Friday, May 7, 2010

Notable E-Books--TimesReference from CQ Press

We have had CQ Political Reference Suite (CQPRS) for quite a few years. It is a useful collection of materials in topics related to government and public policy that you can search singly or together. Some of the most useful components are the Political Handbook of the World, which profiles the political environment of individual countries. (Lengthy profiles even include topics like national ommunications, providing the names, circulation, and political affiliation of major national media with information on news agencies, television coverage and internet usage.) And another personal favorite in the CQPRS is Historic Documents. This annual compilation (that goes back to 1972) provides scores of primary documents related to global events for a particular year. Materials reproduced include anything from presidential speeches to international agreements to reports on social issues like the effects of television violence.

This spring we added several new reference materials to CQPRS. These include an Encyclopedia of Politics and Religion, an Encyclopedia of the First Amendment, and a resource on International Military Alliances 1648-2009.

And for those who are interested in political history through the lens of major news coverage, we also added a set of four eReference books that are collected under the umbrella title of TimesReference.

These "volumes" provide actual news articles, editorials, cartoons and photos from America's most respected newspaper, the New York Times.

TimesReference includes four components, all of which combine contemporary political analysis with reproductions of newspaper content from the time. The first title in the series is The New York Times on the Presidency, which excerpts nearly 150 years of New York Times’ reporting "to explore the dynamic nature of the presidency in the American political system." Editor/author Meena Bose has "selectively chosen a variety of news articles, editorials, and data from The Times for which she has written context-providing narrative that discusses the key issues, leadership challenges, and turning points in each president’s administration, from Franklin Pierce (1853-1857) through George W. Bush (2001-2008)."

The second entry is The New York Times on the Supreme Court, which "uses carefully chosen articles from The Times to explore the history and influence of the Supreme Court. Author Kenneth Jost provides expert analysis and presents selected news stories, letters to the editor, and Op Ed essays from the paper to look at the development of the Court and its relationship to the other branches of government and to the states."

The third volume in the series, The New York Times on Emerging Democracies, "chronicles the peaceful transitions from Soviet or authoritarian order that have occurred over the last thirty years in Europe and Eurasia" in countries like Poland, Czechoslovakia and East Germany. Organized in country chapters, the work details the social change in the region, providing overviews, quick facts, analysis and lots of NYT content.

The New York Times on Critical Elections is the latest installment. And it covers everything from the presidency of Abraham Lincoln to the election of Barack Obama.

Reference resources like these really help to put history into the context of the time (and Times). These works can be useful for researching a wide variety of topics. And they are even fun to browse to get a sense of how the country and world have changed during the more than 150 years that the New York Times has been publishing.

And keep in mind that these eBooks provide only a sampling of New York Times content. If you are interested in reading the paper online and don't want to deal with their corporate website, which gives away only limited amounts of material, don't forget that Sawyer Library has the Times in a wide variety of formats and databases. Most of the online versions don't go further back than the 1980's. However, we also have an online archive of the paper, through ProQuest Historical Newspapers, that reproduces a digital image of the paper, cover to cover, all the way back to 1851. (The advertising, alone, can be a real eye-opener!)

I hope that you find the TimesReference and all of CQ Political Reference Suite useful. And if you really want to get the maximum CQ effect, you can even research your political topic or hot-button public policy issue in the consolidated CQ Press Electronic Library platform. This search box not only covers the CQPRS resources but also throws in our CQ electronic serials, CQ Weekly and CQ Researcher and even a separate database called CQ Press Congress Collection for good measure!

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