For the moment, my favorite database in the Library’s Collection is JSTOR, a repository of archival materials of 1000+ scholarly titles on music, humanities, social sciences, art, and science. It is available for use at the CLP Oakland Library.
JSTOR’s focus is back-issues of titles which are unavailable in many public libraries because of varying demand as well as the ever-increasing costs of storage. An important value of JSTOR is its provision of full-text articles which in one case dates to the 18th century; in contrast, other databases typically limit full-text provision to materials published after the mid-70s.
In its coverage of nearly 50 disciplines, JSTOR has been a source of information for topics both within and outside the margin of popular, mainstream discourse. Its inclusion of fifteen titles covering the African American experience, for example, includes Alva Hudson’s comparison (Reading Achievements, Interests, and Habits of Negro Women) of the reading habits of poor, middle, and upper-class “Negro” women and is a cornerstone of contemporary studies of intersectionality. Other highlights are Emmett J. Scott’s compilations (Letters of Negro Migrants of 1916-1918, More Letters of Negro Migrants of 1916-1918) of letters to Southern Blacks from friends and family who had moved to the “greener pastures” of the North. More than a million African Americans relocated during the first part of the twentieth century, and few sources relay their hopes and courage and struggles as compellingly as these primary sources. JSTOR holdings supplement the Main Library’s current subscriptions to African-American related journals which include:
Journal of the Afro-American Historical & Genealogical Society