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Hist 151: Shaping of the Modern World (Simpson) - Debate 1: Start


Welcome to this research guide created especially to guide students in Dr. Andrew Simpson's UCOR 151 course to resources available through the Gumberg Library (and beyond) that will help you prepare for your first debate on the Treaty of Versailles. The same resources will be helpful for other work you need to do for this class.

Each of the various kinds of materials to which this guide links are in a separate numbered box. The numbers indicate the order in which a librarian would recommend you use those kinds of materials (though, of course, the order in which you use them is ultimately up to you).

The guide will point you to:

  1. Primary sources (links supplied by Dr. Simpson)
  2.  Online encyclopedias, etc. (authoritative alternatives to Wikipedia)
  3. Guidance on using QuickSearch, the online catalog, to find books available through the Gumberg Library
  4. Articles from magazines, historic newspapers, and journals
  5. Information on citation
  6. How to get materials not at the Gumberg Library

It will also provide some other useful hints on accessing the Gumberg Library's resources on the second tab labelled "Other things you need to know."

1. Primary Sources

The links below to high-quality websites of primary sources were provided by your teacher in his prompt for your first debate.

2. Background Information - Electronic Reference Collections

Gumberg Library subscribes to a number of databases of electronic reference works. These cover all subject areas, and in some cases, contain hundreds of specialized encyclopedias, dictionaries and other sorts of reference works. Most of these databases permit you to search all the reference works contained in them at once. This means you do not have to have in mind a particular book to search. Great for getting started with your research.

Useful Stuff


Need Help with citation? Click the link below for help in citing resources in the major styles.

Citing Your Sources

Gumberg Doesn't Have It?

Have you discovered a good resource, but Gumberg Library does not own it? Click below to see your options .

Not at Gumberg? Getting Materials from Other Libraries

For research assistance contact:

Ted Bergfelt, MLS

Research & Instruction Librarian


3. Find Books

Find Print Books

Books are great sources of historical information, whether primary or secondary sources. The tool to use to find the books available through the Gumberg Library is the QuickSearch online catalog. Click the blue button directly below to go to the QuickSearch Advanced Catalog Search.

Contrary to popular belief, keyword searching is often an ineffective way of searching an online catalog. Subject searching, using Library of Congress Subject Headings, is often a more precise and efficient way to find everything on a subject. To help you in searching QuickSearch, you may want to use these subject headings to find materials of interest for your debate:

  • Treaty of Versailles 1919
  • Paris Peace Conference 1919-1920
  • League of Nations
  • World War 1914-1918 (use instead of World War 1, or World War I, or World War One, or Great War, or First World War, or Ist World War)

To use them, go to the Guided Search box labelled "Subject" and type a subject heading there, as you see below. Then press Search.

This simple trick alone will quickly get you everything on that subject, as opposed to keyword searching, which will give you everything in which your words appear but which will not necessarily be about the subject you are interested in.

Where keywords become really useful is in narrowing a subject search which brings up too many items to look through, which will happen with "World War 1914-1918." What you can do is enter the proper subject heading for the major concept in your search (like "World War 1914-1918"), but you can add a keyword or keywords to get only those items from the larger result that will be relevant to your needs. Say you were interested in the experience of Italy in World War I. Type the subject heading for World War I ("World War 1914-1918") in the first search box (changing the menu in front of it to "Subject"), then type "Italy" in the second search box and leave the menu in front of it set to "Keyword." Then press Search.

Primary sources are, of course, materials from the time something happened.The QuickSearch catalog contains many such things. When you search QuickSearch, it automatically shows the most recent items first. Primary sources will have earlier publication dates. If you scroll to the bottom of a search result, you will see the earliest items published.

Another suggestion for finding primary sources in the QuickSearch catalog is to search for books and other materials written by important figures from the time. Say you wanted books written by Georges Clemenceau, the prime minister of France during WWI and one of the architects of the Treaty of Versailles. Enter his name in the first search box and change the menu in front of it to "Author" and then press Search. This will insure that the result list presents materials written by this person, not books about him. (To find books about a person, you would type his or her name in the first search box and then change the menu in front of it to "Subject.")

Find EBooks

Gumberg Library can supply you access with well over 100,000 EBooks on all subjects. Click here to learn how to access them.

4. Find Articles

These databases can be access off-campus, but when you click on a link, you will need to enter your Multipass username and password. Once you do, you can use the database as if you were on campus.