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Librarians Are (Virtually) Here: Online Services and Resources for International Collections at the Library of Congress

(The following is a guest post by Jonathan Loar, South Asia Reference Librarian, Asian Division.)

Many people are adjusting to school, work, and life at home during this time of social distancing. Librarians are here to help!

Although our reading rooms are closed to the public and we don’t have access to our onsite collections, Library of Congress staff are ready, willing, and able to answer your questions and guide you through the slew of freely accessible online resources. We just want to remind you that subject area specialists from the African & Middle Eastern, Asian, European, and Hispanic divisions are here if you need us.

The reading rooms for the Library of Congress international collections (left to right): African and Middle Eastern, Asian, European, and Hispanic.

The best way to contact our librarians is through the “Ask-a-Librarian” service. Do you have questions about Japanese digital resources? Curious about the Library’s digital collection of Persian manuscripts? Would you like to learn more about materials in German or Portuguese at the Library of Congress? Use these links to contact our librarians:

Our colleagues across the Library of Congress are taking reference questions with “Ask-a-Librarian,” too.

What about other freely available content? We’ve got you covered! Each reading room has lots of information about their unique resources on their individual websites: African & Middle EasternAsianEuropean, and Hispanic. You may also browse or search for specific international digital collections and web archives on the Library’s page for digital collections.

You might already know that the Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division has its own online catalog with thousands of digitized images pertaining to the Library’s international collections. The Geography & Map Division also has an online collection with rich international content.

The Library’s online catalog is available to search for titles and publication information, gleaned from bibliographic records. Another helpful catalog provides access to electronic resources. The tabs at the top allow for searching different kind of media. You may want to use keywords to search for databases, especially those listed as “FREE ACCESS.” Another tab allows you to search for e-journals, some of which are available online. For example, you will find issues of the “Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland” by clicking the link at the bottom of the record marked with “free public access.”

Research guides? We’ve got those! All four divisions in the Library’s international collections have guides in fields such as Asian Studies, East European Studies, and Hispanic Studies. Many other subjects are represented, as well. Librarians are constantly developing new content, so it’s helpful to bookmark the research guide webpage and check periodically for updates.

Stay tuned to “4 Corners” as we continue to bring you more collection highlights and fascinating stories from around the world. Our blogposts cover a variety of subjects, as does our Facebook content.

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