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Vol. XII, no. 1

TCU Library Newsletter, Web Edition

April 2000
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New Tools for Historians
by Jennifer Duncan

   Historians and history buffs alike will delight in two titles newly acquired by the library's Reference Department: The Handbook of Texas Online and HarpWeek: The Civil War Era. These two electronic resources are based on their familiar and well-respected print predecessors and will allow students of history to dramatically expand their explorations of the past.

   Those interested in Texas history have long been familiar with The Handbook of Texas, the Texas State Historical Association's multidisciplinary encyclopedia of Texana. Originally a two volume set first published in 1952, the Handbook was republished as six volumes in 1996, sparking controversy because it lacked an index. The new electronic text is fully searchable from Aba Indians to Zybach, TX. The online version, published with the help of the General Libraries of the University of Texas at Austin, not only includes the 23,000 articles of the print version but also an additional 400 articles deleted in the original due to space restrictions. The online Handbook will also continually undergo editing and expansion, and future updates will include audio-video enhancements.

   HarpWeek, a digitized version of Harper's Weekly, allows the reader to view images of actual pages of this well-known 19th Century periodical. Because Harper's reported and editorialized on the news of the day, HarpWeek is an excellent resource for exploring the history and popular culture of the Civil War era. Scanned images of over 7,500 pages from 1857 to 1865 have preserved in beautiful detail engraved illustrations by artists such as Winslow Homer, Matthew Brady, and Thomas Nast. HarpWeek's articles, illustrations, and even its advertisements have been thoroughly indexed and are electronically searchable. Future plans for this title include an expansion to the Reconstruction years.

    Both The Handbook of Texas and HarpWeek are accessible from any public terminal in the Mary Couts Burnett Library. The next time you stop in, please don't hesitate to come take a look!

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