Ephemera and Librarians as Scholars

As I’m sure many of my colleagues remember from my many emails requesting shift coverage, I recently attended a conference. The theme of this year’s Nineteenth Century Studies Association’s conference was “The New and the Novel.” The conference is interdisciplinary and welcomes scholarship that explores all nations. In addition to panels centered around my interest in American and British literature, I learned about French etiquette, Australian brush fires, and American national portraiture.

One of the more interesting presentations I attended engaged my interest in ephemera. A woman was beginning a study on a specific 19th century ballad. She traditionally studied 18th century literature so she was new to navigating the world of ephemeral resources. I use a lot of old newspapers, broadsides, and other ephemeral works in my writing, so I can understand the difficulty she faced as I have had to learn how to find these resources myself. Neither of my departments (English or ILS) has taught me how to locate these materials and I often resort to combing through searches that return thousands of hits.

I have since been in touch with this scholar and she has asked me if I can keep an eye out for ballads and song sheets related to her subject. I would like to, but where do I begin?

This is a different type of request than we usually receive from scholars. It is not a single question, a research consultation, or a request to help navigate a specific database. Library science is a service field and we are more accustomed to helping patrons in this way. How do we then treat these requests from scholars who treat librarianship as a type of scholarship? These requests suggest we establish a more long-term relationship rather than a limited series of exchanges. How long do we stay in contact with these patrons? How much work do we put into assisting them if they are not “our” (i.e. our library’s) patrons? Do we do extra research outside any that we are already doing or do we email whenever we happen to stumble upon something of interest?

This brings up interesting questions, ones I believe some of us will encounter as we attend conferences, work with patrons who are visiting on fellowships, and move from one job to another (hopefully keeping in contact with patrons from our last institution).

On a last note, if anyone knows anything about databases of ephemera, broadside ballads, or songs sheets from the late 18th and 19th centuries, will you let me know?

-Steph Luke

Exploring Labor in Sheet Music

As the topic for this Themester, labor has been a focus for many undergraduates across campus. Courses explore the intersections of labor with race, gender, history, technology, the legal system, and art. I am sure each course takes a vastly different approach to this topic, but there is one resource that provides a provocative insight into how labor might have been viewed in the early twentieth century. While photographs and primary documents can be extremely helpful in understanding these intersections in a somewhat more objective manner, we can also look at the popular image of these issues through other relics of the time.

I’d like to introduce you to IN Harmony, a digital library project that provides access to popular American sheet music from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries held at the Lilly Library, the Indiana State Library, the Indiana State Museum, and the Indiana Historical Society. In their era, these pieces of music could be found in many homes throughout the country, bought both for their entertainment value in a time of limited sound recording and for their eye-catching covers. The combination of the colorful cover pages and the rather frank lyrics (along with the occasionally startling melodic turn) spurs thoughts about what these lyricists and artists thought would be topical and popular enough to sell. By examining the objects these creators thought would sell well, we can start to piece together what that era might have been like.

Images abound on topics of labor, and here are just a few.

Cover art to
“Why Shouldn’t They Be Good Enough Now?” Lyrics by Kate Elinore and Sam Williams, Music by William Tracey, Cover art from the Barbelle School. New York: Shapiro, Bernstein and Company, 1919.

The song “Why Shouldn’t They Be Good Enough Now?” highlights the fact that the role of women as workers while men were at war precedes the overshadowing discussion of the return of soldiers from World War II. Sample lyrics:

“If they were good enough before/To help us win the war,/Why shouldn’t they be good enough now?”

Cover to Cotton Time
“Cotton Time.” Lyrics by Earle C. Jones, Music by Charles N. Daniels, Cover art by the Frew School. New York: Jerome H. Remick, 1910.

In the song “Cotton Time,” plantation owners happily dance to the music of African Americans who sing while they pick cotton. The music is very syncopated and reflects a common stereotype of African American music. Sample lyrics:

“In cotton time, the love bells chime./Then you will be my honey in the sunny cotton time.”

