Fund the database, African American Newspapers, 1827-1998
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Created from the most extensive archives in the United States, African American Newspapers 1827-1998 is a critical and invaluable component of scholarship on African American literature, history, and culture.
We request that the University of Delaware Library funds the historical newspapers database, African American Newspapers, 1827-1998. Although the recent trial period of this database has garnered wide-spread support from professors and students, University Libraries have not purchased this critical source.
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Our petition will be presented to University Libraries and Arts & Sciences administrators on Thursday, May 17, 2012.
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The petition to UD Libraries is below.
Susan Brynteson, Vice Provost and May Morris Director of Libraries
University of Delaware Library
Petition to support the acquisition of the African American Newspapers, 1827-1998 (AAN) Database
We, the undersigned, formally request ongoing support for the African American Newspapers, 1827-1998 (AAN) database that scores of us used in classes and in our own research while it was on trial spring of 2012. At University of Delaware, there is a strong and growing body of faculty and graduate students whose work is informed by the study of nineteenth- and twentieth-century African-American periodical culture. Access to AAN’s 270 Black newspapers is invaluable to our scholarship and teaching.
AAN is vastly superior to Accessible Archives, the database we currently fund. Since initially uploading abolitionist and nineteenth-century Black papers in the 1990s, Accessible Archives has been slow to upload additional collections and slow to update its technology and search capabilities. AAN is a much broader and more sophisticated database which grants access to periodicals that span from 1827 to 1998. As a review from libraryjournal.com suggests, “its extraordinary content—both deep and broad—is the main reason to acquire the file. It's a treasure trove of African American culture. . . But the power of the search and display system also delivers that content beautifully.”
We hope that University of Delaware’s very public commitment to diversity recruitment will be complemented by the resources needed to support research in these areas. Universities are able to recruit first-rate scholars and graduate students whose work addresses or overlaps with African American periodical culture only if such institutions provide resources to support their research. Access to this database is simply crucial to the work of a growing number of scholars and graduate students at UD.
Use of this database reaches across and intersects with multiple disciplines. Just this semester, a working group in digital humanities emerged from the use of the AAN database. Students in Dr. Gabrielle Foreman’s spring 2012 graduate course, “Black Literary History, Criticism and Print Culture in the Nineteenth Century” launched an ambitious and ongoing project on the Colored Convention movement of the nineteenth century. The project (ColoredConventions.org) will assemble a trove of primary materials that allow scholars, college and high school students, and interested readers to explore the people, places, and debates that drove the movement. The rich history located in African American Newspapers chiefly supports the creation of this intellectual hub.
The University of Delaware is at an exciting moment as we launch new initiatives at the intersection of excellence in scholarship and diversity and inclusion. One objective of this mission is to encourage research and scholarship that represents UD as a high-performing magnet for the brightest individuals and as a leading contributor of diverse scholarship. The undersigned represent a body of UD students, faculty, and staff members who know African American Newspapers to be an invaluable resource and a sound investment.
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