HIST 101: What you need to know

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  • Jennifer Dorner

  • Office Hours: By appointment
  • Office Location: 212/218 Doe Library
  • Contact Info:

    510.768.7059 or Skype ucblib.jdorner
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About this Guide

Getting started on your History Thesis.

Encyclopedias

Using specialized encyclopedias to become familiar with your topic is the most efficient way to get started on your research. These encyclopedias, written by knowledgeable scholars, will summarize your topic, provide you with social and historical context, familiarize you with specialized terminology, and often provide lists of additional resources on your topic. They are providing you in condensed form information from multiple books and articles. Think of them as CliffsNotes ... that you are allowed to use.

The encyclopedias listed below may be useful for many of the topics suggested by your instructor, but there are many, many more. The easiest way to locate them in the Library is to do an Oskicat search like this:

Search example

1. Use the keyword search so that it looks for the words everywhere in the record.
2. The asterisk is a truncation symbol, which will retrieve variations of the word: ethic, ethics, ethical, etc.
3. The Doe Reference collection includes many encyclopedias and limiting your search to this collection will retrieve a manageable number of records. If you retrieve nothing, change the search parameter to All Collections, or limit it to a subject specialty library.

Try different terminology and be persistent. If you are not finding a relevant resource, be sure to ask for help.

 

Bibliographies

A bibliography is list of bibliographic citations, (also called Works Cited, Literature Cited, Reference List) at the end of a journal article or book that lists the sources used by an author.

Bibliographies can also be research tools that bring together in one location (either print or electronic) citations from articles, books, book chapters, disserations, conference proceedings, primary matierials, and other academic sources about a specific topic. That topic might be broad, such as "Medieval history" or very narrow, such as "Red-haired women mentioned in courtly litearature."

Bibliographies can be useful for discovering additional sources for your research. Since they include many different types of sources, it is important to be able to identify the type of source from the citation, in order to locate it.

Do a keyword search in the library catalog for your topic and bibliograph* (which will look for bibliography, bibliographic, or bibliographies). You can limit your search to Doe Reference, but many bibliographies are located in the regular stacks of the libraries across campus.

bibliography search

Oxford Bibliographies Online
Provides access to carefully selected articles and other reference sources in the following areas: Anthropology, Atlantic History, Classics, Communication, Criminology, International Law, International Relations, Islamic Studies, Medieval Studies, Music, Philosophy, Renaissance and Reformation, Social Work, Sociology, and Victorian Literature.

Annual Bulletin of Historical Literature Published on behalf of the Historical Association, the Annual Bulletin of Historical Literature (ABHL) provides a selective and critical analysis of new historical books, journals and journal articles.

Searching Library Catalogs

oskicat logo

Use OskiCat to locate materials related to your topic, including books, government publications, and  audio and video recordings, in the libraries of UC Berkeley. OskiCat will show you the location and availability of the items that we own. More OskiCat help.

melvyl logo

 

 

Use Melvyl to locate materials related to your topic located at other campuses in the UC system, or worldwide. You can use the Request button to request an item from another library, if we don't own it. Detailed Melvyl help.

In every catalog you use, not the name of the physical library, call number, and whether or not the item is checked out, library use only, etc.

Call numbers are usually located on the spine of the book; learn how to read them so you can easily find what you need on the shelves.

Google Books

Google Books contains millions of scanned books, from libraries and publishers worldwide. You can search the entire text of the books, view previews or "snippets" from books that are still in copyright, and read the full text of out-of-copyright (pre-1923) books.  Want to read the entire text of an in-copyright book?  Use Google Books' Find in a Library link to locate the book in a UC Berkeley library, or search OskiCat to see if UC Berkeley owns the book.

Why use Google Books?

Library catalogs (like OskiCat) don't search inside books; using a library catalog, you can search only information about the book (title, author, Library of Congress subject headings, etc.).  Google Books will let you search inside books, which can be very useful for hard-to-find information.  Try it now:

Google Book Search

HathiTrust

You do allow embedded content.

HathiTrust (Hathi is pronounced hah-tee) is a partnership of libraries that works towards the goal of developing a shared digital access, preservation, and storage solution for the materials held in the member libraries. The contents of HathiTrust are similar to that of Google Books, but the collecting focus is on scholarly materials and the resource includes content and features (such as indexing and manipulation of results) not available in Google Books.

Downloading PDFs

 
Tips for searching HathiTrust:
 
Tips for doing a full-text search:

Creating Collections

  1. On the Collections page, click on login.
  2. Choose the University of California, Berkeley from the drop down list and click on login.
  3. Enter your CalNet ID and passphrase.
  4. Click on Create a New Collection and name your collection (the description is optional).
  5. Indicate whether it is a Private or Public collection.
  6. Click on Add.

