How to do Research in History
Library resources for researchers working on American Studies, medieval, early modern, modern history, world-wide
START WITH GOOD KEYWORDS
Topic-specific keywords will help improve your results in a general multidisciplinary database like Google, Google Scholar, HOLLIS, or Academic Search Premier.
ADD KEYWORDS LIKE THESE TO YOUR SEARCH
- Time period: 19th, "to 1500," "nineteen fifties"
- Source type: sources, archives, correspondence, narratives, diaries, interviews, “oral histor*”
- Geographic terms: "United States"
UPGRADE YOUR SEARCH: KEY DATABASES
The best tool for your project may be a specialized search engine, also known as a database. These databases are subject-specific or format-specific search tools:
America: History & Life (via HarvardKey) -- The top database for secondary sources in North American history. Search tip: Use the Historical Period search boxes to search for articles about a particular time period.
Historical Abstracts – The top database for secondary sources outside of North America. Search tip: Use the Historical Period search boxes to search for articles about a particular time period.
The Library Research Guide for History provides a helpful overview of resources relevant to historical research.
CONNECT WITH US
Fred Burchsted, the library liaison to History, is available to support researchers via email or in-person consultation.
- Some Harvard Library locations will be closed or have special hours for Commencement, Thursday, May 26. Please check the Library Hours page for specifics. Ask a Librarian and chat hours will remain as usual.
- Most Harvard Library locations will be closed Monday, May 30 and Tuesday, May 31, in observance of the Memorial Day holiday. Ask a Librarian and chat service will be closed on these dates.
- If you're experiencing an ongoing technical issue when you attempt to access library materials with your HarvardKey during these times, please report it to Library Technology Services.
Monday - Thursday 9am-6pm
Chat is intended for brief inquiries from the Harvard community.
Reach out to librarians and other reference specialists by email using our online form. We usually respond within 24 hours Monday through Friday.
Talk to a librarian for advice on defining your topic, developing your research strategy, and locating and using sources. Make an appointment now.
These services are intended primarily for Harvard University faculty, staff and students. If you are not affiliated with Harvard, please use these services only to request information about the Library and its collections.