Category Archives: Database Tip

Don’t-Miss Database: The Japan Times Archives

Screenshot of The Japan Times Archives basic search pagePost contributed by Matthew Hayes, Librarian for Japanese Studies and Asian American Studies

The Japan Times Archives offers a searchable collection of digitized issues of Japan’s largest and longest running English-language newspaper, covering the years 1865 through the present. The database also includes access to digitized issues of several subsidiary newspapers, including The Japan Advertiser, The Japan Times & Mail, The Japan Times and Advertiser, and The Nippon Times.

Why Should You Use This Database?

For faculty and students working in English, this database offers perhaps the most comprehensive cross-section of current events in Japanese history, society, and politics, especially as they relate to the international community. The chronological coverage is also unmatched as users can explore articles from Japan’s closed-country period shortly before 1868, through wartime and postwar periods of the mid-twentieth century, and beyond to Japan’s current moment.

Cool Features

The coolest feature of this database is the ability to run full-text searches in any issue. This is made possible through Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology. This means that if a user is looking for articles on a very specific topic—even a single keyword—during a narrow run of issues, they can have results in a few seconds. For example, if a user wants to gather articles on the Anpo protests, a series of massive and violent demonstrations protesting the United States-Japan Security treaty, and which were most concentrated in 1960, they might search for “protest” and narrow to the mid-year period of 1960, as below:

Screenshot of search interface with “protest” used as search term, dates defined as May through June 1960, and issues set to “main.”

This search will return more than 500 results with the term “protest” either in the headline or article text. Users can then browse to find the article that suits their needs.

June 16, 1960, article covering the Anpo protests.

Database Tips

Don’t limit yourself to newspaper articles! Advertisements are also a great way to better understand the commercial and visual design histories of Japan. In addition to local products and events, many issues also advertised international products. If users are interested in how Japan participated in international commercial markets, or what types of appeals were made to local consumers, there are thousands of options here.

March 22, 1897, advertisement for Murai & Bros. tobacco products, which were manufactured in Winston, North Carolina.

January 1, 1939, advertisement for Tokyo New Grand Restaurant.

Similar Resources

A few of Duke’s other Japanese historical newspaper databases include Yomiuri Shimbun 讀賣新聞 (in Japanese), Asahi Shimbun 朝日新聞 (in Japanese), and Mainichi Shimbun 每日新聞 (in Japanese). Rubenstein Library also holds the Masaki Motoi Collection of Japanese Student Movement Materials, which contains several original issues of left-wing student newspapers from 1959 through 1977.


Contact Matthew Hayes, Librarian for Japanese Studies and Asian American Studies.

Don’t-Miss Database: Qwest TV EDU

Screenshot of Qwest TV EDU database landing page

Post contributed by Laura Williams, Head of the Music Library.

Qwest TV EDU is a video streaming channel showcasing Black music and global sounds. Created by music legend Quincy Jones, the database features a wide range of musical genres and styles, including jazz, the blues, soul, funk, world music, electronic music, classical music, and much more.

Why Should You Use This?

Qwest TV provides several major categories to explore in its catalog, including concerts, documentaries, and a rich trove of archival material with showstopping performances by legendary artists. Videos in Qwest TV span historic recordings from the 1950s right up to the present day, showcasing the storied history of musical styles and influences around the world.

The archive features some extraordinary live performances, including a 1963 Parisian concert by the incomparable Ella Fitzgerald, and a 1982 performance by the legendary Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, with dazzling virtuosic solos by the young Wynton Marsalis and Branford Marsalis.

