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Suffrage Centennial: VCU Libraries offers resources to explore online

August 26, 2020 will mark the centenary of the 19th Amendment, which guaranteed women the right to vote in state and federal elections in the United States. As the nation celebrates this expansion of suffrage, VCU Libraries is sharing items from its collections of women’s history materials held in Special Collections and Archives and additional materials from the Image Portal partners.

You may enjoy exploring: 

More to come in 2020!

Image: Equal Suffrage League, 1915 from Special Collections and Archives, James Branch Cabell Library

Digital Theatre+: Contemporary theater performance video

Victor Oshin & Kitty Archer as Othello & Desdemona in OTHELLO by William Shakespeare. An English Touring Theatre production, 2018. Image Credit: Helen Murray

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VCU Libraries has a subscription to Digital Theatre+, a platform for the performing arts providing students with access to full-length productions, interviews, texts, rehearsals and other educational resources.

Digital Theatre+ features productions from The Broadway Digital Archive, The Royal Shakespeare Company, LA Theatre Works, The BBC, Stage Russia and many more.

In addition to full-length videos of plays, valuable content includes:

  • Documentaries on stagecraft;
  • Masterclasses and interviews with expert practitioners;
  • Study guides to assist students with play analysis;
  • Resources subjects such as Physical Theatre and Design created by and for educators.

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By Carla-Mae Crookendale, arts research librarian

Image from Digital Theatre+

World Politics Review

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World Politics Review (WPR) provides analysis of international political trends and comprehensive, detailed and global perspectives. It covers topics of key relevance including foreign policy, international politics and foreign affairs.  Subjects covered:

  • Aid and Development
  • International Law
  • Political Theory
  • Public Diplomacy and Propaganda
  • Human Rights and
  • War and Conflict

WPR provides daily political analyses in multiple areas of study. Users can search by world region, topic or issue and have access to articles in the archives.

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By Pattie Sobczak, business and public affairs collections librarian

Oral histories of civil rights committee reveal students’ beliefs, fears and activism

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Virginia Civil Rights Memorial

Newly available from Special Collections and Archives are nine oral histories about VCU students in the Civil Rights movement. Video files of the interview are available online.

The Virginia Student Civil Rights Committee (VSCRC) was a short-lived, integrated civil rights organization, whose membership included students from colleges across Virginia.

In 2015 and 2016, nine members of the VSCRC gave interviews detailing their work with the organization and with the Civil Rights movement in general, in a project spearheaded by VCU professor Brian Daugherity. The Virginia Student Civil Rights Committee Oral History collection can be accessed online through the finding aid.

According to the Finding Aid prepared by Special Collections and Archives:

The Virginia Student Civil Rights Committee (VSCRC) grew out of a December 1964 conference, organized by Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Although the committee evolved from a SNCC sponsored event, the VSCRC was not formally or officially affiliated with any other organizations. The purpose of the VSCRC was to increase communications among black and white college students involved in the civil rights movement in Virginia by holding monthly meetings of the elected representatives from participating colleges and universities. The original members realized that they did not have to go into the Deep South to encounter the major civil rights violations as there were many problems in the Commonwealth of Virginia, particularly in the more rural counties of Southside Virginia. The committee planned for a conference in the spring of 1965 and assigned people to research and plan for a summer project in Virginia. The committee ultimately focused on empowering local people and groups in Southside to make changes in their own communities themselves.

The leadership of the VSCRC felt there was not enough focus on local, people-oriented, and self-led organizing. They decided to focus on Virginia’s 4th Congressional District, working in six Southside counties to empower local Black residents to work for change. They were encouraged to demand better services from their city and local government, to advocate for the desegregation of businesses and community groups, and to register Southside residents to vote.

White supremacists and the local Klan noticed the VSCRC’s work and attempted to intimidate or threatened the civil rights activists. Despite this, the VSCRC prevailed, successfully forging ties with the Southside community. Their success was short-lived. Differences of opinions among the membership and ideological disagreements about the escalating war in Vietnam and the emergence of black-power groups like the Black Panthers divided the VSCRC. The changing membership further damaged group cohesiveness and the VSCRC disbanded in 1966.

