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Resources for History 7153
Research Seminar in Medieval and Early Modern English History


Tips for Conducting Effective Library Research

1. Before you start your search, break your topic down into several discrete concepts/search terms. Databases, including the library catalog, will be able to retrieve more relevant materials this way. For more flexible searching, think of various ways to express these search terms -- synonyms, broader terms, and narrower terms. This is particularly important for searching in full-text primary source databases. The Search Strategy Process Worksheet can be quite helpful in this process.

2. Then, think 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 sources -- both primary and secondary -- for your research.

Finding Primary Sources in the CU Boulder Libraries


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.


The best source for finding primary source material in the Libraries related to British Studies is the

Finding Guides to the British Studies Collections in the University of Colorado at Boulder Libraries
These guides contain entries for primary materials, collections of sources, and some reference or research aids in the CU Boulder Libraries received 1998 or before. They do not list secondary works, standard printed sources such as literary texts, or current scholarly and popular periodicals.

You can also locate most relevant items in the Libraries received after 1998 by searching the CHINOOK library catalog. There are several ways to search CHINOOK effectively for primary sources:

Do a WORD search on your topic. Notice that you can specify language, location (e.g. Reference), material type, and year. You will get a mixed bag of results including both primary and secondary sources. Then add one of the special subject terms that identify primary materials to your search: sources (more general), manuscripts, correspondence, diaries, narratives, pamphlets, speeches, letters, documents, etc.

Do an AUTHOR search for books written by key participants (people or organizations) in the events you are investigating.

Once you have found a useful item on your topic, take note of the Library of Congress subject headings listed in the item's full CHINOOK record. Click on these links to find related materials.

Finding Primary and Secondary Sources in Library Databases


This is only a selection of databases that are available for your research. If you are not finding relevant sources in these or need more material, be sure to check out other databases on the Find Articles & Databases: History and other subject pages like Biography, Religion, and Gender Studies. For a comparison of the ESTC, EEBO and EEBO TCP databases, see the Early English Books Handout.

Primary Source Databases


English Short Title Catalog (ESTC)
Comprehensive bibliographic and holdings information for works printed in any language in England or its dependencies from the beginnings of print to 1800, including all items from Pollard & Redgrave, Wing, and the Thomason Tracts plus works more recently discovered. CU


Early English Books Online (EEBO)
Subset of ESTC including the complete page images of 86,000 titles in all subject areas published in Great Britain or in the English language between 1475 and 1700, a majority of the works listed in Pollard & Redgrave, Wing, and the Thomason Tracts. CU


Early English Books Online: Text Creation Partnership (EEBO TCP)
Searchable full text of over 7,000 EEBO titles chosen from the New Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature. Additional titles are added monthly. When complete, EEBO-TCP will contain 25,000 texts. CU


Early American Imprints, Series I. Evans (1639-1800)
Page images and searchable full-text of Early American Imprints, Series I. Evans. These 36,000 titles cover every aspect of in 17th- and 18th-century American life including history, literature, religion and foreign affairs. CU

Empire Online
A searchable database containing full text images of original manuscripts and printed material, 1492-1969, taken from libraries and archives around the world. It covers Africa, the Americas, Australasia, Oceania and South Asia. CU


Secondary Source Databases


Bibliography of British and Irish History Online
The Royal Historical Society bibliography, hosted by the Institute of Historical Research, is a guide to writing on British and Irish history from the Roman period to the present day.


Historical Abstracts
Indexing with abstracts for literature relating to world history -- excluding the US and Canada -- from 1450 to the present. Covers political, diplomatic, economic, social, cultural, and intellectual history. Coverage: 1955-present. CU

International Medieval Bibliography Online
Bibliography of the European Middle Ages (c. 400-1500). Lists material found in journals, Festschriften, conference proceedings, and collected essays on all aspects of medieval studies for all of Europe, plus the Middle East and North Africa when controlled by Christians. CU

Iter: Gateway to the Middle Ages and Renaissance

Bibliography of interdisciplinary literature pertaining to the Middle Ages and Renaissance (400-1700). CU


Periodicals Index Online
Index to the contents of thousands of periodicals in the humanities and social sciences since 1770. CU

Humanities Abstracts/Full Text
Citations, abstracts, and full text covering diverse subject areas of the humanities. Coverage: 1984-present. Abstracts since 1994. CU

Finding and Obtaining Materials from Other Libraries


If an item is not held by the CU Libraries, there are various ways you can obtain it through Interlibrary Loan.

Books and Microforms



If you have searched CHINOOK and a book or microform is not located in the Libraries, click on the Prospector button in the upper right-hand corner of the CHINOOK search screen. This action will rerun your search in the catalogs of 16 academic, public, and special libraries in Colorado and Wyoming. If the item is found, you can order it online through Prospector. You should allow a few days to receive the material.


Center for Research Libraries

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. It has rich British history collections, including microfilm of manuscript material like the State Papers Foreign. 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. It is a wonderful resource for discovering new and obscure material on your topic. Please note, however, that the decision to loan is up to the holding library or archive, and many will not loan unique and fragile materials. You should allow three weeks to receive the material.




You can initiate requests for articles as well as other materials by submitting them through ILLiad. You should allow three weeks to receive the material.

Library and Archives Web Sites

A2A: Access to Archives
Contains catalogues describing archives held throughout England and dating from the 900s to the present day.

British Library
The BL's homepage has direct links to its public catalog, in addition to a plethora of information on its collections.


Public Record Office
National archive of England, Wales and the United Kingdom housing the records of central government and courts of law from the 11th century on.

Archives on the Internet

Click the "Archive in Westeuropa" link then scroll down to whatever country is of interest to you. Under United Kingdom you will find links to various national, county, and local archives' web pages.

CU = Resources marked with this symbol are available in campus libraries and to students, staff, and faculty via the campus network. Use of these resources is subject to copyright laws and license limitations. Remote access information.

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