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Research Resources: Class Guides

AMS 350: Studying the American Experience

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 your search begins:

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

  • Periodical/Magazine/Journal/Newspaper Articles = print or online index, and/or online archive, to discover publication contents, description and method of access

  • Government Information = respective agency web site, depository library-catalog, plus government and/or commercially produced indexes and finding aids. Libraries vary in methods of catalog representation and physical organization. Most government publications are assigned a unique Superintendent of Documents (SuDoc) number, which can be useful for locating the item in depository libraries.

Searching catalogs and indexes to discover location & descriptive information

NOTE: When searching non-United States specific sources: to increase the likelihood of discovering materials related to American Studies, include the phrase "united states" as part of either a key/word or subject search.

Secondary sources
  • Books: Library Catalog, WorldCat [EZ-Borrow if necessary; ILL if not available via EZB]

  • Articles: Library Web Site: A-Z list of indexes/databases and/or Subject Guides: American Studies [ILL if necessary]
    • America: History & Life
    • JStor > Disciplines featured: American Studies, African American Studies, American Indian Studies
    • Project Muse
    • Humanities Full Text
    • Social Sciences Full Text

Primary sources:

  • Books: Library Catalog, WorldCat: [EZ Borrow if necessary; ILL if not available via EZB]
      Library of Congress Subject Language for catalog searching for primary material:
      documents, interviews, correspondence, letters, speeches, diaries, narratives, sources, collections, maps, manuscripts, statistics, surveys, autobiographies

  • Articles: Library Web Site: A-Z list of indexes/databases and/or Subject Guides: American Studies [ILL if necessary]:
    • Accessible Archives, 18th & 19th c. periodicals
    • American Broadsides & Ephemera
    • America's Historical Newspapers
    • HarpWeek: The Civil War Era, 1857-1877
    • The New York Times, 1851-2008
    • Nineteenth Century Masterfile
    • Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature, Retrospective, 1890-1982

Locating library materials at F&M using location & citation data:

Books/Monographs: by LC call number

Articles: by format, as indicated via the Journal Finder

  • 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

Select Online Archives

Making of America
A digital library of primary sources in American social history from the antebellum period through reconstruction. The collection is particularly strong in the subject areas of education, psychology, American history, sociology, religion, and science and technology.

Internet Archive
A digital library offering free universal access to books, movies & music, plus the Wayback Machine.

For further assistance, contact:

Lisa Stillwell, Information Literacy Librarian: or 717.291.3844

Created: ls, 2/2012


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