Films on Demand: Course-relevant streaming videos

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Films on Demand Logo, screengrabVCU Libraries has a subscription to Films on Demand Master Academic Collection. Films on Demand’s streaming videos include documentaries from places such as the BBC and PBS as well as instructional videos.

The videos are divided into subject sets (such as mathematics, biology, physical sciences), and they can also be found via a search box. Some videos could be used for a flipped class.  Other videos could serve as introductions to a topic or to refresh students’ knowledge.

Unlike YouTube, Films on Demand videos are not bundled with advertisements and will not follow students’ viewing experience with suggestions to view questionable materials.

Films on Demand is one of several streaming services that VCU students and employees have access to. These include:

  • LinkedIn Learning (formerly, provided by VCU Technology Services): How-to videos, especially useful for learning software tools including Microsoft products, R, and Python;
  • JoVE (Journal of Visualized Experiments) How-to videos for laboratory techniques biology, chemistry, engineering and environmental studies, from basic techniques used in undergraduate courses to cutting edge techniques used in new research;
  • Kanopy Streaming: Documentaries and feature films including many foreign-language films.

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By Julie Arendt, science and engineering research librarian

Image from Films on Demand Master Academic Collection

By JoVE, we’ve got the Journal of Visualized Experiments

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JoVE logo

JoVE, Journal of Visualized Experiments, is a set of video “journals” demonstrating research protocols and methods. JoVE videos typically show the techniques demonstrated by researchers in their labs and have high production quality.

The videos can be used to help train new members of a lab group on a technique. The videos also can be used to better understand the methods used in a research article. For some techniques, the videos can be used to demonstrate what students will be doing in the laboratory portion of a class.

JoVE has sets of videos in different areas that they sell as separate subject journals within their collection. JoVE journals include chemistry, engineering, and a variety of areas within biology from biochemistry to environment to neuroscience.

For several years, VCU Libraries has held a small number of journals within the JoVE collection. This year, VCU Libraries all of JoVE’s videos. Anyone teaching a scientific research technique could save time by first checking JoVE to see if it has a video on the topic.

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By Julie Arendt, science and engineering research librarian

SAGE Research Methods: Building better methods

Researcher taking notes while reading on her computerFind It

Methodology is relevant to research in all disciplines. SAGE Research Methods is a database that focuses on methods over subject. That makes SAGE Research Methods very useful for research methods classes. It is also useful for researchers writing a methods section in a thesis, journal or dissertation. 

There are several key ways to use SAGE Research Methods:

  • Learning new methods. Video tutorials and learning cases walk students through applying different methodologies. These go beyond typical methods issues to include evaluation, experimental design, systematic reviews and more.
  • Looking up major works that discuss various methodologies. These works include the classic Little Green Books of statistics, as well as various handbooks and encyclopedias that discuss how and why to use particular research methods. That makes this database a good place to look for ways to explore, compare and write up a chosen research method.
  • Finding resources to cite when writing up a Methods section. Methods sections for journals and dissertations need citations for the definitions of methods and summaries of how to apply a method. The dictionaries and encyclopedias of methodology in SAGE Research Methods are designed exactly for this purpose. Searching for definitions and short articles on a method is a great way to find reputable scholarly information to cite in support of the methods section.

A great place to start in SAGE Research Methods will be clicking on the Research Tools link at the top of the page, and exploring those Tools links such as the Project Planner.

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By Nina Exner, research data librarian

Image credit

Heat Exchanger Design Handbook Online: Standard reference on heat exchangers

U-Tube Heat Exchanger

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VCU Libraries has recently acquired a new resource. The Heat Exchanger Design Handbook is a standard reference source for design and other information on heat transfer, heat exchanger and other associated technologies. This online resource is the updated and expanded electronic version of the print. It covers all aspects of heat exchanger design and operation, including the basic design methodology, the associated heat transfer and fluid flow technology and the physical data required for design.

