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United States History

History Bibliography 101: A Stroll through the Bibliography of History

As you answer the questions that follow, you’ll learn a lot about using a variety of reference sources.  When you begin to do your own work, let your imagination determine how you combine what you’ve learned and become aware of.

Blackwell Reference, Cambridge Histories Online, and Gale Virtual Reference Library: Overviews but with Degrees of Magnification 

I am interested in how historians have engaged the dispersion around the world of food from the New World – this is conceptualized as the Columbian Exchange and the concept of the Atlantic World is also relevant.  Please suggest a couple of pieces from each. 




American National Biography, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, and Gale Virtual Reference Library




Is a different perspective on Thomas Jefferson presented in these resources?  I am particularly concerned about his reputation?  Do they complement one another or simply offer the same information and interpretation?  Note that GVRL is an index to many sources. 

America: History and Life and Historical Abstracts versus Google Scholar




Using the above indexes, find scholarly articles that deal with the perspectives of nations other than the US on the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center commonly referred to as part of 9/11.  Describe the types of sources that contain these articles and the advantages and disadvantages of using AHL and HA compared and contrasted to Google Scholar. What was your search strategy in AHL and HA?  What was your search strategy in Google Scholar?  Is some material present in one source that is not in the other(s)? 

JStor versus Academic Search Complete



Using the above indexes, find scholarly articles that deal with the perspectives of nations other than the US on the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center commonly referred to as 9/11. What are the strengths and weaknesses of each of these sources? 

Bison, WorldCat, and Google Book Compared and Contrasted




Find 3 books on the history of the potato using Bison, WorldCat, and Google Books.  What are the apparent strengths and weaknesses of each resource?

Commentary and More is Where You Can Find it; but It’s Not All Equal 

Tell me about Jonathan Alter’s most recent book?  Hint: It’s about the first year of the Obama presidency.   Try out each of the sources below.   Has it received good reviews?  What is his overall assessment?  What do you suggest I do if I have an hour or so to master this book? 

HNN (History News Network):

Google Video:


Academic Search Complete:


Google Book and Historical Statistics of the United States, Complementary?



You might not think these sources are ever complementary when it comes to finding numeric data, but they are.  Prove it to me.  I’m interested in the Italian American experience in the United States at the beginning of the 20th century.

Google Image versus ARTstor



So what did Benjamin Franklin look like?  Remember we all were younger once and we all get older.  Find me some images of Franklin that suggest his appearance at various times.  What do the differing images (give some examples) suggest to you? 

Newspapers: A Favorite Primary Source 

Primary sources are not equally reliable but newspapers are certainly ready to be mined.  When did Calvin Coolidge during his presidency spend the summer in the Adirondacks at Paul Smith’s near Saranac Lake?  Northern New York historical newspapers are useful here. 

New York Times:

Various Newspapers:

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