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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)
American Historical Association's guide to historical literature / general editor, Mary Beth Norton
A great place to start a research project. More than 27,00 annotated citations to publications dating from 1961 to 1992 covering 48 periods in world history.
Timetables of History : a horizontal linkage of people and events / Bernard Grun
Chronological tables of the people , places and events that shaped world history.
Encyclopedia of world cultures / David Levinson, editor in chief
Ethnology studies, organized geographically, with descriptions including history, economy, marriage and family, religion, etc.
Encyclopedias and Historical Dictionaries
Handbooks and Larger Compilations
There are numerous works relating to the history, culture, and religions of Africa in these two collections. Further, you can find chapters focusing on Africa within works on Islam, Christianity, and Judaism.