The resource is broken into five volumes. All are searchable simultaneously using keyword or phrase, author or editor:

  • Volume 1 sets the scene to present basic theory of heat exchanger and generic application technology.
  • Volume 2 gives the fundamentals of heat and mass transfer and fluid mechanics.
  • Volume 3 addresses the design of thermal and hydraulic heat exchangers.
  • Volume 4 describes mechanical design of heat exchangers and basic mechanical principles.
  • Volume 5 gives the physical properties

All volumes can be searched simultaneously but the results show the volume from which they were retrieved. For example, a simple search using the phrase “tube exchanger design” produces articles from volume 4 that give the specification and design codes for designing shell and tube heat exchangers,

Faculty and students, will find this resource very useful, particularly for senior design projects.

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By Ibironke Lawal, science and engineering collections librarian

Image: H Padleckas, Wikimedia Commons

Peace Research Abstracts: Security and conflicts

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Peace Research Abstracts is published by the Peace Research Institute in Ontario, Canada. It covers public affairs, security and conflict resolution. An Ebsco database, it is easy to use for beginning and advanced researchers. Thousands of international journals are indexed, from Journal of Conflict Resolution to Global Governance to Peace Economics. Abstracts date back to 1964.

Sample search terms:

  • international peacekeeping
  • conflict management
  • human rights
  • vulnerable populations
  • elections
  • disarmament

Some topics may be best searched with quotes around phrases, such as:

  • “economics and peace ”
  • “criminal justice system and peace”
  • “gender and peace”
  • “nuclear zero”

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by Nia Rodgers, public affairs research librarian

Image: Peace Baby!!!, resized and cropped, Clyde Robinson, flickr, creative commons

Public administration abstracts

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Public Administration Abstracts is a bibliographic database covering essential areas related to public administration including theory and methods, administration and economics, administration and politics, administration and society, administrative structures and organization, public and social services, urban and regional planning and studies and public service personnel in the United States and worldwide. The resource includes more than 54,00 records selected from the most important journals within the discipline, dating back to 1964.

Its content offers access to more than 200 journals including:

  • American Review of Public Administration
  • Journal of Public Affairs Education
  • Public Policy & Administration
  • State & Local Government Review
  • Urban Studies

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By Patricia Sobczak, business and public affairs librarian

Image: pixabay, creative commons

Access World News: New shortcuts

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Access World News has added two shortcuts: Access Business News and America’s News Magazines. These shortcuts will help you find information on small and private companies as well as niche products. This is a useful resource to consider if you think you have exhausted all the options.

Access Business News

Access Business News is good resource for regional and local business news regarding industries, markets, companies and products via business journals, news weeklies and law journals in the United States. This resource can be especially useful for business research on hard-to-find news and stories on small private companies and niche markets from local news services. Access Business News allows users to search by headline, keyword, location, company name, source and date.

America’s News Magazines

Provides access to 3,000 full-text news sources for information on people, issues and events.  This resource contains authoritative, staff written coverage of unique local news from around the country as well as national topics, specific articles, statistics, video clips, quotations, facts and analysis.  America’s News Magazines will help the business researcher locate local and regional information on new and specialized products and businesses.

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By Janet Reid, business research librarian

Image:  Creative Commons

ICPSR: Consortium for Political and Social Research

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Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) is an international consortium of more than 750 academic institutions and research organizations. It provides leadership and training in data access, curation and methods of analysis for the social science research community.

ICPSR maintains a data archive of more than 250,000 files of research in the social and behavioral sciences. It hosts 21 specialized collections of data in education, political and social behavior, aging, criminal justice, substance abuse, history, terrorism, economics and other fields.

ICPSR collaborates with a number of funders including U.S. statistical agencies and foundations, to create archives organized around specific topics. Thematic collections and the new services created for them bring a dynamism to ICPSR from which the broader social science research community benefits. The funders provide new data, in most cases free to everyone, and this stimulates more research. The funded archives and ICPSR collaborate to build additional infrastructure for effective data use and discovery.

