Ad*Access - Online Image Database of Advertisements
Duke University's Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library is
pleased to announce the availability of Ad*Access, an online image database
of over 7,000 advertisements printed mainly in U.S. newspapers and magazines
between 1911 and 1955. Generously supported by The Duke Endowment "Library
2000" Fund, Ad*Access is a collaboration of the John W. Hartman Center for
Sales, Advertising & Marketing History and the Digital Scriptorium.
The advertisements included in the site are drawn from the J. Walter
Thompson Company Competitive Advertisements Collection and include examples
selected from five major categories: Beauty and Hygiene; Radio; Television;
Transportation; and World War II.
Rather than including just a few advertisements on many topics, this
approach offers researchers and students enough material to begin to
understand advertising for a certain product or time period. Each of the
categories has previously attracted considerable research interest, and each
also reflects major developments in American society, culture, business, and
technology in the first half of the 20th century.
Every advertisement has a separate record. This record includes a thumbnail
image of the ad and two possible viewing sizes (full size and 2x
magnification), with descriptive information about the advertisement. Past
research requests provided the basis for determining what criteria would be
most useful to researchers for accessing the advertisements. A 42-field
database was created with categories such as 'company', 'product', 'date',
'type of illustration', etc. The database was converted into SGML format
in EAD (Encoded Archival Description).
Consistent with other Digital Scriptorium resources, Ad*Access has been
enhanced with added-value features including brief histories of the various
industries and background on World War II advertising campaigns such as
those for war bonds and v-mail. Additionally, searching with Boolean
operators is available. This complex search option allows researchers the
ability to more narrowly limit their returns, thus increasing the
flexibility of the database.
Ad*Access provides a rich introduction to advertising in the middle of the
twentieth century and a unique resource for studying advertisements online.
The John W. Hartman Center (http://scriptorium.lib.duke.edu/hartman) at Duke
University is one of the nation's pre-eminent programs for the study of
sales, advertising, and marketing. The Center's mission is to promote
understanding of the immense cultural impact of these fields by expanding
its vast collection of textual and multimedia resources and increasing the
access to these materials by students, scholars, and businesses worldwide.
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