Rock's Backpages

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Rock’s Backpages is the world’s only comprehensive archive of music journalism. It is an archive of content about music and popular culture consisting of primary source, full text articles and audio interviews, much of which is exclusive to Rock’s Backpages. Find an OhioNET demo here:  It includes:

• a vast digital collection of over 35,000 articles (reviews, interviews, features and more) going back to the late 1950s from a wide range of publications in the US and UK;
• coverage of all types of popular music from the 1950s to the present, including hip hop, jazz and country; and
• regular content updates with the addition of at least 50 new articles and a new audio interview every week.

The resource has proved invaluable not only to music students but also to journalism, communications and media students, as well students of English history, American studies, cultural studies and social studies. Rock's Backpages is an engaging resource for patrons of all ages at public libraries.

Subscribers to Rock's Backpages include such institutions as Harvard, NYU, Princeton and UCLA, as well as Dallas and San Francisco Public Libraries. It is also popular with researchers at corporations including the BBC, the Oxford English Dictionary (OUP) and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Rock’s Backpages draws on a wide range of publications, from Creem and Trouser Press to Rolling Stone, and from New Musical Express and Melody Maker to MOJO. It contains articles about more than five thousand artists from Aaliyah to ZZ Top, including Aretha Franklin, The Beatles, Beyoncé, David Bowie, Jay-Z, Madonna, Bob Marley, Patti Smith, Prince and The Rolling Stones.

The archive features the work of many of the world’s best-known music journalists past and present, including Lester Bangs, Richard Goldstein, Vivien Goldman, Nick Kent, Michael Lydon, Greil Marcus and Penny Valentine.

The articles are full text and primary-source and can be searched by artist, date, genre, publication, piece type, subject and keyword. These range from short, 500-word album or concert reviews to 10,000-word interviews and features.

The archive also contains almost 600 audio interviews, which can be downloaded as mp3. They include classic conversations with Jimi Hendrix (1970), Mick Jagger (1973), Michael Jackson (1980), Kurt Cobain (1993) and David Bowie (1995). These come direct from writers’ own recorded tapes and we frequently have the subsequently written article in the archive.

It’s easy to browse by subject, with articles categorised by genres and specific social phenomena like festivals. Advanced faceted searching allows users to drill down into specifics about a given artist, time period or publication. Each artist, writer and publication has its own homepage on the site, which provide contextual information, brief biographies and images.

We offer institutional access via IP Registration, Referring URL, Shibboleth and Library Card log-in. Rock’s Backpages is also compatible with EBSCO Discovery Service and ProQuest Summon. Usage statistics are available as Counter Compliant Level 1. The site also provides auto-citations in the Harvard style for easy referencing, and we are looking into expanding this feature to include other citation formats.

Rock’s Backpages is optimised for all mobile devices, enabling reading and research on the go. It also links with Academic Charts Online/Music Industry Data, allowing seamless linking for ACO/MIdata users. Regular social networking with Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and Twitter helps engage users, and subscribers receive weekly updates in a magazine format detailing new additions to the library.

Email Carrie Carrie Waibel

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