National Geographic Virtual Library
WOW! That was my reaction when I first opened this database containing the entire archive of National Geographic Magazine from 1880 to the present – an amazing 120 years. Every page is included, so you can view photographs, maps, and even advertisements. It is an invaluable research tool, but also a wonderful place in which to lose yourself for hours (which I did!)
Where can you find it?
National Geographic Virtual Library is available from the UST libraries’ homepage. Under SEARCH DATABASES, choose either Databases by Title (N), or Databases by Subject. If you are off-campus, you can still access the database from the libraries’ homepage by using your student login.
When would you use it?
This database would be a fantastic resource for just about any research assignment. National Geographic Magazine is not considered to be an academic or scholarly journal, but it is certainly an authoritative source. For instance, I found a terrific article with stunning photography about Terra-Cotta Warriors in Color (December 2012) – Art History students take note!
How do you use it?
The homepage shows a selection of stories from different years. On the day I accessed the database, a featured article caught my attention from October 1952 called “Fish Men Explore a New World Undersea” by Capt. Jacques-Yves Cousteau. The article described the invention of the Aqua Lung and the development of underwater photography.
The database has a Browse Magazine page that allows you to view the cover of each issue. You can scroll down the page to travel through time! The Browse window also lets you narrow your view by date.
A search box in the upper right of the home page can be used to enter keywords. An Advanced Search feature lets you filter your search by Content Type (articles, images, advertisements), by Image Type (cartoon, map, chart), and by date. The results page is sorted by Content Type, and contains additional filters. Click on an article title to view the scanned version – I found the full-screen mode was the best way to read an article. Tools on the viewer allow you to print or email the article. There is also a citation generator (be careful!) and a list of related topics.
From the homepage, click on Term Frequency to use a nifty analytical tool. The tool allows you to enter a word or phrase, such as “global warming” to see a graph showing that National Geographic first used the term in 1983, and that the term was used most in 2007. Click on the graph nodes to see actual articles containing your term.
From the homepage, click on Browse Magazines. Using the Filter by Date tool, narrow to your birth month and year. Click on the magazine cover to open a viewer. Now you can page through the magazine issue to see articles and advertisements from the month and year you were born.
This blog post is from Maggie McElrah at the Jamestown Community College. Thank you, Maggie.