In the future if you want to edit, change the private/public setting, or delete the collection, your collections will always be listed in the My Collections tab whenever you are logged in to HathiTrust.

Find Dissertations

Find Dissertations by searching Dissertations and Theses (Dissertation Abstracts) Full Text, which indexes graduate dissertations from over 1,000 North American, and selected European, graduate schools and universities from 1861 to the present. Dissertations published since 1980 include brief abstracts written by the authors and some feature 24-page excerpts. The database offers full text for most of the dissertations added since 1997 and some full text coverage for older graduate works.

Also see Find Dissertations and Theses for other specialized sources. Dissertations completed at UC Berkeley can be found in OskiCat, using the feature allowing you to limit to dissertations/theses:

Dissertations/Theses in Oskicat

Older dissertations not available full text may be obtained through Interlibrary Loan or using the Request option in Melvyl.

History Databases

General Article Databases

Databases are collections of thousands of articles (and often book chapters, book reviews, conference proceedings, dissertations, and other items) organized by subject. The Libraries have hundreds of databases covering every academic discipline. Some are multi-disciplinary, covering a broad range of subjects and including popular and scholarly sources, and others are subject-specific, and include scholarly and specialized articles. A complete list is available at Find Articles.

The following multi-disciplinary databases are good places to start your research:

Where's the PDF?

Once you've used an article database to find articles on your topic, you may need to use  orange logo in order to locate and read the full text of the article. The UC-eLinks button or link appears in nearly all the databases available from the UCB Library website.

UC-eLinks will link you to the online full text of an article if UCB has paid for online access; otherwise, UC-eLinks will help you locate a print copy on the shelf in the library. If UCB doesn't own the article in print or online format, UC-eLinks can also help you order a copy from another library.

uc-elinks window

For more information, here's a tutorial on using UC-eLinks. Click on the image below to watch a brief (less than a minute) video on how to enable UC-eLinks in Google Scholar.

google scholar window

Locating Primary Sources

There are many access points to the vast collections of primary sources available to you.

Certain words and phrases will find primary sources in library catalogs.  You can use these in OskiCat or Melvyl:

advanced keyword search -correspondence
-sources
-diaries
-personal narratives
-interviews
-speeches
-documents
-archives
-early works to 1800
-newspapers

For specific search strategies, see the Library's guide to Finding Historical Primary Sources.

Your searches will be more successful if, in your preliminary research, you identify specific:

 

Newspapers and Microforms Collection

If the library location in OskiCat says "Newspapers and Microforms" it is referring to the Newspapers and Microforms Collection, 40 Doe Library.

Check the hours of the unit before you go. The unit is not open on weekends, and microfilm cannot be checked out.

Be sure to bring a flash drive so you can save scanned copies of the microfilm to your disk. Scanning is free, but there is a charge for printing from the microfilm.  You MUST use your Cal1 card to pay for printing.

In the News/Micro collection, microfilm rolls and microfiche cards are shelved with their own numbering system; click here for a PDF of the collection's floorplan.

Don't hesitate to ask for help! The News/Micro staff are experts in the use of the machines.

U.S. History Microfilm Collections

World History Microfilm Collections

Newspapers on Microfilm

microfilm reel

Because of their fragility as they age, newspapers have traditionally been preserved by microfilming them.

Microfilm is located in the Newspaper and Microfilm Room in 40 Doe Library and in Bancroft Library.  Newspaper films are arranged geographically within the News/Micro collection [floorplan.pdf]

Reader/printers allow you to read the films and those in News/Micro allow you to save pages to flash drives in .jpg and .pdf format.

Most newspapers do not have indexes.  How do you find articles by subject? By knowing the approximate date of the event you are studying.  If you don't know the date, you can use the index to a different newspaper as a way to find out.

To determine whether we have microfilmed newspapers for the city or region of interest, try these search techniques in OskiCat.

SUBJECT SEARCHING: Select "Subject Heading" as the search type and enter your search using one of the structures suggested below:

African American newspapers
Mexican Americans--Illinois--Chicago--Newspapers
Warsaw (Poland) --Newspapers
Paris (France)--Newspapers

KEYWORD SEARCHING: Combine search terms with AND and OR. Use * (truncation symbol) to search for multiple word endings. For example:

newspaper* and (poland or polish)
newspaper* and mexic*
(soviet or russia*) and newspaper*

NOTE: these searches will produce results including both newspapers and books about newspapers, unless you limit your search to Newspapers/Microforms.

 

The Bancroft Library

The Bancroft Library is one of the treasures of the campus, and one of the world's great libraries for the history of the Bancroft Library interiorAmerican West.

Some Bancroft materials are available online via Calisphere, which includes primary sources from many California libraries and museums.