Ella Fitzgerald Live at the Olympia, Paris (1963)
Ella Fitzgerald Live at the Olympia, Paris (1963)
Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers Live at the Village Vanguard (1982)
Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers Live at the Village Vanguard (1982)

Cool Features

One of the most interesting ways to delve into Qwest TV’s offerings is through recommendation lists created by Guest Curators who bring wide-ranging perspectives to their selections. Qwest TV also features some original content, such as Twelve Qwestions, a series of exclusive interviews. In anticipation of Gregory Porter’s visit to Duke in February 2024 through Duke Arts, you can explore his curated list of selections, a Twelve Qwestions interview, a documentary about the two-time Grammy Award-winning singer, as well as a live performance:

Gregory Porter “Liquid Spirit” -- Live at Jazz a la Villette Festival (2013)
Gregory Porter “Liquid Spirit” — Live at Jazz a la Villette Festival (2013)

Database Tips

A myriad of browsing categories connect content in a variety of interesting ways, highlighting Fresh Talents and Gems from the Vaults, as well as bringing together imaginative groupings such as Space is the Place (a celebration of spiritual jazz), the somewhat enigmatic New Ancient Strings, and an exploration of electronica in Africatronics.

One of the most exciting videos I discovered is a recent concert from the New World Symphony Orchestra conducted by William Eddins which “explores a symphonic world that influenced and was influenced by the musical heritage of the African diaspora.” Stunning performances by the orchestra and celebrated American soprano and scholar Dr. Louise Toppin are illuminated throughout by the historical commentary and insights provided by noted musicologist Dr. Tammy Kernodle, making this concert nothing short of extraordinary from both a musical and scholarly standpoint.

New World Symphony - Harlem Renaissance2023
New World Symphony – Harlem Renaissance

Similar Resources

Other related streaming databases that might be of interest are the Naxos Music Library Jazz, Smithsonian Global Sound, and EDU, which features a similar international lineup of live concerts and documentaries, but with more emphasis on classical music, opera, and ballet. You’ll find more on our Online Listening and Viewing page.


Contact Laura Williams, Head of the Music Library.

Don’t-Miss Databases: Proquest Black Studies

Image from Proquest Black Studies

Proquest Black Studies combines primary and secondary sources, leading historical Black newspapers, archival documents, government materials, video, writings by major American Black intellectuals and leaders, and essays by top scholars in Black Studies. Years of coverage include 1650 to the present.

Why Should You Use This?

Anyone looking for primary sources in African American studies should start here. Proquest Black Studies provides access to a wide range of primary sources under one platform. You’ll find records of organizations including the Black Panther Party and the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs Records, 1895-1992. Jump start your research on historical figures (e.g., pilot Bessie Coleman) by browsing the Featured People list. You can also search the full text of eleven historical Black newspapers.

Bessie Coleman, First Licensed African American Woman Female Pilot
Bessie Coleman, First Licensed African American Woman Female Pilot

Cool Features

Documentaries, speeches, interviews, newsreels, and other types of videos are added features. I enjoyed watching Langston Hughes reading his poem “The Weary Blues” accompanied by a jazz band.

Langston Hughes: Performance "The Weary Blues" with Jazz Accompaniment
Langston Hughes: Performance “The Weary Blues” with Jazz Accompaniment

Database Tips

You can search the entire database for any terms you want to find, but choose the Basic Search page for an overview of the types of collections available and choices for browsing.

Similar Resources

Other online primary source databases for African American studies include African American Communities (focusing on Atlanta, Chicago, New York, and North Carolina) and HistoryMakers Digital Archive (video oral histories of African Americans). You’ll find more on our Research Databases page.


Contact Heather Martin, Librarian for African and African American Studies.

ProQuest One Literature

Proquest One Literature brings together one of the most comprehensive collection of primary texts, ebooks, reference sources, full-text journals, dissertations, video and more, for access to historical and contemporary content by and about celebrated and lesser-known authors from around the world. The international literature focus is especially useful!

After you search, the results are helpfully divided in to categories such as criticism, primary texts, reference works, dissertations, book reviews, etc. You can also limit results by aspects like peer reviewed, publication date, subject, and language.

Another nice search feature of this resource is that you can find both literary criticism and primary texts for poetry, drama, and prose. If you specifically search the primary texts, you can search by author nationality, author ethnicity, literary movement or period, or gender.

I also really enjoyed the Poets on Screen collection that is part of this database, where you can watch clips of poems being read aloud, sometimes by the poet.

Cotton Candy on a Rainy Day

If you need to do research about a literary text, author, literary movement, or genre, this is a great resource to begin your search!

