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Political Science: Alternative & Non-Mainstream Publications

What is alternative publication?

There are no two definitions that are the same, but most  are practical ones, that is, they are the definitions used by librarians and alternative publishers in referring to non-standard, non-establishment publications (James P. Danky, 1974). Although "alternative publication" is considered a more accurate term,  the other terms are frequently used as well,  reflecting a variety of  views as to what constitutes an "alternative publication": non-traditional publications, non-mainstream publications, underground press, etc. In addition to political issues, some publications address issues to special interest groups, such as environmentalists and the gay community.  
     Alternative publications are said to express viewpoints not typically represented in the mainstream or corporate-owned publications. They are often described as extreme, radical, moderate, liberal, leftist, progressive, dissent, activist or anything but conventional. 
     "Developing out of the "underground" newspapers of the 60's and 70's, these publications are now serious theoretical, journalistic, and literary organs that address global and local issues with awareness, sensitivity, and investigative thoroughness. Hence, they can be excellent sources for the study of contemporary issues." (from Introduction, Alternative Press Microform Collection Guide 1990).
You might get more definitions from this page at


Print index (1969-2000)                          OneSearch/LibraryCatalogue
Databases(1980s--)                               WWW (online journals, etc. )
Microform Collection (1800s-1970s)     What is alternative publication?


The following electronic databases index articles in newspapers, magazines and journals, many of which are full-text. They are available from the Library Homepage by selecting Database & Article Searching. These databases are accessible from library Network Stations and from campus computer labs. For connecting to library databases from off-campus, please read instructions at  Connecting to Library Databases from Off-Campus.

       Alternative Press Index (1991 to present)
       Indexes nearly 300 alternative, radical and left periodicals, newspapers and magazines.  Includes selected abstracts from research journals.

        Alt-PressWatch (ProQuest)  (Full text 1990s to present)
An interdisciplinary resource comprising the newspapers, magazines and journals of the  alternative and independent press.  

        Left Index (EBSCO)  (1982 & earlier to present)
        Provides access to the diversity of literature on the left, with a primary emphasis on politically  and culturally engaged scholarship and a secondary emphasis on significant but  little known  sources of news and ideas.           

Microform Collection

How to use the collection? Click here for tips

       The following microfilm collections are located in 2 North (close to Computer Lab).  Each collection (a) is accompanied with a print guide (b).  Details about each guide are given in How to use the collection
1.   a. Alternative press collection [microform] Unit 1(1986)(Reels 1-36),  6(1991)(Reels 1-49), 7(1992)
          (Reels1-60), 8(1993)(Reels1-43). A collection of  alternative journals and newspapers.  
      b.  Alternative press : a guide to the microform collection [Print] 
PN 4784 .U53 A48   (1990 Unit 1-11) 
2.   a. Underground newspaper collection. 
MICROFILM: Reel n.1(1965)-476(1985), the Hoover Institution Supplement (16 reels), and the
          University of Missouri  Supplement  (9 reels).          
      b. Underground press collection. Listing of contents. (1963 - 85)
          [Print] PNZ 6944 .U5 U56 (2 North Reference / 2 North Microform)
3.   a. Right wing collection of the University of Iowa Libraries
1918-1977  MICROFILM: Reels 1-177
      b. The right wing collection of the University of Iowa Libraries, 1918-1977 :  a guide to the microfilm
[Print]    2 NORTH Reference JKZ 6944 .P6  R51
4.   a. Radical pamphlet literature : a collection from the Tamiment Library, 1817-1970 [microform.]
          (Call No. Microfilm 008138)  90 microfilm reels 
It consists of 8,672 pamphlets  from 1817 to 1970. 
      b. Guide to the microfilm edition of radical pamphlet literature : a collection  from  the Tamiment
          Library, 1817 (1900-1945) 1970  
    ref HXZ 7164 .S67 G8
5.   a.  Socialist collections in the Tamiment Library, 1872-1956  (Call No. Microfilm 000362) 68 reels  
The 19 manuscript collections in this microfilm edition are a source for  investigating aspects of American 
          socialism during the late 19th and 20th centuries.
     b.   Socialist collections in the Tamiment Library, 1872-1956: a guide to the  microfilm edition
ref HXZ 7164 .S67 T3 1979 
6.   a.  Socialist Party of America papers, 1897-1963 [microform] (Call No. Microfilm 000361)
           (142 reels; 1919-1976 addendum, 38 reels)
      b.  -- Socialist Party of America Papers: a guide to the Microfilm  Edition 1897-1964
            ref HXZ 7164 .S67 D78 1975
           --  Socialist Party of America papers, 1919-1976, addendum :  a guide to the  microfilm edition
  ref HXZ 7164 .S67 D78 1977                                                        