Cover page to
“This Grand Countrie,” Lyrics by Mabel Ervin, Music by Ione T. Hanna, (Chicago: Clark Ervin, 1894).

“This Grand Countrie” celebrates Eugene Debs, a prominent American socialist who would go on to found the Industrial Workers of the World and would be the socialist candidate for five presidential elections. The hymn-like setting of the song celebrates the working man, and the poem envisions an America that benefits all its citizens. Sample lyrics:

“Behold a million working men, their banners lifted high!/You can see the fire of battle in each patriotic eye!/You shall hear their shouts of vict’ry in the coming jubiliee/For these men shall be the rulers of this grand countrie!”

Cover to
“College Life March and Two-Step,” Music by Henry Frantzen, Words by Jack Drislane (New York: F. B. Haviland, 1905)

Jack Drislane’s added words to Henry Frantzen’s popular, dance-able (and apparently whistle-able) two-step celebrating the leisure of college life as opposed to the work of the real world. Sample lyrics:

“Bring back the days of the golden past,/Those good old college days,/Those days we never knew a care or strife”

The length and purpose of this blog post doesn’t really permit me to examine any of these songs in depth, but each does beg several questions: When does entertainment become political? When does labor become entertainment? How might this sheet music have been used? Why would people be interested in hearing this kind of music?

Sheet music is often neglected in many studies, but it can provide an impetus to all kinds of questions about the relationships between entertainment and pressing subjects during different points in history. Hopefully this exposure to the treasures of popular sheet music will spur some new thoughts as to the uses of all kinds of documents.

– Bret McCandless

Further resources:

The Sheet Music Consortium

Holmes, Robyn., and Ruth Lee Martin. The Collector’s Book of Sheet Music Covers. Canberra, Australia: National Library of Australia, 2001.

Walas, Tony. Visions of Music: Sheet Music In the Twentieth Century. Milwaukee: Hal Leonard, 2014.

Wenzel, Lynn, and Carol J. Binkowski. I Hear America Singing: A Nostalgic Tour of Popular Sheet Music. New York: Crown Publishers, 1989.

Pictures Worth Thousands of Words

Photos have always had a big impact on me. Perhaps it’s because I grew up with parents who took pictures constantly and always took advantage of the latest technological advances in camera equipment. Today, photographs are extremely common. We’ve got cell phones that take relatively good pictures, and digital cameras we can take along with us and take as many shots of events as we would like. We can then print them off or simply post them to social media if we want.

I had to do a project a while back that required photographs. It was a project focusing on history, and they couldn’t be current photographs. I decided to dive on in to one of the many ephemera photograph databases IU subscribes to. I didn’t know we had access to these until this project, but knowing they exist now, I go back to them whenever I have the chance. In addition to photographs, I also enjoy history of all kinds, so looking at these old photographs combined two things I have an interest in. I always have fun examining old photographs in an attempt to better understand what life was like during that time period. Words can take you so far, but photos allow you to really see things exactly as people during that time did, without your brain filtering in and making it’s own choices on what objects would have looked like.

One of the collections I used for my project was the AP Images archives. Many of these images are iconic and easily recognizable. You can search for whatever you want, but what truly makes this collection interesting is they break down the photos into categories, if you’d just like to browse. They even have a “today in history” category.

The Charles Cushman Collection also fascinates me. Cushman spent many years traveling to different areas and taking photographs. He ended up donating his collection to IU, where it was digitized. If you’d like to see the everyday lives of many types of people, then this collection is right up your alley.

Today, we take photos for granted in many ways. I know I enjoy just taking a quick photo of something instead of trying to describe it to a friend or family member; it’s simply faster. That doesn’t make photos less valuable, though, and we need to remember to step back and see more in the image than just the mundane object it may be capturing.

