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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

History 498A: U.S. Labor History


This page summarizes the guide, and keys the different sections of the guide to your assigned reading for today (pp. 65-84 in The Craft of Research).

5.1: Three Kinds of Sources

5.1.1: Primary Sources: For historians, almost any source can be a primary source--what distinguishes a primary source is how the historian uses it. As such, almost all the sections of this guide can help you to find primary sources. The Library does, however, have collections of documents that are really intended to be used as primary source collections (many of these are digital collections), and you can find these collections in the section on Other Collections.

5.1.2: Secondary Sources: The best places to begin for secondary sources are the sections on Books and Periodicals. We especially recommend the database America: History and Life:

5.1.3: Tertiary Sources: See the section on Reference Sources, especially the box on Encyclopedias.

5.2.1: Planning Your Library Research

Ask a Librarian: The History Librarian is Celestina Savonius-Wroth. For more librarians, see the section Get Research Help from an Expert.

Consult Reference Works: See the section on Reference Sources.

Explore Online Databases: The kinds of databases described in this section of the book are listed in our section on Periodicals.

5.2.2: Finding Specific Sources

Search Your Online Catalog: Detailed advice on searching the online catalog can be found in the section on Books. Additionally, you can just access the Online Catalog directly:

Prowl the Stacks: The technique described in this section of your book is also called shelf browsing. and more information on how to do it in this Library can be found in the section of this guide on Shelf Browsing.

Follow Bibliographic Trails: In addition to the literature reviews in journal articles (see sections on Article Indexes and Digitized Journal Collections), you can also find historiographical essays in journals and books. One journal is devoted exclusively to publishing historiographical essays:

Use Citation Indexing: Citation indexing databases are better for some disciplines than others. The main citation index for History is Arts and Humanities Citation Index:

If you perform a keyword search in this database, you can run a "Citation Report," which will tell you the most frequently cited articles on this subject. A citation report can be one strategy for identifying dominant historical narratives.