HY 410/420 Senior Seminar: Discoveries, Encounters and Conquests
Interim Interdisciplinary Programs Liaison Librarian
Library Research Guide
Professor Peter Blasenheim | Blocks 5-6 (Spring 2011)
- Getting Started
- Finding Books at Tutt and Beyond
- Finding Primary Sources
- Finding Journal Articles
- History Databases by Region
- Managing and Citing Your Research
- Writing an Annotated Bibliography
- Research Help
It’s best to start your research with general resources and work your way towards more specific items, such as books and journal articles. A topic overview in an encyclopedia or other reference books (e.g., atlases, chronologies, etc.) will help you brainstorm ideas, narrow an existing topic, and glean keywords for future searches.
Finding Reference Sources
Take a few minutes to browse the history reference books. Call numbers for history begin with D and go through F975. For a detailed list, check out the Library of Congress Classification Outlines for World History and History of the Americas.
Tutt Library also has these electronic encyclopedias available though our Online Reference shelf:
- Encyclopedia Britannica Online
- Columbia Encyclopedia
- Oxford Reference Online Premium
- Gale Virtual Reference Library
Leveraging Footnotes and Bibliographies
Reference books have footnotes and bibliographies that can lead you to other resources. You’ll quickly find titles of books and journal articles, and it’s also an easy way to track the names of authors in a given field of study. Oxford Bibliographies Online is a good place to start.
You have access to books from three sources: TIGER, Prospector, and WorldCat. TIGER lists all of the books owned by Tutt Library, whereas Prospector gives you access to books from 22 regional libraries, and WorldCat covers library holdings nationwide. If you have questions about any of the catalogs, feel free to ask me or any of the librarians at the reference desk for help — that’s what we’re here for.
The fastest way to find books is to search the TIGER catalog by keyword or subject:
When you go to the stacks to find a specific book, take a minute to browse the books around it. Quite often you’ll come across other useful books on the same topic. Books about World History are assigned call numbers that begin with the letter D, while items that cover U.S., Canadian, and Latin American history can be found in the E and F sections.
If the books you want are checked out or not owned by Tutt Library, you can request them through Prospector, which gives you access to materials (books, CDs, DVDs, etc.) from libraries throughout Colorado and Wyoming. However, plan ahead: it takes three to five business days for the materials to arrive at the Tutt Library circulation desk for check out.
WorldCat (Interlibrary Loan)
Finding Primary Sources
Tutt Library has nearly 50 databases that offer a wealth of primary source materials. For a full list of resources and search tips, visit our History and Primary Sources page and Finding Primary Sources guide. The primary source databases are also listed by region (World History, North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa) in the “Databases by Region” section of this guide.
Using the Right Keywords
As a historian, it’s important to remember that the words we use to describe historic events — as well as political, economic, and cultural trends — change over time. For instance, today we use the term U.S. Civil War, but that same event was, in the past, called the War between the States, War of Secession, and War of the Rebellion. If you were to search only U.S. Civil War, you might miss out on valuable documents written during a different era.
Searching as many related terms as possible will give you the best chance of finding resources. To help you find those related terms, the Library of Congress Authorities and Vocabularies page has a handy thesaurus. Simply plug in a keyword, and it will give a list of related terms used throughout recent decades.
Finding Journal Articles
After you’ve reviewed general resources (reference materials and books), it’s time to start looking for journal articles. Journal articles typically have a very specific focus, and they can be found in general as well as subject-specific databases.
General databases, such as Academic Search Complete and JSTOR, are a good place to start. However, you’ll also want to search history databases and, if your topic is interdisciplinary, you’ll want to explore databases in related areas (e.g., humanities, political science, economics, etc.). You’ll find these databases on our Databases by Subject page, and the history databases on the History and Primary Sources page.
Finding Full Text Articles
Not every article you find in a database will be available in full text. If you come across one that’s not, just follow the black, white, and gold Tutt Link logo to find out if the full text appears in any other databases at Tutt Library or if you’ll need to request the article through Interlibrary Loan (ILL). Learn how to use Tutt Link to find full text.
Sometimes you’ll have a full citation from another source. In this case, the fastest way to find out if we own the article is through Find Journals. You’ll see whether or not Tutt Library has the journal and which issues we own. If we do not have the full text of your article, you may request it by filling out the Interlibrary Loan Request Form.
Articles requested through Interlibrary Loan may arrive in as little as 24 to 48 hours. However, you must be registered with ILLiad to make requests (see First Time User Registration for Interlibrary Loan).
Leveraging the Perfect Article
When you hit the jackpot and find the perfect article, be sure to leverage the footnotes and bibliography. They provide a trail of resources that more than likely will be relevant to your research. The perfect article is also be a great place to glean targeted keywords for future database searches.
Some databases — such as Academic Search Complete, JSTOR, and Web of Knowledge/Science, to name a few — have a feature that lets you see where an article has been cited. This way, you’ll be able to track the research that led up to that perfect article and everything that followed (and relied upon) its publication.
History Databases by Region
Managing and Citing Your Research
You can easily compile and format your citations using RefWorks. Tutt Library has online RefWorks tutorials, an FAQ page, and classes every Wednesday at 1 p.m. in Tutt Library. If you have any questions, feel free to ask the librarians at the reference desk, tutors at the CC Writing Center, or contact me for help.
Professor Blasenheim asks for citation (footnotes and bibliography) in the Chicago/Turabian documentation style. Tutt Library has the The Chicago Manual of Style online and in print (see locations), plus Turabian’s A Manual for Writers of Research Papers. For a sample history research paper formatted in Chicago style, check out Diana Hacker’s Research and Documentation Online.
Writing an Annotated Bibliography
An annotated bibliography cites all of the sources you have used to research and write your paper, including books, journal articles, and other materials. In addition to listing full citation information, each entry includes a brief description — an annotation — that gives readers a concise, evaluative overview of the work cited. To learn more, take a look at How to Prepare an Annotated Bibliography by Cornell University Library.
Contact the Reference Desk, 9 a.m. – 10 p.m., x6662, IM=tuttlibrarian
Contact Daryl Alder, Interim Interdisciplinary Programs Librarian, x6669, Tutt Library 201