-Malissa Renno

IU-B African Studies Library: a Bountiful Research Collection


Are you someone who is interested in scholarly reference materials on Africa south of the Sahara? If so, look no further than your IU Bloomington Library! The 6th floor of the Wells Library has a vast collection of documents covering a great deal of historical information. Keep reading to get more information on our collection and how to use it.

What exactly is the collection about?
The African Studies Library Collection is a multi-reference research area that contains information about Sub-Saharan Africa, supporting research inquiries for undergraduate, graduate, and Ph.D. students alike. The collection has documented information dating back as early as c1500, including aspects of indigenous tongues, spirituality, culture, government, and more.

What does Sub-Sahara mean?
The Sahara is a geographical reference point spanning from far West Africa towards Egypt and then south towards the country of South Africa. The African Studies collection consists of multiple documents written in indigenous languages such as Zulu, Igbo, Xhosa, Ibibio, Afrikaans, Bambara, Fula, Kpelle, Sango, Somali, Swahili, Wolof, Twi (Akan), Yoruba, and many others. In addition, these documents can be extremely useful as primary resources!

Who should use the African Studies collection?
Anyone interested in learning more scholarship about Africa and all that it consists of will benefit greatly from this collection, which contains everything from manuscripts, academic journals, annual conference reports, newspapers, and language and linguistics manuals. You don’t have to stop there, though! Expand your realm of knowledge by exploring the IU Art Museum which has primary resources of African art and archaeological pieces of African tribes and culture south of the Sahara. Using the African Studies Library Collection interchangeably with other resources on the IU Bloomington campus can help you if you are not solely dependent upon the African Studies collection for scholarly reference materials.

african studies lib

If you’re looking to broaden your African Studies horizon even further, feel free to visit the library’s African Studies resources page. Browsing through these resouces can be helpful in obtaining information that the Wells Library may not have. For instance, Michigan State University currently carries one of the most comprehensive collections on the Amharic language of Abyssinia (Ethiopia). Since IU and MSU are part of the Big Ten conference library system, resources can also be researched through Worldcat. To request items that another library holds, you can submit an Interlibrary Loan (ILL) request.

Happy researching! As always, don’t hesitate to consult with a reference librarian in the Wells Library east tower for further research help!


The Historic Wylie House

Wylie House
If you’re looking to get in the holiday spirit (and possibly take a break from final projects and exams), look no further than the Wylie House Museum. Located on Second Street at the very edge of campus, the museum is one of the IUB Libraries’ and Bloomington’s best-kept secrets. Originally the home of IU’s first president, Andrew Wylie, generations of the Wylie family actually inhabited the house until 1913. Today, it offers visitors a snapshot of nineteenth-century life and houses a number of historic artifacts from collections of family letters and photographs to antique furniture and other textiles.

The museum offers numerous opportunities for visitors interested in local history. Guided tours of the house are available March-November from friendly docents familiar with the house and family’s history. Classes from IU and local schools are welcome to visit for field trips and class projects. An outdoor interpreter, with the help of volunteers, maintains an heirloom garden on the grounds to promote seed saving–an activity in which visitors are welcome to support. Other activities include live music, exhibits, and even quilt shows.

Staff and volunteers at the Wylie House have been busy preparing for the holiday season. The current exhibit, located in the Wylie House Barn, is called “Christmas in the Nineteenth Century” and features excerpts from family letters and diaries, historic Christmas cards, and photographs to highlight holiday traditions at the Wylie House and in Bloomington during that time period.

Another tradition includes the annual holiday open house, “Wylie House by Candlelight” which will take place this Saturday, December 7 from 5:00-8:00 pm. The event will offer live music performed by IU affiliates, holiday crafts and period games, docents and volunteers dressed in period attire, and of course, refreshments! If you have a chance, stop by to take part in the holiday festivities.



Come Visit the Lilly Library

lilly-building_00080Are you interested in rare books and manuscripts? Do you like to see one-of-a-kind cultural treasures? Are you looking for more primary sources for your research? If so, the Lilly Library is a place you should not miss while at IU. Located in the Fine Arts Plaza on campus, the Lilly Library houses collections that attract scholars, students, and visitors from all over the world.

