Monthly Archives: November 2010

How about 1.5 million citations?

Oh, did I forget to mention that the premium ShipIndex database now has 1.5 MILLION citations in it? I loaded links to nearly 90,000 ship images into the database last week. And now we have over 1.5 million citations, which is a great milestone in my book. New content is from the following sources:

The current number of citations is 1,513,325 citations. I’m aiming for 1.75 million next…

On the naming of ships

On the MARHST-L discussion list, Josh Smith pointed out an interesting piece from on the naming of US Naval ships.

I agree with the author about the need to stop naming ships after living people, and about the value and importance of using specific terms for specific types of vessels. The author points out how SSN 23, named after Jimmy Carter, has two strikes against it: first, it’s named after a living person, and second, it’s named after a distinguished American, rather than a city or state, as is the case with other submarines. But it’s easy to see why the Navy chose to do that, given Carter’s distinguished history as a submariner. And I imagine the Navy uses the naming of vessels after living people as a way of garnering support from those whose support they need.

There is a value, however, in waiting for several years after a person’s death before naming something after them, and also in maintaining some taxonomic control over the types of names in use.

The site has several other interesting entries related to the naming of USN ships, including this summary overview, and another about USS The Sullivans, which was the first Navy vessel to be named after multiple people. I attended the commissioning of another, the USS John S. McCain, in 1994. (This vessel, DDG-56, was named after the current senator’s father and grandfather, both of whom were four-star Admirals; an earlier John S. McCain was named just for the senator’s grandfather.)

ShipIndex resources regarding the US Civil War

ShipIndex’s range of content is “any named vessel in a resource in English” – meaning that we list ships from the ancient Athenian navy, from the Middle Ages, from basically every European war and most Asian ones (except for the land wars, I suppose), to 19th century merchant vessels, modern-day freighters, and anything in between. And many of the resources we include – particularly the indexes to journals, such as Mariner’s Mirror, American Neptune, and Nautical Research Journal –cover wide temporal and geographic ranges.

But there are times when it’s good to know how much coverage there is in a specific area, so I thought it would be useful to highlight a few of the resources for various topics. For example, we have a lot of different resources that cover the US Civil War. Here are some titles of particular relevance to US Civil War researchers, which are already included in the ShipIndex database:

I’m working to add Iron Afloat: The Story of the Confederate Armorclads by William N. Still, soon. I’ve also started working on a really big project – the indexes to the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies and Navies, and their supplements. (Those will all take a while to complete.) What else should I add, that would further enhance our coverage of the US Civil War?

ShipIndex has grown!

The worldwide ShipIndex crew is growing by leaps and bounds. About two weeks ago, we added a new member to our staff, and we’re very excited about this. Kerry O’Malley is our new Manager of Institutional Sales, and in this role he’s responsible for offering to institutions of all types: from public and academic libraries to maritime museums, historical societies, and pretty much anyone else who might be interested in offering ShipIndex to a group of people affiliated with an institution of some type.

Kerry comes to us with a perfect background: not only has he worked on a Masters in Maritime History and sold electronic databases to libraries, he also owns and is restoring his own Chesapeake Bay bugeye. His interest in and dedication to maritime history (and all history) will be a huge boon for us, and we’re thrilled he’s decided to join the (now growing) team.

If you think that your library should offer to you and your fellow patrons, please tell your librarian – and us! Librarians can set up free trials to by exploring the Librarians tab on the website.

As a welcome to Kerry, we’re adding contents to two resources that he pointed out to us during the interview process. These are books he felt we needed to add to the database, so of course we did so. They are:

As you can see, they’re titles on a subject near and dear to his heart. If you’ve got other resources you think we need to add, please tell me.

Welcome, Kerry!

Still more new content

We’ve added content from the following sources in the past few weeks:

The first entry, the Atlantic Canada CD-ROM, is a very nice, if hard to find, resource. It is a database on CD-ROM, containing tons of information about thousands of vessels, masters, and voyages, in and out of 19th century Atlantic Canada.

As always, there’s lots more to come, and I always welcome your suggestions and recommendations for additional content.