Groundbreaking Collection on Human Sexuality Is Now Available Online

A wealth of research materials covering the breadth of human sexuality held by the world-renowned Kinsey Institute is now available to scholars and students around the world.


Groundbreaking Collection on Human Sexuality Is Now Available Online

A wealth of research materials covering the breadth of human sexuality held by the world-renowned Kinsey Institute is now available to scholars and students around the world.

The Kinsey Institute of Indiana University, which has built an archive of thousands of primary-source documents and items pertaining to all aspects of sexuality and relationships over the last 70-plus years, has partnered with academic publisher Adam Matthew Digital to digitize these unique collections and make them available to libraries worldwide.

Until now, scholars conducting research on important aspects of human sexuality—from changing attitudes toward sex, to gender roles and identification, to sexual health and reproductive rights—have had to travel to Bloomington to view these materials in person.

With the newly-published “Sex & Sexuality” resource, college students and academic researchers at institutions subscribing to the collection will now gain full access to the materials from any Internet-connected device.

“The Sex & Sexuality resource will aid contemporary sex research in numerous ways,” says Rebecca Lynd, Adam Matthew Digital’s production editor for the project. “Publishing this material in a digital format not only makes the content more widely accessible but provides the added advantage of enhancing [it] with comprehensive metadata and the very best of modern search technology.”

Researchers can save searches and relevant documents within a personalized archive, create slideshows and PDF downloads, and easily share materials with fellow scholars or students. The application of ground-breaking Handwritten Text Recognition (HTR) software allow users to focus research efforts and find specific words and phrases with the click of a button, instead of having to pour through pages of materials.


About the Collection

The Kinsey Institute was founded by American biologist Dr. Alfred C. Kinsey in 1947. A pioneer in the study of human sexuality, Dr. Kinsey and his research team interviewed thousands of people about their sexual behaviors and preferences. These interviews led to the publication of two seminal works, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (1948) and Sexual Behavior in the Human Female (1953).

Carefully chosen in consultation with Kinsey Institute researchers, Module I of the “Sex & Sexuality” resource contains important primary sources from the tenures of the institute’s first three directors: Dr. Kinsey, Dr. Paul Gebhard, and Dr. June Reinisch.

Materials in the digital resource includes correspondence, conference and workshop programs, pamphlets and flyers from various organizations and advocacy groups, reports and research briefs, newspaper articles, statistics, and more. These materials have value across a wide range of academic disciplines, such as biology, health and medicine, sociology, psychology, anthropology, criminology, and more.

Highlights include the research files from sexologist Dr. Harry Benjamin, providing key insights into the study of prostitution and transsexualism in the 1960s and 70s; extensive notes and research discussions from criminologist Alice Withrow Field, who compiled a 1950s study of sex offenders in New York City; and a full archive of Dr. Reinisch’s syndicated advice column published across the U.S. from 1984-93, containing guidance on all facets of human sexuality.

Researchers will be able to trace how public and private attitudes toward sex and sexuality evolved throughout the 20th century. They’ll have access to a wealth of information about crucial research topics such as sex education, birth control use and reproductive health, HIV and sexually transmitted diseases, politics and legislation, and changing social norms.


Respecting Privacy

For Adam Matthew Digital, a key challenge in bringing the Kinsey collection online was preserving the anonymity of sources.

Owing to the sensitivity of the topics covered, many contributors to the Kinsey Institute naturally want their identities to remain anonymous—and it is important for Kinsey researchers to preserve this trust regardless of the ways in which sources are viewed. Historically, scholars who have visited the institute to access its collection in person have had to sign an agreement promising not to divulge the identity of sources used in their research. For obvious reasons, this arrangement wouldn’t work for a digital collection and a more stringent solution was required.

To respect the privacy of sources, Adam Matthew Digital followed a rigorous redaction process in digitizing the materials. During the editorial production process, full names and other personally identifiable information for all individuals who were writing or mentioned in a private capacity were redacted. However, non-identifiable information is available within the metadata descriptors ensuring that scholars retain an indication of their value to a research project.

This level of care with respect to anonymity was one of the main factors in the Kinsey Institute’s decision to collaborate with Adam Matthew Digital for this digitization project. The publisher has an established reputation for high quality and care in handling and providing access to collections from leading archives and libraries worldwide.

“I am pleased to be working with Adam Matthew to bring ‘Sex & Sexuality’ to scholars of sexology all over the world,” says Shawn C. Wilson, associate director of the Kinsey Institute Library and Special Collections. “This collaboration will make the rich resources of the Kinsey Institute more widely available.”

“Sex & Sexuality” Module I is now available from Adam Matthew Digital. Librarians can find more information here.

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