How to Use the Microform Collection

  The microform collection does not contain index to articles. If you are looking for articles on a subject, you need to search in resources that index these journals or newspapers, such as 1969-2000 (print index) and Electronic indexes  and databases (1980s--)Not every title is indexed in any guide, so you might have to browse the pages to find what you are looking for. 
         If you know the title of the publication or have a full citation of an article, you can:

    Search in our catalogue OneSearch by title. It provides
information about the  microfilm reel and item number  where the title will be found. For example, for Washington Blade, part of OneSearch record reads " v. 22(1991).Contained in:  ALTERNATIVE PRESS COLLECTION. Unit  6 Reel  44-46."     If you do not get the reel and item number from OneSearch, do one of the following.

    For Alternative press collection [microform], consult Alternative press: a guide to the microform collection [Print] PN 4784 .U53 A48 (1990 Unit 1-11, 2 North  Microform Collection). 
This guide has 11 units, each containing  reel list, periodical profiles and title list. The  reel list includes the publication place, the volume number, the issue number,  the inclusive dates and the reel number. You  might find some publications in more than one unit or on different reels.

    For Underground newspaper collection, consult  Underground press  collection. Listing of  contents.  (1963 - 85) PNZ 6944 .U5 U56 (2 North  Reference / 2 North Micriform)
It provides an alphabetical list of titles that are available in Underground  newspaper collection. The guide includes the publication place, the volume number, the issue  number, the  inclusive dates and the microfilm reel and item  number where the title will be  found.  The material in Underground newspaper collection was filmed in sections,   e.g. 1965-1969. So one particular publication  may be located in different sections on different  reels. A table of contents is available at the beginning of each reel. 

    For Right wing collection of the University of Iowa Libraries 1918-1977, consult The right wing collection of the University of Iowa Libraries, 1918-1977 : a guide to the microfilm collection  [Print]
2 NORTH Reference JKZ 6944 .P6 R51
This guide contains reel list, guide entries, subject index, geographical index and chronological index. In  the guide entries,  the collection of serials and ephemerae is arranged alphabetically by title or corporate author main entry. Each entry has been assigned an alpha-numeric entry number which also serves as a  frame number on the microfilm reels for that item. Also provided is the last known frequency of  publication, holdings statements, subject type(s) and a brief description of the nature of the contents of each serial. Ephemerae may include correspondence, broadsides, leaflets, pamphlets, and cartoons.

    For Radical pamphlet literature: a collection from the Tamiment Library, 1817-1970 (Call No. Microfilm 008138), consult Guide to the microfilm edition of radical pamphlet literature: a collection from the amiment Library, 1817 (1900-1945) 1970 HXZ 7164 .S67 G8
The pamphlets are arranged alphabetically by the last name of the author. Each pamphlet is assigned a  number. The numbering system corresponds to the alphabetical arrangement of the pamphlets. When you get the pamphlet number, check the Brief Reel Listing for the reel where the pamphlet is located. 

    For Socialist collections in the Tamiment Library, 1872-1956 (Call No. Microfilm 000362), consult Socialist collections in the Tamiment Library, 1872-1956: a guide to the microfilm edition ref HXZ 7164 .S67 T3 1979.
This guide contains full citations for the 19 collections' contents as well as the location of these contents on  the microfilm.  In general, each collection has been assigned a Roman numeral (e.g. Collection II) and  each subject file within a collection  has been assigned an Arabic numeral as frame number designations on the microfilm. For example, in Collection II, the information "Reel 3  1. Constitution of the Social  Democratic Party..." means that you will locate this file on Reel #3 in the section labeled  "Series II: 1".  Please note that "Series II" actually means "Collection II".  

    -- For Socialist Party of America papers, 1897-1963 [microform] (Call No. Microfilm 000361),  consult Socialist Party of America Papers: a guide to the Microfilm Edition 1897-1964 ref HXZ 7164 .S67 D78 1975
The papers are divided into five series (I--V)and each series or subseries (A, B, C, etc.) is arranged chronologically by year,  month, and day. Check the complete reel list for the location of papers you are looking for. This guide also contains a brief reel list and index of important correspondence.
      --  For Socialist Party of America papers, 1919-1976, addendum, consult Socialist Party of America papers, 1919-1976, addendum: a guide to the microfilm edition ref  HXZ 7164 .S67 D78 1977
This collection  is arranged in four series (A-D). Each folder or item has been assigned a frame number e.g. A35H72. The first letter indicates the series (A, B, C, D). The first number indicates the subject  or folder heading (all the numbers under the series correspond to the alphabetical arrangement of  subject  or folder heading). The second letter indicates a folder under the subject heading. In a very few cases  there is a second number shich indicates a further breakdown.  The reel list shows the location of the file on the microfilm.                                                                              


