Getting Started in History Research
A good first place to look for information on historical topics is in our collection of Gumberg Library research guides. A "research guide" is a webpage made by a librarian with experience in a subject in order to connect library users to all the best resources on the subject accessible through the Gumberg Library or for free on the Internet. We only link to authoritative sources. So, at the start of research always check the list of research guides on historical topics to see if there is a guide on your subject It will jumpstart your resarch process!.
Guides specifically of interest to Dr. Simpson's Environmental History course:
Reference Works (Also known as "Background Sources")
There are numerous types of reference works, such as encyclopedias, dictionaries, atlases, companions, handbooks, etc. They are important because they supply us with the most basic facts about topics, in easily accessible formats. Gumberg Library offers access to thousands of such works, in both the tradition print format, as well a electronically. The vast majority of our reference works these days are available as ebooks.
Some reference works have a very broad focus, and some of devoted to a very narrow subject area. There are a number of ways to access reference works:
Here are links to some research guides that will connect you to numerous reference works:
And you can search databases of reference works through the links on this page (You'll find the links to these databases under "Electronic Reference Works"):
A useful reference work from the Internet:
Pittsburgh & Western Pennsylvania History Resources
Follow the links on the guides below to find primary and secondary source materials on various aspects of Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania history:
The research guide below will connect you to all primary source content available through Gumberg Library. To use most of the indiviaual databases/resources, you will need to enter your Multipass username and password when prompted, and authenticate using DUO.
Resources for Finding Books
Whether they be primary or secondary sources, books will be of major importance to you. In History, they cannot be ignored.
Find print and eBooks available through the Gumberg Library. You will find the search box on the Gumberg Library homepage. Click the Advanced search link below the search box to see options to take control of your searching. Once on the Advanced search interface, choose the search limit "All Gumberg Specialized Collection Catalogs" to limit your search result to print and eBooks owned or accessed through Gumberg Library.
Learn how to find books in any discipline in DUQSearch
To use DUQSearch, you will need to enter your Multipass username and password when prompted, and authenticate using DUO.
Using Library of Congress Subject Headings, the Classic Catalog breaks down a subject using standard alphabetically-arranged subdivisions. Contains print books only, but it can quickly get you to books on a narrow aspect of a larger topic.
How to Access Print Books from the Gumberg Library
You have two options for getting print books at Gumberg Library. First, when you find the book in DUQSearch copy down the call number (the unique number for the book) Then stop at the front desk and ask if someone can help you find the book with that call number. We are moving materials around from floor to floor now, so finding books on you own, at this point, might be difficult. Front desk staff will be happy to help you.
You can also request that a book be pulled from the book stacks and held for you, or even mailed to you. Click "How to Access Print Books from the Gumberg Library" above to learn how to do these things.
WorldCat is the world's largest library catalog. We would use this to find any books that had been written on a topic, that are not available at Gumberg Library. WorldCat will tell us which libraries own these items, which can then be borrowed through EZBorrow or Interlibrary Loan.
To use these databases, you will need to enter your Multipass username and password when prompted, and authenticate using DUO.
General Databases Covering History
Can Gumberg Access an E-Journal?
The research guide below will connect you to all the major sources for master's theses and doctoral dissertations.
Streaming Video & DVDs
Get Books and Articles Not Available Through Gumberg Library