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History Research Guide: Background Info

General guide for finding resources for history research.

Find Background Information for History Research

You can find background information by using the Digital Reference Resources link on the right

What will you find in the Feinberg Library Reference Room?

  • Subject encyclopedias (e.g., Encyclopedia of the Palestinians)
  • Dictionaries (e.g., Historical Dictionary of Terrorism)
  • Biographies (e.g., The Complete Book of Presidents)
  • Maps (e.g., Historical U.S. County Outline Map Collection 1840-1980)
  • Atlases (e.g., Oxford new Concise World Atlas)
  • Statistics (e.g., Datapedia of the United States: American History in Numbers)

Other examples:

You want information about environmental history in the U.S.:

Our reference room has: Nature and the Environment in Nineteenth-Century American Life

Or about the Lesbian and Gay movement in the U.S.:

 Our reference room has: Encyclopedia of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History in America

You can search PlattCat, the Feinberg Library online catalog, to identify these kinds of materials and to locate them in our library.

Use the Advanced Search option and combine terms to focus in on your topic.  Be sure to select "Reference Coll." in the "More Collections" drop-down box near the bottom of the PlattCat Advanced Search screen.

   

Reference Resources

What is Background Information?

Background Information provides an introduction to a topic, issue, or person.  Knowing a little bit about something you are researching helps you to focus in on what is really interesting to you and also helps you to identify the main topics and terminology used in your chosen research.
So...get a few facts, details, names and terms about your topic...then decide in what direction your curiosity will take you.