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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

African American Studies 495: Senior Thesis Seminar

A course guide.

1. Article Indexes

In this first section we list article indexes. Article indexes contain citations to journal articles, books, dissertations, and other types of publications. They differ from full text collections like JSTOR and Project Muse in that they don't contain the actual articles, just citations that describe the articles. The advantage of article indexes, compared to full text collections, is that they enable you to identify articles in journals that haven't been digitized, as well as those that have been. Article indexes also enable you to identify articles in journals that the Library does not own, but that you can access through Inter-Library Loan.

Many article indexes are devoted to the scholarly literature of a specific discipline, so if your research has a particular disciplinary angle (e.g. history, sociology, political science, literature), then you should begin with the article index for that discipline. Check the Library's Databases by Subject page for suggestions, or contact us if you're having trouble identifying an appropriate article index.

2. Full Text Collections

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 2,500 scholarly journals from their inception (sometimes as early as the 18th century) up to the last 1-5 years (recent issues are excluded). Some of the titles you will find in JSTOR:

  • Ethnohistory
  • African American Review
  • Journal of African American History (and its predecessor, Journal of Negro History)
  • Journal of Black Studies
  • Journal of Blacks in Higher Education
  • Journal of American History
  • Journal of Social History

Periodicals Archive Online is another full-text source of journal literature in the Humanities and Social Sciences. Coverage extends back more than 200 years, with over 600 journals.

For the full text of almost 500 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
  • African American Review
  • Black Women, Gender, and Families
  • Callaloo
  • Journal of Social History
  • Journal of Women's History

American Periodical Series Online. Periodicals and some weekly newspapers that began publication between 1741 and 1900. Coverage for some titles extends into the 20th century if the periodical began publication earlier. 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 (e.g., terms in use in the 19th and early 20th centuries, such as “travel diary,” “grand tour,” and “journey,” but not contemporary terms and concepts, such as “travel narratives,” “colonial discourses,” or “ecotourism”).

African American Periodicals, 1825-1995: About 170 serials published by, for, or about African Americans. Part of the Archive of Americana.