Fun ‘n’ Free: Learning and Leisure Resources at the Library | Duke Kunshan University

Fun ‘n’ Free: Learning and Leisure Resources at the Library

Before the Chinese New Year break, Mengjie Zou, Research and Instruction Librarian, delivered a workshop on free resources available at DKU Library. We’ve compiled the workshop into a guide for you to reference in the future. 

1 Magazines and Newspapers

Whether it’s for academic purposes or leisure reading, simply go to DKU Library’s website and find your favorite magazines. These are some titles available to you once you log in:


In the past, we have found that some students accessed magazines through their official websites and were asked to pay for the issues and/or articles they needed. You can avoid this fee if you use the Library’s website. Simply follow the instructions below – we’ll use The Economist as an example.

  1. 1. Go to DKU Library’s homepage and select “Online Journal Titles” in the gray area under the search box.
  2. 2. Enter the title of the publication you’re looking for. We’ve selected “Exact Title,” though if you wish to conduct a more general search, try “Title begins with” or “Title.”
  3. 3. The search result includes a list of databases that have past issues of The Economist.
    Notice that these databases are time-specific. In our case, “Single Journals” or “Canadian Business & Current Affairs” should be enough if we’re looking for an issue from last year, whereas if we’d like to see how the magazine looked like in the early 1900s, then we’ll need “Economist Historical Archive, 1843-2015.”

If reading online isn’t your thing, DKU Library also has physical copies on offer. Our magazine subscriptions in 2021 include The Atlantic, The Economist, Fast Company, Forbes, Fortune, Inc., National Geographic, The New Yorker, Popular Science, Smithsonian, TIME and Wired.

Magazines and newspapers stack at DKU Library.

We have one copy of the most recent issue on display in AB1075, the first floor of the Library. If you’d like to request a past issue, ask a student worker or staff member at the circulation desk for help.

We’re also subscribed to five newspaper publications: China Daily, Guangming Daily, Kunshan Daily, People’s Daily and USA Today. Please be aware that magazines and newspapers must not be taken out of the Library.

2 Films and Streaming Services

2.1 Academic Video Online (AVON)

Also known as the Alexander Street Video Collection, AVON gives you access to video collections on a wide range of topics and formats, including feature films, newsreels, documentaries, field recordings, interviews and lectures. Producers include Sony Picture Classics, CNN, PBS, BBC and the Royal Shakespeare Company. To use AVON, follow these steps:

  1. 1. Select “Research Databases” under the search box.
  2. 2. Type “AVON” and select the database, after which you will be asked to log in with your Duke account. You must log in through the Library’s website first if you’d like to use the platform for free.

2.2 Kanopy

Kanopy is an on-demand video platform designed for public libraries and universities. It allows you to access various documentaries, theatrical releases and training films across diverse subjects and disciplines.

To use Kanopy, go to DKU Library’s website, select “Research Databases” in the gray area under the search bar, and type in “Kanopy.” Log in with your Duke credentials, and you’re good to go.

Stream on Kanopy with your Duke account! [2]

2.3 Swank

Swank Digital Campus provides streaming services to movies from major studios. Instructors can request titles for use in a course, and those titles will be accessible to Duke users for a limited time. Please note: although the Library has listed it as a research database, you will need a VPN connection for it. Also, you can only open Swank on Chrome, Firefox and Edge – sorry, Safari users!

Swank has some of the most iconic titles on offer [3]

2.4 Films on Demand

Films on Demand: World Cinema Video Collection includes the best of the silent era, ground-breaking international directors, masterpieces from the mid-20th century, and contemporary films from around the world, including Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean, the Middle East, and North America. You can log into Films on Demand through the Library’s “Research Databases” screen.

Homepage of Films of Demand World Cinema. [4]

3 (Performance) Arts

All four of the platforms in this section are listed as research databases. To find them, select “Research Databases” on the Library’s homepage. Type in the name of the database you’re looking for and log in with your NetID.

3.1 Drama Online

Drama Online is the only existing catalogue that combines playtext content and scholarly publications with filmed live performances, film adaptations, and audio plays. Search for the full texts of plays from across the history of the theatre, ranging from Aeschylus to the present day.

Feel free to head to Drama Online if you’re one of the ten people on this planet who’ve never heard of Hamlet’s soliloquy. It’s okay – we won’t judge you. [5]

3.2 is an online platform for streaming classical music in various formats, including operas, concerts, ballets, archives and documentaries. The catalogue consists of approximately 1600 films available by subscription and about 3000 works of classical music from 1940 to today.

Every year, also broadcasts hundreds of live events that are later available for replay. These include concerts of well-known festivals such as the Verbier Festival, Salzburg Festival, Annecy Classic Festival, International Festival of Lyric Art of Aix-en-Provence and the Lucerne Festival.

You can even browse past master classes! [6]

3.3 Metropolitan Opera on Demand

The Metropolitan Opera is resident at the Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City. It is the largest organization of classical music in North America and, until 2019, regularly presented around 25 different operas each year. With Metropolitan Opera on Demand (or Met on Demand for short), you can watch 575 full-length performances.

The Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center, home of the Met. [7]

3.4 BroadwayHD

BroadwayHD records and distributes live theatre performances as well as previously recorded theatrical productions. Your Duke account offers you access to 25 different performances from the New York theatre scene, including She Loves Me, The Woodsman, and Indecent.

The Eugene O’Neill Theatre, where the original Broadway production of She Loves Me premiered in 1963. [8]

4 Audiobooks/eBooks


OverDrive offers eBooks and audiobooks for business and leisure reading. The platform is not listed as a research database, so if you’d like to use it, follow the steps below:

  1. 1. If you’re using a computer or a laptop, sign in with your Duke accounts at
  2. 2. Alternatively, you can download the “Libby” app on your smartphone.
    Select “Yes” for “Do you have a library card” and then choose “I’ll Search for a Library” (although if you’re really, really bored, you can ask the bot to guess your library).
  3. Type “Duke University” in the search box and locate Duke in the search results. Select “Enter Library Account Details” and log in with your NetID. 

5 For Children

Just for Kids Access Video

A complement to Films on Demand, Just for Kids Access Video gives children a kid-safe, advertisement-free media platform to explore and enjoy. Just for Kids has the educational videos children want to watch, plus songs, games, and other interactives that will entertain, educate, and inspire young people.

Like Films on Demand, Just for Kids can be accessed through the Library’s Research Databases screen.

Homepage of Just for Kids. [9]

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If you have any questions, you’re more than welcome to talk to a staff member in Office AB2101B on the second floor of the Library. Please also note: while VPN connections are generally not required, do try turning it on if you experience a connection problem.

Photo Credits

[1] The Atlantic; The Economist; The New Yorker; T... Company; National Geographic

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This article was written and edited by Mike Yuan, Library Assistant at DKU Library. It is based on the workshop “Fun & Free: Resources for Leisure and Learning from the Library” by Mengjie Zou, Research and Instruction Librarian. The workshop was originally delivered as a campus-wide presentation on February 5, 2021.