As I became more obsessed with genealogy and family history my favorite authors became David McCullough, David Hackett Fischer, Jean A. Stuntz, Lawrence Friedman, and pretty much anyone published by Heritage Books or Genealogical Publishing.
Then I discovered the information in scholarly journals—often focused on a specific location where my ancestors had lived or on a topic directly related to some event in an ancestor's life. These are the details needed to add "meat to the bones" of my family tree. When I learned I could access JSTOR through the Houston Public Library system I spent hoursperusing what was available and wishing there were more hours in the day to study.
JSTOR provides access to scholarly journals through universities and institutions like large libraries. This is great if you are attending classes at a school that provides access or have access through a local library. As Google began to index the content of journals in JSTOR it could be a frustrating experience to see a link to an article that contained exactly the information you needed, only to find out it was behind a pay wall and you couldn't read the article. Some of those frustrations will disappear now.
JSTOR recently announced open access to material in their collection that is out of copyright. There are some terms and conditions for use so check the full text in the FAQ and the documents it links to.
PDF files listing the included journals by title and by discipline are available. These are just a few of the journals anyone can now access by going to jstor.org and clicking on the link for "Early Journal Content":
- The Journal of African American History — 1916–1922
- The Illustrated Wood Worker — 1879–1879
- California History — 1922–1922
- Indiana Magazine of History — 1905–1922
- The Georgia Historical Quarterly — 1917–1922
- The Journal of American History — 1914–1922
- The South Carolina Historical Magazine — 1900–1922
- The Southwestern Historical Quarterly — 1897–1922
- The William and Mary Quarterly — 1892–1922
- The Hispanic American Historical Review — 1918–1922
- California Law Review — 1912–1922
- Columbia Law Review — 1901–1922
- Harvard Law Review — 1887–1922
- Virginia Law Review — 1913–1922
- The Journal of Religion — 1882–1922
For more information see this Chronicle.com article by Jennifer Howard and the announcement from JSTOR.
© 2011, Debbie Parker Wayne, All Rights Reserved