home Databases & Electronic Resources, Resources and Services Database Spotlight: Slavery, Abolition, and Social Justice

Database Spotlight: Slavery, Abolition, and Social Justice

Slavery, Abolition, and Social Justice is a database that provides primary source documents related to the slave trade and to subsequent abolition efforts. The database covers a period from 1490 all the way up to 2007. Rather than just focusing on the slavery of the past, this database looks at the ramifications of that slavery as well as on modern-day slavery. They have 16 areas of study within the database and all of them can be thoroughly explored in their “Themes” section of the database. This is a great place to start your research because you can look at important documents related to each particular theme while also placing them in context through explanation as well as through the “Essays” section of the database. In the “Essays” section of the database several essays written using the sources in the database are gathered; they are all written by leading authorities in their areas and can be a great resource to get a better understanding of the complex issues that this database deals with.

Another great place to get a general understanding of the depth and breadth of the slave trade is the interactive chronology. This timeline looks at the slave trade all over the world from 1492 up to 2007. Though the timeline isn’t as interactive as I’d like it to be, it’s still a great way to get an idea as to the span of slavery, both in terms of its continuation and its effects.

Let’s say that you’re looking for something a bit more specific in your research though. This database is still great for that with its amazing Advanced Search. This Advanced Search is one of the most comprehensive that I’ve seen with the ability to filter your search by Region, by Theme, and even by the Library that provided the document. Given how prevalent slavery has been throughout history, it is extremely useful to be able to narrow your search by region and time period so that you aren’t searching through 500+ years of documents.

Basically, if you are looking into the slave trade and its effects on society, then Slavery, Abolition, and Social Justice is the database for you.

Searching Tips and Tricks:

  • Not sure what to search for? Use the Popular Search tab!
  • Use phrase searching if you’re looking for a specific phrase, this means typing “Harriet Tubman” instead of Harriet Tubman. This ensures your search will only pull up results where those two words are next to each other.
  • Wildcard: ?
  • Truncation: *
  • The search engine won’t automatically find plurals, so make sure you use that truncation!

Database Spotlight: iPoll

iPoll is a database that focuses on public opinion polls and allows those polls to be searched in a question format, this makes this database extremely useful when trying to gather data about how public opinion has changed over time. This is made even easier when the time period that iPoll covers is taken into account, iPoll was started in the 1930s which is when surveys were first starting to be used for research. This means that you can track how public attitudes have changed on issues from the 1930s to now, for example, I searched the term “global warming” between the years of 1994-1995. I then found a question that asked whether or not people thought that global warming was a problem now or would be a problem in x number of years. The largest group that gave an answer said that they believed that global warming would be a serious problem in 50+ years, 24% of respondents believed this. I ran the same search between the years of 2014-2015 and found a survey that had asked the exact same question, on this survey 50% of respondents believed that global warming was causing an immediate problem. What a difference 20 years makes.

Tracking trends is just one thing that iPoll can do, through it you can download data, look at entire surveys, and see the breakdown of the respondents based on factors such as political affiliation, gender, and region. Sadly, this last feature isn’t available for all of the surveys, but all surveys will give a simple bar graph breakdown of the responses. If you really need the breakdown of the respondents, then you can just choose the limiter iPoll plus and you will automatically cut down your results to only the ones that have that data.

 iPoll is a great resource for public opinions in the US and internationally, and with all of the options available, it should be at the top of your list when looking into public opinion.

Tips and Tricks:

-When you first enter the database, there is a list of trending topics to the left.

-Boolean Searching is available

-Wildcard/truncation is %

-Selecting a topic allows you to refine your search even more by only searching your keyword in surveys about that subject.

The iPOLL database provides access to nearly half a million public opinion survey questions on a wide range of topics.
home Databases & Electronic Resources, Resources and Services Database Spotlight: SWANK Database Trial

Database Spotlight: SWANK Database Trial

Swank Digital Campus Top 100 Films – Trial

This trial for Swank Digital Campus Top 100 Films provides unlimited, 24/7 access to the top 100 requested films, playable on a browser or a mobile device. Popular and award-winning films available include Do The Right Thing, Othello, Rebel Without a Cause, The King's Speech and The Social Network, among others. A plugin may be required for use on certain browsers. Trial ends May 1, 2016.

Proquest’s Historical Newspapers

The MU Libraries now subscribes to five ProQuest Historical Newspaper databases for The Chicago Tribune (1849-1990), The Wall Street Journal (1889-1996) and The Washington Post (1877-1997).  We now have access to five historical newspapers: Those mentioned above plus the historical New York Times and Chicago Defender.  Access is available from the libraries’ database pages and on our Find NewsNews Databases page.

Schuermann, Sue

I am the Senior Library Specialist at the Journalism Library. I have over 28 years experience helping patrons with research, technology and outreach.