procrastinate!

You can take a virtual tour of the site here.

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