UCB Libraries

Student Studying

Resources for History 3616
Research Seminar in Women's History

Contents

I. Starting Your Research


II. Developing a Search Strategy

III. Finding Sources

IV. Interlibrary Loan


V. Further Assistance

Starting Your Research

 

Reference resources can be a great place to start when you are developing a new topic. They can provide you with an overview and background information, summarize established knowledge and important facts, discuss key figures, and offer a list of recommended sources or readings.

 

+ Some Reference Resources

 

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 form and may be found by looking under the heading History - General, Reference Sources in Find Articles & Databases.

ABC-Clio eBook Collection

Full text of hundreds of reference titles on a great variety of historical subjects from a well-known publisher of history reference works. CU

 

American National Biography Online

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


Developing a Search Strategy


Before starting your search, break down your topic into discrete concepts that represent its 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 research databases. Your search terms will determine the quantity and relevance of results you retrieve.

 

+ Tips for Choosing Search Terms
  1. For more flexible searching, think of various ways to express these search terms:

    • synonyms (related terms)
    • broader terms
    • narrower terms
    The Search Strategy Process Worksheet can be quite helpful in helping you develop search terms for your own topic.

  2. You need to tailor the search terms to the type of material you are searching. When searching for:

    • Books and other larger units, broader terms tend to work better because the topics covered by books tend to be more general.
    • Journal articles and other smaller units, narrower terms tend to work better because the topics covered by articles tend to be more specific.
    • Full text of books or articles, narrower terms or even unique terms like names or places tend to work better because you are searching on the full text.
  3. Adding terms that represent geographical or chronological facets may be useful.

  4. If you get too many results, try using narrower search terms or add another facet to your search. If you get too few results, try using broader terms, synonyms or subtract a facet from your search.

  5. Avoid using redundant or overlapping search terms, e.g. using "19th century" AND "Victorian period", or using "United States" in the America: History and Life database. This is a common reason for getting too few results.

 

+ Combining Search Terms

 

Operators

 

  • AND: women AND "birth control" AND "United States" (must find all terms)
  • OR: "birth control" OR contraception (must find one of the terms)
  • NOT: "United States" NOT California (must find first term NOT second term)

Punctuation

 

  • Phrases: “birth control” (must find that phrase in that order)
  • Synonyms: ("birth control" OR contraception) AND women
  • Truncation and wildcards:
    contracepti* will contraception, contraceptive and contraceptives
    wom?n will find woman and women

 

+ Choosing Databases


Once you've selected your search terms, think critically about what kind of information resources you need and select appropriate 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 & Databases: History lists a selection of databases by type of sources and geographic area.


Finding Sources in the CU Libraries

 

You can locate primary and secondary sources for your research in the CU Libraries by searching the Chinook Classic catalog. Chinook Classic contains books, journals, microforms and other materials but not articles. The primary sources may include documents (books, letters, etc.) from the period under study or collections of documents published at a later date.

 

The Advanced Keyword search in Chinook Classic is the most flexible way to search for titles on your topic. Notice that you can specify available items, electronic version, language, location, and material type, among other limits.

 

+ Chinook Classic Searching Tips

 

The following tips will help you make the most of your Chinook Classic searching:

  1. From the full record of a relevant title, you can find similar titles by:

    • Looking at the Subjects listed and clicking on the links to find other titles in the catalog with the same subject heading.
    • Clicking on the "Nearby Call Numbers" button. This will allow you to virtually browse the collection by showing you what other titles would be shelved next to that one.
  2. Titles may have different locations in the CU library system, for example, Norlin Stacks, PASCAL offsite, or Norlin Library Periodicals Collection. If you are wondering where these locations are, click on the location link.
  1. You can use the "Request It!" button to:

    • Order a title for pickup at a CU library of your choice, including PASCAL titles. PASCAL is the Libraries' offsite storage facility.
    • Clicking on the "Nearby Call Numbers" button. This will allow you to virtually browse the collection by showing you what other titles would be shelved next to that one.
  2. 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 appears on the left. You can order a copy of what you want online if is available to be loaned from another Prospector library. Circulation will contact you when it is available for pick-up.
  1. Click the "Find More Resources" button to look up a topic in Encyclopedia Britannica Online, search Google Scholar, or export a citation into RefWorks bibliographic management software (available to all CU students).

 

+ Searching for Primary Sources in Chinook Classic

 

When you search Chinook, you will get a mixed bag of results including both primary and secondary sources.

 

Try this example:

Concept 1:

 

women

Concept 2:

 

work*

Concept 3:

 

war

 

Result:

 

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, like sources (more general), correspondence, diaries, narratives, pamphlets, speeches, letters, documents, etc.
Concept 1:

 

women

Concept 2:

 

work*

Concept 3:

 

war

Concept 4:

 

sources

Result:

 

mostly primary sources

 

  • Do another search and try limiting the dates of publication, entering the dates bounding your time period. For this search, leave off any special subject terms identifying primary sources from the previous search.
Concept 1:

 

women

Concept 2:

 

work*

Concept 3:

 

war

Concept 4:

 

1930-1950

Result:

 

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.

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 inthe Libraries.

 

+ Primary sources on Microforms

 

The Libraries owns tons of primary sources on microforms. There are different ways you can find out what kinds of sources a microform collection contains, including online guides linked in the Chinook record and printed guides. Once you have located on what reels items of interest are located, you can order/locate them for viewing. Some examples are:

Women's Studies Manuscript Collections from the Schlesinger Library at Radcliffe College

Series 1: Women's Suffrage

Series 2: Women in National Politics

Series 3: Sexuality, Sex Education and Reproductive Rights

 

Herstory

Newspapers, journals and newsletters by and about women and women's organizations, published primarily between 1969 and 1974, from the collections of the Women's History Library, later known as the Women's History Research Center, Berkeley.

