Resources for History 3616
Research Seminar in Women's History
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 electronic 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 in print and electronic format and may be found by searching Chinook or looking under the heading History - General, Reference Sources in Find Articles & More.
Full text of hundreds of reference titles on a great variety of historical subjects from a well-known publisher of history reference works. CU
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
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. The Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary is a great resource for finding these terms.
Avoid using redundant or overlapping search terms, e.g. using "19th century" and "Victorian period" or using "United States" in America: History and Life
Adding terms that represent geographical distinctions, time periods, or significant figures associated with your topic may be useful
- AND: women AND work AND war (must find all terms)
- OR: work OR employment (must find one of the terms)
- NOT: Colorado NOT Denver (must find first term NOT second term)
- Phrases: “Great War” (must find that phrase in that order)
- Synonyms: (work OR employment) AND women
- Truncation and wildcards:
work* will find work, worker, and workers
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?
Find Articles & More: History lists a selection of databases by type of sources and geographic area.
You can locate primary and secondary sources for your research in the Libraries by searching the Chinook library catalog. Chinook Classic 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. (NB: doing a "Keyword" search will dump you into the Encore rather than Chinook Classic interface.) 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 try 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.
mostly primary sources
- 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.
mostly primary sources
- 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.
- PASCAL is the Libraries' offsite storage facility. You can learn how to request materials from PASCAL by clicking on the "PASCAL offsite" location in the Chinook record.
- 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.
- For journals, be sure to look at the holdings information to make sure we own/offer access to the volume and issue you need. If the article you need is in a print journal, you can order it for electronic delivery by clicking on the "Request a PDF (UCB only)" button in the record for the print journal (sample 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 (for more information, see Organizing Your Bibliographic Citations below).
The Libraries owns a 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 First World War: A Documentary Record
- American Women's Diaries, Western Women (also Southern and New England)
- Southern Women and their Families in the Nineteenth Century
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, Find Articles & More: Women and Gender Studies - History, and in other subject pages such as Biography, Ethnic 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.
The premier collection of digitized American primary source material, from texts to photographs, created by the Library of Congress.
Provides online access to older issues of newspapers, including New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Defender, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal. Coverage for most newspapers begins from the middle 1800s. CU
Digital version of the bound, sequentially numbered volumes of all the Reports, Documents, and Journals of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Upon completion, the digital version of the Serial Set will consist of approximately 13,800 volumes and over 12 million pages. 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. CU
This collection documents the social and cultural forces that shaped the everyday lives of Americans from 1800 to 1920, offering material for the study of families and home life in the South and North. It covers topics such as religion, race, education, employment, politics, marriage, sexuality, health, childhood, fashion, gossip, travel, entertainment, and popular pastimes by providing fully searchable access to periodicals, pamphlets, books, and prescriptive literature and manuals for domestic management, all complemented by contextual essays by leading scholars. CU
The collection includes approximately 150,000 pages of letters and diaries from Colonial times to 1950, including 7,000 pages of previously unpublished manuscripts all in electronic format for the first time. The material is drawn from more than 1,000 sources, including journal articles, pamphlets, newsletters, monographs, and conference proceedings, and much of it is in copyright. Represented are all age groups and life stages, a wide range of ethnicities, many geographical regions, the famous, and the not so famous. More than 1,500 biographies enhance the use of the database. CU
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
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. Coverage: 1964-present. CU
Humanities Full Text
Abstracts and some full text covering diverse subject areas of the humanities. May be searched concurrently with Social Sciences Full Text and Humanities & Social Sciences Retro (1907-1984). CU
Social Sciences Full Text
Indexes, abstracts and full-text from periodicals covers areas that include addiction studies, anthropology, criminology, economics, family studies, gerontology, minority studies, policy sciences, political science, psychology, social work, and urban studies. May be searched concurrently with Humanities Full Text and Humanities & Social Sciences Retro (1907-1984). 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. Over 2,000 periodical sources are represented and include ISSNs. 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:
- Search for an electronic copy of the journal by searching Chinook by ISSN under "Library Catalog"
- Search for a print copy of the journal by searching Chinook by Title under "Library Catalog." If the print is offsite, you can order an electronic copy as described above.
- If no print version is available, order an electronic copy under "Articles" through ILLiad (document delivery/ILL).
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
For more information about the various Interlibrary Loan options mentioned here, select the "Interlibrary Loan" section below.
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 (rarely) never, depending on the item. Articles are generally faster than books because the loaning library might choose to supply them electronically.
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. Please specify a realistic "Not Wanted After Date". If you order it and do not use it, the Libraries will of course have to pay for the loan anyway.
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 are in a database, click on "Find it at CU" and follow the "document delivery/ILL" link into ILLiad. Otherwise, go directly into ILLiad to make your request. You should allow a week to receive the material.
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?
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:
- Stop by my office hours Thursdays 1-2pm in Hellems 224. Please note any exceptions to these hours listed.
- Drop by when I am staffing the Research Desk on the 2nd floor of Norlin Library. During the spring 2011 term I am there most (but not all) Tuesdays 3-4pm and Thursdays 4-5pm.
- Request a research consultation at least a week in advance