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Renaissance and Reformation: Home


Welcome to the library research guide for Dr. Shirley's History 3320 class, "The Renaissance and the Reformation, 1350-1600."


Most reference books on the history of Europe are in the REF D area (see this for a further breakdown), but some Renaissance books are in the CB's, and Religion books are in the B's.


These are probably the most important reference books for this course:


·         Europe 1450 to 1789:  Encyclopedia of the Early Modern World (REF D 209 .E977 2004, 6 volumes)

·         Encyclopedia of the Renaissance (REF CB 361 .E52 1999, 6 vols.)

·         Encyclopedia of the Reformation (REF BR 302.8 .O93 1996, 4 vols.)

·         Encyclopedia of Protestantism (REF BX 4811.3 .E533 2004, 4 vols.)


But you should look also at books on the middle ages, such as:


·         Dictionary of the Middle Ages (REF D 114 .D5 1982, 13 vols.)

·         Oxford Dictionary of the Middle Ages (REF D 114 .O94 2010, 4 vols., also available through Oxford Reference Online  or the online catalog.

·         Medieval Italy (REF DG 443 2004, 2 vols.)

·         Medieval France (REF DC 33.2 .M444 1995)

·         Medieval Germany (REF DD 157 .M433 2001)

·         Medieval England (REF DA 129 .M433 1998)


Other reference books that may be useful:


·         The Oxford Dictionary of the Renaissance (REF CB 361 .C277 2003)

-         Handbook of European History 1400-1600 (REF D 203 .H36 1994)

·         Milestone Documents in World History vol. 2 1082-1833 (REF D 5 .M53 2010 v. 2)

·         Tudor England (REF DA 315 .T753 2001)

·         Encyclopedia of Religion (REF BL 31 .E466 2005, 15 vols.; also available online through the Gale Virtual Reference Library

·         The Papacy:  An Encyclopedia (REF BX 955.2 .B5333 2002, 3 vols.)

·         Art books are in the N's, e.g., Arts & Humanities through the Eras:  vol. 4 Renaissance Europe 1300-1600 (REF NX 440 .A787 2005).   See the Art and Design LibGuide for more reference books on Art.


For biographical reference sources, including Women in World History (17 vols., also available online), you may want to look at the Biographical Resources section of the  Reference guide.


Books and Ebooks

Use the online catalog to find books, e-books, DVDs, and CDs in the Lewis Library.


A "words or phrase" search will work, but to search more efficiently, determine the Library of Congress subject heading(s) for your topic (see this guide for tips on how to do this).  For example, the subject heading for the Catholic Reformation is "Counter-Reformation."


For primary sources, try adding the word "Sources" to the "Subject" box, for example:

Subject "renaissance and sources" retrieves books such as the e-book The English Renaissance:  An Anthology of Sources and Documents.

Subject "reformation and sources":   The European Reformations Sourcebook (call number BR 301 .E87 2014)


Be sure to consult bibliographies for further sources, especially primary sources.  If you find citations for books (or articles) our library lacks, see the reference librarian (or e-mail him at to order them on interlibrary loan.  Try to allow two weeks for interlibrary loan books (the average is 7 days, but some take longer).

The online catalog has many e-books, but you'll also find many e-books--searchable by full text--in Ebook Central (ProQuest).


You can also use WorldCat to look for books on your topic that may not be available in Lewis Library.  (Ask the reference librarian if you'd like assistance; the GALILEO interface for WorldCat is a bit tricky, as is the "free" version at


Use GALILEO databases to find journal articles.  The best ones for this class will probably be:


Historical Abstracts - This database covers the history of the world (except the U.S. and Canada) from 1450 to the present. 

Tips for Historical Abstracts:

  • The subject terms ("descriptors") will help you locate other articles on your topic.
  • Abstracts may provide additional search terms to use, or ideas on how to narrow your topic.
  • Use Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) in your searches.  If you want to review the principles of database searching, see this page.


JSTOR provides PDF full text for many scholarly journals from the first issue published up to about five years ago.

Tips for JSTOR:

  • Do an "Advanced search" to limit your search by discipline - "History" (you can also select "Religion," "Literature" etc. depending on your topic).  You can also limit by date, language, etc.
  • Select "Article" if you want to exclude book reviews.
  • Enclose phrases in quotation marks as you would in Google, e.g., "council of trent."
  • Note that the default is to search the full text of the article; most JSTOR articles don't have abstracts.
  • Use "Find" (Ctrl-F) to determine where your search terms appear in the article.


Project Muse works like JSTOR, but covers only the last few years (and has fewer History journals).


Finding full text for articles:  If you have an article citation from a bibliography, rather than a database, you can determine whether we have full text online by using the Journal Locator, or on the shelf by checking Lewis Library's periodical holdings.  If in doubt, ask a librarian or e-mail us.  Remember we can order articles for you on interlibrary loan.


Web Sites


Note that e-books and journal articles accessed through GALILEO are published sources that have been digitized, not web sites (though as with all sources, you should evaluate them critically; are they up-to-date?  What are the author's credentials?  Does s/he display bias?).


Use web sites with caution.  But Dr. Shirley has recommended these two:

Internet Medieval Sourcebook - Renaissance


Internet Modern History Sourcebook - Reformation Europe

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