UCB Libraries


Subject Guide for HIST 5000: Historical Methods


  • Getting Started
  • Searching Chinook
  • Databases
  • Interlibrary Loan
  • Help

The following sections will help you get started using the CU Libraries for your research.


Getting to Know the Libraries


If you are new to CU, take some time to explore the Libraries. Physically walk around or take a virtual tour of Norlin Library to familiarize yourself with the collections and services in the building. Browse through our web site to get an overview of the resources the Libraries have to offer you. Having the lay of the land will be of immense help as you start your research.


+ Tour of the Libraries' Web Site


One of the best ways to get the lay of the land is to tour our web site. Highlighted below is a selection of resources and services found on the site. There is of course much more there for you to explore at your leisure.


Research Resources Menu


  • Chinook Library Catalog - search here for items held by the CU Libraries. Chinook contains other useful features like Log in to your library account (My Chinook), which allows you to manage your account. You can see what you have checked out, renew online, see held items (not including ILL items), modify your PIN, save preferred searches, and set up a reading history, among other things.

  • Find Articles & Databases - list of library databases. broken down alphabetically and by subject, to help you find sources like reviews, articles, book chapters, dissertations, books, and primary sources. Databases offer information ranging from bibliographic citations to the full-text of documents.

  • Reserves - search course reserves by instructor or course.

  • Research & Subject Guides - search or browse research and subject guides in a variety of disciplines. Also contains library tutorials, database guides, course guides, and citation guides. You are currently in the History Subject Guide, which has links to new resources, information for citing your sources, research guides, getting help with research, etc.

  • Interlibrary Loan - how to borrow various types of materials from other libraries. You can also search and order directly from Prospector and WorldCat.

About the Libraries Menu

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

  • Libraries & Departments - links to web sites of the different libraries and departments in the CU Libraries.

  • A-Z List - find information on a wide range of topics, like carrels, printing, and group study rooms.

Services Menu


  • Off-Campus Access - if you have trouble connecting to Libraries databases from home, check out this page.

  • Subject Specialists - list of librarians responsible for collections, reference, and instruction in different subject areas. You can also access subject guides for various disciplines here.


Starting Your Research


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.


+ Some Reference Resources


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 Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, which focuses on people associated with Great Britain and its empire, includes a list of primary and secondary sources selected by the contributing authors.


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.


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.


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


1. 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. You will be able to retrieve much more relevant results this way.

Search terms are 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.

First articulate your topic in your own words, e.g. I am interested in investigating the changing role of women in the workforce during wartime

Next identify the main concepts or ideas that describe your topic:

Concept 1:


Concept 2:


Concept 3:


Then develop other terms and vocabulary that represent these concepts. For more flexible searching, think of ways to express these them as synonyms, broader terms, and/or 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

Concept 1:




lady OR ladies




Concept 2:


labor OR labour






nurse, welder, etc.

Concept 3:


world war

world war, 1914-1918

world war, 1939-1945

Great War

World War I

World War II
Korean War


Operators for Combining Search Terms


  • AND: women AND work AND war (must find all terms)
  • OR: lady OR ladies (must find one of the terms)
  • NOT: labour NOT government (must find first term NOT second term)



  • Phrases: “Great War” (must find that phrase in that order)
  • Synonyms: (employment OR occupation) AND women
  • Truncation and wildcards:
    diploma* will find diplomat, diplomats, diplomatic, and diplomacy, it will also find diploma
    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.


For more information on combining keywords for the best results, see How Do I Use Keywords?


2. 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 & Databases lists a selection of databases by type of sources and geographic area.


Finding Sources in the CU Boulder Libraries


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).


+ Sample Search

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:


Concept 1:



Concept 2:



Concept 3:


"World War"




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
Concept 1:



Concept 2:



Concept 3:


"World War"

Concept 4:





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.

Concept 1:



Concept 2:



Concept 3:


"World War"

Concept 4:





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.

+ Other Chinook Tips

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 the "Helpful Hints" tab in this guide).


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.


+ Primary Sources on Microforms

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:


+ Some Library Locations for Primary Sources

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 also offers primary sources on a wide variety of topics, including manuscripts and printed works. 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.

Finding Primary and Secondary 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 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. For example, I would always choose to search the Royal Historical Society Bibliography of British and Irish History for secondary sources on English history even though it offers no full text and the link resolver is buried and not working correctly.