When entering the Lilly Library, the exhibitions will likely be one of the first things to catch your eye. The current main exhibition, Visualizing Disease, displays historical illustrations of the human body in an unhealthy state. Aside from the obvious value to medical studies and the history of disease treatment, the items on display are notable for their examples of various early illustration techniques in print, with and without color. Recently, Popular Science featured Visualizing Disease in a short write-up.

Other exhibitions currently featured at the Lilly Library include selections from the Jerry Slocum Mechanical Puzzle Collection; Literary Translation; Race, Filmmaking, and the Silent Screen; a Gutenberg Bible; Audubon’s Birds of America; and several student exhibits from a Department of Information and Library Science course on Manuscripts.

Exhibitions are only the tip of the iceberg, however. Almost all of the Lilly Library’s more than 400,000 rare books and 8,000,000 manuscripts can be viewed in the reading room. Highlights include Thomas Jefferson’s copy of the first laws of the US Congress, which contains the first printing of the Bill of Rights; a first printing of the Declaration of Independence; and an early printing of Christopher Columbus’s letter about his 1492 voyage. With research-level collections in over fifty subjects, the Lilly Library has something for everyone.

To learn more, feel free to visit the Lilly Library’s website and Facebook page.


Archives of Chi: Documenting Al-Kebulan Historia

Book Review

Title: The 21st Century Black Librarian In America; Issues and Challenges
Edited By: Andrew P. Jackson, Julius C. Jefferson Jr., and Akilah S. Nosakhere
Place: Lanham, MD
Publisher: The Scarecrow Press, Inc.
Publication Date: 12 April 2012
Edition: 3rd Ed.
Pages: 277pg.
ISBN: 978-0-8108-8245-4
Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center Library (B-BCC)
Call No: Z682.4.A37 A13 2012

In concurrence with “The Black Librarian in America” & “The Black Librarian in America Revisited,” “The 21st Century Black Librarian In America; Issues and Challenges” is just as ostentatious and exquisitely written as the first two. Giving much honor and praises to the late great Dr. E.J. Josey and the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (ALA); the (BCALA) has been diligently committed to exploiting masquerading racism in librarianship and the mental preparation of future Black Librarian professionals. The stories shared uplift the consciousness through the importance of quality librarianship and librarian literacy. The contributors also exemplify black librarianship of the future with strategic prescriptive solutions that are highly applicable contemporarily and forthcoming. Much is to be said about this book and much is to be learned. The essays are exceptionally captivating, intelligent and introspectively stimulating; therefore, their stories can be applied towards all professional attributes of librarianship by Black Librarians.

Description of Presidential Campaign Display Case
(Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center Library)

The decision to construct the presidential campaign display case was to deliver an ideology in an unpopular/unorthodox composition. Describing the phrase “American-Afrikan” is giving reverence to two different nationalities. According to the Oxford Dictionary the standardized definition of American is as follows: [adj] of, relating to, or characteristic of the United States or its inhabitants, [n] a native or citizen of the United States. On the other hand, the definition of the word African is as follows: [n] person from Africa, especially a black person, [adj] of or relating to Africa or people of African descent. It is to be comprehensively understood that of the persons who campaigned for presidency of the United States such as: Eldridge Cleaver (1968), Minister Al Sharpton (2004), Alan Keyes (1996), Carol Moseley Braun (2004), Lenora Fulani (1988), Jesse Jackson (1984), Shirley Chisholm (1968), and Barack Hussein Obama (2008) all share one common historical characteristic–they above all are of African ancestry without question.