For a breakdown of some of the types of data collected

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by Pattie Sobczak, business and public policy collections librarian

Image: Measures of Effective Teaching Database

Disasters touch many Wilder School interests

The moment a fire breaks out, a hurricane makes landfall, a tornado touches down, or a trickle turns to a flood, the clock starts on response, recovery and mitigation of the current disaster as well as planning for future events.

At the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Policy, each discipline has a role to play in disaster management and mitigation.

Emergency preparedness plays an important port in mitigating the effects of any disaster. Immediate response teams are set up using the principles of incident management command. Start with the Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness guide that will lead you to these library databases to study after action reports: Homeland Security Digital Library , Web of Science, and Academic Search Complete.

In the first hour(s), maintenance of order and law enforcement become vital as regular legal structures may fail. Additionally, infrastructure complications can arise from failed power or incompatibility among first responders. To study the criminal justice aspects and police and other legal responses, the Criminal Justice Research Guide organizes databases such as Criminal Justice Abstracts , PsychINFO, and WestLawNext. Best databases to study failures in communications include Web of Science and Communications and Mass Media Complete.

Beyond the first responses, nonprofits play critical roles in immediate disaster relief and ongoing support. This often creates a sense of urgency to donate, however, it is important to note that not all nonprofit organizations are the same and some might operate in a less than ethical way. Nonprofits are not held to the same guidelines as publicly held companies; their tax exempt status is regulated by the federal government’s Internal Revenue Service under IRS Exempt Organizations, so there are some reporting requirements. This information is intended to help people make good donation choices, but it can also be used for research purposes. The Nonprofit Research Guide provides numerous resources for researching nonprofit organizations. These include Charity Navigator, Guidestar and Center on Philanthropy as well as Public Administration Abstracts and Social Services Abstracts.

From the disaster’s first day and well beyond. Issues related to public policy and administration factor in. Public policy, as set by local officials, will determine the speed of normalization as recovery progresses. Studying the best practices in returning children to school, normalizing the traffic flows, and making government function outside disaster mode can improve the response in the future. The Public Administration Research Guide is a good place to start. Databases for studying these public policy effects including ABI/INFORM, Business Source Complete and Public Administration Abstracts.

Disasters also raise issues about Urban and Regional Studies. Disasters expose the weaknesses of populated infrastructures. Although the costs of catastrophes are often measured in loss of life or property, the impacts go far beyond that in terms of restoring an area to its former state. Urban and Regional Planning research about disasters can be found in the  Urban Planning Research Guide and in these databases: Urban Studies Abstracts, Index to Current Urban Documents and Access World News.

by Pattie Sobczak, business and public policy collections librarian and Stephani Rodgers, Iiaison to homeland security and emergency preparedness 

Image: Hurricane Maria Makes Landfall in Puerto Rico from Wikimedia Commons

GuideStar pro trial runs through September

VCU Libraries is offering a trial of the new GuideStar Pro Library Services. GuideStar’s current free program is being revamped and soon will not be available for free after the fall. In its place will be a new commercial version, GuideStar Library Services (Pro). This advanced level of data will allow VCU researchers the ability to access to the world’s largest source of information on nonprofit organizations featuring information on more than two million nonprofits, along with numerous filters to refine extensive search results.

The trial of this new Guidestar product runs from Aug. 28, 2017 through Sept. 30, 2017. You can access the site via

Two online demos of GuideStar Pro Library Services will be available. One takes place Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017 at 10 a.m. and a second one on Wednesday, Sept.  6 at 2 p.m. Users can sign up for either one 

Based on the results of the trial and feedback, it will be determined if the library will proceed with the annual subscription. Send your feedback to Pattie Sobczak. 

If you have any questions, please contact Pattie Sobczak at

By Patricia Sobczak, Business and Public Affairs Collections Librarian

Reference Management: move to Mendeley or Zotero

VCU Libraries will discontinue its subscription to the RefWorks citation management tool as of August 31, 2018. Librarians will be happy to assist faculty with moving references and learning the capabilities of other citation managers such as  Mendeley, Zotero, and EndNote. RefWorks users can continue to use RefWorks for the current academic year, and make the transition at a time that is convenient.

