Resources for History 3516
American Culture and Reform, 1880-1920
- Primary Source > Full Text | Bibliographic Citation | Archival Materials
- Secondary Source > Full Text | Bibliographic Citation
The first step to starting your research is to determine a topic and focus it into a researchable question. Reference resources can be a great place to start when you are seeing to develop a less-than-familiar topic. They can provide you with an overview and background information, summarize established knowledge and important facts, key figures, and offer a list of recommended sources or readings.
This selection of reference resources is intended to give you an idea how useful they can be. Many more, ranging from the general to the specific, are available to you electronically and in print and may be found by searching Chinook.
The ABC-Clio eBook Collection, formerly History Reference Online, includes the full text of hundreds of reference titles on a great variety of historical subjects from a well-known publisher of history reference works. CU
History Reference Center offers full text of a range of material including over 2,300 reference books and encyclopedias and 130 leading history periodicals. CU
Reference Universe allows you to search for terms in article titles and book indexes from a staggering array of both print and electronic reference resources and also to restrict your search to those available in the CU Libraries. CU
Once you have determined the topic of your research and have focused it into a researchable question, you will need to develop a strategy for finding relevant primary and secondary sources.
Tips for Developing a Search Strategy
Before starting your search, break your topic down into discrete concepts that represent the major aspects. These concepts will be used to develop search terms, that is, significant words or phrases (nouns or noun phrases work best) that can be used when searching in online catalogs or databases. These terms will determine the quantity and relevance of results you retrieve. For more flexible searching, think of various ways to express these search terms - synonyms, broader terms, and narrower terms.
- Thinking of terms couched in the language of the time period you are studying is particularly important for searching in full-text, primary-source databases
- Avoid using redundant or overlapping search terms, e.g. using "19th century" and "Victorian period" or using "United States" in the Making of America database
- Adding terms that represent geographical distinctions, time periods, or significant figures associated with your topic may be useful
+ Operators and Punctuation for Combining Search Terms
- AND: women AND "social reform" AND "20th century" (must find all terms)
- OR: "social reform" OR "social movements" (must find one of the terms)
- NOT: New York NOT City (must find first term NOT second term)
- Phrases: “social reform” (must find that phrase in that order)
- Synonyms: ("social reform" OR "social movements") AND "20th century"
- Truncation and wildcards:
atrocit* will find atrocity and atrocities
wom?n will find woman and women
The Search Strategy Process Worksheet can be quite helpful in helping you develop search terms for your own topic.
Once you've selected your search terms, think critically about what kind of information resources you need and select appropriate indexes and databases in which to search for material.
This step is crucial to efficient identification of quality primary and secondary sources for your research. Are you looking for primary or secondary sources? Covering what area of the world? During what time period?
The History section in Find Articles & More lists a selection of databases by type of sources and geographic area.
For more information on combining keywords for the best results, see How Do I Use Keywords?
You can locate primary and secondary sources for your research in the Libraries by searching the Chinook library catalog. Chinook contains books, journals, microforms and other materials but NOT articles. Also, sometimes records for individual primary sources contained in electronic databases or microform sets are in Chinook, but most often the intellectual contents are only available in the databases themselves or through microform collection guides (see "Primary Sources on Microforms" below for more information).
As you search Chinook, you will notice that materials may have different locations in the Libraries' system, including Norlin Stacks, PASCAL offsite, Government Publications, Special Collections, and Archives. If you are wondering where these locations are, you can consult campus library maps and floor plans. Also, if you click on the location link in the Chinook record in question, you will see the location on a map and/or receive more information about it.
You can locate most relevant items in the Libraries by searching the Chinook library catalog. There are many primary sources available in the Libraries, including documents (books, letters, etc.) from the period under study, as well as electronic, microform, and printed collections of these documents published at a later date.
Do an Advanced Keyword search on your topic. Notice that you can specify language, location, material type, and year, among other limits. You will get a mixed bag of results including both primary and secondary sources.
Try this example:
primary & secondary sources
There are several ways to limit your search to primary sources:
- Add one of the special subject terms that identify primary sources to your search: sources (more general), correspondence, diaries, narratives, pamphlets, speeches, letters, documents, etc.
