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History: A Guide to Library Research: Background

A guide to library research


Encyclopedias are great for:

  • choosing a topic
  • quick self-education
  • perspective on a topic
  • variant spellings, vocabulary, terminology
  • Bibliography

Cambridge Histories Online

Cambridge Histories Online

Excellent resource. Full text. Chapters as pdfs. Extremely high quality essays with rich footnotes and bibliography.


Reference collections are small enough to browse effectively.

Reference call numbers at Olin, Uris, Africana, Kroch, etc.:

History: D,E,F

Archives: CD

Biography: CT  

Bibliography: Z (particularly Z6000-7000)     

Foreign Language Dictionaries: P

Literature: P

Religion: B

Statistics: HA

Oxford Bibliographies Online

Peer reviewed annotated sources in a variety of disciplines:

Oxford Bibliographies Online (OBO)


Gale virtual reference library Excellent collection of full text encyclpoedias.

Sage Reference Online Excellent collection of full text encyclpoedias.

Oxford Reference Online Outstanding collection of encyclopedias, dictionaries, and companions.

Language Dictionaries


Statistical Background Sources

International Historical Statistics: Europe, 1750-1993. 4th rev. ed. London: Macmillan Reference Ltd., 1998. (Olin Reference HA 1107 M5x 1998) 

International Historical Statistics: Africa, Asia, and Oceania 1750-1993. 3rd rev. ed. London: Macmillan Reference Ltd., 1998. (Olin Reference HA4675 .M552x 1998)

International Historical Statistics: the Americas, 1750-1993. 4th ed. London: Macmillan Reference Ltd., 1998. (Olin Reference HA175 .M55x 1998)

Historical statistics of the United States. Cambridge [England] ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2006- Millennial ed. 

Historical Statistics of the United States, Colonial Times to 1970. 2 vols. Washington: U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 1975. (Olin Reference and Olin Reference HA 202 A385+ 1976) Now online as pdfs: Volume 1 Volume 2 

Statistical Abstract of the United States. (1878-1959) Washington: Bureau of the Census, 1878- . Print volumes available in Olin. Latest volume in Reference. Also available in most other libraries. (HA 202) (1960-2012, here) The standard annual summary of statistics, designed to serve as a convenient volume for statistical reference and is a guide to other statistical publications and sources.

Encyclopedias: Europe, etc

Antiquity  (Olin Reference call numbers DE)

Middle Ages (Olin Reference call numbers D-DF)

Europe (Olin Reference call numbers D-DF)

Asia (Kroch Asia Reference)

Encyclopedias: United States

United States (Olin Reference call numbers E-F)

Guides, Directories, Bibliographies


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