Online Research

Online Research

Below is a list of websites put together to help you conduct scholarly research from a computer.  This list does not include all the great resources out there, but if you explore these sites and follow select links the amount of resources at your fingertips will multiply quickly.  I suggest making a bookmarks tab on your home computer and including the following sites.

http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/

Digital History is similar to a high school American history textbook.  While this site should not be used as a source, this site can be used to gain a general overview of a topic and to access select primary sources.

https://www.wikipedia.org/

You cannot use WikiPedia (or any other encyclopedia) as a source.  The reasoning behind this is that secondary sources must include authorship and citations.

However, you can use it to help define key words or to access their sources (scroll to the bottom for links).  Most Wikipedia pages include the original sources the information was taken from if you examine the citations, links and works cited at the bottom of the page.  If you follow the link to the original source you may find the larger context of the information used on the Wikipedia page and the original author.

http://avalon.law.yale.edu/

The Avalon Project provides the text of many primary source documents.

http://www.loc.gov/

Library of Congress is particularly strong for primary sources and photographs.

http://www.gilderlehrman.org

A very good option for finding secondary source articles with attributions/authors.  ***Create a free account to access full amount of secondary and primary sources.

http://about.jstor.org/individuals

Jstor is now free to us at Bard High School Early College Newark. On campus you do not need the username and password to access the database. To access JSTOR off campus, ask your professor for the login information.

http://www.nytimes.com/

The New York Time makes its full archive available on line.  You can search by topic.  Sign up for a library card to access more materials. 

http://scholar.google.com/

While not all of these sources are available as full texts, Google has scanned loads of books that you can access here.  

http://www.archives.gov/

Collection of public records and great visuals to help you get a good idea of almost any event in US History.  

http://teachingamericanhistory.org/

Large amount of primary sources available, particularly if you go to the document library.  

http://www.oshermaps.org

Large amount of primary sources available, particularly if you go to the document library.  
Map collection that includes wide variety of maps from colonial America through the 20th century.

http://loc.harpweek.com/

Extensive collection of political cartoons and political prints.  Browse the collection or search by keyword or time period.

http://www.culturalequity.org/

Especially good for music, photographs and early 20th century history.  Includes Alan Lomax archives of film, sound, and photographs.

University Libraries

Many university libraries have internet archives that include documents and research particular to their State or City.  Two samples are below.

http://quod.lib.umich.edu/lib/colllist/

From the University of Michigan digital collections from the U.S. and around the world.

http://docsouth.unc.edu/

From University of North Carolina focused on southern U.S. History.  Collections of diaries, posters, photos, and various primary sources documenting the Southern states of the U.S.

Research Tips for ALL Search Engines

Key Words:  

  1. Before beginning in-depth research, you must define the key words that you expect will help bring you to relevant sources.  Try various key words and terms related to your topic, nature of inquiry and assignment..
  2. Try to use the most generic form of a given word.  IE Battle would include “Battles” but not vice-versa.  
  3. Use a thesaurus to find related words or alternative approaches to the same idea.

To Narrow Your Search:

  • AND/& – Narrows results to include only documents which contain both words.  IE World War II AND D-Day, D-Day AND Strategy
  • AND NOT – Narrows results to exclude documents which the word or phrase after NOT.  IE World War II AND NOT Germany, Atomic Bomb AND NOT Manhattan Project
  • Use quotation marks – Putting a phrase in quotation marks will return only documents in which those words appear in that exact order.   IE “World War II Battles”, “United States Involvement in World War II”

To Expand Your Search:

  • OR – Expands results to find documents which include any of the listed words.  IE D-Day or World War II Battle
  • Few Words – Generally the fewer words the more results you will get

Most importantly:  Research take time and patience.  You will need to PLAY around with words and language to find great sources.  Also, you will need to go beneath the first 10 search results and follow links that may look helpful.  You will find dead ends and often come up empty handed and exasperated at first….but this is part of RESEARCH.