- Do an Advanced Keyword search again and try limiting the dates of publication by year, entering the dates bounding your time period. For this search, leave off any special subject terms identifying primary sources from the previous search.
- Another approach is to do an Author search for books written by key participants (people or organizations) in the events you are investigating.
Please note: none of these strategies will net all primary sources, nor will their results necessarily be entirely exclusive of one another. But they will help you identify subsets of primary sources on your topic owned by the Libraries.
The following tips will help you make the most of your Chinook searching.
- Once you have found a useful item on your topic, take note of the Subjects listed in the item's full Chinook record. Click on these links to find related materials.
- If an item is checked out or we do not own it, search the Prospector consortial catalog by clicking the brown "Search Prospector to find it in another library" button that will appear on the left. You can order a copy of what you want online if is available in another Prospector library. Circulation will contact you when it is available for pick-up.
- With journals, be sure to look at the holdings information to make sure we own/offer access to the volume and issue you need. If an article you need is in a print journal in PASCAL offsite, you can order the article you are interested in for electronic delivery using the ILLiad interlibrary loan system. You can also access this link by clicking on the location in the Chinook record.
- Use the "Journals/Serials" search to limit your search to journals, newspapers, etc. Make sure to select "All Collections" if you want to switch back to searching the entire catalog.
- Use the "Online Library Resources" search to limit your search to electronic reference works, e-books, etc. Make sure to select "All Collections" if you want to switch back to searching the entire catalog.
- Click the "Find More Resources" button to search for an item in Amazon, look up an encyclopedia article in Encyclopedia Britannica Online, search for full-text, search Google Book Search and Google Scholar, or export a citation into RefWorks bibliographic management software (for more information, see Organizing Your Bibliographic Citations below).
The Libraries owns an exceedingly rich cache of primary sources on microforms that cover all areas of the world. There are different ways you can find out what kinds of sources a microform collection contains, including online guides linked in the Chinook record, printed guides, and tables of contents and indexes that are included on the microforms themselves. Once you have located on what reels items of interest are located, you can order/locate them for viewing.
Microform scanners are available in the Research Area on the second floor of Norlin Library. You can make electronic copies of items on microforms and email or save them to a flash drive for free. Microform readers and printers are also available here and in Government Publications.
Some examples of our microform collections are:
The following Libraries' departments contain substantial material for historical research in addition to what you can find in the regular collections. Not all of the materials in these departments have records in Chinook, so the best policy is to visit and use finding aids that may only be available on site.
- Government Publications offers a rich array of primary sources, particularly, but not limited to, those relating to politics, diplomacy and the military. Ask librarian Jennie Gerke for help locating records of interest to you.
- Special Collections will also have items of interest on many topics, including ethnicity, exploration and settlement, mining, women, dime novels, and Mormonism. Special Collections librarian Elizabeth Newsom can help you navigate their collections.
- The CU Archives holds rich Western Americana collections, especially those pertaining to Colorado. The Archives offers primary sources on topics ranging from mining to the military to women. Consult with archivist Dave Hays for help discovering sources relevant to your research.
Below is a selection of the databases that the Libraries makes available for your research. If you are not finding relevant sources in these databases or need more material, be sure to look for additional databases on Find Articles & More: History and in other subject pages such as Biography, Ethnic Studies, Women and Gender Studies, and News & Newspapers.
Databases come in a variety of shapes and sizes ranging from those with the full text of primary and secondary sources to those with bibliographic citations to primary and secondary sources. Some offer full-text primary sources that are keyword-searchable and others do not (in which case you need to search records within the database to access the full text). Some indexes have links directly to full text, others use a link resolver ("Find it at CU") to help you find electronic and print full text, and others require you to look in Chinook as a separate step to find the full text.
Though on the face of it a full-text database might always seem like the best source of information, don't be fooled! Sometimes the best source to identify primary and secondary sources on your topic may be an electronic or print index. Choose your databases based on the utility of the content/content indexed for your research, not the form in which the content is delivered.
