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Simpson | Stafford | Special Collections

History and American Studies: Locating Articles

A research guide to finding books, articles, and other resources in History and American Studies

Using Databases

Databases provide access to published material in:

  • magazines
  • newspapers
  • scholarly journals
  • books
  • and other valuable information sources.

Magazines vs. Journals

Magazines are periodicals that are generally popular in nature, unlike journals, which are usually more scholarly and specialized.  Here are some differences between the two:

  Appearance

Magazine: Glossy; pictures often in color.
Journal: More serious look; few pictures, if any.

♦  Content

Magazine: Current events; general interest. 
Journal: More specialized; research topics.

♦  Audience

Magazine: General public.
Journal: Scholars and researchers in a particular field.

♦  Style

Magazine: Written for the average reader.
Journal: Written for others in the field; shows research.

♦  Foot / Endnotes and Bibliographies

Magazine: Few notes, if any.  No bibliographies.
Journal: Includes notes and sometimes bibliographies.

♦  Advertisements

Magazine: Many ads, often in color. 
Journal: Few or no ads.  If any, they are usually for books.

Finding Newspaper Articles

See the UMW Libraries' guide to finding Newspaper Articles.

Citing Your Sources

While writing research papers, you may need to:

  List your sources in bibliographies or works cited, and

♦  Provide either footnotes or endnotes.

Here is a link to the UMW Libraries' Guide to Citing Resources.

History and American Studies Databases

Academic Search Complete (approximately 1880s to date)
Provides abstracts and full-text articles from more than 10,000 books, scholarly journals, magazines, newspapers, and reference works on a wide variety of topics.
 
Accessible Archives (coverage varies)
Provides access to the Virginia Gazette (1736-1780), the South Carolina Gazette (1732-1780), the Pennsylvania Gazette (1728-1800), Godey's Lady's Book (1830-1898), the Liberator (1831-1865), and assorted other publications, including Civil War-era newspapers, 19th-century African American newspapers, and American county histories (to 1900).
 
Covers United States and Canadian history from earliest times to the present. Includes abstracts of articles (summaries), and full-text articles.
 
Provides digital access to more than 6,500 American magazines and journals published between 1691 and 1877.  (Because all issues of bound volumes were digitized, some periodicals beyond 1877 are included.) 
 
A full-text resource that provides "original, comprehensive reporting and analysis on issues in the news."

Eagle Explorer
Provides access to the Mary Washington newspaper (the Bullet), the academic catalogs, the alumni magazine, Aubade (the campus literary magazine), and The Battlefield (the yearbook). 
 
Ethnic NewsWatch (1959 to date)
Supplies full-text articles from newspapers, magazines, and journals of the ethnic, minority, and native press.
 
A comprehensive guide to printed records about the Americas written in Europe before 1750. Contains more than 32,000 entries.
 
Provides full-text access to 21 years of Harper's Weekly, a leading 19th-century illustrated newspaper.  See also HarpWeek's American Political Prints, 1766-1876.
 
Historical Abstracts (1954 to date)
Covers all aspects of history (excluding the United States and Canada) from 1450 to the present. Includes abstracts of articles (summaries), and full-text articles.
 
Covers the "most contentious issues in American history" by providing "background, outcomes, and contemporary points of view," as well as invaluable primary documents.

Magazines and Advertisements (coverage varies).
A UMW Libraries research guide.  The "Magazines on the Internet" section contains individual titles that can be searched online.
 
ProQuest Databases (coverage varies)
By clicking on "view by subject" and then de-selecting all of the selected databases, users can pick and choose resources or search by broad categories.
 
Developed by the Historic Preservation Department at the University of Mary Washington. Enables users to search such Fredericksburg-area resources as 19th-century Fredericksburg directories, historic district codes, 18th- and 19th-century newspaper indexes, and local Mutual Assurance Policies and Censuses of Manufacturing Lists.
 
Furnishes online access to the Encyclopedia of American Business, the Encyclopedia of American Immigration, Decades (individual volumes cover the twenties through the nineties in America), Great Events from History (includes GLBT Events volume), Great Lives from History (includes volumes for Ancient History, the Renaissance, and Notorious Lives), Milestone Documents, (includes documents for African American History and World History), and Weapons & Warfare.  Simpson Library also owns the physical volumes of these reference works.

Other Useful Databases

Provides digitized images of more than 1,000 American magazines, journals, and newspapers.
 

Biography and Genealogy Master Index
An index to millions of biographical sketches in hundreds of reference books and other sources. To use the index, 1) Look up your name. 2) Note the various titles that contain information on the person. 3) Use the Libraries' online catalog to locate the reference works. An excellent place to begin biographical research on living and deceased persons from around the world.

"Offers full text for most of the dissertations added since 1997 and strong retrospective full text coverage for older graduate works."
 
The International Federation of Film Archives provides access to both academic journals and popular magazines. The resource also includes the full text of five major reference works in the area of film and television studies.
 
Developed by the Historic Preservation Department at the University of Mary Washington. Enables users to search such area resources as 19th-century Fredericksburg directories, historic district codes, 18th- and 19th-century newspaper indexes, and local Mutual Assurance Policies and Censuses of Manufacturing Lists.
 
Gale Literary Sources  (Previously known as Literature Resources from Gale)
Provides access to critical and biographical information on living and deceased authors from around the world.
 
Humanities & Social Sciences Index Retrospective: 1907-1984
Indexes nearly 1,200 periodicals.
 
Humanities Full Text (indexing: 1984 to date; select full text: 1995 to date)
Indexes some 600 journals in the humanities.
 
Humanities International Complete (coverage varies; approximately 1985 to date)
Provides the full text of hundreds of magazines, journals, books, and other works.
 
Since 1995, Issues and Controversies has covered the most "prominent and hotly debated issues of the day," offering in-depth analyses, pro-con articles, and bibliographies.
 
JSTOR (archived publications from the 1800s to the last 1-5 years)
A full-text collection of scholarly journals in a wide variety of disciplines in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences. To focus your search, use the Advanced Search and the "narrow by discipline" and "language" limiters.
 
MasterFile Premier (coverage varies)
Furnishes full-text coverage of thousands of periodicals, reference books, biographies, and primary source documents. Also contains an image collection.

OmniFile Full Text, Mega Edition (1982 to date)
A multidisciplinary database that provides the full text from a variety of the company's full-text databases, including Education, General Science, Humanities, Readers' Guide, Social Sciences, and Business. When available, the full text is included from these databases: Applied Science & Technology, Art, Biological & Agricultural Index, Index to Legal Periodicals & Books, and Library Literature & Information Science. Coverage dates: Indexing, 1982+; Abstracting, 1984+; select full text, 1994+ (start dates for full-text coverage vary from journal to journal within a database).
 
Project Muse (coverage varies; mostly 1995 to date)
Provides online access to more than 400 scholarly journals in the humanities, arts, and social sciences.
 
Proquest Databases (coverage varies)
By clicking on "view by subject" and then de-selecting all of the selected databases, users can pick and choose resources or search by broad categories.
 
Provides full-text and full-image articles for the New York Times (1851 to within the last several years) the Washington Post (1877 to 1991), and the Chicago Tribune (1849-1987). Users can search the newspapers separately or together.
 
Social Sciences Full Text (1983 to date; full text 1995 to date)
Indexes and abstracts more than 625 journals in the fields of political science, psychology, sociology, gender studies, and other disciplinary fields in the social sciences.

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