Franklin &  Marshall College Library

HIS 360: History Workshop: Methods and Practices

Researching in Libraries:

Consider: information/knowledge creation, publication, archiving

>indexing, cataloging

>locating, retrieving/accessing

>creating new knowledge by using and attributing sources ethically and legally


Consider: language variations used in...all of the above!


Consider: physical nature of the item to determine where search begins:

  • Book/Monograph = Library Catalog to confirm holdings/obtain a description

  • Periodical/Magazine/Journal/Newspaper Articles = print or online index, and/or online archive to discover publication contents, description and possibly the complete text

  • Government Information = respective agency; depository library-catalog and/or government issued Monthly Catalog; government and commercially produced indexes and finding aids. Libraries vary in methods of catalog representation and physical organization.


Searching catalogs and indexes to find location & citation data:

Tertiary sources:
  • Library Catalog: Location: Ref Area
  • E-Resources A-Z: look for the "R" -e.g., ANB, Oxford, Credo Reference

Secondary sources
  • Books: Library Catalog, WorldCat [EZ-Borrow if necessary; ILL=back-up]
  • Articles: E-Resources A-Z and/or By Subject: History [ILL if necessary]

Primary sources:
  • Library Catalog: [EZ Borrow if necessary; ILL=back-up]
  • WorldCat: [EZ Borrow if necessary; ILL=back-up]
      *Library of Congress Subject Language for primary material:
      *documents, interviews, correspondence, letters, speeches, diaries, narratives, sources, collections
  • Library Subscription Indexes/Databases/Archives featuring historical materials which may be considered primary sources [ILL if necessary]:
    • Accessible Archives, 18th & 19th c. periodicals
    • America's Historical Newspapers
    • Archives USA, a directory
    • The New York Times, 1851-2004
    • Nineteenth Century Masterfile/Poole's
    • PAIS Archive, 1915-1976
    • Reader's Guide Retrospective, 1890-1982
  • Library Print Indexes/Abstracts:
    • Increasingly digitized-few remain at F&M
    • Located in the "Microforms Room" at Shadek-Fackenthal

Locating library materials using location & citation data:

Books/Monographs: by LC call number

Articles: by format, as indicated via "Journals-search our catalog of print and online journals"

  • Current/Active subscription = Periodicals Room, 1st floor
  • "Bound" = Ground floor, south
  • Microform (film/fiche) = 1st floor, behind Ref Desk
  • Full-Text, Digital = by library subscription, free if available


Contact Lisa Stillwell for further assistance.
Last updated: 10/08 ls