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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
( 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

You can visit the Ad*Access web site at

Lynn Pritcher
Project Manager, Ad*Access
Digital Scriptorium
Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library
Duke University
Durham, NC  27708
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