Home > Purchasing Cook Books on the Internet - Part 2

Purchasing Cook Books on the Internet - Part 2


In a previous article I tried to show how easy it is to buy books about Captain James Cook [see Cook’s Log, page 1836, vol. 24, no. 2 (2001)]. This time, I hope to shed some light on finding journal and newspaper articles about Cook, together with reviews of books, videos, etc about him. Also covered are Conference papers and book chapters.

The Cook Bicentenary celebrations that took place around the world in the 1970s prompted many books about Cook, and a large volume of material written and published in journals and newspapers. Some of the articles were academic in nature, appearing in peer-reviewed journals while many were less serious and appeared in popular magazines and newspapers.

Similar problems exist when it comes to locating articles as occurred when trying to locate books. Given that most appear in esoteric journals, often with limited readership, and in a huge cross-section of subjects, how does one become aware of their publication? And having become aware of an article’s existence how does one obtain a copy?

Whereas the arrival of the internet has completely changed people’s ability to locate and purchase books, so far its impact on the acquisition of articles has been somewhat limited. In some cases it is possible to locate and read a copy of an article online, and the number of journals allowing this is increasing rapidly. But in most cases, whilst the internet can help determine the existence of articles, it is still necessary to use traditional methods to obtain them.

As with locating books it is advisable to prepare beforehand and know what it is you are looking for and where you might find it.


The terms journal, magazine, periodical and serial are used interchangeably for publications that appear on a regular basis. In this article the word journal will be used throughout. Terms such as annual, quarterly and monthly are some of the words used to describe the frequency of journals. Therefore an annual is still a journal. The term "article" used here includes reviews, editorials, chapters from books and conference papers.

The Bibliographic details of a journal article usually comprise the name(s) of author (though sometimes none are given), the title of the article, the title of the journal, the date of publication, the volume number and the page numbers. These details are then presented following a referencing style. Many different styles exist but the information conveyed is approximately the same. For the article you are reading, the bibliographic details in a typical style would be:
Robson, John. Purchasing Cook articles. Cook’s Log. Oct.-Dec. 2001, Vol. 24, no. 4, pp. 1883-1885.


An index (in this context) is a work that lists the contents of journals, usually providing an alphabetical listing of the authors of the articles, an alphabetical list of the titles and an alphabetical list grouping the articles by their subject content. The entries give the bibliographic details about the article.

An abstract is an index where a short précis of the article is added to each entry.

Printed indexes sometimes are restricted to the contents of a single volume of a journal title, but might cover the entire run of one journal or the contents of many different journal titles. Some countries have produced indexes that cover the all the journals dealing with their country while other agencies have put together indexes that cover a particular subject. For many years it was necessary to look in every volume when performing a search. Most indexes have remained available in this format.

The arrival of cd-roms began the change in how indexes were compiled and how they could be searched. With a cd-rom it is possible to search across all the years or titles that have been included on a disc at one time.

Many indexes are now online but there are associated problems. They are usually expensive to produce and the owners look to recover their costs by only allowing access to subscribers. The cost is normally out of reach of individuals and to use the databases most people will find it most convenient to use a library. Even then some libraries will only let registered members use the databases with which they have negotiated access. Another problem with online indexes is that they concentrate on new or recent material. They have not usually included retrospective entries for older items, so to find such items it is necessary to revert to printed indexes.

Recently we have seen the introduction of full-text indexes. In these databases the producer has negotiated with the publisher of a journal so that an online version of an article is attached to the index entry. In some cases the article will even look exactly the same as the printed version.

Search tips Whether you are searching library catalogues or the databases of online vendors, some points should be borne in mind.

Searches usually can be performed via author, title, subject or keywords, of which the last two are the most useful. Author (when you know who has written the item) and title (when you know some or all of the title) searches are usually only done when a specific item is known and you wish to confirm the exact details. Subject and keyword searches are carried out when you have little or no information and are beginning a general search.

Libraries ascribe descriptors called subject headings to all material they hold so that any title can be retrieved easily at any time. The standard subject heading for Cook is:
Cook, James, 1728-1779

If you therefore do a subject search, at the subject heading prompt, enter all the above (and in that order) and a list of titles about Cook should appear.

