The Library subscribes to a variety of electronic resources, and most offer remote access. If you are using electronic resources outside the building, be sure to log in to the Library web site first using the orange button in the sidebar to the left. For assistance using any of our online resources, please ask at the reference desk.
This is the online edition of the 20-volume OED, widely regarded as the accepted authority on the English language and an unsurpassed guide to the meaning, history, and pronunciation of 600,000 words—past and present—from across the English-speaking world. Each word entry includes: etymology, definition, part of speech, date of origination, pronunciation, quotation, and cross-references.
Oxford Reference Online brings together encyclopedias, dictionaries, and other reference works into a single cross-searchable resource. Available subjects include: Books and Libraries; Recreation and Sports; Government and Law; Art and Architecture; History, Biography, and Genealogy; Language and Literature; Performing Arts; Natural Sciences and Mathematics; Technology and Applied Sciences; Health and Medicine; Religion and Philosophy; Social Sciences; Area and Cultural Studies; Geography and Travel; Law; Political Science; and, Psychology.
Worldcat Discovery allows researchers to search the collections of libraries around the world. Not all of the New York Society Library’s holdings can be found in Worldcat, so it is best to begin with a search of our catalog then, if needed, search Worldcat Discovery.
Journals, Newspapers, and Periodicals
JSTOR offers Library members full-text searchable access to articles from the back issues of nearly 2,000 scholarly journals across the arts and sciences. Articles display as PDF images, and can be printed or saved to a computer. Create a "My JSTOR" account to save citations and searches, receive email alerts for saved search results, and more. Using JSTOR & Project MUSE
ProQuest is a suite of databases containing current and historical content of several major U.S. newspapers, includingThe New York Times going back to the year 1851. It also includes a digitization of The New York Times Index, which allows users to further refine their searches by subject, location, person, creative works, and company/organization. Databases include:
- The New York Times (1980-current)
- Historical Newspapers: The New York Times (1851-2009)
- Historical Newspapers: New York Tribune / Herald Tribune (1841-1962)
- Historical Newspapers: Los Angeles Times (1881-1991)
- Historical Newspapers: The Wall Street Journal (1889-1997)
- Historical Newspapers: The Washington Post (1877-1998)
- Historical Newspapers: The Christian Science Monitor (1908-2001)
ProQuest is available for in-Library use only.
The Library is pleased to offer this easy-to-use digital version of a source that has been a standard in print reference collections for decades. The database includes indexing and abstracting for over 400 publications back to 1983, and the full text of articles from over 200 publications going back to 1994, covering a wide array of subjects. Patrons can use basic and advanced search templates or browse, and can e-mail, print, or save search results. The database is updated daily.
Zinio for Libraries is a “digital newsstand” that allows Library members to download and read our collection of popular e-magazines on a computer or portable device.
Arts and Literature
American Book Prices Current is a searchable database with records of books, manuscripts, autographs, maps, and broadsides sold at auction beginning in September 1975. ABPC is a useful tool for dealers, appraisers, and scholars, or anyone who is curious about the rarity or monetary value of a book or manuscript.
American Book Prices Current is available for in-Library use only.
Book Review Index Plus features over 600,000 full-text book reviews and millions of review citations culled from over 400 periodicals, scholarly and popular. Coverage begins in the mid-1960s and continues through the current year.
A bibliographic database of over 7.5 million U.S. book, audiobook, and video titles, as well as 12 million international titles, currently in print. The database also includes bibliographic information on forthcoming and out-of-print books, and reviews from publications such as Publisher's Weekly, Booklist, Choice, and Library Journal. Entries include tables of contents, publisher's descriptions, cover images, author biographies, and awards information.
With a list of contributors that reads like a "who's who" of late 20th century intellectual life, the London Review of Books has been an esteemed source of analytical book reviews and thoughtful essays since 1979. This database contains every review and essay published in the magazine since its founding—over 12,000 articles—and is fully searchable. Users can also browse by issue or contributor.
Now in its fourth edition, Masterplots is an old standby in literature reference collections. The work of 700 academics and independent scholars, the digital version contains the entire newly revised 12 volume edition, with 2,220 essays summarizing and analyzing works of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama.
A full-text database that offers users multiple ways to search or browse reviews and articles from the acclaimed magazine's founding in 1963 through the current issue.
