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History Research Guide



OED Online. December 2014. Oxford University Press. 

1. Government by intimidation as directed and carried out by the party in power in France during the Revolution of 1789–94; the system of the ‘Terror’ (1793–4): see terror n. 3. Now hist.

2. a.  gen. The unofficial or unauthorized use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims; (originally) such practices used by a government or ruling group (freq. through paramilitary or informal armed groups) in order to maintain its control over a population; (now usually) such practices used by a clandestine or expatriate organization as a means of furthering its aims. Cf. terrorist n. 1b.

b. In extended or weakened use: the instilling of fear or terror; intimidation, coercion, bullying.

Compounds: General attrib., as  terrorism case,  terrorism expertterrorism insurance,  terrorism suspect, etc.

Selecting a Topic

  • OneSearch:  This is a tool that allows you to simultaneously search many of the secondary and primary resources mentioned below including but certainly not limited to America History and Life, IUCAT, JSTOR, and Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature.  I prefer to use this source as a means to determine whether or not there is enough information out there on a given topic.  Researchers newly acquainted with the research and writing process (such as research conducted in 100 and 200 level courses) will likely find MetaSearch adequate for finding the research they need to write a paper.  Researchers doing more intense research with legthier papers or more complex thesis will have better results searching some databases individually rather than via MetaSearch.
  • Encyclopedia of Terrorism, 2013
    • Print: Call #:  HV6431 .E534 2013 v.1-2 STACKS
    • Online




Finding Secondary Sources



Articles & More

  • Academic Search Premier (EBSCO)
    "Academic Search Elite offers full text for more than 2,000 serials, including more than 1,500 peer-reviewed titles. This multi-disciplinary database covers virtually every area of academic study. More than 100 journals have PDF images back to 1985. This database is updated on a daily basis via EBSCOhost." (from website)
  • America: History and Life (EBSCO)
    An index with abstracts, may lead to full-text, All scholarly. Advanced search easily allows one to limit by time period, browse subject headings, and select the language of the article. American history only.
  • Catalog of US Government Publications Index of documents published by the Federal Government.  Some items include link to full text.  Indiana State Library has all other documents.  Simply take a print out of the record to the State Library for access.
  • Homeland Security Digital Archive Provides quick access to important U.S. policy documents, presidential directives, and national strategy documents as well as specialized resources such as theses and reports from various universities, organizations and local and state agencies.
  • J-STOR
    All full-text and scholarly articles. Presents the back-files or the complete run of important journals up to a relatively recent embargo date. No controlled vocabulary or subject headings used. May limit keyword search to abstract, title, full-text. This database is complemented well by the ProjectMuse journals. Please view this tutorial for guidance in searching within JSTOR.
  • Master File Premier (EBSCO)
    "Designed specifically for public libraries, this multidisciplinary database provides full text for more than 1,700 general reference publications with full text information dating as far back as 1975. Covering virtually every subject area of general interest, MasterFILE Premier also includes nearly 500 full text reference books, 84,774 biographies, 100,554 primary source documents, and an Image Collection of 202,164 photos, maps and flags. This database is updated daily via EBSCOhost." (from website)
  • Military and Government Collection (EBSCO) Indexing and significant amount of full text articles related to military and government topics.
  • PAIS International Covers Public affairs, public and social policies, international relations.


