My librarian colleagues and I are always glad to assist you with these questions - and more!
If your question(s) is not on this list, it is because it is probably better addressed in more length and depth one-on-one. Let's make an appointment to discuss it further.
Preparing to do Library Research
- Q: How to get started?
- Q: How to access a book whose title, author, etc. are known)?
A: Guide on American History > Books
- Q: How to find books on [TOPIC]?
Journals and Journal Articles
- Q: How to access journal articles when I have a citation?
A: Journals A-Z
- Q: What if we do not have a journal run that I can browse? What if we have it, but not in print, and I need print?
- Q: What are the best databases to use for [TOPIC]?
A: First think about the disciplines in which your topic would be studied. Then use Articles & Databases > Subject
- Q: How to find journal articles on [TOPIC]?
- Q: Are there journals that focus just on [TOPIC]?
- Q: How to find primary sources on [TOPIC]?
A: Footnotes and bibliographies. A research librarian. Guide on Primary Sources in American History.
- Q: How can I try to find memoirs or journals on [TOPIC]?
A: Guide on Primary Sources in American History. In library catalogs, search on: [your topic] AND (diaries OR correspondence OR letters OR interviews OR "personal narratives" OR autobiograph* OR memoir* OR archives OR sources)
Newspapers & Media
- Q: How to find historical newspapers?
A: Articles & Databases > Subject > Newspapers - Historical
- Q: How to find other media sources?
A: News in Audio and Video Formats. Guide on American History > Primary Sources > Historical Journals and Magazines.
- Q: How to find media sources from [COUNTRY] in English?
A: (1) From Articles & Databases > Subject > Newspapers (either - current or - historical), try:
Born-English newspapers: Times of London, The Guardian and The Observer, Nineteenth-century British Newspapers, Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century Burney Collection Newspapers, Chinese Newspapers Collection. Japan Times Archive (current trial).
Newspapers translated into English: FBIS, World News Connection Archive, Access World News.
(2) Other periodicals, from Articles & Databases: Periodicals Archive Online, your favorite subject databases.
(3) Sometimes English-language newspapers from a country are freely available online.
- Q: How to find primary sources from [COUNTRY] in [LANGUAGE (not English)] on [TOPIC]?
A: From Articles & Databases > Subject > Newspapers, try: LexisNexis Academic, Access World News, African Newspapers, Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers, Ethnic Newswatch, Latin American Newspapers, ProQuest Newspapers, Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century Burney Collection Newspapers, South Asian Newspapers.
- Q: How to find government documents or NGO documents providing perspectives on [TOPIC]?
A: Ask Barbara.
- Q: How to find political cartoons on [TOPIC]?
A: Newspapers, magazines, books, Google. We can talk about search strategies.
- Q: How to find [A CAMPAIGNING POLITICIAN]'s press releases, campaign information, speeches, etc.?
A: Campaign website; newspapers; books; for selected campaigns, The American Presidency Project; if the candidate became president, Presidential library
- Q: How to find speeches about [TOPIC]?
A: Newspapers, Congressional Record, Presidential papers, books, Google.
- Q: How to find primary sources on [TRIAL]?
A: Trial documents are not easy to acquire. Try books; Google; Law Research Guide, including PACER; court website. Ask Barbara for assistance.
- Q: How to narrow my searches?
- Q: What search terms should I use to optimize recall and precision? ("precision […] is the fraction of retrieved instances that are relevant, while recall […] is the fraction of relevant instances that are retrieved." Wikipedia, "Precision and Recall")