The other useful approach is via keywords. It is especially useful if you do not know or cannot remember the exact details of an author’s name or a particular title. It allows you to search across a combination of words from author, title and subject. For example a search for John Cawte Beaglehole’s article "On the Character of Captain James Cook" could be done at a keyword prompt by entering
Beaglehole and Cook and Character

It is often possible to limit searches by years of publication or language while some catalogues offer a more sophisticated set of searches including Advanced Search, which allows you to refine the search.

Locating articles using library catalogs. Many libraries around the world have produced catalogs and other in-house tools that will help locate material. The obvious limitation is the need to be in that library to use them.
Locating articles using bibliographies For older articles the traditional method involves searching printed bibliographies. While several bibliographies have been produced over the years about James Cook, his life and voyages, only the best of them, complied by Beddie, is worth considering for articles. It is, however, now quite old and does not include the huge amount of material published in the last thirty years. Its bibliographic details are:

Bibliography of Captain James Cook, R.N., F.R.S., Circumnavigator, edited by M.K.Beddie. 2nd ed. Sydney: Library of New South Wales, 1970.

Locating articles using printed indexes and abstracts Indexes to Journals have been produced for hundreds of years and they come in many types.

Examples of Individual journals
The Times Literary Supplement (T.L.S.) - useful mainly for locating book reviews.

Examples of Multi-Journal and Subject coverage
The Art Index. USA: H.H. Wilson, 1929-
Historical Abstracts. USA: ABC-CLIO, 1955- .
Humanities Index. USA: H.H. Wilson, 1974- .
Pacific History Bibliography. Australia: A.N.U., 1979- . Published each year as part of The Journal of Pacific History.
Poole’s Index to Periodical Literature.
UK: Peter Smith, 1802-1906.
Readers’ Guide to Periodical Literature. USA: H.H. Wilson, 1900- .
Social Sciences Index. USA: H.H. Wilson, 1974- .

Examples of Country related indexes.
APAIS: Australian public affairs information service. Australia: National Library, 1955- .
British Humanities Index. UK: Library Association, 1962- .
Index to New Zealand Periodicals. New Zealand: National Library, 1941- .

Locating articles using computer based tools. Examples of Library catalogs.
State Library of New South Wales http://www.slnsw.gov.au/eres/
University of Hawaii at Manoa Library http://www.lib2.hawaii.edu:1080/
Memorial University of Newfoundland Libraries http://www.mun.ca/library/

Examples of Online bibliographies.
John Robson has put together an online alphabetical listing of journal articles. It can be seen at http://pages.quicksilver.net.nz/jcr/~cookarticles.html

Examples of Online indexes and journals.
On the CCSU pages, Ian Boreham maintains a listing of Cook related journals with links to their websites. It is possible to then search the journals and, in some cases, view recent copies. It can be seen here.

Internet Library of Early Journals: A digital library of 18th and 19th Century journals. This project provides online versions of journals including the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society (with Cook’s own pieces) and the Annual Register (with first recorded mentions of the voyages) amongst others. It can be seen at http://www.bodley.ox.ac.uk/ilej/

Examples of Online databases.
There are now many databases available online. Unfortunately, most involve a subscription and are only available through an intermediary such as a library. Most of them will cover present day publications and recent years but will not be very good for older and historical purposes. They will often provide access to chapters in books, conference papers and reviews.

AHSearch (Arts & Humanities Search). 1980 onwards. Normally available through the agency called FirstSearch.
EBSCO - Academic Search Elite and World Magazine Bank. These two related databases cover a wide field of journals. Most of the articles can be reproduced full-text.
Historical Abstracts
MLA International Bibliography. 1963 onwards. A language and literature database.
Northern Light – a search engine that also acts as a link to journals and newspapers. It can be seen at http://www.northernlight.com/
Ingenta – A comprehensive online index covering a wide range of journals. 1989 onwards.

Obtaining articles With luck, the article you are searching for is available online and you can download a copy. Or you might find a library near you subscribes to the journal and you can photocopy the article. However, if neither of the above apply and you cannot afford to travel to a library that does hold your article, you have some further possibilities:

Interloan – most libraries offer an interloan (sometimes called inter-library loan or document delivery) service whereby they will obtain a copy of a book or article for one of their members from another library. A cost is sometimes involved, especially if the item is brought from another country. A direct approach to another library will invariably be referred back to the person with the advise to go through their local library.

Informal networks – it can be quicker (and cheaper) to ask a friend or colleague, who lives near a holding library or who has a collection of their own, to obtain a copy and send it on.

Author John Robson
Origin Originally published in Cook's Log, page 1883, volume 24, number 4 (2001).


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