Historical Research Top 10 List
Number 10 • You can use many of the library databases, electronic journals, collections of primary sources from home.
Number 9 • Despite all the stuff online you won't be able to escape actually coming into the library.
Number 8 • Despite the size of this library, we won't have everything you need so you’ll have to get stuff from other libraries.
Number 7 • Secondary sources are easier to identify and locate than primary sources.
Secondary Sources • Accounts written after the fact by scholars. Interpretations of history based on an analysis of primary sources. • Formats: • Books • Journal articles • Dissertations
Number 6 • Get to know your research topic first through secondary sources before trying to identify and analyze primary sources.
Number 5 • The existence, type and availability of primary sources differs for different periods of times and subjects.
Historians & Primary Sources • Primary sources are the evidence used by historians in their analysis/interpretation of the past. • Good history books and scholarly journal articles (secondary sources) carefully cite the evidence in footnotes. • Primary sources help us make personal connections with the past.
Number 4 • One of the quickest way to identify primary sources is to mine the footnotes and bibliography of a secondary source.
Look at the bibliography • Identify the published primary sources. • Look them up in the UW Libraries Catalog. • If not available at the UW try Summit or request through interlibrary loan.
Number 3 • Learn the basic research tools of the trade: catalogs and indexes. Choose the best databases for your topic and for the type/format of the info you need.
Number 2 • Learn how to communicate with a library database.
Database searching generalities • Literal • If you type in a phrase it will search for the phrase • Boolean operators/connectors • AND - narrows • OR - broadens • Truncation/wildcard • Allows you to easily search for variant word endings • * in the UW Libraries Catalog, America History & Life and other databases
Boolean: AND protests vietnam war protests AND vietnam war
Boolean: OR veterans soldiers veterans OR soldiers
Boolean: combining veteran* soldier* protest* (veteran* OR soldier*) AND protest
Number 1 • Librarians are your friends... • Theresa Mudrock • Office hours: Most Thursdays 11-1, Smith 210c • firstname.lastname@example.org