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Subject Guide for History

Search Tips for Historical Abstracts and America: History & Life with Full Text


Since you will be using Historical Abstracts and America: History and Life throughout your career as a history major, it is definitely worthwhile to acquaint yourself with their features. Thankfully the interface is the same for both.

  • On the EBSCO platform, the databases can be searched together if desired by selecting them from the "Choose Databases" link on the advanced search screen.

  • The full selection of limits are available from the advanced search screen:

    • One of the nicest features is the historical period limit. This allows you to select the period the articles are about, rather than when they were published.
    • Other helpful limits include document type (e.g., book review) and language.
    • Although on the face of it checking full text is tempting, sometimes the best articles may not have full text directly linked in the database. Leave the full text box unchecked to review the breadth of material available on your topic and choose based on the utility of the content for your research, not the form in which it is delivered.
  • Notice the limits on the left side of the results screen. You can limit, e.g., by date of publication, or select subject terms from the ones suggested.

  • When you find an item of interest, open the full record and look at:

    • The abstract, which will give you a good idea of what the item is about before you go looking for it.
    • Subject and geographic terms, which you can click on and the database will pull up all other items with those terms. Using these controlled terms will result in more targeted searches.
  • You can print, save, email, or export records to bibliographic management software, among other actions, either from within the full record for an item or by adding it to your folder.

For a video introduction to America: History and Life using the basic search function, click here.