Journals of dissent and social change : a bibliography of titles in the California State
     University, Sacramento, Library 
PNZ 6944 .S55 L5 1993    (2 North Reference)
Alternative publications : a guide to directories, indexes,
bibliographies, and other
Z 1033 .L73 A45 1990
(2 North Reference)
Annotations : a guide to the independent critical press
     PN 4784 .U53 A565 1999 
(2 North  Reference)
Directory of new age & alternative publications : an international directory of new 
     age  & alternative publications
Z 1033 .U58 D573 1997         
(2 North Reference)
The American radical press, 1880-1960 HX 1 .A49  (2 South)  (Essays on various  periodicals,   many 
    having been  written as
  introductions for Greenwood Press'  Radical reprint series)

Underground newspaper collection UM libraries (1960s-70s) PNZ 6944 .U5 U563
     (2 North Reference)  Includes annottions.
Undergrounds; a union list of alternative periodicals in  libraries of the United States and Canada
     PNZ 6944 .U5 D3    
(2 North Reference)           
Bibliography on the American Left      Re JAZ 7164 .P3 W24 1980 (2 North Reference)      
Bibliography on the American Right    Re JAZ 7164 .P3 W25 1980 (2 North Reference)    
The directory of British alternative periodicals, 1965-1974   PNZ 6956 .G6 N69(3 North)

OneSearch/Library Catalog

OneSearch is the CSUS library catalog, where you can search items  by title, author, keyword and Library of Congress Subject Headings. The following are the standard subject terms used in the catalog for alternative publications. 

  Underground Press                       Libertarianism periodicals
  Underground Press Publications    Socialist Party (U.S.) -- History -- Sources
  Communism -- Periodicals            Radicalism -- Periodicals
  Socialism -- Periodicals                 Radicalism United States Newspapers
  Conservatism Periodicals               Right and left (Political science) -- Periodicals

World Wide Web (online journals/magazines, etc.)

The American Prospect
On-line edition. Archives cover issues back to 1999.

Boston Review
A bimonthly magazine of cultural and political analysis, reviews, fiction, and poetry. The archives cover issues back to Volume 1 in 1975.

Chartist Magazine
Chartist is a bimonthly journal of political features and analysis covering mostly UK politics but also international issues and special political areas.

Dissent is a quarterly magazine of politics and culture. Each issue features reflective articles about politics in the U.S., incisive social and cultural commentary, plus coverage of European politics.

The Humanist
”The Humanist applies Humanism-a naturalistic and democratic outlook informed by science, inspired by art, and motivated by compassion-to broad areas of social and personal concern.”

Monthly Review
Published since 1949

Moving Ideas
posts ideas and resources from leading progressive research and advocacy institutions. Includes Must-Reads: Primary Sources, Periodicals, Liberal Links, Advocacy, Research, etc.

The Nation Digital Edition
The digital edition of The Nation is published weekly and includes some of the same features as the print version as well as audio feeds, news briefs, etc. New material is added each Thursday. Discussion of political and social questions

New Internationalist
Report on issues of world poverty and inequality; attention on the unjust relationship between the powerful and the powerless in both rich and poor nations; debate and campaign for the radical changes necessary if the basic material and spiritual needs of all are to be met

Online Journal
Covers media, politics, government, business, social issues.

People for the American Way
“Advocate for the values and institutions that sustain a diverse democratic society.”

The Progressive
Online edition of "The Progressive" magazine. Covers issues back to 1998.

Progressive Populist
On issues of interest to workers, small business owners and family farmers and ranchers. All issues from 1995. 

Red Pepper
Red Pepper is a political and cultural magazine for the Left, published monthly in London.

Social Criticism Review
Includes a selection of links to articles of social criticism on technology, science, multinationals, politics.

The activities and ideological and political views of various Communist and Workers' Parties.

This Magazine
Canada's alternative for politics and culture. This Magazine has been bringing Canadians radical news and perspectives since 1966.

Utne Reader
The on-line publication of Utne Reader . reprints articles from over 2,000 alternative media sources.

World Press Review 
Founded in 1997, it covers the issues and debates that occupy the world's newspapers and magazines.