Category Archives: Databases

RESOURCE: medieval art in CORSAIR, the Morgan Library’s catalog

Scholars looking for medieval illuminations to illustrate their arguments need look no further than the Morgan Library.  The Morgan has digitized and cataloged every image in its vast holdings of medieval manuscripts.  While an image search can be made in CORSAIR, the general catalog of manuscripts and printed books, there is a specific area of the site for searching solely the medieval and Renaissance images in the collection.

Find images in a number of ways:

  • by manuscript number (e.g. MS M.25, selected from a drop-down menu)
  • search by subject term (e.g. archer)
  • browse by category of manuscript (e.g. psalter), by country of origin,  and by century (also, both, selected from a drop-down menu)

Browsing by manuscript is also possible.

Results of searches display in a vertical list or as a "lightbox" grid, five panel across. The cataloging metadata for each image is extensive, and there are often multiple views of a given illumination. 

For example, the page below, a single folio from a twelfth-century English psalter (MS M.724):

also offers four additional detailed images of the upper half of the page and of selected panels, such as this closer look at the third panel in the top row, or "zone":

with extensive accompanying description:

3a) Moses: Burning Bush, and Moses, Miracle of Rod changed to Serpent — Beside burning bush, serpent crawls toward Moses as Shepherd, with head draped, stands with leprous right hand raised, beside five sheep on hill.

3b) Moses: Miracle of Rods, and Aaron: Miracle of Rods — Pharaoh, crowned, seated on cushioned bench, extends right hand toward Moses, with rod in left hand, and Aaron; three serpents on ground at their feet; behind Aaron, two men, possibly magicians.

Scenes in frames decorated with abstract ornament.

Clicking through to the CORSAIR record for this image, one can see the highly granular subject analysis applied to the image:

Psalters –England –Canterbury –Illustrations. 1155-1160.

Pharaoh –commanding Shiphrah and Puah.

Crown –worn by Pharaoh.

Arms and Armor –Sword.

Furniture –Bench.

Jochebed 2. Scene.

Moses –Birth.

Moses –in Bulrushes.

 Furniture –Bed.

Moses –brought to Daughter of Pharaoh.

Moses –Child at Court of Pharaoh.

Crown –worn by Moses as Child.

Furniture –Throne.

Moses –Burning Bush.

Moses –Miracle of Rod changed to Serpent.

Moses –Leprous Hand.

Moses –as Shepherd.

Moses –Miracle of Rods.

Aaron –Miracle of Rods.

Figure, Male –Magician.


For further information on searching CORSAIR, or finding medieval images, please feel free to contact Karen Green, the librarian for Ancient & Medieval History.

New Database: History of Modern Russian and Ukrainian Art, 1907-1930

The History of Modern Russian and Ukrainian Art, 1907-1930 documents the history of modern Russian and Ukrainian art. It encompasses critical literature, illustrated books, and art periodicals.

The collection contains texts by such artists as Wassily Kandinsky, Pavel Filonov, Kazimir Malevich and Anatolii Petrytskyi; publications of art groups such as the Jack of Diamonds (Bubnovyi valet) and Màkovets; theoretical tracts by Nikolai Tarabukin and Boris Kushner; and books by well-known critics such as IAkov Tugendkhol'd, Erikh Gollerbakh, and Nikolai Punin. The collection also offers a selection of early 20th century art-related serials. These historical sources of pre- and post-revolutionary art reflect the diversity of artistic thought in the first thirty years of the 20th century, the intense discussions about the nature of the new art, its form, and its aims.

The collection consists of 215 titles that were published in two parts on microfiche.

New Database: African American Periodicals, 1825-1995

African American Periodicals, 1825-1995 is full text journal collection based upon James P. Danky's AfricanAmerican Newspapers and Periodicals: A National Bibliography (Harvard, 1998). Drawn from holdings of the Wisconsin Historical Society, African American Periodicals ranges over more than 150 years of American life, from slavery during the Antebellum Period to the struggles and triumphs of the modern era.

The database features more than 170 titles, including African Repository (1825-92), Southern Workman (1881-1900), Colored Harvest (1888-1922), Colored American Magazine (1900-1909, Horizon (1907-10), Crisis (1910-20), Black Worker (1929-1968), Liberator (1929-1932), Negro Actors Guild Newsletter (1940-78), Freedom (1951-55), Beauty Trade (1954-1978), Black Panther (1967-1975), Soul (1966-76), Echo (1968-84), Neighbors (1970-79), National Leader (1982-85).


Use the browse feature to page through issues by name and date, or use the search feature to search across the entire contents.  If you are doing full text searches,  use proximity operators to search for terms that are near each other: montgomery NEAR15 bus finds articles where the word Montgomery and bus appear within 15 words of one another (in either direction).  To find words in direct order use ADJ: brotherhood ADJ5 porter* finds articles where the word brotherhood is followed by the words porter or porters.  Consult the database help for more search tips.

Consult our African-American Studies Research Guide to learn more about this and other library resources in African-American Studies.

If you have a questions about this database, or any other research question, please visit, call, email or text us.

New Database: Victorian Popular Culture

Victorian Popular Culture: Moving Pictures, Optical Entertainments & the Advent of Cinema

This section of Victorian Popular Culture explores the pivotal era in entertainment history when previously static images came to life and moved for the first time. It features printed ephemera, programmes, sheet music, cigarette cards, postcards, games, toys and other merchandise from the pre – and early-cinematic years. It also features – for the first time – a virtual exhibition entitled "Optical Delights" which showcases a selection of the most interesting optical entertainment artifacts and even some video clips of the devices in action!

