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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

History 498H: Romantic Democracy, Politics and Literature in the Age of Jackson

A guide to library resources.

1. America: History and Life

The two main article databases for history are Historical Abstracts and America: History & Life. One or the other of these databases is usually the best starting place to search for scholarly articles in English on topics in history. America: History and Life covers articles, book reviews, and dissertations on all periods of North American history published since 1964, and in some cases it provides links to the full text of the articles online. Historical Abstracts covers articles, book reviews, and dissertations published since 1954 on all aspects of world history, excluding North America, from 1450 to the present. To search these databases, start at the Library Gateway, choose Find Online Journals and Databases, and type “America History& Life” or “Historical Abstracts” in the search box or use the Quick Links on the History, Philosophy and Newspaper Library web site.

If you select the Easy Search tab on the Library Gateway, your search will be run in America: History and Life and Historical Abstracts, as well as several other multidisciplinary sources. In addition, you can click on “Easy Search” under Quick Links on that page to get the option to limit your search to articles on history.

Searching these databases directly, rather than through Easy Search, offers you more search options. Use the Subject Browser in these databases to select your subject term(s) by clicking on the open book icon to the right of the search box. You can narrow your search by adding a keyword or using more than one subject term. Your search results display as short records, which you can expand by clicking on “Expand Record” at the bottom of the record on the right. The full entry shows you an abstract or summary of the article. If a particular article is linked to full text, the link is highlighted.

2. Other Article Databases

There are many other specialized or multidisciplinary article databases that you could search, depending on the focus of your topic. The master list of article databases is available on the Library Gateway’s Online Research Resources page. You may find material on unfree labor in colonial America, for example, in Expanded Academic ASAP (1980- ), Academic Search Ultimate (1980- ), PCI/Periodicals Archive and IndexATLA (American Theological Library Association) Religion Database (1949- ), or in Nineteenth-Century Masterfile, which combines several key periodical indexes covering the 19th century (including Index to Legal Periodical Literature, 1786-1922; Poole’s Index to Periodical Literature, 1802-1907; and several indexes for general and religious periodical literature of the late 19th century).

American Periodical Series is an important collection of 1,100 periodicals, published between 1741 and 1900. The articles in the database are fully searchable by keyword, but there is no subject indexing, so you have to be careful to construct your searches using the language of the original articles. To get to American Periodical Series Online, go to “Quick Links” on the History, Philosophy, and Newspaper Library web site or type the title in the search box on the Find Online Journals and Databases page.

3. Full-text Resources

There are several major collections of full-text electronic journals. In these databases you can browse individual issues of journals, or you can do a search across the entire database.

For older journals, use JSTOR ("journal storage"). This is a digitized, fully searchable version of the full content of more than 700 scholarly journals from their inception (sometimes as early as the 18th century) up to the last 1-5 years (recent issues are excluded). To get to JSTOR, go to the "Quick Links" on the History, Philosophy and Newspaper Library web site, or go to Find Online Journals and Databases and type "JSTOR" in the search box. Several key historical journals are included in JSTOR, such as

  • Journal of American History (and its predecessor, Mississippi Valley Historical Review)
  • Journal of Interdisciplinary History
  • American Historical Review
  • Journal of Negro History
  • Hispanic American Historical Review
  • Journal of Black Studies
  • Past and Present
  • William and Mary Quarterly
  • American Quarterly

Conveniently, America: History & Life provides links to articles in JSTOR journals.

For the full text of more than 300 recent scholarly journals, use Project Muse. These too are fully searchable. In most cases, only the issues from the last few years are available. Here you will find, for example,

  • American Quarterly
  • Journal of Social History
  • Journal of Interdisciplinary History
  • History and Memory
  • Radical History Review
  • Journal of Women's History

To get to Project Muse, go to the "Quick Links" on the History, Philosophy and Newspaper Library web site, or go to Find Online Journals and Databases from the Library Gateway and type "Project Muse" in the search box.