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By Penny Crossland

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Spurred on by Nancy Davis Kho’s posting on Alacra Pulse Pro (see http://www.vivavip.com/go/e28196), and particularly her reference to the vendor’s free access to the database (the promotion ends on April 15), I was interested to find out what other free offers to subscription-based databases are currently available. To mark the ALA’s National Library Week (April 11 to 17) in the US, Proquest (http://digbig.com/5bbjyq) is offering free access to several databases that match the week’s theme, ‘Communities thrive @ your library’. From its History & Genealogy section, Proquest is offering users access to African American Heritage (http://digbig.com/5bbjy) rand Black Newspapers online (http://digbig.com/5bbjys) two resources, which are useful for researchers of African American family and general history. For a limited time, full-text images of important newspapers such as the Atlanta Daily World, the Chicago Defender and the Pittsburgh Courier are available, covering news from 1983 to 2005. This collection is also cross searchable with archives from the larger national papers – The New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune, making this offer a useful tool for general researchers as well. Other currently free Proquest databases of interest to business researchers are CultureGrams (http://digbig.com/5bbjyt) and eLibrary (http://digbig.com/5bbjyw). Culturegrams provides regularly updated country reports with facts, figures and background to countries’ customs and lifestyles. Interestingly, cultural and factual information extends to all 50 American states and all Canadian Provinces. eLibrary contains full-text material from general interest and business magazines and newspapers (including Fortune, Newsweek and Time) and access to European newspapers and newswire. eLibrary’s multimedia content stretches to maps, audio and video streaming and pictures. Resourceshelf (http://digbig.com/5bbjyx) has alerted us to Gale’s free access to four resources, two of which will be of interest to business researchers. Global Issues in Context (http://digbig.com/5bbjyy) has links to country portals with sources on economic, social, political and environmental issues, amongst others. GREENR (http://www.gale.cengage.com/greenr/) has content on emerging green technologies, sustainability and environmental issues. Finally, SAGE Reference Online (http://digbig.com/5bbkaa) has free access to its social science content consisting of handbooks and encyclopedias. All these resources as well worth a browse in the coming week – have fun!

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