Oxford Art Online
Using Oxford Art Online, Library members can access and simultaneously cross-search acclaimed art reference works published by Oxford University Press: The Benezit Dictionary of Artists, The Encyclopedia of Aesthetics, The Oxford Companion to Western Art, and The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Art Terms. The Benezit Dictonary of Artists contains 170,000 entries on artists from antiquity to the present day, plus thousands of auction records, museum holdings, and bibliographies, and includes images of artists' signatures, monograms, and stamps.
Oxford Music Online is a cross-searchable database that includes the full contents of the following Oxford University Press publications: The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2nd edition (29 vols., 2001), The New Grove Dictionary of Opera (1992), The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, 2nd edition (2002), The Oxford Dictionary of Music, 2nd edition (2006), and The Oxford Companion to Music (2011). The database features more than 50,000 signed articles and 30,000 biographies contributed by over 6,000 scholars from around the world.
The process of adding text from two new and forthcoming print publications, The Grove Dictionary of American Music, 2nd edition (8 vols., 2013), and The Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments, 2nd edition (5 vols., 2014), is ongoing. When these volumes are fully online, they will add more than 20,000 new and revised articles to the database.
Back issues of the Times Literary Supplement are among the prime sources of twentieth-century British cultural history. With the TLS database, which includes material dating back to the journal's first appearance in 1902, members can search by a book's title or author, by contributor, or under listed subject-headings. Additionally, the online version of the TLS includes the names of the contributors, who until 1974 were uncredited.
History and Biography
Created and maintained by the University of Virginia, this database contains fully-searchable digital versions of the papers of major figures of early American history. Users can search any of the following publications or across the entire database:
- The Papers of Thomas Jefferson
- The Papers of James Madison
- The Papers of George Washington
- The Papers of Alexander Hamilton
- The Papers of John Marshall
- The Adams Papers
- The Dolley Madison Digital Edition
- The Ratification of the Constitution
Members can search and browse this digital edition of Oxford University Press's 24-volume reference set published in 1999. The database is updated semi-annually: new entries are added and previously published entries are revised for accuracy and currency. Each of the 18,700 entries contains a descriptive bibliography, and the database contains over 80,000 linked cross-references.
City Readers is a database of historic records, books, and readers. Search, browse, and visualization tools support the discovery and analysis of over 100,000 biographic, bibliographic, and transaction data, derived from digitized content from our archives. Circulation records from 1789 to 1805, when the Library shared Federal Hall with the first American Congress, have been fully digitized and transcribed, and the data is now available for free through City Readers. By providing detailed metadata for the books and readers documented in the charging ledgers, City Readers is a virtual reconstruction of the Library as a social and literary institution in New York at the turn of the eighteenth century.
The electronic edition expands and enhances the Cambridge University Press 5-volume set published in 2006. Covering a vast range of topics, this is the source for quantitative facts of American history. Numerous essays place the statistical tables in historical context, and all of the database's content is searchable. Tables may be downloaded and customized.
Marquis Biographies Online contains over 1.5 million profiles from more than twenty titles published in the Marquis’ Who’s Who series since 1985. The database also includes 110,000 biographies culled from the Who Was Who in America series (1607-1985). Updated daily, MBO offers users the ability to create targeted searches using 15 search criteria.
The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography is the national record of men and women who have shaped British history and culture from the Romans to the 21st century. The DNB offers concise, up-to-date biographies written by named, specialist authors. The database also includes the complete text of the original 33-volume print edition, plus over 10,000 portrait images.
Published by the University of Virginia and drawn from the papers of the Founding Fathers and other documents of the era, People of the Founding Era provides biographical information on over 25,000 people born between 1713 (the end of Queen Anne's War) and 1815 (the end of the Napoleonic War). The database features identically-structured data for each person allowing for group (gender, occupation, etc.), or prosopographical, study.
The Project MUSE database includes full-text articles in nearly 400 humanities and social sciences scholarly journals, including current content. Library members also have access to nearly 2,600 backlist university press e-books in the subject of history. The e-books may be downloaded as PDFs to your computer in chapters with no loan periods. Using JSTOR & Project MUSE
- New York Public Library: Databases & Indexes Online
Remote access requires a valid New York Public Library Card
- Brooklyn Public Library: Articles & Databases
Remote access requires a valid Brooklyn Public Library card
- Queens Library: Research Databases
Remote access requires a valid Queens Library card
- New York State Library: Electronic Resources
Remote access requires a valid New York State Library card with a P number