You need to understand the context and background of your topic. After an initial web and wikipedia search, move on to academic reference sources. Search for anything that you already know, i.e., names, places, battlefields, etc.
- Cambridge Histories
- Encyclopedias and Dictionaries (online)
- Oxford Bibliographies
- Bibliographies in general can save you a lot of time in your search. Look for them in any book, article -- even wikipedia pages -- that you find.
- Very Short Introductions (Oxford)
Books (monographs) provide comprehensive coverage to a topic. Chances are high that Laurier or a TUG library owns the book you might need, but you can also request items through Interlibrary loan.
- search Primo for keywords on your topic
- limit your search to books (not articles at this point)
- once you find a relevant item, look at the subject headings
Articles (peer reviewed or popular) are found in journals, and sometimes as essays within books. While a Primo search or a bibliography will also return article results alongside book results, you can be more certain of your results if you search one of the libraries research databases:
- Historical Abstracts: same subject headings as with Primo
- Remember that if we do not own an item that you have identified, you can request it through Interlibrary loan
The following databases contain older material and are likely already indexed in the two resources above. However, you can also search the entire full text of the articles themselves...which may or may not be helpful.
The primary sources you will use for this course are likely to be reproductions: either in print or online
Print reproductions are contain in books which will be catalogued in Primo. For this course, subject terms such as "sources" or personal narratives" can be added to other keywords, for example (see a complete list from MIT):
The term "Sourcebook" is often included in a books title, e.g., "medieval sourcebook"
There are dozens of sites created by organizations that contain digitized copies of sources; the list below is not exhaustive, and in some cases will point to the same content linked from a number of sites. Every site is different, and has different search and browse capabilities. To use these sites:
- Locate the "about" page to understand the scope of the content
- look for groups of information beneath a label, e.g., subjects, topics, genre, theme, etc.
- look for the site search function
- Avalon Project
- documents in the fields of law, history, economics, politics, diplomacy and government; ancient times to the 21st century
- British History Online
- sources for the history of Britain and Ireland; focus between 1300 and 1800
- De Re Militari
- sources on medieval and renaissance military history, including the Crusades, Hundred Years' War, Anglo-Norman Warfare, etc. Site status undetermined
- Early English Books Online
- virtually everything published in England, 1475-1700
- Empire Online (Laurier subscription)
- texts relating to empire studies; may be geographically and chronologically out of scope for this class
- English Medieval Legal Documents A.D. 600-A.D 1535
- published sources of English medieval legal documents; links to online sources and book records provided when available
- Epistolae: Medieval Women's Letters
- letters to and from women in the Middle Ages, from the 4th to the 13th century; latin with English translations, and brief biographical sketches
- Digital Library of the National Library of France (in French)
- German History in Documents and Images
- includes original German texts, all of which are accompanied by new English translations
- Hanover Historical Texts Project
- collection of historical texts
- Medieval Family Life (Laurier subscription)
- Letter collections from 15th century England
- Papers of the War Department: 1784 to 1800
- documents covering the history of the Early Republic
- TEAMS Middle English Texts
- Collection of medieval literature
- War of 1812 in the Collections of the Lilly Library (U.S.)
- books, broadsides, prints, maps, correspondence, log books, diaries, speeches, receipts, etc.