This webpage provides resources to help you find more information on the themes and topics of the course.
Most of the databases on this page are restricted to UW students, staff and faculty. These are marked with a lock . To connect to these databases from home you will need to first click on the Off-Campus Access button in the upper-right hand corner and login with your UWnetid.
Have questions or need research help? Please contact Theresa Mudrock, the history librarian, via email at email@example.com
Start Here to Find Background Information
Encyclopedias and other reference sources can provide background information and can be used to identify key people, events and dates which can then be used as search terms for finding additional information. More importantly, because encyclopedias often cover the major issues surrounding the subject, they can help you narrow your research from a broad "who, what, where, when" topic to a "how or why" question. Many also provide a jumpstart on your research by listing related readings.
Two searchable collections of encyclopedias are Gale Virtual Reference and Oxford Reference Online.
- Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment
- Encyclopedia of exploration to 1800: a comprehensive reference guide to the history - Suzzallo Reference G80 .H68 2003
- Encyclopedia of Western colonialism since 1450
- Europe 1450 to 1789: encyclopedia of the early modern world - Suzzallo Reference D209 .E97 2004
- Literature of travel and exploration: an encyclopedia - Suzzallo Reference G465 .L565 2003
- Oxford Companion to World Exploration
- Oxford encyclopedia of maritime history - Suzzallo Reference VK15 .O84 2007
- Reader's guide to the history of science - Natural Sciences Reference Q125 .R335 2000
Start Here to Find Books
Non-fiction books can provide both an overview and indepth analysis of a topic, event or person. Many books will include footnotes and bibliography that can lead you to other research/writings on the topic.
Book reviews can be useful when evaluating a book or to get a quick synopsis. Use the databases listed in the next section to find book reviews.
- UW Libraries Catalog - holdings of the UW Libraries. Best used for known-item searching especially journal titles and ebooks and when you want to find just what is available on campus or in a specific branch of the UW Libraries.
- UW WorldCat - Mega-catalog that simultaneously searches the UW Libraries Catalog and other libraries in the region and worldwide, also includes some citations to articles. Best used for topical searches and for requesting books from other libraries.
Start Here to Find Academic/Scholarly Articles
Academic articles, those published in scholarly journals, are the bedrock of most academic disciplines. In the field of historical research, they are considered secondary sources. They provide an indepth analysis of narrow topics. Prior to publishing, articles are vetted through a process called peer-review.
Most academic articles and books include footnotes or a bibliography which can lead you to primary sources (and additional secondary sources) on a topic. See example.
- Academic Search Complete - general database to find articles on all subjects
- America History & Life - best database for finding articles about American and Canadian history
- Historical Abstracts - best database for finding articles about world history (1450 to the present, excluding US & Canada)
- History of Science, Technology & Medicine - use this database to find articles dealing with scientific and medical history
- International Medieval Bibliography - best database for finding articles and chapters dealing with medieval European history
- JSTOR - back issues of 100s of academic journals including more than 40 full-text history-related journals
Start Here to Find Books that are Primary Sources
In addition to the many books that are secondary sources; the UW Libraries has books that are primary sources. These include books written during the period for your topic (i.e., during the 1780s), books written by participants, published collections of correspondence and other personal writings, memoirs and reprints of primary source material.
Some books are in print while others are available electronically.
Search the UW Libraries Catalog using the following search tactics:
- Limit your search by publication date.
- Search for books written by key participants and organizations. For example the Hakluyt Society publishes reprints and translations of early travel accounts. Example of a keyword search: turkey and Hakluyt society
- Use special subject terms that designate primary sources: sources, personal narratives, diaries, early works to 1800
- Example of a Keyword search: turkey and early works to 1800
Start Here to Find Websites
The Web is a growing source for primary sources dealing with history. The sites listed here have substantial collections of primary sources including maps dealing with travel and exploration.
See History on the Web for additional websites.
- Travel Accounts
- EuroDocs - Western European historical documents
- Internet Modern History Sourcebook: The Early Modern World
Image: Detail of a 1595 map, Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. Courtesy of the British Library Images Online.
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18 December 2008