Finding Primary Resources

Reprinted Primary Resources

Digital Versions of Primary Resrouces

  • 9/11 Archive not a particularly large archive but includes images, audio, and text from and regarding the event and aftermath.
  • American History in Video includes newsreels and documentaries of imporant events in US history
  • American Memory Project-Library of Congress
    Housing more than 7 million digitized items, this collection contains items relating to U.S. history, people, politics, and culture. Items include photographs, maps, illustrations, manuscripts, diaries, sheet music, motion pictures, and sound recordings.
  • American Periodicals Series Online (ProQuest) 
    Over 1,100 periodicals that first began publishing between 1740 and 1900, including special interest and general magazines, literary and professional journals, children's and women's magazines, and many other historically-significant periodicals.
  • Black Thought & Culture (Alexander Street Press) When complete, Black Thought and Culture will provide approximately 100,000 pages of monographs, essays, articles, speeches, and interviews written by leaders within the black community from the earliest times to the present. The collection is intended for research in black studies, political science, American history, music, literature, and art. The collection begins with the works of Frederick Douglass and is targeted to include the works of W.E.B. Du Bois, Carter G. Woodson, Alain Locke, Mary McLeod Bethune, Booker T. Washington, Marcus Garvey, Langston Hughes, Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, Ralph Bunche, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., Angela Davis, Houston Baker, Jesse Jackson, Ida B. Wells, Bobby Seale, and many others.
  • Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers (Library of Congress)
    "This site allows you to search and read newspaper pages from 1900-1910 and find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present. Chronicling America is sponsored jointly by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress as part of the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP)" - Chronicling America Homepage.
  • Digital National Security Database "contains the most comprehensive set of declassified government documents available. The resource now includes 44 collections consisting of over 104,000 meticulously indexed documents, with more than 733,000 total pages. Each of these collections, compiled by top scholars and experts, exhaustively covers the most critical world events, countries, and U.S. policy decisions from post World War II through the 21st century. Together, these collections offer unparalleled access to the defining international strategies of our time." (website)
  • Early American Imprints, Series I: Evans 1639-1800
    "Based on Charles Evans' American Bibliography this database lists books published in 17th- and 18th-century America and links to images of the books themselves." -University of Virginia Libraries
  • Early Encounters in North America: Peoples, Cultures, and the Environment
    "This release of Early Encounters in North America contains 1,482 authors and over 100,000 pages of letters, diaries, memoirs and accounts of early encounters. Particular care has been taken to index the material so that it can be used in new ways." (from website)
  • Historical New York Times  Searchable online database which houses a digitized version of New York Times back to mid 1800's.
  • Immigration to the United States, 1789-1930, is a web-based collection of historical materials from Harvard's libraries, archives, and museums that documents voluntary immigration to the United States from the signing of the Constitution to the onset of the Great Depression. Concentrating heavily on the 19th century, Immigration to the US includes over 400,000 pages from more than 2,200 books, pamphlets, and serials, over 9,600 pages from manuscript and archival collections, and more than 7,800 photographs. By incorporating diaries, biographies, and other writings capturing diverse experiences, the collected material provides a window into the lives of ordinary immigrants.
  • Making of America by University of Michigan and Cornell University
    A digital library of primary sources in American social history primarily from the antebellum period through reconstruction. These collections are particularly strong in the subject areas of education, psychology, American history, sociology, religion, and science and technology.
  • Nineteenth Century U.S. Newspapers (Gale)
    With digital facsimile images of both full pages and clipped articles for hundreds of 19th century U.S. newspapers and advanced searching capabilities, researchers will be able to research history in ways previously unavailable. For each issue, the newspaper is captured from cover-to-cover, providing access to every article, advertisement and illustration.
  • Readers' Guide Retrospective (EBSCO) Readers' Guide Retrospective is a database containing comprehensive indexing of the most popular general-interest periodicals published in the United States and reflects the history of 20th century America.
  • Time Magazine Archive
    A selection of Time Magazine full-text articles from 1923-present. Considered a popular resource, not a scholarly resource.
  • Sabin Americana, 1500-1926
    Based on Joseph Sabin's landmark bibliography, this collection contains works about the Americas published throughout the world from 1500 to the early 1900's. Included are books, pamphlets, serials and other documents that provide original accounts of exploration, trade, colonialism, slavery and abolition, the western movement, Native Americans, military actions and much more. With over 6 million pages from 29,000 works, this collection is a cornerstone in the study of the western hemisphere.
  • Sixties: Primary Documents and Personal Narratives 1960 - 1974 (Alexander Street Press)  The Sixties: Primary Documents and Personal Narratives 1960–1974 brings the 1960s alive through diaries, letters, autobiographies and other memoirs, written and oral histories, manifestos, government documents, memorabilia, and scholarly commentary. With 150,000 pages of material at completion, this searchable collection is the definitive electronic resource for students and scholars researching this important period in American history, culture, and politics. The database currently has over 38,000 pages.
  • Slavery and Anti-Slavery: A Transnational Archive (Gale)
    Slavery and Anti-Slavery is a four-part collection devoted to the transatlantic history of slavery. It includes books, manuscripts, court records, and serials. The first part, Debates over Slavery and Abolition, documents the debates surrounding slavery and its abolition in the U.S. but also in the UK and other European countries, the Caribbean, Latin America, and Africa. Future parts are Slave Trade in the Atlantic World, Institution of Slavery, and Age of Emancipation. Once completed, it will include over 5 million pages.
  • StoryCorps Library of Congress collection of oral histories from across the United States.  Search 9/11 for relevent stories.  Try other topics too.
  • Women and Social Movements in the United States (1600-2000) (Alexander Street Press) This Worldwide Web site is intended to serve as a resource for students and scholars of U.S. history and U.S. women's history. Organized around the history of women in social movements in the U.S. between 1700 and 2000, the website seeks to advance scholarly debates and understanding at the same time that it makes the insights of women's history accessible to teachers and students at universities, colleges, and high schools. 
  • YouTube Search for video of news coverage of particular terrorism related topics

Finding Freely Availble Digital Collections via the Open Web

Some of the collections of primary resources listed above are freely available resources, digitized and placed online for scholarly use by cultural institutions such as libraries, museums, and historical societies.  Many other collections of this nature exist and can be located through a simple Google search.  Search strategies for locating possible collections: 1) Try a simple keyword search (Ex. Indianapolis Sanborn maps) 2) Try searching for the museums and libraries geographically or topically related to your research project. (Ex. Indiana Historical Society)

A word of caution, If you are searching the open web for primary sources make sure you carefully evaluate the source and site.  Don’t just assume the digitized document is a quality resource.  Follow this link to a guide for determining quality and for proper citation of such sources

Citing Sources and Evaluating Websites

Citation Guide

A manual for writers of research papers, theses, and dissertations : Chicago style for students and researchers by Kate Turabian., 7th edition Reference section, 2nd Floor of University Library, Call #: LB2369 .T8 2007

Quick Turabian Guide from University of Wisconsin, Madison

Evaluating Websites

If your instructor has indicated that open web resources (general websites, blogs, etc.) are allowable sources for your research its important that you evaluate these sources carefully. CRAAP Test