Course Research Guides
AMST 396: American Empire
Serena Zabin - Spring 2009
In this guide:
... by searching and browsing through digital collections
- American Periodical Series (1741-1900)
Pages of American magazines and journals published from colonial days to 1900.
- Early American Newspapers (1690-1922)
Scanned, fully searchable images of newspapers from colonial times to the early 20th century, including advertisements.
- Nineteenth Century U.S. Newspapers
Scanned, fully searchable images of newspapers, including advertisements
- ProQuest Historical Newspapers
Includes the full text of the following newspapers: Chicago Defender (1910 - 1975), New York Times (1851 - 2005), LA Sentinel (1934-2005), LA Times (1881 - 1986), Minneapolis Tribune (1867-1922).
- AP images
Over two million Associated Press photographs dating back to 1826. Also includes maps, graphs, charts, logos, flags, and illustrations.
- American Memory
Images, recordings, prints, maps, sheet music... a whole variety of primary sources held by the Library of Congress and made available online. This interface is tricky, it doesn't make it very clear that if you search on the main page you're searching across many many collections of primary sources. The best way to approach this is to do a broad keyword search to figure out which collections contain the sorts of material you're looking for, and then browse or search those individual collections separately.
- New York Public Library digital library
Images from primary sources and printed rarities in the collections of The New York Public Library, including illuminated manuscripts, historical maps, vintage posters, rare prints and photographs, illustrated books, printed ephemera, and more.
This searches across many digital collections. Like American Memory, one good strategy is to use this find out which individual collections contain the type of material you want to see and then browse or search those collections separately. Note that you can use the "entire record" search option to search for types of materials as well as their subjects, so, for example, you could search for "postcards" and "political" to find collections that contain digitized postcards having to do with political themes.
- Digital collections on the web
Increasingly, libraries and archives are digitizing their collections of primary sources and making them available on the open web. Often, searching for the type of source may be more fruitful than searching for your topic. Remember that you're searching for an entire collection rather than for individual primary sources.
postcards ("digital library" OR "digital collection") site:.edu
Click here to see this example search in action
... by searching the library catalog
- Bridge (or WorldCat)
Search Bridge to find printed collections of primary sources held at Carleton or St. Olaf. Search WorldCat to see what other libraries have. (If you find something another library has and we don't, click "Request Via Illiad" link in WorldCat to have it sent here for you.)
- To find sources attributed to a particular person, organization, or group, do an Author search for that name.
- Combine terms for the type of primary source you want and the broad topic you're studying. For example Speeches AND "Indians of North America" yields several speeches given by and about American Indians.
... by reading secondary literature
Often, one of the best ways to find primary sources is to read secondary literature on your topic and make note of the types of sources those scholars use, specific sources that seem particularly rich, and where those sources or types of sources are gathered. Follow those footnotes!!
... by browsing
I know I've said this already, but it bears repeating because it's just that important. Find a collection, a shelf, a book, a journal, and take some time to just look at what's there.
- In a digital collection like those listed above, look for "browse" options or else do a very broad keyword search for, say, "caricatures."
- In Bridge, find a call number for a relevant book and then try clicking on that call number and, better yet, going down to the find the book and then page through the tables of contents, indexes, and introductions of the books near that one on the shelf
- Use the Journals, Magazines, and Newspapers List to see which periodicals we have. For example, you will find that we have Harper's from 1976 to the present that you could page through.
- If we don't have a subscription to the periodical you want, you may be able to use an index and interlibrary loan to clumsily mimic browsing.
- Use Ulrich's Periodical Directory to find the periodical title, and then click into it and click "Abstracting / Indexing & Article Access" to see which Abstracting & Indexing sources will allow you to search through the periodical's contents.
- Then see if we subscribe to these sources on our Electronic Resources page.
- Either search through the indexing source or see if it has a way to browse the periodical you want.
- Use Interlibrary Loan to request individual articles.
... by searching through databases and catalogs
- Academic Search Premier
Indexes the major journals written by and for Americanists (in addition to journals by and for scholars of other disciplines), most of which are available here in full text.
- ProQuest Research Library
Access to thousands of newspapers, popular magazines, and trade publications, as well as scholarly journals important to American Studies. Much of this is available in full text.
- America: History and Life
Indexes scholarly literature in history.
- Sociological Abstracts
Indexes scholarly literature in sociology, but can also be used for finding scholarly work on cultural studies.
- Bridge (or WorldCat)
Especially useful for finding books held here and at St. Olaf (WorldCat searches thousands of other libraries, including Carleton and St. Olaf). Keep an eye out for subjects that are associated with books that look useful to you. And be sure to browse the shelves near books that you find, too. Books are shelved by subject, so those on either side of your book will probably address similar topics.
... by using what you already have
Footnotes, endnotes, and bibliographies are your friends! Particularly if you find a book or article that is highly relevant to your topic, follow up on its citations.
- Search the Journals, Magazines, and Newspapers List to see if we have access to the journals that contain cited articles.
- Search Bridge to see if we have cited books (or the books that contain cited essays).
- And use Interlibrary Loan to request books and articles that we don't have access to here at Carleton.
This is truly one of the most powerful ways to find scholarly literature on your topic.
The research from other disciplines often contributes to American Studies research. If you think historians or sociologist or art historians or scientists might have published on topics that will contribute to your research, check out these research guides. There are also resources and tips listed on the American Studies Research Guide that may be helpful.
For even more help with everything from finding data and statistics to finding government information, check out these task-based research guides.
This Research Guide By:
- Iris Jastram
- Reference & Instruc. Librarian for Languages and Literature
- Gould Library 463