HIST 83005: Research, Writing, Publishing

Background Information for History

Reference tools provide background information, the who, what, where and when -- and a bit of the how and why -- for any historical topic. They include subject and biographical dictionaries and encyclopedias, almanacs, chronologies, directories and atlases. Many, especially dictionaries and encyclopedias, are now available online. Many others, especially historical atlases and chronologies are still only available in print.


  • Encyclopaedia Britannica online
    • access to the most reputable online general encyclopedia
  • Oxford reference online Premium
    • access to dozens of Oxford University Press online reference tools
  • Gale virtual reference library
    • access to dozens of Gale online reference tools
  • Reference Universe
    • access to hundreds of print and online reference tools from various publishers
  • Cambridge histories online  
    •  full text online access to the complete 250-plus volumes of Cambridge Histories reference series.
  • Wikipedia:
    • Wikipedia can be a great quick help in identifying the "who, what, when and where" of any given issue especially relating to popular culture -- subject to later verification. Librarians use it all the time. However, it can be very suspect about "how and why" questions -- especially conflicts situations. Use it -- but use it with caution!


All titles are located in the General Reference Collection (1st floor, Hesburgh Library) unless otherwise noted.

Our print reference collection is arranged by Library of Congress Classification System. This means that similar subjects will be together on the shelf for easy browsing. Historical materials are arranged by time period and geographic location, i.e., political units. For example, British, English, Scots, Welsh and Irish history are selved near each other in the "DAs." However, since it's impossible to map the global arrangement of countries onto a linear call number system, there will be anomalies. Austria, Slovakia and the Czech Republic are in DB, then France in DC and Germany in DD. Countries divide and reunite, people migrate, languages change. Call number don't -- at least not quickly. Therefore, you must be particularly sensitive to such changes and flexible in your research strategies.

Last Update: February 21, 2013 15:40 | Tagged with: history research primary secondary writing publishing publication