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HIST 14203: Doing History: Theory and Practice

A guide to library research for students in Professor Burn's class (Spring 2015)

Journals & Articles

Using America: History and Life

To locate a specific journal in this database, select the advanced search feature.

Next, open the drop down menu and select "SO Publication Name" to limit your search results to the contents of that journal only. Enter the journal name and in another box add words that describe the topic of article you want to find, such as "labor and stockyards" or "columbian exposition."

Use the find it! button to determine if we have the article in print or online, and if in print, where it is shelved in the library.

Here are more tips and tricks for doing effective searches for articles.


Bibliographies can be broad in scope or highly specialized compilations, and most are not available online. Below are some strategies for finding them.

In the Library Catalog enter "bibliography" and additional words to describe your topic. Refine the search using language and other "facets" at the right.

  • Bibliography Great Britain United States Relations
  • Bibliography Native Americans

If you already know the subject headings, use the library catalog and the "Begins with" option.  Select SUBJECT from the drop-down menu. Subject headings return more precise and granular results than keyword searches.

  • United States -- Foreign public opinion, British -- Bibliography
  • Indians of North America -- Maps -- Bibliography


For your own research projects, here's a short list of excellent, annotated bibliographies that are good introductions into every field of histrorical scholarship. Why reinvent the wheel?


While some encyclopedias are online, most specialized encyclopedias are only available in print.  To locate these, we recommend searching the Library Catalog, using Advanced Keyword and entering "Encyclopedias" as a subject/topic.  Below are some sample searches.

  • Chemistry Encyclopedias.
  • India Encyclopedias
  • World War, 1939-1945 Encyclopedias
  • Encyclopedias Chicago
  • Encyclopedias Art

For more accurate searches, use the "Begins With" search option, entering the appropriate subject heading:

Biographical Sources

Locating Biographical Reference Sources

Most reference sources that provide biographical information are not available online.  We recommend using the Library Catalog. Use the Advanced search option and enter "Biography" or "Biographies Dictionaries" or "Biographies Directories".  It often helps to combine this with an additional search term, such as a country, occupation, etc.  You may also want to limit your search to reference collections.

Below are some sample searches.

  • Great Britain biographies
  • India biography sources
  • Physicists biography
  • Civil Service Prussia 18th century biography dictionaries
  • Legislators Europe biographies directories

For more accurate results, you may wish to use the appropriate subject heading using the "Begins With" search option in the Library Catalog.  Some examples:

Guides to Biographical Reference Sources

The Library has a guide to locating biographical sources, and includes links to some online sources like the Biography Index and the Biography and Genealogy Master Index  (a database that helps you locate biographical entries for specific individuals).

Statistical Sources

Data in Print Sources

Many sources for statistics or data are not available online.  We recommend using the Library Catalog. Use the Advanced search option and enter "statistics" as a subject or topic.  It often helps to combine this with an additional search term, such as a country, industry, etc. 

Below are some sample searches.

  • Great Britain statistics
  • United States education statistics
  • Cancer Japan statistics

Online Data Sets

The Library subscribes to many datasets and statistical sources that allow you to create and download data according to different variables.  A list to our online stastical databases can be found on our Data/Statistics guide.  The guide also provides suggestions for finding types of data.