If you have any questions about this database, or any other research question, please visit, call, email or text us.

Fashion Research

A few resources for researching fashion and the fashion industry:

Berg Fashion Library
, includes the Encyclopedia of World  Dress and Fashion (Oxford, 2010) and many other books about fashion.

Encyclopedia of Clothing and Fashion (Scribner's 2005).

Vogue Archive
-issues from 1892 to the present

WWD (Women's Wear Daily) – current paper issues are in the  Business Library, full-text (no images) is available from numerous sources, the microfilm backfile is in Business

A few other ejournals, including Fashion Theory

Databases: The Ebscohost Research Databases, provide an excellent multidisciplinary search.

Check CLIO for books.  Most books about designers are in Avery Library; general works about clothing and dress will be in Butler, Barnard, or Business.   Try WorldCat to search beyond Columbia's collections.   If material is not available at Columbia, try Borrow Direct or ILL.  If you need to use the FIT library, come to the Butler Reference Desk.

If you have any questions about researching fashion, please Ask a Librarian.

Recent Acquisitions in Streaming Video Databases

Check out some of our recent database acquisitions in streaming video:

World History in Video: English-language documentaries
World history in video is an online collection of streaming video that gives users access to documentaries from filmmakers worldwide, covering Africa and the Americas, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Oceania.

March of Time
From 1935-1967, American theatergoers and television watchers were witness to Time Inc.'s unique and controversial film series, The March of Time.

It offers high-quality videos of full-length performances by some of today's most provocative artists working in dance, theater, music and other forms that defy categorization.

Here is the full list of the Libraries' streaming video databases.

CLIObeta: A New Way to Search

The Columbia Libraries are developing a new interface for CLIO which allows researchers to combine elements from the library catalog in powerful new ways.  

CLIObeta offers the ability to refine a keyword search by format; publication date; topical, regional, historical, and genre headings; language; library location; call number; and acquisition date. It is also possible to search multiple data sources with a single query, including:

  • 7.7 million records in the library catalog,
  • 400 million records in Summon (Find Articles)
  • 6,000 records in Academic Commons
  • 4,000 records in the Archival Collections portal
  • 1200 database records
  • 6,000 recently acquired titles
  • 4,000 library web pages

Please take the time to give us your feedback.  CLIObeta is being developed locally using open source software.  Your comments, questions, and suggestions will help us improve the database.   A brief introduction to CLIObeta:

It’s (Streaming) Music to Your Ears

Like to listen to music on the go?

Explore the Libraries' streaming audio databases.

The Libraries offer several databases which feature streaming audio, in a wide variety of musical styles. One easy way to find these is the click on the "E-Resources" tab from the main Library Web page, and then select "E-Music". You can also search under the "Databases" search tab on Library Web, by the title of any individual database listed below.

You can listen to streaming content from these databases from any computer with audio in the Libraries or on-campus, or from off-campus (via UNI login).

Here's a list of the current databases offering music as streaming audio (including the URL you should use if you want to bookmark the resource, to be recognized as a Columbia subscriber, using your UNI to connect from off-campus):

American song  


Classical music library  


Contemporary world music  


Database of recorded American music (DRAM)  


Music online. Jazz music library  


Naxos music library  


Naxos music library. Jazz.  


Smithsonian global sound for libraries  



You may notice, as you browse, that many of the above titles are from Alexander Street Press. They offer a cross-search function, which searches across their audio databases (but also includes their other content, such as music scores and text). It's available at:


Music Online  



Note that many of these databases offer a choice of bitrates for listening – choose the highest, whenever possible, for better audio quality! You'll often see this option in the pop-up player window which launches when you play a track. It's not always set to the highest setting.


You'll also find results in CLIO, for content in Naxos Music Library and Classical Music Library (including the jazz collections). This is convenient because you can search for music in CLIO and see both sound recordings available in the Libraries, and streaming audio content available. You can launch playback directly from within the CLIO record. Note, however, that the records for this content are loaded in periodically to CLIO, not continuously, so the most up-to-date search for the content of any particular database is through that database's search function.


Get to know the streaming audio databases, and let us know what you think! Comments, questions, problems can be sent to

Note: the listening device pictured above is for illustrational purposes only. Professional listener in a controlled space. The Libraries do not recommend the use of such a device for home and/or unsupervised use.

UWriting Students: More Research Tips

As you begin working on your research proposals, use these multi-subject databases to find articles from scholarly journals, newspapers, and magazines:


EbscoHost Research Databases


LexisNexis Academic

Remember to use the truncation symbol (*) and nested searching to improve your results.
Example: (smoking OR tobacco OR nicotine) AND (ethic* OR moral*)

If you need help with your research, please contact me or stop by the Reference Desk in 301 Butler.

Anice Mills
Undergraduate Services Librarian


UWriting Students: Need Help with your Research?

For help with your research, use the UW Research Guide on the sidebar of your CourseWorks page:

The research librarians in Butler Library can help you in a number of ways:
–we can help you find scholarly resources in our library databases
–we can help you determine the scholarly merit of a resource
–we can help you distinguish among different types of databases and resources that are useful in this assignment

Come see us at the Butler Reference Desk in 301 Butler or reach us via email or phone:

For further assistance, please contact:
Anice Mills
Undergraduate Services Librarian