+ Primary Source

Remember to incorporate search terms using the language of the period under study as appropriate. This is especially important in keyword-searchable full-text resources like the Historical New York Times, which does not offer subject indexing.


+ Full Text

+ General

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


The Times Digital Archive 1785-1985
Searchable access to the complete backfile of The Times (London), available in full page images. (For full text of the The Times since 1985, use LexisNexis Academic or ProQuest Newsstand.) CU

+ United States and Canada

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


Early American Imprints, Series II: Shaw-Shoemaker, 1801-1819
Covering every aspect of American life during the early decades of the United States, this primary-source collection provides full-text access to the 36,000 American books, pamphlets and broadsides published in the first nineteen years of the nineteenth century. CU


America's Historical Newspapers, Early American Newspapers, Series I and II

The Series I database offers fully searchable, cover-to-cover reproductions of nearly 350,000 issues from over 700 historical American newspapers focusing largely on the 18th century. Series II complements Series I by offering fully searchable digital facsimiles of several hundred thousand issues from more than 200 significant 18th- and 19th-century newspapers. These digital editions are based on Clarence S. Brigham's "History and Bibliography of American Newspapers, 1690-1820" and other authoritative bibliographies and primarily on the holdings of the American Antiquarian Society, which houses a comprehensive collection of American newspapers through 1876. CU


19th Century U.S. Newspapers

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

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


American State Papers, 1789-1838
A retrospective republication of approximately 6280 numbered publications, largely Congressional but also containing Executive Department materials. CU


Foreign Relations of the United States

FRUS includes diplomatic communications, memoranda, diplomatic notes, and other documents tracing the formulation of foreign policy decisions. There is at least a twenty-five year lag in the declassification of these documents, but it has been published since 1825. Tip: FRUS is available electronically in Hein Online, which is fine for known items; however searching in Hein Online can be challenging, and print is often easier to use in this case. CU

Making of America (Cornell)
Making of America (Michigan)

A large and diverse full-text collection of books and journals, mainly from the years 1850 to 1870, made available by the University of Michigan and Cornell University and Cornell University. Michigan's site is heavier on books, while Cornell's is heavier on journals.

American Memory

The premier collection of digitized American primary-source material, from texts to photographs, created by the Library of Congress.


American West

This database includes books, journal articles, newspapers, original manuscripts, maps, ephemeral material, and rare printed sources from the Newberry Library's Everett D. Graff Collection, one of the finest collections of Western Americana. The material covers 1722 to 1939, with the heaviest concentration from 1830 to 1939. Main themes covered include: Native American history and culture; pioneers, hunters and explorers; mining and the Gold Rush; the Mormon exodus; homesteaders, overland travel and early settlements; cattle ranchers; railroads, transportation and urban history; outlaws, vigilantes and the law; agricultural development and the environment; the imagined West: wild West shows and fiction; Borderlands: Canada and the Pacific Northwest as well as Texas, Mexico and the South. CU

Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection
Currently includes 147 newspapers published in Colorado from 1859 to > 1923. CHNC contains over 477,000 digitized pages and is a joint > endeavor of the Colorado State Library, the Colorado Historical > Society, and generous donors throughout the state.


Heritage West

Database that brings together thousands of digital objects from the collections of museums, libraries, historical societies and archives from throughout the Western United States. Included in this database are photos, documents, artifacts, costumes, diaries, oral histories and manuscripts representing the West's cultural, scientific and historic heritage.

+ Europe

State Papers Online: The Tudors, 1509-1603

SPO is a groundbreaking resource for the study of Early Modern Britain and Europe. By reuniting State Papers Domestic and Foreign with the Registers of the Privy Council and State Papers in the British Library, the collection creates a new backbone for research and teaching in politics, government, social economic and religious history. SPO reproduces the original historical manuscripts in facsimile linking each manuscript to its corresponding fully-searchable Calendar entry. CU


Early English Books Online (EEBO)
Subset of items in the ESTC including the complete page images of over 100,000 items in all subject areas published in Great Britain or in the English language between 1473 and 1700, a majority of the works listed in Pollard & Redgrave, Wing, and the Thomason Tracts. CU


Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO)
Digital images and keyword searchable texts of 150,000 works in English and foreign languages published in Britain, along with thousands of works published in the Americas, between 1701 and 1800 in the fields of history, literature, religion, law, fine arts, science and more. CU


Eighteenth Century Journals

This collection is a critical resource for the study of all aspects of the eighteenth century, including the American and French revolutions, British and European literature, theatre and popular entertainment, politics and religion, popular morality and social life, and exoticism and imperialism. It offers a wide variety of fully searchable newspapers and periodicals not available elsewhere and has no overlap with ECCO, EEBO, or Early English Newspapers. CU


British Periodicals Collection I

When complete, this database will consist of more than 160 British periodicals that detail life between 1681 and 1921. These titles touch on diverse topics like philosophy, fine arts, history, slavery, literature, psychology, science, Celtic folklore, and religion. The content is available in full page image with searchable full text. CU

+ World Areas

For areas that were once part of an empire, also see resources under "United States and Canada" and "Europe."