Before you go:

1.  Be prepared! Read secondary sources and know something about your topic.

2.  Search OskiCat so you can bring call numbers with you. Use the Entire Collection pull-down menu in OskiCat to limit your search to the Bancroft Library only. (Remember that there are primary sources in many other campus libraries as well.)

3.  Learn about the Bancroft's policies: read about Access (bring a quarter for lockers) and Registration (bring two pieces of ID).  You may want to read about the new camera policy ($10/day, no flash) or about getting photocopies.

During your visit:

  1. Store your belongings in the lockers provided, located on the right-hand side of the east entrance. Pass the security guard station and proceed up one level by stairs or elevator to the Reading Room and Seminar Rooms (3rd floor).
  2. Check in at the Registration Desk, located on the left-hand side of the entrance to the Reference Center.
  3. Go to the Circulation Desk, where you will fill out a form for the items you need. The items will be paged and brought to you. (Remember to bring call numbers, titles, etc. with you!)
  4. For research-related questions, ask for assistance at the Reference Desk.

How to Get to the Bancroft Library

The Bancroft is open from 10am to 5pm Monday-Friday (closed on weekends and holidays; shorter hours during Intersession).  Paging ends 30 minutes before closing; this means that if you want to use Bancroft materials until 5pm, you need to arrive and request your materials at the circulation desk before 4:30pm.

The Bancroft Library is on the second floor of Doe, on the east side (the side closest to the Campanile). See a floor plan of Doe Library 2nd floor (pdf).

Citation Management Tools

Citation management tools help you manage your research, collect and cite sources, organize and store your PDFs, and create bibliographies in a variety of citation styles.  Each one has its strengths and weaknesses, but all are easier than doing it by hand!

  1. Zotero: Free software that keeps copies of what you find on the web, permits tagging, notation, full text searching of your library of resources, works with Word, and has a free web backup service. Zotero is available as a stand-alone application that syncs with Chrome and Safari, or as a bookmarklet for mobile browsers.
  2. RefWorks - web-based and free for UC Berkeley users. It allows you to create your own database by importing references and using them for footnotes and bibliographies, then works with Word to help you format references and a bibliography for your paper. Use the RefWorks New User Form to sign up.
  3. EndNote: Desktop software for managing your references and formatting bibliographies. You can purchase EndNote from the Cal Student Store

Tip: After creating a bibliography with a citation management tool, it's always good to double check the formatting; sometimes the software doesn't get it quite right.

Chicago Manual of Style

The Chicago Manual of Style includes two slightly different documentation systems: (1) notes and bibliography (NB) and (2) author-date. The notes and bibliography style is preferred by many in literature, history, and the arts.

In the NB system, you mark within your paper where you have cited something by adding a number, which refers to a detailed reference either at the bottom of the page (footnote) or at the end of the paper (endnote). These notes indicate the specific place in your source you are referencing.

The bibliography includes complete information for each item, with the items arranged in alphabetical order by author's last name.

Purdue's Writing Lab provides an example of a paper formatted using Chicago NB style.

 


Chicago Manual of Style Read at Google Read at Google

Quick Links

Library web site header

Read an introduction to the campus libraries for undergraduates.

Set up your computer for off campus access to library databases.

Need a map of the campus libraries?

Each library has its own hours.  Click on the calendar for each library to view a month at a time.

Scheduling a consultation

bcal screenshot Some reference questions can't be easily answered over e-mail and I am happy to talk with you in person or over the phone if your question is more complex or if you'd like a more in-depth consultation. Trying to schedule appointments via email is time-consuming. Here are some alternatives:

1. Call me at 510-768-7059

2. Go to my bCal calendar and in the upper right corner choose the WEEK view. Locate a free slot between 9-5, Mon-Fri that works with your schedule. You can propose an appointment in bCal or contact me by email asking me to reserve that slot for you.

Starting February 19, every Wednesday from 1-3 I will also be available to answer your questions in the History Department's office.  

 

Staying Informed

blog screenshot

The UC Berkeley History Collection News blog will keep you informed of new digital collections, trials of resources, workshops, events related to History collections, and other news of interest to researchers in History. Options for accessing the blog include:

Ask a Librarian 24/7 Chat

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You can type your question directly into this chat window to chat with a librarian. Your question may be answered by a reference librarian from Berkeley, from another UC campus, or another academic library elsewhere in the US.  We share information about our libraries to make sure you get good answers.

If the librarian can't answer you well enough, your question will be referred to a Berkeley librarian for follow-up.

 

Charlene Conrad Liebau Library Prize for Undergraduate Research

Library Prize The Charlene Conrad Liebau Library Prize for Undergraduate Research recognizes excellence in undergraduate research projects that show evidence of significant inquiry using the library, its resources, and collections and learning about the research and information-gathering process itself.

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