Answered By: John Harvard
Last Updated: Aug 12, 2016     Views: 131

Note: in history, secondary sources (current journal articles, books, etc.) give the arguments of other historians, providing background and placing your idea within current historical debates. Primary sources (manuscripts, newspapers, objects, period journal articles, books, etc.) serve as evidence for your argument.


To improve your results in HOLLIS+, Academic Search Premier, and other multidisciplinary resources, try adding some of the following terms:

  • For secondary sources
    • “history”
    • time period terms (17th, 1066-1485, "World War, 1914-1918")
  • For primary sources
    • material types (sources, archives, correspondence)
    • publication date: look for a date slider or advanced search page


America: History & Life: The main journal index for American and Canadian history. Also includes book and media reviews and citations to abstracts of dissertations. Includes material as far back as 1964.

Historical Abstracts: Indexes journals published throughout the world covering the history of the world from 1450 to the present (excluding the United States and Canada, which are covered in America: History & Life). Includes material as far back as 1955.


Fred Burchsted and Anna Esty, library liaisons to History, are available to support researchers via email or in-person consultation. 

Library Research Guide for History provides an introduction for how to approach historical research and recommends resources for secondary-source research as well as a wide range of primary sources.

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