Addressing the use of the letter “k” in substitution of the letter “c” is merely a play on word structure. According to the Queen’s English, a consensus of the word Africa is formally spelled with the letter “c”. Nevertheless, giving embodiment to whom the word Africa/Afrikan represents, phonetically “c” and “k” can be inserted interchangeably giving various expressive scribed illustrations. To be abundantly clear, the term African-American is a domestic political tool used to describe a people. In fact, Africans residing in North America were first labeled Negro, then colored, then Black, then Black Americans, then Afro-Americans to African-Americans. Candidly, my ultimate desire was to bring forth a depiction that would stimulate many to use their thinking faculties. What was intellectually digested by Americanized Africans is philosophically a false identity. There is no such thing as an African-American!

Suggested Readings & Books of Interest
Books available from the Indiana University Libraries are noted.

ISBN: 0-7876-0289-2
Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center
Call No: Z1039.B56 V36 1996

ISBN: 0-8108-2093-5
Herman B. Wells Library
Call No: Z857.A1 S57 1988

ISBN: 978-0-8108-6247-0
Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center
Call No: Z711.9 .B38 2009

ISBN: 0-8108-3720-X
Herman B. Wells Library
Call No: Z711.9 .H35 2000

ISBN: 0-8108-3074-4
Herman B. Wells Library
Call No: Z682.2.U5 I5 1996

ISBN: 0-8108-0362-3
Herman B. Wells Library
Call No: Z720.A4 J83

ISBN: 0-8389-0220-0
Herman B. Wells Library
Call No: Z731 .C397

ISBN: 978-0-670-02220-5
Herman B. Wells Library
Call No: BP223.Z8 L57636 2011

ISBN: 0-8015-6366-6

ISBN: 0-89608-103-6
Northwest Library-Gary
Call No: JX1995 .T75 1980b

ISBN: 978-1-60652-991-1

ISBN: 1-886433-30-5

ISBN: 0-9659196-0-9
IUPUI University Library
Call No: RA645.N87 C644 1998

ISBN: 978-0-912986-46-3
Bloomington-Business/SPEA Information Commons
Call No: HG2563 .G75 1995


ISBN: 978-0-9659823-0-6
Bloomington Law Library
Call No: CB203 .A56 1994

ISBN: 978-0-943412-06-1

ISBN: 0-517-180456
Elecronic Resource: (BLOOMINGTON) http://KG6EK7CQ2B.search.serialssolutions.com/?V=1.0&L=KG6EK7CQ2B&S=JCs&C=TC_001740468

ISBN: 0-932813-95-X

**All opinions expressed are those of this individual blogger.


Big Game Got you Thinking?

In addition to being one of the most popular sporting events of the year, the Super Bowl is celebrated for its commercials. In case the game got you thinking about media and advertisements, or if you find yourself curious about the history of advertising, or even if you’re looking for snazzy images to include in a presentation, the library has something for you.

In addition to a number of resources that allow users to search for historical ads, the library has information about the history, practice, and techniques of advertising. While these resources may be especially useful for students in business or communications, those in history, various area studies, and the visual and graphic arts may also find information and inspiration from the resources below. Advertisements provide researchers primary source documentation in a visual format and can tell us about popular products, trends in marketing, and the history of popular visual culture.

Getting started…
The library staff has created a library page devoted to helping students find this information: Advertising, Illustrations and Photographs. This is a great resource for locating all kinds of images.

The database Ad Access contains advertisements from the United States and Canada. This resource is limited to the first half of the twentieth century (1911-1955) and categorizes ads into five different groups based on what product they promote. Users can search for specific items or browse by a number of criteria, including publication, medium, and subject.

Emergence of Advertising in America deals with the early history of advertising in the United States. In addition to 9,000 images drawn from “cookbooks, photographs of billboards, print advertisements, trade cards, calendars, almanacs, and leaflets for a multitude of products,” the site includes a timeline that covers the history of American advertising from the 1850s until 1920.

Current Advertisements:
For the latest advertisements, patrons can head over to the current periodicals section, which recently relocated to the Reference Reading Room on the first floor of the East Tower of the Herman B Wells Library. In addition to many scholarly journals, the library also subscribes to a number of popular interest magazines. While scholarly journals often have subject-specific ads, the popular interest magazines print ads for an eclectic range of products. Flipping through these items reveals a great deal about current trends in marketing and patterns of consumption.