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


China: Trade, Politics, and Culture, 1793-1980

This resource offers material on almost any aspect of Chinese history during the two centuries of monumental social and political upheaval that ultimately recreated China into a modern power. It answers the need for clear, intelligible and informative English-language sources relating to China and the West, 1793-1980. CU

+ Bibliographic Citations
+ General

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


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

+ United States and Canada

National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections (NUCMC)
The mission of the NUCMC program is to provide and promote bibliographic access to the nation's documentary heritage. This mission is realized by NUCMC production of cataloging describing archival and manuscript collections held by eligible repositories located throughout the United States and its territories. The program's mission is further realized by the provision of free searching, via NUCMC gateways, of archival and manuscript cataloging in OCLC WorldCat.


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


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. Covers 1890-present. CU


Denver Post Index

Covers the Denver Post from 1963 to the present (Norlin Reference Index AI21 .D458 and AI21 .D459 (1979-2007 in PASCAL).

+ Europe

Finding guides to the British Studies collections in the University of Colorado at Boulder Libraries
These guides are the best source for finding primary-source material in the Libraries related to British Studies. They contain entries for primary materials, collections of sources, and some reference or research aids in the CU Boulder Libraries received 2005 or before. They do not list secondary works, standard printed sources such as literary texts, or current scholarly and popular periodicals.


Wellesley Index to Victorian Periodicals, 1824-1900

The Wellesley Index identifies the authors of articles within 45 major Victorian periodicals, and provides a bibliography for each contributor. CU
+ Finding Additional Periodicals Indexes

To find additional periodicals indexes, particularly local ones, search Chinook by the paper name and look for its index. Please note that while we may have indexes for certain papers, it does not guarantee we have the paper itself. For Colorado papers especially, it is worth a call, e-mail, or a trip to the CU Archives or one of the other historical institutions in the area (Denver Public Library, Colorado Historical Society, Colorado State Archives, etc.).


+ Secondary Source

Secondary-source databases can also double as primary-source databases if they cover the timeframe you are researching.


+ Full Text

ACLS Humanities E-Book
A cross-searchable, online collection of over 1,200 books in the field of history. Currently the majority are previously published "backlist" titles, carefully selected works of major importance that are regularly consulted by students and scholars. The project also includes "frontlist" titles, entirely new titles in electronic format. Over the next few years, the Project plans to add approximately 250 titles annually to the collection, including new frontlist titles. CU


Humanities Full Text
Abstracts covering diverse subject areas of the humanities. Coverage: 1984-present. Abstracts since 1994. 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. CU


Digitized collection of full-text journal articles covering a diverse range of subjects. CU


Periodicals Archive Online

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

Project Muse

Full-text access to over 100 scholarly journals in the arts and humanities, social sciences and mathematics published by Johns Hopkins University Press and other university presses. Coverage: 1995-present. 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


Art Full Text

Subjects include: Advertising Art, Antiques, Archaeology, Architecture and Architectural History, Art History, Computers in Art, Crafts, Decorative Arts, Fashion Design, Folk Art, Graphic Arts, Industrial Design, Interior Design, Landscape Architecture, Motion Pictures, Museology, Non-Western Art, Painting, Photography, Pottery, Sculpture, Television, Textiles, Video. CU


International Index to Music Periodicals Full Text

This music journal resource includes more than half a million indexed articles, plus detailed abstracts and full text from 1874 to the present. It includes a comprehensive range of subject areas in both scholarly and popular music journals, covering the full spectrum of subjects and all aspects of music, including music education, performance, ethnomusicology, musical theatre, theory, popular music forms and composition. CU



Asia-Studies Full-Text provides online access to publications from Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, Asian Development Bank, and other regional research institutes. This database covers Asia, Australia/New Zealand, the Americas Pacific Rim countries, and Pacific islands and includes statistics, research, analysis, and forecasts on business, government, economic, social issues as well as culture, language and history. CU