If you plan to transition from RefWorks to Mendeley or use Mendeley already, VCU Libraries has a substantial number of free premium upgrades available to faculty on a first come, first served basis. Contact us to request an upgrade, to learn more or to request instruction for your students.

Along with helping you keep track of the articles you’re reading, reference management software can auto-generate citations and bibliographies and make it easy to share resources with collaborators and students. VCU Libraries offers support for two of the most popular reference managers, Mendeley and Zotero.

Using browser extensions, these tools can quickly save reference information from PubMed, Web of Science, IEEE Xplore Digital Library, Google Scholar and other online databases. Or metadata can be retrieved from imported PDFs. Group libraries allow users to share the full text and associated notes. When writing, both Mendeley and Zotero interact with Word to automatically generate in-text citations and bibliographies. For those using LaTeX, both can generate a BibTeX file.

Base accounts with both these tools are free and VCU Libraries has 500 free Mendeley upgrades available to faculty upon request.

Contact VCU Libraries to learn more

By Martha Roseberry, science and engineering research librarian

Trip Pro: Free trial to July 21

VCU Libraries has secured a free trial of Trip Pro database. This free trial will last through July 21.To help VCU Libraries determine whether or not we should subscribe to the Pro version of Trip, please send your feedback to gaukh@vcu.eduThe Trip Database is designed to find answers to clinical questions using the best available evidence. TripPro offers these enhancements compared to the free version.

More content

  • More than 100,000 extra systematic reviews;
  • Millions of extra free full-text articles
  • Easily searchable 175,000 ongoing clinical trials
  • Access to a massive database of medical images
  • Access to tens of thousands of clinical videos

More functionality

  • Export of records to reference management software
  • Advanced search
  • Ability to filter results by clinical area
  • Article views, see which articles are most popular for your search

Other features

  • No advertisements
  • Discounts on evidence services provided by the Trip Evidence Service
  • Be the first to benefit from new features added to Trip

Good Reads for Tomorrow’s Business Leaders

game-figure-598036_640 What management books should you be reading? How can you find inspiration to innovate, create and lead?

Asked to recommend their picks for future business leaders, faculty and administrators from the VCU School of Business and community leaders offered titles sure to inspire and engage. This short list represents the diversity of knowledge, skills and perspectives leaders needs to be successful now and into the future.

Conscious Capitalism by John Mackey
“It is the best book I know about how to think about profit when running a business.”
–Wallace Stettinius, Senior Executive Fellow

Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces that Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Edwin Catmull
Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential in Us All by Tom Kelley and David Kelley
“Creative thinking and innovation have never been more important. Economies need growth. Businesses need ideas. People need inspiration.”
–Ed Grier, Dean, School of Business

Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink
“A fantastic foundational read for anyone interested in understanding some of the core
ways in which people are motivated to do their best work.”
–John Sarvay, Floricane founder and lead consultant

Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In by Roger Fisher, William Ury and Bruce Patton
“There is no better book for helping people in any kind of organization develop a framework for approaching organizations. Negotiation and conflict resolution skills are a key leadership capability.”
–Douglas Pugh, Ph.D., Chair, Department of Management

How We Got to Now: Six Innovations that Made the Modern World by Steven Johnson (Related streaming video from Kanopy)
“A terrific source of inspiration. It provides longitudinal insight into how some of the most interesting innovations served as catalysts for even greater innovations and dramatic changes to the world we know.”
–Susan Coombes, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Management

Leadership Is An Art by Max DuPree
“I have adapted a quote from the book that has guided me for over 20 years now; ‘To be a leader means having the opportunity to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those who permit us to lead.’ That quote literally sits on the wall directly behind me as a constant reminder to me and my team of the expectations I have of myself.”
–Doug Pick, CEO, FeedMore

The One Minute Manager by Kenneth Blanchard
“Truly a classic and one that I hand out to every new manager. This simple story provides a framework for them to start and learn that so important task and joy of developing other human beings.”
–Doug Pick, CEO, FeedMore

Management of the Absurd: Paradoxes in Leadership by Richard Farson
“It introduces the complexity of leadership and discusses many of the paradoxes inherent in being a good leader. Leaders have to continually balance competing demands, and this book provides a very practical treatment of some of these demands so that they do not come as a surprise.”
–Christopher Reina, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Management

Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel
“This book provides an engaging framework for how to think about how to create valuable organizations.”
–Joseph Coombs, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Management

All of these titles are available from VCU Libraries. Search VCU Libraries for more titles and suggest a purchase for any of your favorites we missed.

