Using the Americana Exchange Resources to Their Fullest Potential


Let’s go back to our Teddy Roosevelt example. You could begin by searching the database for books with him as the author: this would result in a comprehensive list of all of the titles by Theodore Roosevelt that are seen as list–worthy or canonical by noted Americana bibliographers. You could use this list to cross-check the thoroughness of Great Aunt Harriets collection. Or you could use it as a wants list in case you have decided to keep the collection and add to it as you are able. Or you could use this list to double-check auction offerings and make sure that a described auction lot offers the same edition of the title that you have or wish to acquire. You can find out how many different editions of the same Teddy Roosevelt title exist by executing a title search and paying special attention to the date field. In cases where there are different editions of the same title listed in the AE database, you can look for information about the particular edition that Great Aunt Harriet owned by searching simultaneously both by title and by date. Or you can use the AE database to broaden your collection to include books about as well as by Theodore Roosevelt by executing a search with Roosevelt as a subject rather than as an author. You can also expand your collection in other ways by searching for books by other Roosevelts, such as Franklin D. or Eleanor. Or if you’re really adventurous you can experiment with using the Main Category and Sub Category fields to expand your wants list by topic rather than by a specific title or author. Et cetera.

The more inventive and flexible you are as a searcher, the more information the AE database will yield. Simply put, there is nothing like the AE database in existence within one database in todays Americana world. The AE database is a potent and unprecedented tool whose potential research uses are circumscribed only by the limits of your imagination when it comes to searches. Its net effect is to level the playing field between book owners, buyers, and sellers, and to serve as a conduit and a guide to the at times overwhelming world of Americana collecting.

Let’s turn now to another AE research module, the Americana Exchange Monthly. The Americana Exchange Monthly is AE’s online publication for collectors, dealers, scholars, curators, and anyone generally interested in the topics of American history as represented in the cultures of print and illustration. The Americana Exchange Monthly — which premieres with this, the September 2002 issue includes or will include (amongst other elements) feature articles, opinion pieces, guest columns, reviews of exhibitions, interviews with collectors, reports about auctions, and general news of interest to people who own, seek to own, seek to sell, want to research, or otherwise care about the genre of books that can be widely classified as Americana.

You can use the Americana Exchange Monthly as a research tool in a variety of ways. Most obviously, you can read the feature articles, which are intended to convey information about more general topics within the Americana field to readers of varied backgrounds. You can also peruse the columns, interviews, reviews and opinion pieces, which will offer a more specific slant or focus on Americana–related topics.