Japan Knowledge

Japan Knowledge is a large online collection of encyclopedias, dictionaries, maps, publications and other scholarly resources for Japanese Studies. With one search, you can search all these resources. CU

+ Bibliographic Citations

+ General

Web of Science
An interdisciplinary online index that provides bibliographic citations for high impact journals in the disciplines of science, social sciences, and arts and humanities. Provides subject, citation, and title access. Includes access to current and retrospective bibliographic information from nearly 9,300 leading scholarly peer-reviewed journals. The database can be used to track resources cited in an article and to identify articles which cite an article or book. The "Find Related Records" feature enables users to find other articles that have cited the same sources. All three areas (sciences, social sciences, and arts and humanities) can be searched individually or in combination. CU


IBZ: Internationale Bibliographie der Zeitschriftenliteratur/International Bibliography of Periodical Literature
An international, multilingual, and interdisciplinary bibliography indexing over 10,700 periodicals primarily in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. Coverage: 1983-present. CU



The FRANCIS database is recognized for its international scholarly coverage of wideranging topics in the humanities and social sciences. Produced by the highly regarded Institut de l’Information Scientifique et Technique du Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, FRANCIS indexes multilingual information published in over 4,300 journals and provides abstracts for 80 percent of its 2 million records. CU


PAIS International

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. Includes materials in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish with English language abstracts. CU


Bibliography of the History of Art

Indexes and abstracts articles, art-related books, conference proceedings, dissertations, and art exhibition and dealer's catalogs. CU


ATLA Religion

Collection of major religious and theology journals selected by religion scholars in the United States. Full text journals representing all major religious faiths, denominations and language groups are included. CU


Sociological Abstracts

CSA Sociological Abstracts abstracts and indexes the international literature in sociology and related disciplines in the social and behavioral sciences. 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

+ United States and Canada

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


Bibliography of Native North Americans
Indexes works published from the sixteenth century to the present, including monographs, essays, journal articles, dissertations and other publications. Areas covered include native American topics and issues, including anthropology, political science, sociology, psychology, education, and legal and medical research. Updated semi-annually. CU

+ Europe

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. Literature on the US and Canada are covered in America: History and Life. One or both databases may be searched from the same interface. Coverage: 1955-present. CU

International Medieval Bibliography Online
Bibliography of the European Middle Ages (c. 400-1500). CU


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

Royal Historical Society Bibliography of British and Irish History

Bibliography of publications relating to the history of the British Isles, and of the British empire and commonwealth, during all periods for which written documentation is available from 55 BC to the present. CU

+ World Areas

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. Literature on the US and Canada are covered in America: History and Life. One or both databases may be searched from the same interface. Coverage: 1955-present. CU


Bibliography of Asian Studies
References western-language monographs, articles and book chapters on all parts of Asia. Coverage: 1971-present. CU


Middle Eastern & Central Asian Studies
MECAS is a systematic, and non-evaluative bibliographic index of research, policy, and scholarly discourse on the countries and peoples of the Middle East, Central Asia and North Africa. Over 12,000 records of recently published & "gray" literature are added annually. CU

+ Theses and Dissertations

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses
The world's most comprehensive collection of dissertations and theses, with more than 2.3 million doctoral dissertations and master's theses included, covering graduate research from 1861 to present from universities in North America and from around the globe. The database includes bibliographic citations for materials ranging from the first U.S. dissertation, accepted in 1861, to those accepted as recently as last semester. Titles published since 1997 are available in PDF digital format and have 24-page previews available. The full text of more than 1.9 million of these titles is available for a fee. Coverage: 1861 to present. Dissertation abstracts since 1980. Thesis abstracts since 1988. CU


Index to Theses
Index to Theses provides a comprehensive listing of theses with abstracts accepted for higher degrees by universities in Great Britain and Ireland since 1716. Provides total bibliographic control of all theses ever produced by British and Irish Universities. Full abstracts included from 1970. CU


Also see Finding History Dissertations on the History Subject Guide and How Do I...Find Dissertations or Theses?

+ No Full Text? - Where to Look Next



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.


+ Organizing Your Bibliographic Citations
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?

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.


+ Books and Microforms


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.

Center for Research Libraries

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.

+ Articles

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.

Further Assistance


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:

From the Libraries


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

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

  • Walk-up reference services at the Research Desk and Commons Desk in Norlin Library as well as at some branch libraries (see "Hours Staffed")

From Me