Franklin &  Marshall College Library
Lib Res.

HIS 470: Not Just Cowboys

Reference Resources - Encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks and bibliographies

Reference or secondary sources are informational resources written by individuals who were not the actual participants in the topic at hand. They may be of value to your research since they often provide greater objectivity and different perspectives as a result of the passage of time. Common secondary sources include encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, and bibliographies.

Please Note: The general call number range for United States Local History - The West is F590.3-F951

Encyclopedia of North American Indians
Ref Room E76.2 .E53 1996

Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History
Ref Room E185 .E54 1996 Vol. 1-5

Encyclopedia of the Great Depression
Ref Room E806 .E63 2004 Vol. 1-2

The New Encyclopedia of the American West
Ref Room F591 .N46 1998

Encyclopedia of the American West
Ref Room F591 .E485 1996 Vol. 1-4

Search Terminology - Keywords and Subject Headings

When conducting research, always consider alternative keywords and subject headings for your topic. Begin by analyzing your topic or research question, and break it down into its key concepts. What keywords appear? Are there alternative keywords that come to mind?

For this course, keywords may include: migration, expansion, frontier, pioneer, tribes, indians, gold rush, 49ers, buffalo soldiers, oregon trail, indian wars, etc.

Subject headings may include: "West (U.S.)--Ethnic relations", or "Frontier and pioneer life--West (U.S.)", or "Prospecting--West (U.S.)--History", or "Immigrants--West (U.S.)--Social conditions--19th century" etc.

How to find books

  • Select CATALOG from the Library home page. In finding books for this class, try using the keyword and subject terms mentioned above.
  • When you discover a book of interest, select the "DETAILS" tab, and then the "FULL RECORD" tab to look at the assigned subject headings for that item. Note related subject headings, and click on them to find other books that are described in a similar way, and may prove useful.
  • Remember to search out call numbers in both the STACKS and the REFERENCE ROOM. Call numbers are designed to mirror themselves in these two areas. If you find a valuable book in the STACKS, you will find similar, high quality REFERENCE items under the same call number in the REFERENCE ROOM.

How to find journal and newspaper articles

Start by consulting the following electronic resources:

A collection of abstracts and articles from over 250 scholarly journals, many dating from the nineteenth-century to the last 4 or 5 years.

OmniFile Full Text Mega
Access to full text articles, page images, article abstracts, and citations from thousands of sources. Coverage back as early as 1982.

America: History and Life
Comprehensive bibliography of articles on the history and culture of the United States and Canada, from prehistory to present. Covers abstracts 1964 to the present.

New York Times - Full Image
The New York Times (Sep 18, 1851 - Dec 31, 2001, full-text) offers full page and article images with searchable full text back to the first issue. The collection includes digital reproductions providing access to every page from every available issue.

NewsBank - Early American Newspapers Series 1, 1690-1876 (TRIAL thru 10/31/05)
Early American Newspapers features cover-to-cover reproductions of hundreds of historic newspapers, providing more than one million pages as fully text-searchable facsimile images. For students and scholars of early America, this unique collection -- based largely on Clarence Brigham's "History and Bibliography of American Newspapers,1690-1820" -- offers an unprecedented look back into the extraordinary history of the United States -- the story of its people, ideals, commerce and everyday life.

If the article you find is available in full-text, follow the appropriate links. If not, take note of the JOURNAL NAME being cited, and go to the Journals at F&M page to see if the library subscribes to the journal. If so, locate the journal in print or microfilm, and make a copy for your research.

For additional article resources, look under the Electronic Resources - A to Z List on the Library homepage.

Don't Forget: Always consult the bibliography at the end of a journal article for additional resources!

World Wide Web

The World Wide Web can be a helpful environment in which to access scholarly information. To search for more authoritative sites, use mediated search directories such as the Librarians Index to the Internet or Google Scholar.

New Perspectives on The West
Complements the eight-part PBS documentary series on the history of the American West and includes an interactive timeline of events in The West; historical sites information on western states from Kansas to California; biographical information on Stephen Austin, Buffalo Bill, Chief Joseph, Crazy Horse, Alice Fletcher, Lewis Meriwether, Big Bill Haywood, and seventy others.

The Museum of Westward Expansion
This site, based on the museum located in the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, focuses on the "history of the 19th century American West, from the Louisiana Purchase to the closing of the frontier in 1890." The site includes an interactive tour of the museum, a chronology of events in the 1800s, audio clips, and narratives highlighting exploration, American Indians, the fur trade, and other topics. From the National Park Service.

Colorado Digitization Program
This project includes digital versions of more than 60 newspapers from Colorado, dating from the 1850s to the 1920s. The database includes thousands of articles, graphics, letters to the editor, and advertisements. Searchable, or browsable by newspaper and date or by featured topic. Includes a FAQ. A collaborative project of the Colorado Digitization Program, the Colorado State Library, and the Colorado Historical Society.

Utah Digital Newspapers
Eighteen historical digitized newspapers from Utah, mostly from the late 1800s to the early 1900s, with more than 130,000 pages of text. Browsable by newspaper title or county, or searchable by keyword. Within a specific newspaper, browse by issue date or search for births, marriages, deaths, article titles, and keywords. From the J. Willard Marriott Library at the University of Utah.

History of the American West, 1860-1920
"Over 30,000 photographs, drawn from the holdings of the ... Denver Public Library ... illustrate Colorado towns and landscape, document the place of mining in the history of Colorado and the West, and show the lives of Native Americans." The site features special presentations on Native American women, Denver, and World War II troops, as well as thousands of photos browsable by photographer, place, or topic. From the American Memory Project of the Library of Congress.

Trails to Utah and the Pacific: Diaries and Letters, 1846-1869
A collection of "49 diaries, in 59 volumes, of pioneers trekking westward across America to Utah, Montana, and the Pacific between 1847 and the meeting of the rails in 1869. In addition to the diaries, the collection includes 43 maps, 82 photographs and illustrations, and 7 published guides for immigrants." From the American Memory Project of the Library of Congress.

Other "How To's"...

Additional Help

Contact Christopher Raab for further assistance or fill out a research appointment request form to meet with a librarian.

Last updated: 9/5/05 cmr