Friday, September 28, 2007

Magazine and newspaper article databases in other languages

While the library has a large collection of print magazines and newspapers in other languages, we also have an online collection of magazines and newspapers in Chinese, Spanish and Russian. You can get to these from the Library’s Web site by selecting Articles & Databases. You will need a San Francisco Public Library card to log into these databases from home or anywhere outside the library.

While you’re at it, check out our new language learning database, Rosetta Stone. This database is an interactive program for learning Chinese (Mandarin), English, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Russian, or Spanish.

Chinese Magazines (Qikan)
200 current, popular Chinese language magazines published in China. Available in either traditional or simplified characters.

Clase PeriĆ³dica—index
Index to Latin American journals in the sciences and humanities covering the time period from 1975 to present.

Spanish language reference titles, periodicals, and more on a variety of topics.

Ethnic Newswatch
250 magazines and newspapers published in both English and Spanish covering the time period from 1960 to present from the U.S. ethnic and minority press.

Covers hundreds of popular Hispanic magazines from 1999 to present.

Russian Newspapers (East View)
Newspapers in Russian from official sources, independent media and partisan publications covering the time period 1980 to present.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

National Digital Newspaper Program: San Francisco Call 1900-1910 online

In an effort to make the nation's historic newspapers more readily available to all, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress have partnered to develop the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP).

From the NDNP website:

". . . Ultimately, over a period of approximately 20 years, NDNP will create a national, digital resource of historically significant newspapers from all the states and U.S. territories published between 1836 and 1922. This searchable database will be permanently maintained at the Library of Congress (LC) and be freely accessible via the Internet . . . . NDNP will be implemented in several phases. In May 2005, the NDNP began its development phase by making awards to six state projects that are selecting newspapers published in California, Florida, Kentucky, New York, Utah, and Virginia during the decade of 1900 to 1910. These projects are currently digitizing 100,000 pages, according to the technical guidelines outlined by the Library of Congress."

Currently, one can search and access articles online from newspapers from the six states mentioned above, including the San Francisco Call, for the years 1900 - 1910.

The San Francisco Call articles are available through two portals: the first is the California Newspaper Project (beta version) which has a Google-like interface. The second is the Chronicling America site offered through the Library of Congress which has an interface more like the periodical databases that SFPL provides for card holders.

The Magazines and Newspapers Center also has microfilm holdings for this title. For a description and brief history of the San Francisco Call, click here.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Mid-Autumn Festival

As autumn approaches and the nights get longer, the Asian community holds an annual moon festival (a.k.a. Mid-Autumn Festival) with moon cakes, cultural fairs, feasts, martial arts and lion dance performances, and other activities. The Mid-Autumn Festival takes place on the fifteenth day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar. Learn more about this ancient festival from the Ethnic NewsWatch database:

1. Go to the SFPL Home Page and select “Articles & Databases.” You will need a San Francisco Public Library card to get into the databases from outside the Library.

2. Select the Ethnic NewsWatch database.

3. Enter the keywords “moon festival” and “legend” into the search boxes, being sure to use “AND” to link those terms together so they appear within the same document.

4. Select the citation:

August Moon Festival: The story of a goddess and her husband: She took Pill of Immortality and ascended to the moon. Anonymous. The Patriot Ledger. Quincy, Mass.: Aug 15, 2007. p. 3

Here is an excerpt:

"The August Moon Festival is one of two large festivals celebrated by many Asians each year. The festival celebrates the advent of the harvest season and commemorates the ascension of the goddess Chang-O to the Moon Palace.”

The Ethnic NewsWatch database contains articles (including some in Spanish) from newspapers, magazines, journals, and newsletters from the ethnic, minority, and native press, presenting alternate viewpoints from those covered by the mainstream press.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The First and Last Emperor of the United States

Photograph courtesy of San Francisco History Room, San Francisco Public Library

Did you know the United States once had an emperor who lived in San Francisco? In fact, he was a rather eccentric character, and the locals allowed him to proclaim himself Emperor Norton I of the US and Protector of Mexico. To read more about this short-lived monarch, check out the History Resource Center: US database.

1. Go to the SFPL Home Page and select Articles & Databases. You will need a San Francisco Public Library card to get into the databases from outside the Library.

2. Under the Categories side bar on the left, select “History & Genealogy,” then select “History Resource Center: US.”

3. Select the “Advanced” search box and enter the terms “emperor,” “norton,” and “San Francisco” into the boxes.

4. Select the citation link that appears in the summary results:

Norton, Joshua (1818-1880). Encyclopedia of the American West. 4 vols. Macmillan Reference USA, 1996.

Here’s an excerpt from the biographical article:

Self-proclaimed Norton I, emperor of the United States and protector of Mexico, Joshua Norton (1818 or 1819-1880) cut quite a figure on the mid-nineteenth-century streets of San Francisco. Bedecked in a ratty coat of military design, scuffy boots, a rusty sword on his belt, and a top hat decorated with rooster feathers . . .

