It is usually best to begin your search for historical information by using reference sources related to your specific area of interest, for example, the An Encyclopedia of American Women at War: From the Home Front to the Battlefields. Search the library catalog or use a database like American History Online to find reference sources on your subject.
Primary sources include journals, narratives, diaries and other personal accounts. If you are searching the library catalog or an on-line database, enter words like journal, autobiography or personal account in the search window. American History Online and Library of Congress’ American Memory website provide links and digital reproductions of many primary resources. You can also find lists of websites with primary sources relevant to a specific area of interest on the History Subject Pages and at the History Program’s Resources for Faculty and Students. Don’t forget! Newspapers are a good source of contemporary information. Use the A-Z resource list to find indexes to newspapers.
Looking for information about the author? The library has books on a number of historians and you can find these books by searching the catalog. Use a subject search and enter the author’s last name in the search window. You’ll also find sources online. The A-Z resource list includes a number of titles: Artemis Literary Sources and Literature Resource Center. Librarians can assist you with finding print sources such as American Historians 1866-1912 or Twentieth Century American Historians.
Has your instructor asked you to find a review on a specific book? Check the date your book was published. This will give you an idea of the best source for information.
For help with specific aspects of research and writing, use our Study Guides.