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History - Getting Started

Welcome to University Libraries: How to Guides and Videos


Historical images from "Jewish Life in America c1654 - 1954"

Familiarize yourself with University Library History Resources.  The PDFs below list our databases, primary resources and other tools such as Browzine that can help with your historical research.  A full list of History Databases can be accessed here.

History Journals in Browzine

Digital Collections - What are you really seeing?

New digital collections are introduced online daily.  As a history student, you need to understand what you are seeing.  You may see:
- Archived digital versions of historical documents
- Digitized photographs or maps - how are these items curated? This will make a difference in determining the validity of the images.
- An anthology (or excerpts from a body of work) that may not be considered complete for a research project but may be appropriate for a course.
- Primary or secondary sources - it is critical to understand that determination of source type depends on CONTEXT.
- An aggregator - a website that gives lists of links to other historical websites or collections.
- Articles or images from open access sources.

Historical Research - Getting Started

Old text with finger tracing the words. This guide provides a starting point for conducting historical research.  This guide was written in conjunction with the SHU Department of History.  
When you start a research project,
you should ask yourself some basic questions:
What are you looking for?  Are you clear about the difference between a database, a book or a journal article?  If you are at the beginning of a research project, a book may be an appropriate place to start.  A database in a point of entry to access journal articles from scholarly sources. Other databases provide news and statistics.
Do you want a broad overview of your topic?   Get an overview in an Encyclopedia.  This is an often overlooked important step in your research process.
Are you clear on how to differentiate between search results in the library catalog?  The University Library Catalog is an aggregator - it will pull together books, journal articles (from subscription databases), book reviews and electronic resources based on your search terms.  Use options on the left side of the catalog window to narrow search results by format or year.
What are your key search terms? Are there alternative terms you can search with?
Where are you headed?

Connect with the History Department