Hunting the Humanities with Artemis: Gale's New Platform

Article excerpt

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Artemis is the name of the new platform introduced in 2013 by Gale, part of Cengage Learning. It rolled out to cover two humanities topic areas of Gale databases: history and literature. Artemis: Primary Sources combines Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO) and Nineteenth Century Collections Online (NCCO). Artemis: Literary Sources integrates Literature Resources From Gale and Literature Criticism Online. Literature Resources From Gale includes Literature Resource Center, LitFinder, Scribner Writers Online, Twayne's Authors Online, MLA International Bibliography, and Gale Virtual Reference Library. What is available through Artemis depends on which databases the library subscribes to.

At its website, Gale explains that it chose the name Artemis because Artemis was the Greek goddess "who symbolizes new ideas, discovery, power, and 'the hunt.'" Most reference sources for mythology agree that Artemis was the goddess of the hunt and identify Diana as (roughly) the Roman equivalent. They also generally add goddess of the moon and virginity to her attributes, something Gale doesn't mention. The notion of new ideas, discovery, and power is apparently an extrapolation and the beginning of Gale's own mythological interpretation of the goddess.

SEARCHING ARTEMIS

Searching the databases via the Artemis platform is straightforward. There is a Basic search and an Advanced search. Basic search gives you one search box, with autocomplete suggestions--Gale calls this search assist--based on indexing and thesaurus terms. Advanced provides options for field searching and lets you add rows for more complex queries using the Boolean AND, OR, and NOT operators. The fields derive from the underlying database structures, so Artemis: Literary Sources lets you choose more fields than Artemis: Primary Sources does. For example, you can select "Person-By or About," "Person-About," or "Name of Work," among others.

The Advanced search option provides for limiting possibilities, also designed around database structure. The limits for both Artemis: Literary Sources and Artemis: Primary Sources include content type, date, document type, language, publication title, and source library or product. Artemis: Literary Sources also lets you limit to peer-reviewed documents and those with full text. Since the primary sources in Artemis: Primary Sources are all full text and none are peer reviewed, these limits would not be sensible to include.

Since primary materials, particularly older ones, are frequently idiosyncratic in structure, Gale has tried to normalize the documents for easier search and retrieval, adding extensive indexing and metadata. As Susana Boylston points out in her blog post for Little Reflections, the Davidson College E.H. Little Library Blog, "digital archives require more sophisticated search algorithms to assist the researching, and indexing plays a part in how these algorithms function" (sites.davidson.edu/littlereflections/artemis-beyond-hunting-and-gathering).

The initial results list is as straightforward as the search function. The list is organized by format--monographs, manuscripts, newspapers & periodicals, and maps for Primary Sources and literature criticism; biographies, topic & work overviews, reviews & news, primary sources & literary works, multimedia, and MLA International Bibliography for Literary Sources. You also have several limit options on the left-hand side of the results screen. You can search within results, select a particular database within Artemis, or choose a subject indexing term. Limit by date using sliders under the publication date graphic. Sorting results by dates is not available.

You can save the results that interest you to your research folder by clicking on the folder icon, a feature that is becoming commonplace in newer platforms and very helpful to students and other researchers. …