Proquest Historical Newspapers: The New York Times
The New York Times offers full page and article images with searchable full text back to the first issue in 1851. CU
This resource provides full-text content and images from numerous newspapers from a range of urban and rural regions throughout the U.S. The collection encompasses the entire 19th century, with an emphasis on such topics as the American Civil War, African-American culture and history, Western migration and Antebellum-era life. CU
Database that contains a wealth of information about the cultural life and history during the 1800s, and is rich with first-hand reports of the major events and issues of the day, including the Mexican War, Presidential and congressional addresses, Congressional abstracts, business and commodity markets, the humanities, world travel and religion. Also contains large numbers of early biographies, vital statistics, essays and editorials, poetry and prose, and advertisements all of which embody the African-American experience. CU
U.S. Congressional Serial Set
The bound, sequentially numbered volumes of all the Reports, Documents, and Journals of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives constitute a rich source of primary-source material on all aspects of American history. Upon completion, the digital version of the Serial Set will consist of approximately 13,800 volumes and over 12 million pages. CU
The premier collection of digitized American primary-source material, from texts to photographs, created by the Library of Congress.
Database serves as reference for U.S. history and the history of women in social movements in the U.S. between 1600 and 2000. Includes 74 document projects that interpret and present documents, more than 29,000 pages of documents pertaining to women and social movements, a dictionary of social movements and organizations, a chronology of U.S. women's history, and teaching tools. CU
Index to Early American Periodicals, 1741-1935
This database covers all known periodicals that began and ended publication between 1741 and 1935; the full text of the periodicals is in the American Periodical Series I, II, and III, and English Literary Periodicals microfilm series. CU
19th Century Masterfile
Includes Poole's Index to Periodical Literature (1802-1906), supplemented by Stead's Index to Periodicals (1890-1902; the "British Poole's") and other indexes to 19th-century publications. CU
C19 : the nineteenth century index
C19 Index is a source for discovering nineteenth-century books, periodicals, official documents, newspapers and archives. For more information on what is in C19, see Guide to C19: The Nineteenth Century Index. CU
Database containing comprehensive indexing and abstracting of the most popular general-interest periodicals published in the United States and Canada, plus the full text of selected periodicals. Readers' Retrospective gives a detailed account of U.S. culture and history. Covers 1890-present. CU
The mission of NUCMC, a service of the Library of Congress, is to provide and promote bibliographic access to the nation's documentary heritage. The NUCMC gateways provide free searching of archival and manuscript cataloging in the OCLC union catalog, which contain records describing archival and manuscript collections held by eligible repositories located throughout the United States and its territories.
Archive Finder is a current directory of 5,596 repositories and 154,678 collections of primary source material across the United States. Using Archive Finder, researchers can read descriptions of a repository's holdings to determine whether a collection contains material relevant to their work as well as find the information they need to contact the repository directly. C19 Index contains 61,647 records detailing the collections and repositories in the United States that hold 19th century research materials. CU
Also see WorldCat and the CRL Catalog under Interlibrary Loan - Books and Microforms.
Secondary-source databases can also double as primary-source databases if they cover the timeframe you are researching.
Biographical work on people from all eras who have influenced and shaped American history and culture. Find profiles of more than 18,000 men and women from all walks of American life, from the well-known to the infamous to the obscure. CU
Humanities Full Text
Abstracts covering diverse subject areas of the humanities. Coverage: 1984-present. Abstracts since 1994. CU
Periodicals Archive Online (PAO) is an archive of hundreds of digitized journals published in the arts, humanities and social sciences. It provides researchers with access to more than 200 years of scholarship, spread across a wide variety of subject areas. CU
Academic Search Premier
Provides full text journal coverage for nearly all academic areas of study - including social sciences, humanities, education, computer sciences, engineering, language and linguistics, arts & literature, medical sciences, and ethnic studies. CU
Secondary-source databases can also double as primary-source databases if they cover the timeframe you are researching.
