Some useful online resources
As the so-called “ebook piracy” debate, with its threat of dire consequences for occult authors and publishers and the book trade in general has been under the spotlight of late – see recent articles on Plutonica.Net and The Wild Hunt I thought this would be an opportune moment to highlight some useful online academically-oriented resources – some of which are free. I’ve come across most of these whilst pursuing my tantric interests.
The British Library’s EThOS: Electronic Thesis Online Service is still undergoing beta testing, but it provides an opportunity to search for and order dissertations, some of which can be downloaded for free. In some cases, if a dissertation isn’t immediately available electronically (as a pdf), EThOS will take your order and notify you when the dissertation is available for download. Another good resource for dissertations is ProQuest’s Dissertation Express which, like EThOS, allows you to search for and order dissertations in pdf or hard copy format. Orders for pdf versions get you a limited-time link from which you can download a pdf, whilst hard copy dissertations (which turn up as unbound, single-page sheets) are sent by courier, and are slightly more expensive (say $44 as opposed to $37 for a pdf). Proquest also have a free service – PQDT OPEN which provides free access to some dissertations as downloadable pdf files – one example being Shaman Hatley’s The Brahmayamalatantra and early Saiva cult of yoginis which includes a critical appraisal of David Gordon White’s Kiss of the Yogini.
Questia is an online library where you can search and browse a catalogue of books, journals, magazine & newspaper articles in over 6,000 topic areas. An annual subscription is just over £60, which is not bad, considering the access to information – you can create your own “bookshelf” of publications and bookmark pages within publications. Downloading entire books and articles isn’t really possible, although you can copy-paste small chunks of text. Whilst nowhere as comprehensive in its scope as JSTOR (to gain access for the most part, you need to be affiliated with an educational institution such as a university – although some journals allow single articles to be purchased by non-affiliated individuals) it could be useful, depending on your field.
The University of California Press has an E-Books Collection some of which are only viewable by University of California staff, faculty, and students but there is also a publically-viewable collection of over 700 titles.
Finally, on the audio front, The Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies has a large archive of past lectures freely available for download in mp3 format, with lecture series from well-known scholars such as Gavin Flood and Patrick Olivelle.