By Patricia Sobczak, business and public affairs collections librarian, and Bettina Peacemaker, assistant head, academic outreach and business research librarian

Image: Creative Commons

Engineering Village and Knovel searches

The integration between Engineering Village and Knovel makes it possible for researchers to move their searches from one to the other to find both basic and background information and peer-reviewed articles on the same topic.

When starting from Knovel, perform your search (e.g. “density of h2”).Search Knovel

View the results in an interactive table.

View Resultsshot3

To transfer the search to Engineering Village, click the link at the bottom of the menu on the left.


The search box will be automatically populated.


To move from Engineering Village to Knovel, use corresponding link, also at the bottom of the menu on the left.


By Ibironke Lawal, engineering and science collections librarian

CRL: Vast, rare, global primary sources

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VCU Libraries’ new membership in the Center for Research Libraries opens vast, rare, global primary sources to VCU.

The Center for Research Libraries (CRL) is an international consortium of more than 200 university, college and independent research libraries. Founded in 1949, the center supports original research and teaching in the humanities, sciences and social sciences. It preserves and makes available to scholars a wealth of rare and uncommon primary source materials from all world regions. After a hiatus of many years, VCU Libraries is again a member of CRL.

The diversity, global scope and primary evidence materials contained in CRL enable groundbreaking faculty and student research. Among its vast collections and digital resources is the largest circulating collection of newspapers in North America, including more than 1,800 U.S. ethnic titles and some of the earliest African-American papers. Researchers benefit from 38,000 foreign journals and 800,000-plus foreign dissertations, major microfilm and paper collections from Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, Europe, South Asia, and more.

Areas of distinction include:

  • Broad collections in the area of primary legal and government resources, with an emphasis on serial publications from central governments including legislative, administrative, financial, and statistical reports. CRL holds several hundred thousand volumes of publications from government agencies of more than 100 countries, including more than 1,750 official gazettes.
  • Holdings of more than 500,000 volumes of monographic and serial publications of U.S. state government agencies and legislatures from the earliest period through 1950, including financial reports and research studies.
  • Rich historical holdings of U.S. and foreign scientific and technical publications. Generally, its collections in science, technology and engineering emphasizes titles not commonly held by other major North American research libraries.
  • Many specialized groups of materials, including a reference book archive, college and university catalogs, primary and secondary textbooks, railroad publications, curriculum guides and foreign central bank publications. Also held are major microform sets in literature, art, theater, music, science, and other fields.

How to use Center for Research Libraries materials

Discover items by using the CRL Catalog or the link to Digital Collections

The Center for Research Libraries is also listed in the A-Z databases list. Physical items may be requested using VCU Interlibrary Loan services. Contact Shirley Thomas,, (804) 828-1706 with questions. For more detailed information, please see the CRL Research Guide. 

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BrowZine: Online journal browsing


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BrowZine is a tool that helps you keep up with your favorite research journals. You can search for a specific journal title or use the subject listing to view titles in a general discipline and drill down to narrower sections. A new feature in BrowZine is the ability to link back to VCU Libraries and see all issues available of a particular journal title.

BrowZine is not a comprehensive list of all VCU Libraries titles but does represent a significant selection of the most useful titles. It is available from your web browser or as an app for iOS and Android devices. For more information on BrowZine and links to download the iOS and Android apps, visit the Use BrowZine guide.

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By Lynne Turman, head, Tompkins-McCaw Library Collections

Image: BrowZine