America: History and Life
Citations and abstracts to social science and humanities literature on all aspects of US and Canadian history, culture, and current affairs from prehistoric times to the present. For other areas of the world, see Historical Abstracts. One or both databases may be searched from the same interface. Coverage: 1964-present. CU
Database includes the latest scholarship in feminist research, including Women Studies Abstracts. Curriculum in the areas of sociology, history, political science & economy, public policy, international relations, arts & humanities, business and education. Nearly 800 essential sources include: journals, newspapers, newsletters, bulletins, books, book chapters, proceedings, reports, theses, dissertations, NGO studies, important websites & web documents, and grey literature. CU
Database covering global public policy and social issues including health, finance, economics, education, technology, and the environment for the U.S. and abroad. Covers periodicals, books, hearings, reports, gray literature, government publications, Internet resources, and other publications from 120 countries. Contains more than 1.5 million records dating back to 1915, each with bibliographic information and brief, descriptive abstracts. CU
Periodicals Index Online
Index to the contents of thousands of periodicals in the humanities and social sciences since 1770. CU
Once you have located periodical material of interest in these databases, if they do not contain a direct link to full text, make sure you have all the relevant citation information. You can print and/or email the citations and abstracts from most of the databases. Your next steps for getting an article are offered via the "Find it at CU" link if it appears in the database:
- See if it supplies a link to electronic full text under the "Full Text" heading
- If this doesn't appear, under the "Library Catalog" heading click "Chinook Library Catalog by ISSN" to search for the print version; if the print is offsite, you can order an electronic copy in ILLiad
- If no print version is available, click under the "Interlibrary Loan" heading to order an electronic copy via ArticleReach; this is also appropriate if we have the journal in print but it's currently inaccessible
Books and Book Chapters
Do a Title search for the book in Chinook to see if the CU Libraries hold it. If not, your next steps for getting a book are:
- Re-run your search in Prospector
- Search for the title in WorldCat and order it through ILLiad
Non-CU Dissertations and Theses
- Search for the title in WorldCat and order it through ILLiad
For more information about the various Interlibrary Loan options mentioned here, select the "Interlibrary Loan" tab on this guide.
If an item is not held by the Libraries, there are various ways you can obtain it through Interlibrary Loan. Please note, however, the decision to loan items is up to the holding library or archive, and many will not loan unique and fragile materials. How much time it takes to fill the request can range from 24 hours to never, depending on the item. Articles are generally faster than books because the loaning library might choose to supply them electronically. Below are suggested times you should allow to receive the material via the different delivery methods. If you order it and do not use it, the Libraries will of course have to pay for the loan anyway.
You can initiate requests for all types of materials by submitting a request through the ILLiad interlibrary loan system. Log in using your Identikey, and submit the required information for the items you would like to order. You should allow three weeks to receive the material.
For specific types of material you also have the following options:
If you have searched Chinook and a book or microform is not located in the Libraries, click on the brown Prospector button in the upper right-hand corner of the Chinook search screen. This action will rerun your search in the catalogs of 20+ academic, public, and special libraries in Colorado and Wyoming. If the item is found, you can order it online through Prospector. You should allow 3-5 days to receive the material.
CRL is a consortium of North American universities, colleges, and independent research libraries that acquires and preserves traditional and digital resources for research and teaching and makes them available to member institutions through interlibrary loan and electronic delivery. Its records are loaded into Prospector, and you can request electronically from there. CRL's loan period is much longer than traditional ILL, and purchase requests can be made for materials that fit in with its collections.
If you cannot find an item in Prospector, search WorldCat. It is the closest thing we have to a national union catalog, and it contains records for diverse materials, including books, microforms, archival material, maps, and visual material. WorldCat is a wonderful resource for discovering new and obscure material on your topic. If you find material that is of interest to you, search Chinook and Prospector to be sure CU or another Prospector library does not already own it. If not, you can order the needed materials from ILLiad via a link in WorldCat that will populate the request form with data. You should allow three weeks to receive the material.
If you follow the "Interlibrary Loan" link in "Find it at CU," you will have the option to order the article in question via the ARL Article Reach service. You should allow a week to receive the material.
Still need help after trying the strategies listed on this guide? Or can't figure out how to use a particular resource? Here are some options for further assistance:
- Ask me questions on History chat reference Mondays noon-1pm, Thursdays 3-4pm or any other time you see the History chat window appear on the "Recent Instruction" page on the History subject guide (please note any exceptions to these hours listed on home page of the Libraries History subject guide)
- Feel free to stop by my office hours in Hellems 224 or while I'm on the Research Desk Thursdays 3-4pm (please note any exceptions to these hours listed on the home page of the Libraries History subject guide)
- Request a research consultation
Once you have found relevant material, you may wish to manage your bibliographic information using specialized software. The Libraries have subscribed to RefWorks, which is available to all CU students.
For detailed information on adding citations to the database, creating a bibliography, and more in How Do I...Use RefWorks?