Monday, January 14, 2019

Language Resources Online

Did your New Year's resolution list for 2019 include learning a new language, or traveling to a foreign country? The Duke University community has access to a number of online tools that can help you build proficiency in a new (or rusty) foreign language.
  • Mango Languages includes courses for 70 world languages and more than a dozen English as a Second Language/English Language Learner courses. To set up an account, visit Mango Languages while on the Duke network in order to authenticate as a valid subscriber. After your username and password has been created, you can access the site or mobile app without authenticating through Duke first.
    Note: Mango is available through the NC Live consortium, which offers access to more than a hundred subscription databases through a user's "home" public or academic library (meaning that North Carolina residents without a current Duke NetID may also be able to access the site through their public or academic library at
  • Transparent Language Learning is available through the Duke libraries. It includes more than 50 world languages as well as English language learning modules designed specifically for native speakers of more than two dozen languages. Like Mango, it requires setup of a unique username and password while connected to the Duke network, and then seamless access via the web or a mobile app.
Of course, these are not the only language-learning tools around. The freemium service Duolingo is a popular, game-based way to learn nearly three dozen languages for English speakers (with many additional options for native speakers of other languages). Duolingo notably includes some unique language options, such as Star Trek's Klingon and Game of Thrones's High Valyrian. The free Duolingo app is available for iOS, Windows, and Android devices, with an ad-free premium upgrade available called Duolingo Plus.

For help with accessing the Duke language resources, or other campus database access questions, be sure to Ask a Librarian.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

The Expanding Public Domain

On January 1, many U.S. works originally published in 1923 entered the public domain, making them freely available for use, copying, and modification. Duke Law's Center for the Study of the Public Domain provides a sample of the newly-available titles in film, literature, and music, with a link to a fuller Excel spreadsheet.

The 2019 release is notable since it marks the first major addition to the U.S. public domain in more than twenty years. With works from 1923 slated to enter the public domain in 1999 under their original 75-year copyright term, Congress enacted the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998, which added 20 years to existing copyright terms and stalled the expansion of the public domain until now. (Without that extension, notes the Center for the Study of the Public Domain, works from 1962 would be entering the public domain this year instead; the Center provides a list of those titles as well.)

This development opens new avenues for researchers, who will be able to access the new additions to the public domain via sites like HathiTrust, the Internet Archive, and Google Books. HathiTrust has already prepared a collection of 1923 works that changed from "Limited" to "Full" view as of January 1. (A larger timeline of HathiTrust's public domain publications, with links to full text, can be found here.)

To learn more about copyright law, try a search of the new Duke University Libraries catalog for the subject heading "Copyright – United States." You’ll find titles like the seminal treatise Nimmer on Copyright (also available on Lexis Advance), Patry on Copyright (also available on Westlaw), and the 2006 Center for the Study of the Public Domain comic Bound by Law? Tales from the Public Domain (also available for free viewing online). For help locating more materials, be sure to Ask a Librarian.