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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Educational Policy Studies 421: Racial and Ethnic Families

A course guide.

America: History and Life and Historical Abstracts

The two main article databases for history are Historical Abstracts and America: History and 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.

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. You can browse a list of subject terms by clicking on "Index" on the left side of the blue bar across the top of the screen.  (Choose "Subject terms" from the drop-down menu and enter your term in the "Browse" search box.)  You can construct Boolean searches by using the Advanced Search option and combine keywords or subject terms or both. 

Your search results display as short records, which you can expand by clicking on the title. The full entry shows you an abstract or summary of the article. Some of the records provide a link to the full text of the article.

Other Article Databses

Full Text Databases

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 Online Research Resources and type "JSTOR" in the search box. Some of the titles you will find in JSTOR:

  • Ethnohistory
  • Hispanic American Historical Review
  • English Historical Review
  • American Journal of Legal History
  • Journal of African American History (and its predecessor, Journal of Negro History)
  • Journal of American History
  • Journal of Social History
  • The Economic History Review

Periodicals Archive Online is another full-text source of journal literature in the Humanities and Social Sciences. Coverage extends back more than 200 years.

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,

  • Diaspora: Journal of Transnational Studies
  • Journal of Asian American Studies
  • Journal of Interdisciplinary History
  • History and Memory
  • Journal of Social History
  • Radical History Review
  • Journal of Women's History
  • Oral History Review

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