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HY 497: History Capstone

Links to history resources and guides for use as building blocks for historical research.

Primary versus Secondary Sources: What Are They?

Basic Resources

Going to the Sources

Anthony Brundage has revised his popular book to render an even more detailed, practical and 'user friendly' tool for students faced with what can be a daunting task: the researching and writing of a research paper or historiographical essay. After an introductory chapter that describes the different schools of historical thought, Going to the Sources becomes a handy manual, helping the reader to identify and access the many sources -- both old and new -- available to historical researchers. Accordingly, this new edition includes a detailed discussion of electronic databases and a list of World Wide Web sites devoted to history.

The Historian's Toolbox

Selected Contents: Introduction: History as FunPart I. The Craft of History1. The Past2. Story3. History4. Metahistory5. Antihistory6. The Present7. The FuturePart II. The Tools of History8. Doing History: An Overview9. Sources and Evidence10. Credit and Acknowledgment11. Narrative and Explanation12. Interpretation13. Speculation14. Everyday History

The Information-Literate Historian

Suitable for history students, this primer is a guide to doing research in order to write a research paper, create a website, or do a PowerPoint presentation. It talks about how to do research on the Internet and how to differentiate between reliable and unreliable historical information on the Web.

The Pursuit of History

This Revised EDITION of The Pursuit of History examines important questions about historians and their work: Why do we study history? What use is it? How do we construct our knowledge of the past? Can we apply to history the methods and objectives of the social sciences? What are the limitations of historical evidence? What different kinds of history are being written today? History is more relevant and popular today than ever. John Tosh's guide is the essential and accessible introduction to every aspect of the practice of history.

From Reliable Sources

Reliable Sources is a lively introduction to historical methodology, an overview of the techniques historians must master in order to reconstruct the past. Its focus on the basics of source criticism, rather than on how to find references or on the process of writing, makes it an invaluable guide for all students of history and for anyone who must extract meaning from written and unwritten sources. Martha Howell and Walter Prevenier explore the methods employed by historians to establish the reliability of materials; how they choose, authenticate, decode, compare, and, finally, interpret those sources. Illustrating their discussion with examples from the distant past as well as more contemporary events, they pay particular attention to recent information media, such as television, film, and videotape. The authors do not subscribe to the positivist belief that the historian can attain objective and total knowledge of the past. Instead, they argue that each generation of historians develops its own perspective, and that our understanding of the past is constantly reshaped by the historian and the world he or she inhabits.

Evidence Explained

The latest revision of this style manual, meant specifically for historical research and family genealogy work, builds upon the previous editions by adding new citation models, updates to websites, and information on new materials. There are more than 1,000 citation models covering print, microfilm and microfiche, websites, digital books and journals, DVDs, CDs, podcasts, and more. The glossary and bibliography have also been expanded. Libraries owning a previous edition will want to update; those where historical research particularly genealogy is important will want to acquire it as well.--Vnuk, Rebecca Copyright 2017 Booklist

Subject Headings

The following are a few relevant Library of Congress Subject Headings. Think "tags" when you think of subject headings. The difference between these "tags" and those you might find on social media is that the Library of Congress controls what terms, spelling, etc. are used. This "controlled vocabulary" helps organize words and phrases in a more standardized way to make searching more efficient. For instance, if I was searching for "Civil War" as a keyword, I would find many references to events involving the concept of "civil war" in various countries.  If I only wanted to find information related to the United States civil war, I could use the subject heading

United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865
If you don't know the exact phrase for your particular subject (and most don't), you can always start with a general "keyword" search. Once you find something that peaks your interest, make sure to pay attention to the subjects listed for that book, sound recording, etc. You can always click on those subject headings to take you to other materials we have on that exact topic.

These can help you in finding basic guides, manuals and historical methodology books in our Local Catalog.

  • Historiography
  • History--Methodology
  • History--Research
  • History--Study and Teaching