Interested in current practices in advertising? The library also subscribes to a number of industry journals, in which the practice of advertising is explored in depth. Two of note are Advertising Age and International Journal of Advertising . Current articles from Advertising Age are located on their website, while earlier issues are available through the library web page. Search for Advertising Age in the search box on the library web page and scroll down to the category Journal Titles.

To gain some international perspective, be sure to check out the International Journal of Advertising; recent issues are available electronically through IUCAT, while older copies can be ordered from the ALF.

For a longer list of journal titles check out the Advertising and PR Research Guide page.

For a comprehensive overview of the history of advertising, the Wells library has a copy of: Adland: a global history of advertising, located in the West Tower of the Wells library, in the Undergraduate Services Core Collection under the call number: HF5823 .T83 2007

For further help locating advertisements be sure to stop by the Wells Reference Desk!

Researching Religion at IU

For better or worse, religion is a fundamental component of nearly all world civilizations, large or small. Studying a culture’s religious practices, beliefs, and institutions can be contextually informative about the society as a whole. Below are some tools that will help you in your search for Religious Studies resources available at Indiana University.

Start at IU Libraries’ Religious Studies page. Here you will find links to all Religious Studies resources available at IU. Additionally, the Religious Studies Web Portals offers alternative (and free!) websites dedicated to the study of religion. Also, the Sacred Books of the World Religions: Finding Primary Sources is a handy tool for locating primary sources.

As you probably noticed, there are lots of Religious Studies resources at IU. Many of the world’s religions are included. In case you are feeling a bit overwhelmed by all of the information, here are some of the best databases dedicated to Islam, Christianity and Judaism, the world’s three largest religions.


Index Islamicus is one of the most comprehensive religious databases with an emphasis on Islam. In fact, it is the primary index to literature on Islam, the Middle East and Muslim areas of Asia and Africa, and Muslim minorities elsewhere. It includes citations to over 2,000 journals, conference proceedings, monographs, and book reviews from 1906 to present.

The Oxford Islam Studies Online is another fine Islam-specific database. It features authoritative reference content and scholarly commentary on Islamic history, the faith and concepts of Islam, the people, tenets and practices, politics, culture, and more.


While its coverage includes many religions, ATLA Religion Database is simply the best when it comes to Christianity. Generally speaking, ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials is a combined index to journal articles, book reviews, and collections of essays in all fields of religion. Coverage in the database begins in 1949, and there is indexing for some journal titles back into the nineteenth century. Full text is available for many electronic articles and book reviews in over 100 journals.

Regarding ATLA Religion Database’s coverage of Christianity, I would like to bring your attention to its Scriptures section:

From here, you can view articles related to any book of the Bible by simply clicking the book in which you are interested. This is just one of the many cool features available from ATLA Religion Database.


Encyclopedia Judaica
The Encyclopedia Judaica is the authoritative reference resource for Jewish knowledge and life up to the present day. It is designed for both Jewish and non-Jewish readers and covers nine main subject categories: Contemporary Jewry, Education and modern scholarship, History, Jews in world culture, Judaism: practice, Judaism: thought, Language and literature, and Miscellaneous topics.

Of course, there are many more religions in the world, but I hope that the examples provided here give you an idea of the many great resources made available by your friendly librarians at Indiana University.

If you would like further assistance with your Religious Studies research or any other research topic, do not hesitate to Ask a Librarian.


Bursting at the Seams with Costume Resources

[Chicago Daily News ice carnival with woman wearing a patriotic costume and a man wearing a Middle Eastern costume]. Chicago Daily News, January 19, 1929. From American Memory, Library of Congress.
[Chicago Daily News ice carnival with woman wearing a patriotic costume and a man wearing a Middle Eastern costume]. Chicago Daily News, January 19, 1929. From American Memory, Library of Congress.

