Posts Tagged ‘Victorian’

Who Wants Yesterday’s Papers?

Thursday, February 14th, 2008

About Timothy Hackman

Librarian for English & Linguistics, University of Maryland Libraries. Member of LES since 2006.

I had my first library instruction session of the semester last week, and it was a doozy! The 400-level English course was called “Victorian Bodies,” and the focus is the ways in which discoveries in science (and pseudo-science) influenced Victorian literature. The students’ assignment was to find some articles from Victorian periodicals on things like phrenology, mesmerism, evolution, etc. Let me tell you, undergraduates are NOT enthused when you tell them they may have to become familiar with that Victorian-era beast, the microfiche reader.

I did come across a handful of electronic resources that proved useful for this class’s assignments. The databases 19th Century Masterfile (Paratext) and Periodicals Index Online (Chadwyck-Healey) are terrific resources for finding citations, and it’s relatively easy to copy and paste periodical titles over to WorldCat or your library’s catalog to find holdings. Periodicals Index Online also includes some links to JSTOR, so you may get lucky enough to find full-text that way.

A couple of excellent (free) web resources: the Internet Library of Early Journals has digital images for six periodicals, including the Annual Review and Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine. Science in the Nineteenth Century Periodical has no full-text, but provides excellent indexing for sixteen 19th-century titles.

And taking the quick-and-easy route (which undergraduate students would never do), there’s the Undergraduate Victorian Studies Online Teaching Anthology at the University of Minnesota Libraries, which has done everyone the favor of scanning some Victorian-era articles in three topic areas: “Condition of Women,” “Empire,” and (lucky for my students) “Science, Evolution and Eugenics.”

If you’re interested in the other resources (electronic, print and microform) I identified from my library, here’s the course web page.

How ‘bout you? Had any difficult instruction sessions lately that led you to interesting resources? You can leave a comment, or send your story to a Publications Committee member to be posted to the blog.