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Divine Comedy

He was an Italian poet, prose writer, literary theorist, moral philosopher, and political thinker. His monumental epic, The Divine Comedy, took readers through an allegorical journey through hell, purgatory, and paradise. Over six centuries ago today, Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) passed away, but his work continues to endure, intriguing students of classical world literature and influencing works of art around the world.

To learn more about this Italian poet and his influential works, check out the Literature Resource Center:

1. Go to the SFPL Home Page and select Articles & Databases. You will need a San Francisco Public Library card to access the databases from outside the Library.

2. Under the Categories side bar on the left, select “Literature & Books,” then “Literature Resource Center.”

3. In the search box, enter “Dante.”

4. Select “Dante Alighieri (1265-1321)” to read an introductory overview of Dante’s life and classical works. Explore various aspects of his life and works by selecting the tabs along the top of the screen.

The Literature Resource Center, a complete literature reference database, contains biographical profiles of writers and criticism of major literary works in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, drama, history, journalism, and more.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Podcast from KQED Radio: Newspapers in Trouble

The increasingly bleak state of newspapers, both globally and locally, is the topic of this July 31, 2007 broadcast of KQED's radio show Forum. Some key topics include the decreasing number of newsroom staff due to layoffs, the effect of the Internet on the public's newspaper reading habits, and the consolidation of ownership of formerly separate newspapers.

Hosted by Spencer Michels, the panel includes Louis Freedberg, editorial writer and columnist at the San Francisco Chronicle, Neil Henry, professor and interim dean at UC Berkeley's School of Journalism, John McManus, director of Grade the at San Jose State University, and Stephanie Martin, reporter and anchor for KQED radio news.

To listen to this show in Realmedia or to download it as a MP3, click this link to the Forum archive.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Research Your Roots!

Learn how to research your family history by using two genealogy databases: HeritageQuest Online and Ancestry Library Edition. Each database complements the other by combining thousands of digital, searchable historical census records, key genealogy resources, and local history collections.

Heritage Quest features a search utility for genealogical books and magazines plus an index to a Revolutionary War database about individuals who served in the war and the Freedman’s Bank database which includes information about freed slaves from the Civil War. Both databases include information about the US Census. Ancestry Library includes thousands of databases on everything from the California Birth Index to a list of Japanese Americans who were relocated during World War II. In addition, Ancestry Library offers a variety of charts and forms that patrons can download to print out.

Familiarize yourself with these two resources during this one-hour demonstration.

  • Address: 100 Larkin St. (at Grove)

  • Location: Main Library Training Center (5th Fl.)

  • Event Date and Time: Wednesday, September 12 (noon to 1 p.m.)
  • Tuesday, September 4, 2007


    Where will the NFL play its first regular-season game overseas? Who will be the Oakland Raiders’ starting quarterback? Who’s tops in the Pac-10? Will the 49ers’ defense show improvement this year? Which California Golden Bears wide receiver was recently named an ESPN Preseason All-American? Who is the NFL’s youngest head coach?

    Whether your interest is NFL or college football or both, the following magazines will keep you informed during the upcoming football season: ESPN, Sporting News, USA Today Sports Weekly, and Sports Illustrated. The Magazines and Newspapers Center subscribes to all of these titles.

    These magazines will “fire up” fans with predictions; game coverage and analysis; and interviews of the famous, up-and-coming, and not-so-famous players. Read articles and feature stories about your favorite players. Get information on various professional and college football leagues. Check out the Preseason All-American picks. See high-quality, color action photos.

    The online versions of ESPN and Sports Illustrated give the most up-to-the-minute breaking news. Enthusiasts who want to stay “in-the-know” about football stats and world-wide leagues will enjoy examining digital viewing and real-time scores by signing up through the magazines online membership programs. If this isn’t enough, watch highlights and playbacks from selected games on the NFL virtual highlights front pages. It’s sure to keep you entertained for days on end. Sooo!…“Are You Ready For Some Football?”!

    Saturday, September 1, 2007

    Labor Day

    Photo courtesy of San Francisco History Center, San Franciso Public Library

    Labor Day represents a special day in the U.S. and Canada to recognize and honor workers all over the nation. To learn more about the historical origins of this holiday:

    1. Go to the SFPL Home Page and select Articles & Databases. You will need a San Francisco Public Library card to access the databases from outside the Library.

    2. Under the Categories side bar on the left, select “Encyclopedias & Dictionaries,” then select “Encyclopaedia Britannica Online.”

    3. From the search box, enter the keywords “labor day” and select the “Go” button.

    4. From the search results, select the first link (“Labor Day”).

    Here’s an excerpt:

    “In the United States, Peter J. McGuire, a union leader who had founded the United Brotherhood of Carpenters in 1881, is generally given credit for the idea of Labor Day. In 1882 he suggested to the Central Labor Union of New York that there be a celebration honouring American workers.”

    The Encyclopaedia Britannica Online (Academic Edition) contains a wealth of information on a variety of topics drawn from several encyclopedias as well as video clips, atlases, selected articles from the New York Times and BBC News, historical timelines, quotations, and more.