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. Microform readers and printers are also available here and in Government Information.

 

Finding Sources in Library Databases

 

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 & Databases: History, Find Articles & Databases: Women and Gender Studies - History, and in other subject pages such as Biography, Ethnic Studies, and News & Newspapers.

 

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.

 

+ Secondary Sources

 

Secondary source databases allow you to identify the existence of materials whether or not the CU Libraries owns them. In addition to larger units like books, you can use them to find smaller units like articles and book chapters that you might not be able to find otherwise.

 

America: History and Life With Full Text

America: History & Life with Full Text is a database of literature covering the history and culture of the United States and Canada, from prehistory to the present. With selective indexing for 1,700 journals from 1955 to the present this database also provides full-text coverage of more than 230 journals and more than 100 books. Strong English-language journal coverage is balanced by an international perspective on topics and events, including abstracts in English of articles published in more than 40 languages. CU

 

Humanities Full Text
Full text or abstracts of articles, interviews, obituaries, bibliographies and reviews in Archaeology, Art, Classical Studies, Dance, Film, Folklore, Gender Studies, History, Literary and Social Criticism, Literature, Music, Performing Arts, Philosophy, Religion, and Theology. May be searched concurrently with Social Sciences Full Text. 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. CU

 

Women's Studies International

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

 

+ Primary Sources

 

Women and Social Movements in the United States 1600-2000

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

 

Alternative Press Index Archive

Citations for API are drawn from roughly 250 alternative, radical, and left publications, that report and analyze the practices and theories of cultural, economic, political, and social change. Indexed articles include regular columns, editorials, fiction, interviews, bibliographies, biographies, and reviews. Topics include African-American studies, ethnic and racial studies, feminism, gay/lesbian studies, community organizing, ecology, labor studies, social theory, socialism, alternative organizations, anarchism, prisons, indigenous people's rights, and internationalism. Coverage: 1969-1990. CU

 

Women's Studies International

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. Coverage: 1972-present. CU

 

Humanities Full Text
Full text or abstracts of articles, interviews, obituaries, bibliographies and reviews in Archaeology, Art, Classical Studies, Dance, Film, Folklore, Gender Studies, History, Literary and Social Criticism, Literature, Music, Performing Arts, Philosophy, Religion, and Theology. May be searched concurrently with Social Sciences Full Text. 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. CU

 

ProQuest Historical Newspapers

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

 

Readers Guide

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

 

+ No Full Text? - Where to Look Next


Some results will have a link to full text and others will have the "Find It at CU" icon. When no full text is available, use this icon to search for full text in our collections, in either electronic or print, by searching Chinook.

 

Articles

 

For articles, be sure to note the citation information so you know what volume and year of the journal you are seeking. Your next steps in "Find It at CU" are:

 

  • Search for an electronic or print copy of the journal by searching Chinook by ISSN or Title (under "Library Catalog").
  • If the article you need is in a print journal, look at the holdings information to make sure we have access to the volume and issue you need.
  • You can order an electronic copy of a print article in our collections by clicking on the "Request a PDF (UCB only)" button in the record for the journal (sample record).
  • If the article is not available in our collections, you can order it by clicking Document Delivery/ILL (under "Articles"). Please be sure to indicate a realistic date by which you can last use the material.

Books and Book Chapters

 

Your next steps in "Find It at CU" are:

  • Search for an electronic or print copy of the book by searching Chinook by ISBN or Title (under "Library Catalog").
  • Re-run your search in Prospector.
  • If the item is not available in our collections, you can order it by clicking Document Delivery/ILL or going straight to ILLiad (see Interlibrary Loan, below). Please be sure to indicate a realistic date by which you can last use the material.

Dissertations

 

Unless you are doing comprehensive research on a topic, it will probably not be worth your while to pursue the loan of a dissertation. The citations in America: History and Life and Historical Abstracts are to Dissertation Abstracts, which only contains, well, an abstract. If you're interested in looking at the abstract, and potentially a preview of the first pages of a dissertation, you can search ProQuest Dissertations & Theses.

 

The Libraries makes many more databases available for your research. If you need more material, check out those under Find Articles & Databases: History.

 

Interlibrary Loan

 

If an item is not held by the Libraries, you can obtain it through Interlibrary Loan. Please note, however, the decision to loan items is up to the holding library. How much time it takes to fill the request can range from 24 hours to 3 weeks, depending. Articles and book chapters are generally faster than books.

 

+ Initiating Requests in ILLiad

 

You can make requests for any item we do not hold in the ILLiad interlibrary loan system.

 

  • Log in using your Identikey. The first time you log in, you will need to supply your contact information.

  • Choose the type of material you want to order under "New Request."

  • Fill out the required information. The more of the non-required information you can provide the easier it will be to expedite your request.

  • Specify a realistic "Not Wanted After Date". If you order an item and do not use it, the Libraries will have to pay for the loan anyway.

  • Some databases and Find It at CU will take you into ILLiad, and will sometimes furnish the needed information automatically.

 

Further Assistance


Still need help after trying the strategies listed on this guide? Can't figure out how to use a particular resource? Here are some options for further assistance:

 

+ From the Libraries

 

  • How Do I...? helpful web guides on a variety of research-related topics

  • Ask Us! email, chat, text, and phone reference services are available extended hours

  • Walk-up reference services at the Research Desk on the 2nd floor of Norlin Library as well as at some branch libraries (see "Hours Staffed")

 

+ From Me

  • Stop by my office hours Wednesdays 4-5pm 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 2012 term I am there most (but not all) Thursdays 1-2pm.

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