Have you ever looked at an illustration of the book The Great Gatsby, and wondered how to describe what the characters are wearing? Have you ever thought to look up how members of the Azande culture dress versus the Burundi culture? Or how one might costume a production of the eighteenth-century play She Stoops to Conquer? Or even brainstorming what to wear this coming Halloween?

Costume research is relevant to a variety of disciplines: from theater and drama, to fashion design, history, anthropology, folklore, English, and art history. Next time you are considering a research topic in the aforementioned areas, perhaps a topic in costume could fit the bill?

If so, IU libraries has you covered – we have all kinds of print and electronic resources designed to help you answer these kinds of questions and more.

Electronic resources


Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion

This is a magisterial resource, literally encyclopedic in its coverage. Remember, this database is available only on campus, so make a note to visit next time you’re on campus–otherwise you can find more information on downloading a VPN for your computer or device here.

eHRAF World Cultures (also known as eHRAF Collection of Ethnography)

A database devoted to world cultures produced by the research agency Human Relations Area Files. It has a great browsing function for ethnic groups. This database is a little complicated to search – make sure to capitalize on the help pages in order to use it most effectively.


A great resource for images across a variety of disciplines. Use the Advanced Search option to search or browse within the Fashion, Costume and Jewelry classification.


A consortium of art museums that brings together images of some of the finest works of art. For our purposes today, right on the main page is a link that will enable you to search within Costume and Jewelry.


American Memory

The Smithsonian Institution has compiled a huge and endlessly fascinating digital library from their permanent collections. Don’t stop at costume – look at photography, early film, folkways, and all kinds of amazing content!

American Periodicals Online

This resource is incredibly useful for all kinds of primary source research, as it compiles over a thousand serials, fulltext, with dates ranging from 1740 to 1900.

Great Britain

British Periodicals

Another great primary source database, this time for the British Isles. While you’re at it, check out Eighteenth Century Journals, C-19, and Nineteenth Century UK Periodicals!

VADS or Visual Arts Data Service

This is a great resource for all manner of visual arts. Major museums and archives throughout Great Britain have contributed their collections to this online archive, making it a rich and worthwhile use of your valuable research time.

London Low Life

This is a great resource, not only because it offers all kinds of primary source materials, but also because it is partially compiled from items held in the Lilly Library! Part of the digitization agreement stipulated that IU users could access this database free of charge – so go ahead, what are you waiting for?


IUCAT is where to go for books at IU. Remember that this searches all libraries in the Indiana University system (Bloomington, yes, but also Fort Wayne, Columbus, and South Bend, among others), so make careful note of where books are located.

One great way to find reference sources in print is to use the Reference Room Quicksearch – you can search for reference materials held only in the Reference Reading Room of Herman B Wells Library. A list of records with the subject term “costume” can be found here. Spending a few hours with these books will kickstart your research efficiently and effectively. Plus, you’ll always know they’ll be in the stacks, because reference room materials don’t circulate (unless you ask the staff at the Reference Desk nicely).

Here is a list of records held at Fine Arts Library with all books under the subject heading “costume.” Using Advanced Keyword Search, you can type in “costume” as your subject heading, while using other search terms to narrow your search – like “United States,” or “19th Century,” or what whatever you happen to be interested in. Use the keyword search if you are not sure how to phrase your search term.

And one final reminder about books – your field of knowledge is certainly not limited to local holdings. Simply use Worldcat to find many more sources about your topic. Each record has a link to request items using our Document Delivery/Interlibrary Loan Services, enabling you to request books from many different libraries.

A hot tips for your searching serendipity: remember to think of relevant synonyms for your search strategies. Many catalogs use the subject term “costume,” but others could use “dress,” “garb,” “clothes” or “clothing,” especially if you have delved into unmediated internet searching. If one search doesn’t work, try another related term to see if anything relevant returns.

Never forget – librarians are here to help! Ask now!!