I feign Mormon Studies erudition. That said, I am working on about 5 different research projects that I hope to publish in various journals (and a book). While I have made the pilgrimage to the LDS Church Archives, and will do so repeatedly, it is now easier than ever before to be a student of Mormon Studies from afar. Much of this has to do with the recent explosion in digitization. In celebration of purchasing the recently released Journal of Mormon History DVD archives, I thought I would review some of the essential and esoteric e-tools for the enthusiast.
Journal of Mormon History DVD archive: $40
The Journal of Mormon History is very poorly circulated but of very high quality. The archives are replete with seminal articles on myriad subjects from the best scholars. Unless you were at the MHA conference in Casper, you will have to wait until the beginning of July to purchase it from the MHA website.
As a bonus, the University of Utah Library will also be hosting the archives for free, albeit in a less search friendly format.
LDS Library 2006: $99
Available on their website, LDS Library includes a vast amount of texts essential for any research in Mormonism. It also contains a bunch of junk that you will never use. Still, having things like the Words of Joseph Smith (a $300 value in the bookstore), the Journal of Discourses, Collected Discourses, Messages of the First Presidency, Conference Reports and periodical archives are a tremendous resource.
I am still using GospeLink 2001, which has most of the same titles and all the important ones. For those that prefer an online service GospeLink.com has subscription plans for $4 a month or $40 a year.
New Mormon Studies: A Resource Library (CD-ROM): $126
The cheapest place to get this is at Amazon.com, though it says there is only one left. While the LDS Library or GospeLink has some great essentials, the rest is mostly stuff from Deseret Book. The New Mormon Studies CD-ROM has the stuff from Signature Press and the University of Illinois. The CD is a tremendous value, with some items, like Heber C. Kimball’s journal costing $800 at a used book store. Sure the interface is crappy, but it is worth it.
Get it while you can. Word on the street is that they made no money on it and so it won’t be re-released.
Dialogue: a Journal of Mormon Thought DVD archive: $40
Dialogue is, with BYU Studies, the most circulated Mormon Studies journal. It has a mix of research articles, personal essays and poetry. There are very many important and path breaking articles. It can be purchased at the Dialogue website. The UU is also hosting a free version of the Archive.
The Utah History Suite, CD-ROM archive: $40
The Utah History Suite contains 71 volumes of the Utah Historical Quarterly (volume 1, 1928 to volume 71 2003), 29 Centennial County Histories, and 28 volumes of Beehive History. I just ordered my copy, and if you are aware of Justin Butterfield, you will know that there is some very good stuff in these periodicals.
It can be purchased at the Utah State Historical Society, 300 Rio Grande, Salt Lake City, UT 84101, or by mailing a check to the Utah State Historical Society, 300 Rio Grande, Salt Lake City, UT 84101, or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org with either a MasterCard or Visa credit card number.
Free Online archives
BYU has been doing a great job in digitizing resources. By the end of the year, they will have added the Woman’s Exponent and the Young Woman’s Journal to their ever expanding archive that includes many items such as BYU Studies (though I wish they would come out with a DVD), the Millennial Star, theses and dissertations, journals and other publications.
The University of Utah also has an excellent digital archive. As mentioned, this will be the future home the JMH. Here you will find an excellent archive of Utah’s newspapers, journals and other important documents.
My advice for those on a budget is to get the New Mormon Studies CD-ROM and either the LDS Library or GospeLink to start with. They are the most expensive, but also the most comprehensive. The free archives, while less user friendly and less searchable, are a workable substitute.
It is a great time to be a researcher.