How to Find Sources in the Hannon Library (Part 2)

The series continues . . .

  1. Develop a list of search terms.
  2. Develop a list of search sources.
  3. Create a working bibliography.
  4. Sort your sources.
  5. “Mine” for Citations.
  6. Create Final Bibliography.

2. Develop a list of search sources. A search source is a catalog, or index, or bibliography in which you hope to find citations to books and articles. Since you need to use both book and journal article materials, a minimum list would look like this (and more or less in the order you would search them) :

  • AHA Guide to Historical Literature
  • Historical Dictionaries/Encyclopedias
  • Specialized bibliographies
  • Summit Union Catalog
  • EBSCO Host databases

Depending on your topic, you may need to use many others as well. If it is a topic in United States history after 1851, you can find useful newspaper citations in the New York Times Index. Our library has the Times on microfilm from 1851 on.

In some cases, you will need to broaden your search to find materials not found in Northwest library collections. Two important on-line services are available for this purpose. One is the University of California library catalog Melvyl. You can access Melvyl from the “Other Libraries” menu on the SOU Library Catalog homepage. The University of California collection of books exceeds 14,000,000, so it is a good source of citations for what may be available via interlibrary loan (ILL).

There are other sources of citations you may need or want to consult for possible book or journal articles. Bibliographies (in book form) such as the American Historical Association Guide to Historical Literature are invaluable since they represent a topical selection of both books and articles made by leading scholars. Often, as is the case with the AHA Guide, citations will be annotated and contain a brief description of the book or article and its subject. In addition to general bibliographies such as the AHA Guide, there are specialized bibliographies available for many subject areas. Examples include:

  • Richard Dean Burns, Guide to American Foreign Relations since 1700. ABC-Clio, 1983. 40 Sections of annotated citations.
  • John R. Wunder, Historians of the American Frontier: A Bio-bibliographical Sourcebook. Greenwood Press, 1988. Biographies of fifty-seven historians and a bibliography of their works.
  • William M. Clemens, Native American Folklore, 1879-1979: An Annotated Bibliography. Swallow Press, 1984.

Specialized bibliographies of this type abound. To find them, look in the library catalog under your general topic (i.e., World War Two, or African American History, etc.) and find the entries for “bibliography.” Example: you will find the Burns bibliography listed above under LC heading: “United States–Foreign Relations–Bibliography.”

Another useful source of both historical information and bibliography are specialized historical dictionaries. Examples include:

  • Dictionary of the Middle Ages. 13 vols, 1982.
  • Dictionary of Twentieth Century History: 1914-1990. 1992.
  • Historical Dictionary of Revolutionary China, 1839-1976.
In addition to alphabetized articles on various aspects of the dictionary’s subject, many of these specialized dictionaries contain bibliography, usually at the end of each article.

Series continues with “How to Find Sources in the Hannon Library (Part 2)”