Librarian Highlight: John Tofanelli

Name: John Tofanelli

Title: Research Collections and Services Librarian for British and American History and Literature

Subject Specialities: American History and Literature, American Studies, African American Studies, Asian American Studies, Latino/a Studies, British History and Literature

Contact Info:

Library: Butler Library

@Columbia Since: 2000

Education Info: PhD in English, Stanford University; Masters in Library & Information Science, University of California at Berkeley

About me: I enjoy working at Columbia where student and faculty research is so varied and interesting and library collections are so extensive. It’s really a pleasure to learn about the research that people are doing and to suggest to them resources that will be of use.

What’s new at my library: American Antiquarian Society (AAS) Historical Periodicals Collection This is a wonderfully vast full-text and full page image database providing access to thousands of periodicals from the collections of the American Antiquarian Society. Coverage begins in 1691 and currently extends to 1852. When the database is complete, coverage will extend to 1877. For nearly any topic that falls within the time range covered, you are likely to find something of interest here.

Personal favorite: The Waterloo directory of English newspapers and periodicals, 1800-1900 You can learn a lot about people by knowing the periodicals they read. The Waterloo Directory includes extracts from statements of purpose, information about issue price, circulation, editors, and contributors. It is wonderfully illustrated with sample pages from the periodicals described. While our full-text databases of historical periodicals (such as Periodicals Archive Online) are also remarkable, they can sometimes lead to immersion fatigue—the feeling that you are navigating an endless sea of disembodied articles. The Waterloo Directory snaps you back to attention and reminds you that each periodical was a distinct publishing project with its own history and its own vision of its purpose and audience.

Recommended Resources: Black Studies Center This database is international in scope, containing materials on African American history as well as on the African diaspora and Africa itself. It is a rich and wide-ranging resource, which continues to grow with the addition of new components. The latest component added, Black Abolitionist Papers, includes primary documents from more than one hundred libraries around the world, reflecting the involvement of African Americans in the movement to end slavery. Black Studies Center also includes a strong multimedia component of images, video clips, and videos.