This is the "Introductory Resources" page of the "History - General Research Guide" guide.
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History - General Research Guide  

General guide to resources in the discipline of History.
Last Updated: May 8, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Introductory Resources Print Page


Dictionaries and encyclopedias like the ones listed on this page are a good place to begin your research. They can provide background or general information on a topic, help to narrow a broad topic to a manageable one for your paper, and suggest other sources you might consult for further information.

Starting points for historical research (print)

Recommended Online Sources


  • American National Biography Online
    Offers portraits of more than 17,400 deceased men and women -- from all eras and walks of life -- whose lives have shaped the nation. Features thousands of illustrations, more than 80,000 hyperlinked cross-references and links to select web sites.
  • Credo Reference
    Hundreds of reference books including dictionaries, thesauri, encyclopedias, books of quotations, & subject-specific titles. The History collection includes: Encyclopedia of World History & Marquis Who's Who in the World
  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (ONDB)
    "An illustrated collection of more than 50,000 specially written biographies of the men and women who shaped all aspects of Britain's past, from the fourth century BC to the year 2001." An additional year of coverage is added each January.
  • Cambridge Histories Online
    Contains over 250 volumes from the companion collections published since 1960.

Print Resources - Biographies

Many important sources for historical research are not available online, but are in the Library's Reference Collection.

  • Current Biography Yearbook
    Annual publication of biographies for the year's most intriguing people from around the world. Publication is available from 1940 to the present. See:Current Biography (REF CT 100 .C97) for volumes 1940 - 1954.
  • New York Times Obituaries Index, 1858-1968
    Index to obituaries appearing in the New York Times newspaper. A useful resource for finding a quick biography of historical figures.
  • Who's who in America
    Current edition in Reference, previous editions beginning with 1938/1939 are located in the stacks.
  • Who Was Who
    Volumes 1 (1897/1915) - 10 can be found in the Reference collection.

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