Thursday, January 17, 2013

Great New (Mostly) Free Resource

JSTOR is an online database of articles from academic journals.  It is generally available only at major academic institutions and libraries, but it has started a new program called Register and Read (still in beta testing), an effort to allow access to JSTOR's materials to researchers not affiliated with subscribing institutions.

Register and Read includes approximately 1,200 journals from more than 700 publishers.  Content runs from the first volume through to "recent" (about three to five years ago, depending on the journal).  If you find an article of interest, you can add it to your online "shelf" and have it available for 14 days.  Some articles can be purchased and downloaded as PDF files.

Another way that JSTOR has made articles available is through its Early Journal Content database, which includes almost 500,000 articles from more than 200 journals.  This program begin in 2011.  These articles are totally free and were published before 1923 in the United States and before 1870 elsewhere (in other words, they are in the public domain).

Both Register and Read and Early Journal Content have a list of titles in the collection and a FAQ.

Searching for articles related to my genealogy research gave me such interesting results as "Arrival of alien steerage passengers at Havana, Cuba, during the week ended January 13, 1900", "Germany:  Report from Berlin, Cholera in Galicia", "A Posthumous Change of Name (Birkenthal not Bolechower)", and "On the Progress of the Population of Russia."

Patrons of the San Francisco Public Library are very lucky, because the library subscribes to the complete JSTOR database.  If you have an SFPL library card, you can access JSTOR from the comfort of your home.  And any California resident can go to the library and get a card.

So many articles, so little time ....


  1. Thanks for the tip on JSTOR. And the tip on the SFPL. I have library cards from a few and found Pleasanton to have some great genealogy resources.

    Another resource to consider is the directories published by fraternity and sorority nationals. And, if you are resourceful, you may want to ask your Sigma Chi or Chi Omega friend to look up a name or two. Naturally, most of the online directories are closed to nonmembers, but if you explain what you are doing, they will usually understand and help.

  2. Thank you for the fraternity/sorority tip. I wonder if any of them have published printed directories of alumni, like some of the big universities? I have alumni directories for Berkeley, Stanford, and the Naval Academy that date back to their first graduating classes.

  3. Thanks for posting this, Janice. JSTOR is a great resource that I made use of during college. So glad to be able to have some access again.

    1. I used to use it when I worked at a nonprofit membership association. I think it's great that JSTOR is allowing even partial access to those of us no longer associated with universities and other institutions. What a pleasant surprise!


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