Types of Historic Research
This page is an introduction to general historical research. For links to more specific resources, please see the tabs above.
Scholarly Articles and Books about History (Secondary Research)
Secondary Literature is the scholarly interpretation of history by scholars. Scholarly materials include articles from scholarly journals, books, essays in books, book reviews, and dissertations. You might start with keyword search in Blais to find what books we have at Honnold/Mudd, Denison, or The Claremont School of Theology library. To expand yotur search to find both schlorlary articles and books that may or may not be at the Libraries, use specialized databases such as America History and Life, Historical Abstracts, or the other databases listed on the tabs above or on the History Database Page. Use the green "Get this Item" button to determine whether and in which format the Libraries provide access to articles and books listed in secondary databases. You can also use WorldCat to find books at libraries in at most US libraries and many libraries abroad. For more detailed information on kinds of history, please see the tabs above.
Primary Resources in History
Primary Literature is the stuff that historians use to write history. Examples of primary literature might include letters, documents, newspaper or magazine articles, books contemporaneous to events, interviews, maps, and oral history - anything that offers eyewitness accounts or contemporary interpretations of history. Online databases of primary resources allow you to download PDF's of primary materials. Consult the history category in the list of databases for a list of online primary databases, which historical English and American printed materials from 1450 to 1830, historical newspapers and magazines, advice manuals, statistics, and landmark philosophical and theological texts.
Special Collections at the Libraries contains treasures of primary resources, including many in manuscript form.
The Claremont Digital Library has some of these in digital format and many unique resources.
BASE is a search engine at the University of Bielefeld at Germany that searches a growing number of digital repositories.
Another wealth of primary sources is available at The Center for Research Libraries in Chicago. The Libraries' membership in the Center allows staff, students and faculty to borrow its international newspapers, dissertations and primary documents on microfilm and digital formats. For more information, go the CRL website. Log on to Interlibrary Loan to request CRL materials (please specify the OCLC number, CRL call number, and write "please request from CRL" in the comments box). Records for its burgeoning digital collection are being added to Blais.
Letters, Memoirs and documents can also be found in regular, circulating books. Primary sources of all types can also be found in regular, circulating books. To find collected documents on a particular topic, try combining keywords for the topic you're researching with the words "source* (for the words "source" or "sources"), document* (to get the words "document" or "documents" or "documentary") or "primary texts" in Blais, for example:
Renaissance and (document* or source*)
French Revolutions and (document* or source*)
Civil War and (document* or source*)
Historiography is the study of how historians have interpreted historical events throughout time. The student of the historiography of the Peloponnesian War, for example, might want to compare Thucycides with colonial and revolutionary American interpretations of what Thucycides and other classical authors had to say about military might and democratic aspirations. One way of doing this comparative interpretation, is looking for bibliographies on a subject or using the keyword "historiography" in Blais or an online scholarly database such as Historical Abstracts or America: History and Life.
Historiography is also a way of finding what else has been said on a historical subject. In addition to scholarly databases and Blais, The American Historical Association's Guide to Historical Literature Hon Ref Desk/Z6201 .A55 1995 (2 vols.) offers landmark literature on almost any topic.
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General History Web Sites and Gateways
The following sites include links to primary, secondary and reference materials:
History Online can be browsed by time period and includes a listing of datasets.
Voice of the Shuttle has many specialized and academic web pages.
The American Historical Association has information about history and the historical profession, as well as links to other useufl sites.
Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection is an online repository of historical maps from around the world.
To be Googled are the sundry and varied timelines and chronologies on the web, general or specific on such topics as Chinese, American, or French History. One general listing of timelines is AlternaTime.