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HIS 496 - History Seminar

Finding Secondary Sources

Books on historical topics in the online catalog

Search the library catalog to find scholarly books and monographs on historical topics.

The advanced search allows you to narrow your search by keyword, author, subject, etc.  For example, use the "Subject" field to find books about a particular person, e.g. "Lincoln, Abraham."

Refer to the Library of Congress Subject Headings if you aren't finding the right combination of words to retrieve any titles in the Library's collection. (If you prefer to use print, look for the set of red books on the east end of the Reference collection.)


Articles on historical topics in the databases

Search JSTOR to find full-text, full-image, scholarly articles on history topics.  JSTOR is an archival database for selected titles in the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Other databases containing articles on history topics are listed below. And remember, articles on the history of various topics may be found by searching discipline-specific databases such as Sociological Abstracts.

Sources for Books Beyond the Library's Collections

In addition to searching the online catalog for books in our collections, the Library has many other resources to help you find books. Most are located in the Reference collection.

  • Bibliographies - These resources list primary and secondary resources on various topics. Most are located near the end of the Reference collection, with their call numbers beginning with BIB REF. You might find other bibliographies through the catalog using the Advanced Search option. Enter your topic in one box (preferably find the LC subject and change the field to Subject or Subject Phrase) and the word bibliography in another box and change the field to Subject. Two works, in particular, may be helpful:
    • The American Historical Association's Guide to Historical Literature, 3rd ed., 1995 (Call number BibRef Z 6201 .A55 1995)
    • Handbook for Research in American History, 2nd ed. rev., 1994 (Call number REF Z 1236 .P78 1994)
  • Bibliographic Index -- 1963-2009 (Call number INDEX .B582) - This print index lists published bibliographies by subject. It is located in the Indexes section at the very end of Reference.
  • "Libraries Worldwide" in the Catalog - By selecting this option from the filters on the left side of the library catalog, you can search for sources from libraries throughout the U.S. and in several foreign countries. Request materials from other libraries using the Interlibrary Loan link within the catalog.
  • Oxford Bibliographies -- available to search and look at topic overviews and at least a few titles in the general bibliography

Finding Open Access Books

These collections give you free access to lots of historic texts:

History Databases

For a full list of databases that may provide historical resources, go to our Databases page and select "History" from the first drop-down box that defaults to "All Subjects." 

Journal Title Search

Do you have an article citation but the database you found it in didn't provide the full text? Search in Journal Finder for periodicals available in full text in other databases!

Print Periodicals

Journals and magazines in print format are located on the lower level of the Library in the northeast compact shelving.

Periodicals in microformat are located in the file cabinets south of the print periodicals, on the other side of the study rooms.


Interlibrary Loan Requests

Use our interlibrary loan (ILL) form to request resources from other libraries around the nation:

Perkins Library ILL Request

Google Scholar

Search Google Scholar to find citations to scholarly articles.  While some articles are freely available via the web, many are not.  If you find a useful article citation using Google Scholar, check the Library's Journal Finder to see if you can access the journal via the library.  Otherwise, you may request the article via Interlibrary Loan by submitting a request by submitting an interlibrary loan request.

Google Scholar Search