Finding Academic Sources
In previous posts, I described examples of the kinds of information available in academic journals. The traditional way to access these resources would be to go to library shelves and start reading indexes. A far more effective way to reach many more sources is to use text-searchable collections of periodicals online. Because of the massive cost of compiling such electronic libraries, the best of them are subscription-only. Subscriptions are expensive and available only to institutions. Most public universities allow the general public to use their libraries, including access to electronic resources using their computers (you usually won’t be able to access from home without a valid student id and password). Below I describe two of the best resources.
Many genealogists are familiar with the HeritageQuest online products available at many libraries and institutions (and available to US Navy personnel, their families, and retirees at Navy Knowledge Online). The parent company is ProQuest, whose other products include “ProQuest – Periodicals Archive Online.” This resource is often bundled with the HeritageQuest products subscribed by many libraries, colleges, and universities. If your local library subscribes to the ProQuest family of online sources (or you can access them by other means), they are well worth browsing. Articles from paper-based publications are converted to ASCI text, with page numbers. ProQuest is readily availability at many public libraries, but the disadvantages compared to JSTOR (discussed next) include more limited content, and the articles not formatted as they were originally published (no pictures).
You can take a look at descriptions of the ProQuest products at the link below.
Although HeritageQuest is good, you will be ecstatic if you have access to a college or university that subscribes to JSTOR, the “gold standard” in electronic archiving. JSTOR provides a much wider range of titles. JSTOR scans the journal articles as images to preserve their original layout and appearance, but also allows full-text searches. Unfortunately, pictures are reproduced very poorly in the scanned page images. For a list of titles in theJSTOR history and social sciences collection, see this link: