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Welcome to the library research guide for Military History, begun in February 2019. This is still under construction as of August 2019, but new content will be added!
WorldCat: WorldCat allows you to search practically every library in the US (and some in other countries), so it can help you identify books you can order on interlibrary loan. Again, determine the subject headings for your topic, for example:
As in the online catalog, try including “sources” or “personal narratives” in the subject box.
Don’t hesitate to ask the reference librarian for help; WorldCat is a valuable tool, but the GALILEO interface isn’t user-friendly (though it’s slightly better than the free worldcat.org site). Read the “description” and full record to make sure the books you find are appropriate (not too old, or juvenile fiction) and to determine whether they’re scholarly.
If you find books you’d like to order on interlibrary loan, please e-mail the reference librarian at firstname.lastname@example.org . You can paste the citations from WorldCat (please don’t use the “Request Item through Interlibrary Loan” button in WorldCat).
Google Books: Books published before 1922 are in the public domain and may be available free online in Google Books (or similar sites such as the Internet Archive or Hathi Trust). For example, I found an 1818 book Narrative of a Journey in the Interior of China… that looks as if it should be a primary source for the Amherst embassy; you can download it here.
Use GALILEO databases to find articles from journals. The best databases for this course will probably be:
Others that may be worth trying, especially if your subject isn’t just historical:
In most databases (such as Historical Abstracts), you won’t be searching the full text of the article, but the bibliographic record (title, subject terms, and abstract; the abstract provides a summary of the article’s content). Rather than typing many words into the search box, you should type single words or short terms, linked with Boolean operators: AND, OR, NOT. We have separate library guides if you want to review database searching or Boolean operators.
You may also want to use truncation; a search for educat* will retrieve “education," "educator(s)," "educated," etc.
A “FullText Finder” link should take you to full text in another database. If there’s no full text, e-mail the reference librarian; we may have the journal on the shelf, or we can order the article on interlibrary loan.
As with the catalog, look for “Subject terms” (also called "descriptors") in Historical Abstracts, e.g.: Stuart Period, Great Britain, 1603-1714
JSTOR provides PDF full text for many scholarly journals from the first issue published up to about five years ago.
Tips for JSTOR:
Project Muse works like JSTOR; it has full text for many scholarly journals; but often for only the last few years (and has fewer History journals).
Note that Historical Abstracts has citations for far more History journals than JSTOR or Project Muse (and will usually link to the full text of articles that we have in the other databases).
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 that we can order articles for you on interlibrary loan.