Access to Major US Newspapers

Hello again! We at the library would like to offer you a quick guide for accessing some major US newspapers via Duke Libraries. Over the past few weeks, we’ve made a series of posts on accessing the New York Times (available here, here, and here), so feel free to take a look at those posts if you’re wondering about that paper specifically. This week, we’re going to offer recommendations on accessing the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, and the Washington Post. For each paper, we’ll list the easiest ways to access current and historical issues. For all of these links, you’ll need a NetID.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution Investigation Exposes Broken Promises In Georgia's Senior Care Industry

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: If you’re looking to browse current issues of the AJC, we recommend using U.S. Newsstream. Using this link, anyone with a NetID has access to every issue of the AJC from November 7th, 2001 to the present. Note that articles are available in plaintext only. If you’re looking for historical issues of the AJC (including the issues of one of its predecessors, the Atlanta Constitution), we recommend using ProQuest Historical Newspapers. Using this link, you’ll see eight groupings of historical AJC material, providing access to issues from 1868 to 1984. If you click on an article in one of these groups, you’ll typically view it as a pdf, displaying the article as it appeared in the original print newspaper.

Chicago Tribune | Classifieds

Chicago Tribune: As with the AJC, we recommend using U.S. Newsstream to browse current issues of the Chicago Tribune. Using this link, anyone with a NetID has access to the Tribune from December 4th, 1996 to the present. For historical issues, we also recommend ProQuest Historical Newspapers. Using this link, you’ll see that this database has seven groupings of historical Tribune issues, providing cumulative access to issues from April 23rd, 1849 to December 31st, 2011. As with the historical issues of the AJC, too, you will typically be able to view these articles as pdfs (U.S. Newsstream access only contains plaintext displays of current articles).

Los Angeles Times | Newspaper Target Marketing Coalition, Inc.

Los Angeles Times: Using U.S. Newsstream to access the LA Times, anyone with a NetID can access issues from December 4th, 1996 to the present with this link, in much the same way as accessing the AJC and the Tribune. Historical issues are also best accessed the same way, using ProQuest Historical Newspapers. Using this link, you’ll see four groupings of historical LA Times issues, providing pdfs of articles in every issue of the paper from December 4th, 1881 to December 31st, 2012.

Washington Post online now available to Stanford | Stanford Libraries

Washington Post: Our recommendations for browsing current and historical issues of the Post are much the same as the previous three newspapers in this post. Using this U.S. Newsstream link, anyone with a NetID can access issues of the Post from December 4th, 1996 to the present. ProQuest Historical Newspapers, meanwhile, contains pdfs of Post issues and their articles from December 6th, 1877 to December 31st, 2004. Using this link, you’ll see these issues split up into five groups, sorted by date.

Access to the New York Times Part 3

Hello again! Over the past few weeks, we at the Library have been working on a series of posts about New York Times access for Duke users. Our first post offered an overview of what this access looks like, and our last post covered access for Duke users looking to browse recent issues of the Times and some of its other popular assets (The New York Times Magazine and The New York Times Book Review). This week, we’re looking at access from a more research-oriented perspective. If you’re wondering how best to utilize our Times access for research, keep reading!

Historical issues: We recognize that, over the course of your research, it might be useful to access older issues of the Times. The most exhaustive access we have to historical issues of the Times is through ProQuest Historical Newspapers. If you have a NetID, simply follow this link to access issues from September 14th, 1857 to December 31st, 1922, and this link to access issues from January 1st, 1923 to December 31st, 2016. On either of these pages, you can select a particular date, then see a list of articles that appeared in the paper that day. Generally, when you click on an article via either of these links, you’ll see the article appear as a pdf (looking as it did in the print newspaper). There are usually a couple of other options for viewing, as well: if you click “Page view – PDF,” you’ll see the page of the paper in which the article appears, and if you click “Browse this issue,” you have the option to look through a pdf of the day’s entire paper. You can see each of these viewing options highlighted in the below screenshot. If you’re looking for a more recent issue of the Times, see my previous Times post.

