A patron contacted us this week wondering if we had issues of the magazines Ebony and Jet, for the period 1972-1974, for browsing.
We have digital access to Ebony and Jet from 1992 to the present through GALILEO databases. (To find out where, enter the magazine title in the Electric Journal Locator.) Not early enough for our needs, so next we checked GIL, the online catalog, for print or microfilm holdings. A “journal title” exact search revealed that we have both: we have print subscriptions to the current issues of Jet and Ebony (current issues can be found in the Current Periodicals area on the first floor of the Main Library) as well as microform available of all the issues back to the magazines’ foundings (1945 for Ebony, 1951 for Jet.) The microfilm issues are located in the Basement of the main library, where machines for reading the film and print selected pages are available (click to enlarge image).
On a hunch, the librarian then checked Google Book Search for these magazines. Google Books has been digitizing back issues of many (mostly popular) magazines lately, although there hasn’t been a whole lot of publicity for this project. As it turns out, Jet and Ebony for 1972-1974 are fully available in digital image format from Google Books. The contemporary cultural and political articles – as well as exciting fashions of the early 1970s featured in the ads – are available for perusal from any web browser. Other magazines available through Google Books include Life, Popular Mechanics, and even Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Years available will vary, but this is a wonderful resource for those looking for 20th century popular culture, and well worth a quick search or an extended browse.