Overview of all databases with Times access: In both this post and my last post, we’ve recommended a few select databases for Times access, as we generally feel that these are the most user-friendly and the most exhaustive. However, if you’re looking to use our Times access for research purposes, you’ll want to know the full breadth of our access. Here’s a list of all the databases Duke users have access to that have at least some degree of New York Times access, with links.

June 27th, 1870 to July 20th, 1870:
Early American Newspapers, Series V

September 14th, 1857 to December 31st, 1922:
ProQuest Historical Newspapers

January 1st, 1923 to December 31st, 2016:
ProQuest Historical Newspapers

August 24th, 1970 to the present: (note that access is limited to three simultaneous users)

June 1st, 1980 to the present:
U.S. Newsstream
Nexis Uni

January 1st, 1985 to the present:
Gale Academic OneFile
Gale OneFile: Contemporary Women’s Issues
Gale in Context: Biography
Gale General OneFile
Gale in Context: Science
Newspaper Source Plus

A note about freelance pieces: As a final point, if you’re looking for particular pieces in the Times, you should be aware that you might run into difficulties finding articles written by freelance writers. This is due to the 2001 US Supreme Court decision New York Times Co. v. Tasini. Wikipedia has a concise summation of this case and its effect here, but essentially, this decision held that the Times could not license articles written by freelance writers or photographs taken by freelance photographers to electronic databases without their creators’ permission. As such, if you’re looking for an article that you know or suspect was written by a freelance writer (in the Times, these are usually opinion pieces) that you are trouble accessing, we recommend you contact the Library via our chat service or


Access to the New York Times Part 2

In response to a number of recent queries about the availability of The New York Times for Duke users, we at the library would like to offer a quick rundown of what this access looks like. The New York Times is of course a ubiquitous resource for both newspaper readers and researchers alike, and so we strive to make it as available as possible. To that end, we subscribe to a myriad of databases that all contain some degree of New York Times access – last week’s post offered an overview of what this looks like. A drawback to this approach, however, is the fact that the levels of access vary from databases to database, and many ensure access to only a certain number of the Times’ numerous subsections. To mitigate this issue, we’re going to map out a clearer path to three of the most popular assets of the Times: The New York Times paper, The New York Times Magazine, and The New York Times Book Review. These links are ideal for Duke users who wish to browse the Times (and this includes all of you nervously refreshing their election map every few minutes); in our next post, we’ll talk more about accessing the Times from a more research-oriented point-of-view.

The New York Times paper: If you’re a Duke undergraduate, the simplest way to browse the Times is to access The New York Times mobile app through the Duke Student Government Readership Program. Create a free account here using your NetID. Graduate students, faculty, and staff can also subscribe to the Times at a discounted rate. Beyond these options, Duke has access to the Times through a number of databases, the most user-friendly and intact being U.S. Newsstream, operated by ProQuest. Using this link, you have access to the full text of the Times from June 1st, 1980 to the present, including today’s paper. That said, the articles are isolated from each other and are only available in plaintext, so this option might be better suited for those with research interests.

The New York Times Magazine: Your safest bet for accessing The New York Times Magazine is to use U.S. Newsstream, which has access to the full text of the magazine from January 5th, 1997 to the present. Using this link, you can look at individual articles in similar way to the general Times, with one significant difference: where U.S. Newsstream only contains plaintext versions of Times articles, their Magazine access includes an option of viewing articles as PDFs, and these PDFs show the articles as they appear in the magazine proper. When you click on an article, it defaults to the plaintext version, but you can access this PDF version by clicking the tab labeled “Full text – PDF” at the top of the article. This setting is better for replicating the experience of browsing a magazine, although the articles, as with the newspaper articles, are isolated from one another – you have to access each of them individually (see below for the difference between the plaintext and PDF options).

The New York Times Book Review: Our recommendation for accessing the Book Review is much the same as the Magazine. Using this link, you can see that U.S. Newsstream has access to the full text of the Book Review from January 24th, 1988 to the present. The reviews, as with the magazine articles, have the option of being viewed as PDFs, and as with the magazine, we recommend taking that option to replicate the experience of browsing the publication itself.